Author Archive

31 Days to Get Organized: Digital Patterns

Saturday, January 19th, 2013
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In the last few years there has been an enormous increase in the number of patterns, magazines and books available in digital format. There are a lot of advantages of digital patterns over paper patterns.

  • They take up less physical storage space.
  • Some digital versions are cheaper than the paper version.
  • Some patterns are only available digitally.
  • You can download them instantly. No waiting.
  • If a pattern has errata (errors or updates), it’s much easier for the designer to update the pattern.
  • If you own an iPad, eReader, or tablet, you can carry your digital library wherever you go.
  • If you prefer to work from a hard copy, you can print out a copy of a digital pattern as many times as you need to, taking notes on the copy as you work through the pattern.
  • You may find that a digital pattern will have additional content such as extra notes from the designer and quick links to relevant websites, tutorials, and instruction videos.

With the increase in availability of digital knitting and crochet patterns (WEBS carries over 16,000 downloadable knitting and crochet patterns and eBooks!) and the ease of purchasing and downloading them, you may have discovered you suddenly have a lot of files floating around your computer.

First thing I would suggest if you haven’t done so already, is to have all of your files live in one place on your hard drive. You might have some in folders, but there might be others sitting on your desktop or downloads folder. Once you’ve moved them into one parent folder such as Knitting, Crochet, or Crafts, start creating subfolders if you have more than a few pattern files. Create similar sub-categories that you use for organizing your single patterns. I mostly like to organize my digital patterns by designer, but it might make more sense for you to sort by type of project. It depends on what’s in your digital pattern library.

In addition to patterns, I store other files related to knitting and crochet here such as tips, files I need for my blog, and customized graph paper.

If you have an iPad, eReader, or tablet, there are apps available (Adobe PDF Reader, Goodreader, iBook) that let you view your pattern PDFs on your device. There are even some apps (Remarks) that allow you to annotate PDFs, perfect for making notes or tick marks as you work through a pattern.

If you don’t want to store your PDF files on your device and want access to all of your pattern files on any of your devices, consider using a cloud-based solution such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Many of you also purchase digital patterns and eBooks through Ravelry. This is a good option since you don’t need to download purchased patterns until you’re ready to use them. Ravelry does a nice job of incorporating these patterns into your Ravalery pattern library.

Share some of your favorite tips and solutions for managing your digital knitting and crochet patterns. 

- Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: Organizing Your Single Knitting and Crochet Patterns

Thursday, January 17th, 2013
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Yesterday’s task of going through all of your knitting and crochet books, pattern books and magazines was a big one. Some of you were overwhelmed by it or didn’t have the time to work on it. No worries. We’ll continue working on our our patterns through the weekend. And remember, don’t feel like you have to keep up with each task every day. Do the tasks you feel like you need to work on. And come up with your own schedule. I suggested to someone yesterday that instead of 31 Days to Get Organized, make it 31 Weeks to Get Organized, one task each week. This blog series will be waiting for you when you’re ready.

Now moving onto today’s task of organizing our single patterns. First step is to go through all of them and figure out what to keep and what to get rid of. Some things to consider while you’re sorting through your patterns:

  • Is this a duplicate copy of a pattern? Do I have this in a book or magazine?
  • Do I have an electronic version of this pattern that can take the place of the hard copy?
  • Do you not like the pattern anymore?
  • Did you start the pattern, got stuck, too hard to follow, or lost interest?
  • Have you already made the pattern and won’t make it again?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the pattern might belong in the get rid of pile.

Next step is to figure out how you want to sort your patterns.

  • By date, newest in front or newest in back
  • By designer or company
  • By craft – knitting and crochet
  • By completion – finished but will make again in one section, haven’t started yet in another section
  • By type of garment – sweaters, blankets, hats, etc.

Once you have an idea how you want to sort your patterns, you’ll have a better idea how you want to store them. I used to store mine in 3-ring binders. Now I’ve switched to hanging files. Here are some examples of ways people organize their patterns.

