Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolution: Yarn Storage

It's just a start, and we'll get into it more deeply later.  For starters, how do you store your yarn right now?  Is it in bags and boxes and bins and closet shelves and basement corners and attic shelves?  It's time to update your plan.

This project will take a little planning, and some time.  Before you begin, figure out what kind of storage you're going to need to make an organized stash.  Make a solid estimate of how much yarn you really have.  Maybe a few plastic storage bins are all you need.  Maybe a few large plastic zipper-close bags.  Definitely labels OR index cards or both.

Next, you'll need to figure out where they yarn will be stored.  You can put it anywhere except the attic as long as it's properly packaged.  It needs to be safe from heat, humidity, and dust.  Under the stairs, a guest room closet, a heated garage, the basement, empty bookshelves, a wine rack... The places are endless.  The packaging is the key.

Many folks like to store their stash in open bins and shelves in their homes in a den, craft room or guest room.  That's very pretty, and effective in some cases.  However, if you leave your windows open at any time during the year, or prop your doors open, you risk moths and other pests settling in to your stash.  YUCK!  Pulling out a skein and discovering it's been moth eaten is annoying and expensive.  Yarn also absorbs cooking smells, cigarette smoke, pet dander and scents, and of course, cats love to play with any exposed yarn they can get their paws into.

The system of using shoe pouches is a better one, in that it protects the yarn on three sides, and it's easy to tell what colors and yarns are in your stash.  The yarn labels appear to be missing, which I would advise against.  Still, the yarn is open to bugs and contaminants.  Zipper bags in the pouches would be better.

The system I would recommend is putting your yarns in a sealed plastic container.  I love the clear plastic bins, and zipper bags.  I use them together.  If you want to use the shoe pouch system, put each skein in a zipper-close bag.  Ditto if you want to use an open bin system  No matter what system you use, keep a ball band with the yarn whenever you can. 

In the bin system at right, the ball bands are with the skeins.  The bins are completely sealed, so basements and garages are now an option, because humidity, pests and contaminants are kept at bay.  The bins are medium-sized, which makes organization and stash-diving very easy.  I would add labels to the ends and top of each bin, but otherwise, this looks like a major step in the right direction. 

Assess your stash, and start planning.  In the next article, we'll detail the packing process.  It will make your stash a delight.  I promise!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Bit of a Break

It's been another strange season, my friends.  My move has been delayed several times, but finally looks like it will happen this weekend.  My mother in law has been very ill, and has required a lot of attention.  And my Asperger's Syndrome daughter has learned to drive, received her license, and completed her first semester of college.  Managing her workload, her life goals and her schoolwork have lead to the violent meltdowns that only Aspies really understand, including visits from the police, and long suspicious looks from the neighbors.

Amid all of this, I haven't been blogging much.  (Perhaps you've noticed? Ooops!)  So a quick update:  I've been teaching less but I'm still out there.  I've been designing sweaters lately, instead of my beloved accessories.  Two of these patterns are for Mountain Colors Yarns.  The magical Colleen will once again be the intrepid sample knitter who turns my swatches and sketches into a garment. 

Upcoming blog posts include:  Sample Knitting; What Size to Make?; and Designing a Sweater.  Stay with me.  I'll be back soon!