Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Do you ever feel a need to Organize All The Things?

I am often prone to organization binges in the winter months. Being inside, actually living in your own space has a way of forcing you to notice that things are not as they should be. Craft supply storage, in particular, is a tricky topic. I have two basic desires for my supply storage: everything should have a place that a) makes sense (ie, not too big or too small, sorted in a meaningful way, etc) and b) is instantly and easily accessible when inspiration strikes or I 'need' something. Bonus points if this storage solution also looks good. Basically, I want everything at finger's reach and put away (stylishly) at the same time.

During the Christmas break I set out to tackle a few of my organizational challenges, starting (of course!) with the knitting.

Needle organization

A long time ago, in a town far far away, I knit everything on straight needles. That's how you *do* knitting, right? Not so much anymore - after graduating to 'obsessed knitter' about 3 years ago, I have gradually converted to solely using circular needles for everything. My DPN's and straights are just gathering dust at this point. Before that graduation, I made a very nice roll-up case for my straight & DPN needles. But, I soon found that trying to squeeze circulars into the same case didn't work at all. They had to be squeezed in, which bent the cables horribly out of shape, and there was no way to sensibly store interchangeable components. A better solution was in order.

So I did what any knitter would do in this situation, and turned to The Internet for inspiration. The Internet said that pocket page protectors, in the proper size, could house both circulars and interchangeables side by side in an organized little booklet. Perfect! This is what I came up with:

These are Avery 5"x8" page protectors, housed in a 1" mini binder. I found that the cardstock had to be cut slightly smaller than 5x8 to fit inside.

Each needle I currently own has a designated spot, which is fully labelled. I can add and remove needles at will and always keep things sorted by size.

Unfortunately, as I probably could have anticipated, needles (particularly the larger sizes) are thicker than paper. All of my needles can't fit in one binder, so I tied yarn through the loops of the leftovers to keep them together for now. Eventually I just need to purchase a second binder.

Bagging WIPs

As mentioned previously I have a lot of hibernating WIPs at the moment. I decided to stop fighting and accept that they are what they are, so I bagged, tagged, and tossed them all in a bin.

Now when I walk by the WIPs basket, I can be instantly chastised by the number of bags in there, and when my needles free up I can grab a bag and instantly know where to pick things up. Already this week I've pulled 2 items out of hibernation zone and moved them up to the 'currently-in-progress' basket in the living room. Progress is being made!

Stash to Ravelry

While I was on my organization kick I figured I might as well put my stash all in Ravelry. In general I try to have a pretty small stash, with projects picked out for each yarn, so I've never bothered with it before. Nowadays, though, I find myself with a lot of ends and one-offs that aren't allocated to anything. And, with hanks and balls of yarns in various stages of winding, things that *do* have a plan could still benefit from tracking.

I recently inherited my mom's old iPhone to use as an iPod Touch. (I'm still hanging on to my flip phone for actually calling people.) There are several Ravelry apps available for iDevices. The one I've found most useful so far is Yarma, which allows you to take photos with the iPhone camera, retouch them with a few Instagram-like effects, and upload to your stash or project pages. However, you can only upload photos to existing projects or stash entries. Thus, my process was not as streamlined as I'd have liked - I had to first go on my computer and make new stash entries for each yarn, and only once that was completed could I photograph them with Yarma and put them away. It was definitely faster than breaking out the real camera, though.

Here's my stash page (or at least most of it), as of this writing:

I actually have some updating to do, because of the last item I'm going to talk about...

Scrap hats

As I was uploading stash to Ravelry, inspiration struck - one of my favorite knitted creations is Andrew's winter hat, which was made with (at least) 5 different yarns, held tripled throughout.

Fast, easy, rugged, and visually interesting without a lot of work - perfect attributes for a good winter hat. To top things off, what better way to 'organize' my loose odds and ends than by using them up and turning them into useful, giftable accessories? I assembled yarn groupings and got to work:

I made 3, each in the course of about 1 day, before I finally tired of the exercise. The third one - with the blue/white/black stripes - has my very own first-homespun in it (!!!), so I'm keeping that one, but the other two I decided to gift to whoever was next in my home and in need of a hat.

Scrap hat 1 went to my niece:

and Scrap Hat 2 went to my brother-in-law:

Both of them have been wearing the hats non-stop, so I'd say they're being put to good use. And they got a pretty decent chunk of scraps OUT of my scrap bin. Win-win! Did you know that knitting could be considered cleaning? Dangerous idea, that.


It's my birthday today. My sister-in-law sent me this Amazing, Awesome video - check it out! I promise you'll be astounded. 

I updated my Blogger template. Is it better? I think it's headed in the right direction, but it's definitely not there yet. If anyone wants to design me a sweet logo I can provide knitwear, spinning supplies, sewing materials, etc for you to photograph in stunning, artistic ways...

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