  • Hanging Files – easy to put away patterns, but files can get messed up more easily
  • 3-Ring Binders (with patterns in plastic sleeves so you don’t have to punch holes in your patterns) – keeps your patterns well sorted, but takes more time to pull out a pattern and put it back
  • Magazine Files – basically a vertical pile, but if you don’t have many patterns, very easy to set up
  • Expanding Files – a lot like hanging files but more portable, but also more difficult to change your categories
  • 2 Pocket Folders – could work well stored in magazine files
  • Digital copies – scan your patterns to create digital copies (more on organizing digital patterns this weekend), then store your hard copies in a box out of the way

When deciding on a method to sort and store your single patterns, consider the size of your collection, if space is an issue, how easy you want retrieval to be, and the ease of keeping your system up to date and organized.

What’s your favorite way to organize your knitting and crochet patterns?

31 Days to Get Organized: Organizing Your Craft Books, Magazines, & Pattern Books

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
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Wow! We’re just about halfway done with organizing our knitting and crocheting lives. I’ve been impressed with all of the work you’ve been doing so far this month. Great job everyone!

Next up we’re tackling our knitting and crochet patterns. Today we’re going to sort through our books, pattern books, and magazines – all those patterns we might keep on a bookshelf. We’ll cover organizing single patterns tomorrow and digital patterns and eBooks on Saturday.

Gather Your Stash

If your bookcases are overflowing with knitting books, craft magazines, and crochet patterns, today’s task is perfect for you. Start by pulling all of your craft books, pattern books, and magazines off of your shelves. You might have these spread all over the house. Some of them may be hiding in a stack on a table or desk. Collect them all into one place.

Pre-Sort Your Stash

If you have a sizable collection, do some pre-sorting as you’re pulling everything together. Don’t spend too much time with this step. Don’t start flipping through the pages yet. This will slow you down. Just start stacking in broad categories like pattern booklets, magazines, knitting books, crochet books. This will speed up your finer sorting stage later. Also if you need to break up today’s task over a few days, it’ll be easier to sit down one day and just tackled magazines for example.

De-Stash

Now it’s time to make some decisions. What are you going to keep and what are you going to get rid of? This is going to feel a little like when you were de-stashing your yarn – keep, give away, toss. Keep anything you think you will use someday. I have a rule for myself I try to follow. If a book, magazine, or pattern book doesn’t have at least 3 patterns that I will make someday, I get rid of it.

Your tastes change over time too. Maybe you bought some sock books at one point, but realize after knitting some that you actually hate making socks. No reason to keep them. Getting rid of duplicates is a no-brainer too. When you’re done going through your stacks, consider getting rid of your give-away pile the same way you got rid of some of your yarn. Books and patterns are great additions to a yarn swap.

Fine Tune Your Sort

Go through your keepers and start sorting them like you would want to store them. Group your magazines by publisher and sort them by date. Magazines are floppy, so I like to store them in magazine files since they don’t take up much space on a shelf. A magazine binder also works great. I find pattern books kind of floppy too and tend to get lost on a shelf, especially the kind with stapled spines. So I like to keep these in magazine files too.

For books, I sort them by craft, and then sort them further by how to, stitch dictionaries, and pattern collections. Most books fall into one of these three categories. Others may prefer to sort by author name or book title. When I’m looking for a book, usually I’m looking for a type of book such as baby garments. Pick the sorting method that works for you.

Flag Your Favorites

Now comes the time consuming part. If you have trouble finding the patterns in your collection that you’re looking for, you might want to add this extra step. As you’re doing your fine sort, flip through the pages and mark your favorite patterns with a sticky note or tape flag. Sticky notes can be particularly nice since you can jot down the name or type of pattern on the edge of the note and have that portion stick out from the edge of the book. On Sunday, we’ll be covering more tips on how to track your pattern collection so you can find what you want.

Hope you have fun with this task. When I go through my pattern books and magazines, I always rediscover something I forgot about and get inspired all over again.

What is your favorite tip that helps you find the pattern you want from your pattern books and magazines?

- Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: How to Organize Your Yarn Stash

Monday, January 14th, 2013
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I know a lot of you have been waiting for tips on how to organize your yarn stash. You’ve been looking for ideas on how to sort your yarn, but also how to store it. Last week we did a lot of work going through our yarn stashes and whipping them back into shape. Now comes the fun part of sorting our stash and putting it all away.

