How to Sort Yarn – Method 2

By Veronica Smith – 14 Comments

How to sort your yarns – method 2, a follow on to method 1 (funny that). This is another way to manage your yarns and can be used with method 1 or instead of. This is a wonderful system and it really works, as does method 1. It works in the hands of somebody organized, although I must admit even I have employed this system with great success, I use it in conjunction with method 1 (method 1 is still is stored in the bedroom) and I think I am getting on top of things finally.

  1. Grab a book – plain paper or lined, doesn’t matter.
  2. Rule the page horizontally into 2 or 3 sections, don’t make them too cramped.
  3. Pull all the yarns out – messy but fun.
  4. Cut a snippet about the length of a crochet hook.
  5. Tape or staple this into the book in one section. Write the relevant   information. (5 balls, 180 meters each / 100g, 100% acrylic, 10ply / worsted weight, 5mm/H hook) Whatever you think is relevant.
  6. Keep doing this – I actually tried to do it in color lots but then new ones were purchased or I had some variegated ones so that didn’t work.
  7. Make sure you keep updating the book. If you had 7 balls and have used 5 change the quantity in the book. If you purchase new yarn, add it straight away to the book.

Why would you do this other than an excuse to play with yarn and not do housework? Well, if you have your stash stored everywhere or you have it squished in hard to get to places this can save a heap of frustration. If you find a pattern you like you can go through the book and see if you have enough of something hiding away. If you keep the list in your car or handbag then you can check easily the colors you have and the amount. Let’s say you see some lovely variegated yarn but it was a bit overwhelming – you can easily check if you have something suitable at home to go with it.
If you see that lovely expensive yarn (READ: The stuff you can’t afford – but why can’t you?) you can see if you have something to go with it. Or the other way around if you already have a fancy accent ball at home.

As with Method 1, this takes a fair bit of initial work but once it is done, as long as you maintain it, works well. It works for me anyhow. I started it in a bid to cut down my spending, sometimes I found I had just purchased something similar to what I already had. Or I bought something for a trim and when I got home it didn’t match what it was suppose to.

….however it seems I am still buying anything and everything that I can crochet with.

How do you organize what you have?

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  1. BANANAS says:


  2. Veronica Smith says:

    Wow – that is way more efficient than me……… Numbering the containers. That is a great addition. Thank you.

  3. susan b says:

    Much better than my current way of doing things.

    I buy all I need for each project at a time. Put it in a shopping bag and tie the top. Then I write on the outside # of skeins and type of project (baby boy, baby girl etc.)

    All leftover skeins or partial skeins go it a big clear zippered bag I have from a purchased comforter.

  4. Gina P says:

    Well, I just started organizing my stash as it’s getting out of control. I put all of my yarns in an excel spreadsheet with all the important information, manufacturer, material, how much I have, and what Project I had intended this for and a few other items. I can come back and add a project if I bought it without a project in mind. I also list the location where the yarn is located. I can’t put a small sample in this type of system which I really like in your method above. However, I can email to myself and carry this to the store to help me remember what all I do have. Also, I can sort and move the entries around in case I change my mind on projects or want to organize my yarn in order of projects I will be using for.

  5. Mellie says:

    I do something similar to this, but I am all digital. I take a photo of each yarn and then upload it into Ravelry’s “stash” tab. Once it’s all there, I can export it into an Excel spreadsheet, which has things like weight, skeins, etc. Then I print it out and hang it on the wall next to my bins of yarn. I like it because it’s easy to update, just print out a new list when yarns are added or used.

  6. Peggy says:

    I’m having to pack up and move. Comforter and other bedding plastic bags with zippers are a godsend when sorting yarn. I also use covered baskets and ottomans to keep yarn where I crochet (i.e. black and gold yarn for Steeler projects — I’m from and in Pittsburgh; orange yarns as that’s my favorite color; baby yarns for charity projects (my “baby” is a 3 year old cat)_.

    Check trash/recycling areas where people sometimes discard their bedding bags, especially if residents aren’t encouraged to recycle them as was the case where I’d been living.

    For moving, large boxes can be used for yarn. In those I keep similar yarns in plastic bags.

    Large comforter bags I use for large lots of similar colors (I have one with 2 large pockets that I filled with large and small, resp, skeins of blue yarns).

    Previously I had a spare closet where I kept crafty things; my new but smaller accommodations offer a bigger challenge but that’s where my covered baskets will come in.

  7. Nancy says:

    This is an excellent method – I use something similar for cross stitch and sewing – but with sewing it’s a small scrap of fabic. Great tip for anyone who hasn’t tried it.

  8. Nancy says:

    Sorry I replied the first time before I read everyone’s response. Wow – you computer wizards have a wonderful plan – crafter and techs both – I’m impressed. I have also used comforter bags for years – I use any-sized bag of this type I can find. I also sort my thread/yarns types – one per bag. I use the smaller ones to hold completed projects like dish cloths so when I need a quick gift, I know where to go.

  9. Veronica Smith says:

    WOW – so many wonderful methods for sorting yarns – it is great to hear about them.

  10. Jules says:

    Try I can’t imagine keeping track of my yarn any other way!

  11. knitmadmum says:

    I use those vacuum sealed type of bags, (space bags?) the only trouble is when you suck all the air out of each bag of colour/thickness, and store them in underbed boxes, you find you have loads of space to buy more yarn! What yarnaholic has self control??? 😉

  12. sherry says:

    This is a great idea. However it will be a great task for me as I have four hugh boxes of miscellaneous yarn. I am a definite yarnaholic and will pick up yarn with intentions of making something or just because I like the colors.

  13. crafty grandma says:

    I must say you all have wonderful ideas…I am in the process of creating my new ‘craft’ room after moving into a new house 2 years ago. When mom passed away, I ended up with her stash of needles, crochet hooks and yes her yarn. I have 5 bins full of yarn, I got as far as sorting them by color since most of them no longer have the label I consider them to be ‘mystery’ yarn. Your ideas are great but will have to do the sorting when my husband is golfing! (or I will definitely suffer the consequences) I hadn’t touched knitting or crocheting since I was 6 so getting back into it was a real challenge. I do know some of her books date back to the ’50’s ’60’s and ’70’s, some I had to get rid of because they had a mildew odor to them! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas!

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