Wednesday 30 March 2011

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week 2011 - Day Three: Tidy mind, tidy stitches.

I haven't been knitting all that long in the grand scheme of things, since 2008.  I was very fortunate to find Ravelry after only knitting a few months.  I jumped in feet first and started photographing all of my yarn and recording it under the Stash button. This was a very useful habit to get into.  I have ALL of my yarn on Ravelry.

At first my yarn all fit inside one tote bag.  It sat inside a cupboard in my lounge and I knew where it all was.  Then as I started to collect more yarn, I bought a couple of fabric boxes.  I still knew where all my yarn was, as it was either in my cupboard or in the fabric boxes in my bedroom.

Then, as I got more and more stash, I bought a couple of huge zip up bags that fit under the spare bed.  I basically had no idea where any of my yarn was, despite always knowing what yarn I have because of the Stash tab of Ravelry.  Look how much I have now.

187 Stashed - 69 Used - 3 Traded/Sold/Gifted
So I now have quite a lot of yarn.  It is quite hard to find the yarn I want and with this Knit and Crochet Blog Week coming up it made me think long and hard about how my mind/stash was pretty untidy.  My current system means though I have a way of seeing what yarn I have, I don't really know where it is and it is starting to get mussed up from when I go rummaging.  I'm also a bit lazy about looking at the actual yarn and getting inspired b,y it in the same way I was inspired when I bought it.  I really have some amazing yarn and I have forgotten about most of it, because photographs don't tell the entire story.

So with this blog entry in mind I decided to have a Great Stash Sort Through (henceforth known as GSST).  I decided to think long and hard about the storage solution and thought about all the systems I'd seen and liked.  I would love to have a shelving system with drawers with clear plastic on the front, but I don't have the space for that.  But I liked the idea of clear plastic.  I knew after hearing tales of moth damage that I wanted my yarn to be sealed away.  I also knew that I wanted the yarn to be prevented from coming undone and having skeins getting lost.  I also wanted to make it easy to locate the yarn when I want to use it.  I'm often put off a quick and easy project that I have the yarn for, because I can't find the yarn in question.  I don't want that happen again.

So I went onto eBay and bought some stackable and clear plastic boxes with snap in place lids.  I bought them the right size to fit under my spare bed, which is pretty low.  I also bought a huge pack of clear ziploc bags.  Then I went into my spare room where the worst of the yarn storage was located.  Both storage bags from under the spare bed had ripped when I last when looking for yarn.  I wanted to really sort this mess out, before tackling the fabric boxes in my bedroom.

When the postie delivered my parcel I got my things together.

The purple bucket is for holding half balls of yarn or yarn I am never going to use.  I will decide what to do with that yarn when I have sorted everything out.

By the way, look at how much bubble wrap was used on these boxes.  I won't have to buy any for AGES!

The plastic bags are great for squashing out the air from the yarn.  It means the yarn takes up less volume.  The plastic bags also mean there are no solo balls of yarn rolling around getting lost.  It protects the yarn from getting knotted up, unwound or snagged, not to mention protection from dust and the dreaded moth damage.

This is one of the storage bags.  I don't have an awful lot of room to maneuver in the spare room.  It is a box room which has a double bed in it!   You can't even get the door open all the way, but we don't live near either of our families.  We need a spare room, but it doesn't get used enough to give up the larger second bedroom to hold a bed.  This huge bag was not easy to use, but it was a cheap option that lasted nearly a whole year.

Look how neat it all looks in the boxes!  I really enjoyed bagging up the yarn and squeezing out all the air.  Yarn looks very different when it is in a vacuum!  (This exercise is very good for your inner thighs as you squeeze all the air out of the bag, and hold it closed while you try desperately to fasten the ziploc.)

The lids snap shut at the ends, which mean you can squeeze a little more yarn in and not lose the lid.  I am so pleased that you can see the yarn through the lid and sides.  I managed to get all of the yarn from under the spare bed bagged up but I couldn't get it all in the four plastic boxes I ordered.  I have stacked them up until I can get some more boxes.

I have ordered 4 more boxes and I will store the rest of my yarn, that's currently in my bedroom, in the same way.  When I have everything boxed up I will take each box and mark on Ravelry what box each yarn is stored in.  I will then label the box and put it back under the bed!  That way, next time I want a yarn I own, I will be able to find it quickly and know it will be in a good state and all the skeins are in one place.  The boxes are also a great deal easier to slide out from under the bed as the plastic slides on the carpet.  Making yarn searches physically more easy is a real point in the new system's favour.

I'm really proud of setting up this new system and know that I will probably use yarn I own more frequently now.  I have to say that sorting through this yarn I found some amazing stuff.  I had forgotten how lovely most of this yarn was.  It has made me more determined to shop my stash first before buying in the future.  I'm going to try and use my yarn stash much more often and get some of this lovely stuff out of a box and out in the open air where it can be used and admired.

I hope that this GSST will improve the way that I chose projects in future and I will avoid buying yarn I don't need.  If nothing else comes of this week of blog posts, the GSST is worth all of the effort on the other posts.  My mind is feeling tidier already, I wonder if it will improve my stitches at all?

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