As my yarn stash has grown and changed over the years, so has the system for storing my yarn. Now I like to keep some of my yarn out in the open. I might not use it for awhile, but I can still enjoy it until I do. Yarn is beautiful, with all of its textures and colors. I don’t have pets or small children anymore, so I can have a bowl of yarn on a shelf and not worry about it becoming a cat plaything. Even though some of my yarn is not on display, it is stored in a way that is still accessible for me. This system works for me, but it may not work for you. The key is to find a solution for your yarn stash.

Let’s look at a some ways that people sort their yarn and different ideas on how to store yarn.

How to Sort Yarn

People who know me know I love sorting. It brings me pleasure. How I sort my yarn as changed a lot as my yarn stash has changed. 75% of my yarn stash is stored in the hutch above my desk now. I sort my yarn partially by type of project, fiber content, and weight. But I also have a couple of special categories such as fancy yarn, keepsake yarn, and teaching yarn.

If you have your yarn spread out in front of you, you’ll start to see some natural categories that make sense to you. Here are some categories to help you start sorting.

  • Color – Are you the type of person who walks into a yarn store organized by color and feel a sense of calm? When you are searching for a yarn to use, is color the most important attribute?
  • Weight – If you know the pattern that you want to make before you decide on the yarn, sort your yarn by weight. It’ll be easier to find what you need when there’s a new project you want to knit or crochet.
  • Fiber – Do you only knit with certain types of fibers depending on the season, alpaca in the winter, cotton in the summer. Try sorting yarn by fiber content.
  • Project – Some people buy yarn for a particular project. Sort these yarns by project type. Consider even storing the pattern with the yarn.
  • Care – If you like to knit or crochet things for babies and children and machine washability is important to you, keep the easy care yarns separate from the hand wash yarns.
  • Keepsake Yarn – Some yarn you may never intend to use. It’s more of a keepsake. Don’t hide these yarns in a box. Display them in a bowl so you can enjoy them daily.
  • Yarn Scraps – Don’t throw away your yarn scraps. Keep them in an accessible location to be used for waste yarn, practicing new techniques, even stuffing your latest amigurumi.

Containers for Yarn Storage

There are so many ways you can store your yarn stash. Just Google “yarn storage” and check out all of the image results for some inspiration. Also searching for yarn storage on Pinterest will bring up even more ideas of how to organize your yarn. Here are some examples of how others store their yarn.

  • Plastic boxes and totes with lids – These can be inexpensive, stackable, and available in many sizes.
  • Plastic bags – Shopping bags can help sort yarn in large totes. Clear zippered bags that bedding comes in works great for yarn storage. Oversized ziploc bags are similarly good. Small ziploc bags are great for partially used skeins to keep the yarn and ball band together. They’re also nice for storing slippery yarns like ribbon yarn or bamboo that might get tangled in a large bin.
  • Open baskets  - These work great on shelves and are good for yarns you want quick access to.
  • Shelves and bookcasesShelving with lots of cubbies are popular with many crafters.
  • Closet organizers – Hanging shoe and sweater storage can be perfect for organizing yarn too.
  • Reusing food containers – Large oatmeal boxes and large clear bulk food containers are good options if you’re on a tight budget or would rather spend money on yarn than storage.
  • Cabinets and cupboards – Behind doors but easily accesible, there could be some empty cabinets just waiting to be filled with yarn.
  • Drawers or dressers – These work great for yarns that don’t stack well such as yarn balls. Also easily accesible, but out of the way from pets.
  • Decorative containers - Bowls and glass vases can be great for showcasing some of your favorite yarns.
One thing to keep in mind in choosing yarn storage, clear containers are excellent if you’re more of an out-of-sight, out-of-mind kind of person. If you are storing in a closed container that is not clear, label the outside of the container so you don’t have to open everything to find what you’re looking for. Be aware that if you choose a container that is deep, you may have to dump everything out to get to the bottom.

