Thursday, 4 April 2013

Haul That Barge, Tote That Bale, Organize That Yarn

Lorna from Knits for Life explains her inventive concept for organizing her yarn stash here. As you can see from the picture above, she's installed pegboard in a niche in her apartment, wound all her yarn into skeins, and arranged the skeins on them by colour, to an effect that is not unlike some yarn fetishist's version of the game board from Risk, with the primary object being world yarn domination. She has her needles and other knitting supplies handily stowed away in baskets below. She can even sit on the couch beside it and knit without taking her skeins off the wall. As a storage idea, it's innovative, it's visually effective, and it's readily accessible. But it wouldn't work for me.

For one thing I am a tidy-it-up-and-put-it-all-away-out-of-sight kind of organizer. I can admire something like this in someone else's home, but in my own home it would agitate me no end to look at all those supplies waiting to be used up. And then too I can think of practical objections. One generally knits with yarn that is all the same weight and/or fibre content. It would drive me crazy to search all over a wall of yarn for the fingering weights yarns, or the pure wools. I would want to see all the yarns in a particular weight or fibre together to figure out what I could make from them, and if I had to pick through all that yarn to gather them together, I would be sure to miss some. You could organize your yarns on the wall by weight and fibre content, of course, but then visually it wouldn't be nearly as appealing. I also like to save the ball bands in order to be sure of fibre content and stitch gauge when it comes time to knit with the yarn. And then there's the matter of the dust and other flotsam and jetsam that always settles over any kind of open storage unit over time.

Would you like to see how I organize my yarn? You're looking at it. I came across this chest on a curb in my neighbourhood some years ago. I pounced on it at once, lugged it the two blocks home to my house, hauled it up the two flights of stairs to my workroom, reupholstered it, and painted the legs (not all in the same day, of course). It now sits in front of the dormer window in my attic workroom, doing double duty as a storage bin and a window seat. It contains four large plastic boxes of yarn. Three of the boxes hold mixed wools and acrylics sorted by weight: one of fingering/lace weight, one of sport/DK, and one of worsted/bulky. The fourth box contains my cotton yarn of all weights. Then on top of those boxes sit the yarns I intend to use up this year, all sorted by project into plastic bags. I have two projects currently in my workbasket elsewhere in the house, and when they get finished I'll just grab one of those plastic bags and get started on the next project. My goal for the end of the year is to not have so much yarn sitting around — to have no more than will fit in those four boxes and my workbasket. So, like Lorna's, my organizational method is accessible, out of the way and visually appealing, but in a totally different way from hers. My organizational method may not have that "this is a studio where great design happens minutely" visual vibe that Lorna's does, but it does have a certain serenity and elegance to it that I value much more.

Organizational technique is highly individual and there really isn't a best overall method. It's like designing a diet or exercise plan for yourself: the supposed world's best diet or exercise régime is useless if you personally can't stick to it. Whatever organization method you use has to suit your space, your budget, the amount and type of stuff you've got to organize, to accommodate others who share your space, and also must take into account the way you work and relate to the objects you use. Some people need to see their supplies so they'll know what they have, while others prefer to keep their working area cleared away.

You're welcome to share your own tailor-made method of organizing yarn in the comments if you wish. My guess is that your method of organizing yarn is nothing like either mine or Lorna's.

But I think we can all agree to mock Vanna White's supposed method of organizing yarn, as demonstrated in the video above. Her antique pedestal bowl is really just some sort of especially rarefied workbasket that even she probably doesn't use a lot of the time. Can you really imagine her lugging that thing all over her house when she wants to crochet in different spots, as one does? It's telling that she doesn't have a real project in it, only an assortment of her name brand yarns, and it's a sure bet she's got a closet or some kind of storage unit somewhere in her house that's stuffed with yarn and that doesn't look anything you'd feature in a magazine spread.

1 comment:

  1. That is actually a standing slad bowl. My aaunt had one. Pain to clean!