Spring Cleaning for Your Knitting (and a contest, too!)

Organized and ready to go!

The other day, I cleaned out the cupboard under my kitchen sink, which inspired me to clean out a couple more cabinets, and throw away the expired food in my pantry. Pardon me while I take a bow.

I still have the organizational bug, though, so I thought I'd turn to my knitting bag and notions. This is especially timely because I'm going on vacation at the end of the month, to New York City! So I need to have my projects and knitting back in order.

I spent a couple of hours organizing my projects, and I ended up with two projects that floated to the top in "perfect-airplane-knitting" land. I put each of those projects, with all of their accoutrements, in their own zip-up project bag and put them in my fab Kate Walker knitting tote.

I carry my tote with me everywhere, and now I can pull one of those projects out whenever I have a moment of downtime.This tote just happens to be a great carry-on, too. I just drop in my wallet, phone, and plane ticket, and I'm off.

I also organized and restocked my notions bag, which was a sad state of affairs.

Here's what was in there:

  • various ends of yarn all tangled together
  • nail clippers that I've been using as scissors
  • a pen that's missing its lid
  • three ball bands
  • two double-pointed needles, different sizes, natch (maybe I used them to bind off?)
    Yarn cutter
    Sticky thing (your local knit shop might have these, or check at an office supply store)

    a Q-Tip (I have no idea why!)

  • a broken tape measure
  • 23 (!) loose stitch markers

Here's what's in my notions bag now:

  • various types of stitch markers, all in one little plastic envelope
  • yarn cutter (I love this tool, and it's airplane-safe)
  • a working tape measure
  • two crochet hooks (a size D for fixing mistakes on small gauge projects and a size G for bigger gauge projects)
  • a pen with a lid
  • a pad of sticky notes
  • a row counter
  • little sticky things that hold paper (I stick them onto the tray table, in its upright position, and put my pattern in it—magic!)

It's amazing how a little organization can make your life easier. If I could only apply this principle to my desk . . .

The Contest!

We want to start you out in a good spring cleaning mood, so we've put together a contest to get you thinking creatively about organizing your knitting. To enter, simply leave us a comment below with your best tip on storing or organizing your yarn stash, notions, patterns, etc., and you're entered.

Our prize is the new DVD from Lily Chin, Join as You Go Knitting and a copy of knit.wear magazine. I just watched Join as You Go Knitting, and it's a wonderful technique. Lily is a great teacher, who makes the process of learning a lot of fun. Oh, the prize-winner will be picked on Monday.

UPDATE: Thank you all for taking the time to enter, there were so many great tips to choose from. The winner for most helpful tip is Knitting Daily member mckenzif with these tips:

Most of my yarn that's not still in storage was transported to our new 'mini-abode' in laundry bags. A long-overdue inventory was done. I used 3×5 cards (got nice ones with a metal ring through upper left hand corner, but that's not crucial). For each brand/flavor of yarn, I wrote down the company name, yarn specs (wgt, yardage, content, color number, lot number, etc.) on the card. Then I snipped off a piece of that yarn, punched a hole in the edge of the card with a hole punch and looped the yarn through the hole. (Fold the yarn in half, stick the half way loop into the hole and pull up the end through, as you would with fringe.)

You can put more than one color per card, just note "A" "B" etc for each color. Also note the yardage you have available or # of balls IN PENCIL. That way, as you use the yarn later, it is easy to adjust.

I put the yarn wgt in the upper right hand corner: e.g. [1] for fingering, [2] for sport etc. So it's easy to check your stash without going through mounds and mounds of balls of yarn trying to see if you have the color or amount needed for a project.

If you have many different types of yarn to inventory, you can group those cards with little metal rings available in any office supply store. For example, I grouped all the nylon cording together, linen content together, mohair together.

The nature of using cards makes it easy to sort and carry with you if you need to find other yarn to go with your planned project. Also, you can write the yarn info in pen and the actual inventory in PENCIL so it's easy to change as you add and subtract from your stash.

I keep pics of yarn colors on the computer, but an actual piece of yarn works best as you can both see how colors would go together and can feel the texture.


CONTEST RULES: To enter the contest, leave a comment below and share your knitting stash tip. The Contest begins 12:00 am Eastern Time ("ET") on April 4, 2014 and ends April 7, 2014, 10:59 a.m. ET. Due to the variety of rules regulating contests worldwide, we can only select winners from entrants that are U.S. residents (excluding Puerto Rico), 18 years old or older at the time of entry; and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec). The afternoon of April 7, 2014, our panel of judges will pick one winner for best tip from the entered comments. Check back on April 7 to see if you've won, approximate prize value is $64. View the full rules here.

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