How to Sort Yarn – Method 1

By Veronica Smith – 18 Comments

Yarn, thread, fibre, I don’t care what you call it but it breeds. Yes, breeds, unlike the money in your savings account. If your yarn hasn’t started breeding it soon will. If per chance it does not start multiplying then I have to conclude that the yarn is owned by somebody with this elusive thing called “self control”.

Now this is advice for people who have breeding yarn and those who can see signs that it is beginning, even on a small scale. The people who purchase yarn with only a vague idea of what they are going to do with it, for the “future project”. How do you know what you have? I am fortunate enough to have a craft room so you would think that everything would be in there – wrong. For some reason it is also in my bedroom and in the room where the TV is and in a camphor chest in yet another room in the house. Would it fit in the craft room, probably, if I get in there and organize it, but that’s another story.

Why, you ask, is it everywhere then? Well I do think I have a feeble excuse and you might relate. First the easy one, stuff in the camphor chest. That is there because I had all good intentions of crocheting all sorts of things for Christmas. I was all organized and I put everything I needed in the chest so it was easy for me to grab. Needless to say it is still there. Between a billion assignments I had to do and a decent case of ‘tennis elbow’ that I had been ignoring since September, no crocheting was done. Oh well – there will be another Christmas so it can stay there, but not according to the MOTH (man of the house).

The stuff in the TV room, that’s also simple, several projects I was working on. Yes several, I have a short attention span it seems, also the yarn and patterns for things I want to make next even though I have 4 half finished ones at my feet. Remember the ‘tennis elbow’? Well I have only just started crocheting small things in the last few weeks, after having to give it up mid October. Needless to say it is still in the TV room, however I am hoping in the next few weeks to get most of it into the yet unorganized craft room.

Our bedroom – well, that was the beginning of my organizing phase. Believe me, it is a really good system if it is employed by somebody other than me, somebody with the ability to complete a task. This is the theory, and in actual fact it worked however I never managed to complete the final step and put them back into the chaos room.

  1. Pull out your patterns and go through what you actually want to do, don’t worry if you have enough yarn or what yarn you want for it at this stage.
  2. Photocopy or print off the picture and take note where you got it from, web address, name of book or where you saved it on the computer. Write that information on the picture.
  3. Pull out your stash. (I did this in the bedroom, all over the bed and floor)
  4. Organize it into separate piles.
  5. Grab the patterns and put a pattern with the pile suitable for the project. Doesn’t matter if the project takes 5 balls and you have 7. Just put it together.
  6. Put each lot of yarn into a bag and tape the picture securely to the bag. If you like you can even write a note on it. (size medium for aunt Claire).
  7. The funny odd balls you have left over you can deal with later. It will depend on how much you have left. Look out for “How to sort your yarns – method 2”.
  8. Put them away somewhere – this is where I fell apart, they are still in our bedroom.

I did this about 18 months ago and up until the whole ‘tennis elbow’ thing it was excellent, other than the fact they are in the bedroom. Pick up a bag and off I went. You just need to complete the initial process and not leave them lying around.

If you like you could get really organized and write a list so you know what you have for future reference. Blue jumper for mum, red scarf for dad, afghan for cousins wedding…. you get the picture.

Good luck!

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  1. AJ says:

    “ is a really good system if it is employed by somebody other than me…” LOL… That’s me to a T, too. Thanks for the really loud burst of laughter today.

  2. Angie says:

    That sounds like a really good system….again it falls into the somebody other than me category…maybe I’ll try it. At the moment I have a corner in the living room w/ a plastic drawer system stuffed w/ all sorts of different yarn that “I just had to have” and a box o’ projects to organize. I am also currently working on a blanket for my grandfather (who turns 90 this month), a MASSIVE baby blanket made from that pom-pom yarn, a multi-colored baby blanket and eight other things I promised other people I’d do for them. 🙂 So much yarn, so little time! 🙂

  3. Lane † says:

    Haha, Veronica, I’m so glad there are other people out there that are like me! I have a dresser full of yarn and unfinished projects. I just stuff everything in there at the end of the day so I can feel “somewhat organized.” My parents and siblings get on to me about leaving my crafts around the house. Hey, at least I’ve learned NOT to leave my crochet hooks or knitting needles on the couch when I leave for a second. I must have a crochet/knit magnet to me because I always sit on them and it’s not comfortable.

    I got a tip from someone about organizing with bags. So I have a separate bag for each project. So if I’m ever on the run I can just grab a bag and get in the car and crochet or knit whenever I have some down time. But if you have that short attention span like me you have a lot more projects than bags. Let’s just say my closet is filled with bags of unfinished projects. Maybe one of these days I’ll get it all sorted out and finish my crafts that are just yelling at me to be finished.

    Thanks for the laugh, Veronica! It made my day. 🙂

  4. Angie says:

    Hey Lane I have the same problem…I have so many bags, hanging on doors and sitting in my closet. It’s ridiculous but, so much fun! 🙂

  5. Louise says:

    “this is where I fell apart”.

    OMG. Died laughing. That is just too true. Love it.

  6. barb in tennessee says:

    I start out very motivated, with good intentions.
    Even get excited about organizing my stash.
    But, somewhere along the way…..”things fall apart” and I find myselve in yarn
    up to my elbows !!
    Or I find a pattern that just begs to be crocheted !!
    So the whole organizational-thing falls apart !!
    guess we are all alike ! ha

  7. Doris Green says:

    We must be related, since I have enough yarn & thread STASH to supply a store, and many projects partially finished. Large plastic tubs fill spaces in my bedroom along with dozens of clear plastic storage shelves and boxes. An eight drawer chest holds every kind of knitting & crochet, tatting needles, embroidery supplies, macrame cord, crochet thread & yarn, a four drawer chest holds crochet thread with unfinished projects in the bottom drawer. My patterns and books fill a four drawer file cabinet, a two drawer file and a double door cabinet in my office. I have tww huge three-ring binders with patterns I have pulled out for special ‘consideration’. I watch TLC shows on ‘Hoarders” and realize I may be too far ‘gone’ to be helped!
    My granddaughter visited and volunteered to ‘Organize’ my yarns—Big Mistake! She sorted them by color instead of by weight and type—I haven’t recovered from that. Bless her heart-she thought she was helping Gma. Ha Ha.

  8. Dottie says:

    That’s What I do, Whenever I Get a Project In Mind I Put The Pattern With The Yarn.

  9. happy grandma says:

    Perhaps they should give people like us a name….my mom was the ‘queen’ of buying yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, tatting tools and some I don’t know what they are. Unfortunately when she passed away, I inherited the stash of yarn and a few unfinished afghans, a few beautiful unfinished sweaters, one and 1/2 leggings, a scarf (which I found enough of the wool to finish) 5 unmatched mittens, hats and last but not least granny squares. To top all that off, she had a store maybe 30 years ago and when she closed the store kept all the fabric and thread, accessories. I was therefore forced to learn to knit, crochet and sew!! Thanks for the ideas of putting them in bags – I got as far as sorting them by color. Since most of the yarn have no labels it is hard to figure out the weight but I am learning. I guess my next step would be to sort by the weight as much as possible….all this and a big big part was donated to a second hand store! Now I am having a hard time keeping my stash in order!!!! Thanks for the big laugh of the day!! LOL! I definitely inherited more than the yarn from my mom!

  10. Cami says:

    Great article. I use stash organization on Raverly. It’s been working so far.

  11. Bambie says:

    Ahhh, I tried something like this, but I see where I failed : I didn’t bother to put the pattern with it. Now I have six bags of yarn and hooks, and no clue.

    I love the yarn pictured! What is it??

  12. Veronica Smith says:

    The name of the yarn is “Veronica” and it is sold in an Australian chain store called “Lincraft”. It is their own brand. I do not know if this store is also overseas. It is extremely nice to use and washes easily and well.

  13. […] 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. […]

  14. susan b says:

    LOL, I am SO glad I’m not the only disorginized crazy yarn addict!

    I will say that I took an old three-ring binder, used the clear page protectors and put all my patterns in one place. If they are patterns I used over and over again I made photocopies (multiple ones) and that way I can pull out a copy and carry it with me. I’ve been known to give away those copies if I meet up with someone at say a doctor appointment or the lunch room or wherever I may be crocheting.

    I have all my hooks in a old flower vase so I know where they are. And YES, I have multiple hooks in all sizes – one can never have too many hooks.

    As I stated in method 2 notes, I keep all the yarn for each project together. I try to keep a pattern with it if I have already started the project but most of the time I just write on the outside of the bag how may yards or skeins are in the bag and what they can be for (baby boy or baby girl or whatever).

  15. Jan says:

    I did start doing this – organizing – but it has gotten away from me since I have now started cardmaking. I have to put my yarn in clear plastic containers because of the cat (and sometimes mice). I have the patterns that I use a lot in a 3 ring binder. I have them separated by knitting/crochet/embroidery in that book. Then I have another book with card ideas and then I have a 3 drawer lateral file cabinet with miscellaneous items (like my cuttlebug & sizzix dies).
    My stamps are in a armoire. My resolution for this year was to finish most (I didn’t say all) of the projects mainly afghans, that I had started and are in all different stages of development. I have finished 3 with the 4th almost there with about 10 more rows to go. It feels good to know that I am not the only one out there. I actually thought there was something wrong with me.

  16. […] final step of organization (see my inability to do this final step in “How to sort your yarns – method 1 and method […]

  17. Sara says:

    One way I have found to organize my yarns is the plastic zippered things that sheets and bedding come in. I save these for projects and all kinds or organization. I keep my medications in one so that when I go to the doctor all I have to do is grab it. I keep a list of meds and supplements in it as well as info on all my doctors and a brief medical history. those zippered bags are so handy for every thing!!!

  18. april says:

    I love your helpful hints! I have some clear plastic bags that zipper. They held some new bedding i bought and I hated to throw them away! Now I have a use for them….my yarns! Thanks for the inspiration and I’m so blessed I found your website. I just started to crochet to help me overcome an addiction I’m struggling with and this is so helpful! Thanks again!

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