Preparing Yarn for Storage

The best way to store yarn is either the way it came, or in hank form. If you want to store your yarn wound in a ball, be sure to wind it loosely. If it’s too tight, the yarn may lose some of its elasticity while being stored. If you have a ball winder, winding your yarn is quick work and creates beautiful little cakes of yarn that are stackable. To avoid winding your yarn too tightly, wind it twice. When winding a ball from a ball, it will be looser than when you wound it the first time from a yarn swift.

Tomorrow, Grace will be posting some tips on how to keep critters such as the dreaded moth away from your yarn while in storage.

Hopefully some of these ideas have given you a little inspiration for organizing your yarn stash. Please share your favorite yarn storage idea in the comments.

- Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: Identifying Mystery Yarn

Sunday, January 13th, 2013
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Did you find any mystery yarn when you went through your yarn stash last week? If you were updating notes on your yarn stash, how did you deal with the unknown yarns? Mystery yarn can be yarn that you handspun, yarn that lost its ball band, or yarn that was leftover from a long ago finished project. Before tucking this yarn away with the rest of your stash, find out some information of it and jot down your findings and store it with the yarn.

What Is The Fiber?

If you’re not sure of what the fiber content of your yarn is, do a little detective work by doing a burn test. Cut off a bit of your mystery yarn and bring a flame to it. But please, do it in a safe place. Check out this handy flowchart for doing a fiber burn test that will help you narrow down what kind of yarn you have. If you think you have a complicated blend of different fibers, it might be difficult to figure out exactly what kind of yarn you have.

What’s the Yarn Weight and Gauge?

A good way to estimate the weight or gauge of your mystery yarn is to determine its wraps per inch (WPI). In other words, how many times can you wrap the yarn around a tool to cover an inch. Nancy’s Knit Knacks has a WPI Tool with pre-marked increments. You can also wrap the yarn around something with a consistent circumference like a pencil. I like using a ruler since it has measurements marked on it already. When wrapping the yarn around your tool, don’t wrap the yarn too tightly. Make sure the wraps don’t overlap and don’t have any gaps between them. If you have a yarn that has an even diameter, wrapping an inch worth is enough to calculate the WPI. But if you have yarn that is not consistent such as a thick and thin yarn or a handspun yarn, wrapping over a larger width will help you calculate a more accurate number.

Once you’ve calculated the WPI, you’ll want to compare the number you calculated to a WPI chart to find out the corresponding yarn weight.

Lace – WPI > 35; > 8.5 sts/inch
Fingering – WPI 19-22; 7-8 sts/inch
Sport – WPI 15-18;  5.75-6.5 sts/inch
DK – WPI 12-14; 5.5-6 sts/inch
Worsted – WPI 9-11; 4-5 sts/inch
Bulky – WPI 7-8; 3-3.75 sts/inch
Super Bulky – WPI < 6; 1.5-3 sts/inch

My friend had some handspun that we calculated it to have 26 wraps over 2 inches. Dividing that number by 2 gave us 13 WPI, a DK weight yarn.

How Much Yarn Do I Have?

Finding out how much yarn you have by weight is one of the easier things to figure out about mystery yarn. Grab your kitchen scale and weight it. Some patterns do give you yardage requirements by weight rather than yards.

It’s really useful to know how many yards you have of your mystery yarn to help you from running out of yarn in your project. I quite accurate way to determine the number of yards in a ball of yarn is to run your yarn through a yarn meter. Another option is winding the mystery yarn onto a yarn swift. Measure the circumference around the swift and multiply by the number of strands in the hank of yarn you wound. This will be the total length of your mystery yarn. A niddy noddy can also do the trick, and they’re fun to use. If you don’t have a yarn swift or niddy noddy, you could use this method by wrapping the yarn around the back of a chair too.

What kind of mystery yarn did you discover in your stash?

- Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: How to Get Rid of Unwanted Yarn

Saturday, January 12th, 2013
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Earlier this week we began the process of organizing our yarn stash by first going through it and pulling out the yarn we no longer want. Most of your unwanted yarn probably ended up in the giveaway pile, rather than the trash. Here’s a list of ideas of how and where to get rid of destashed yarn.

 

Sell It

  • One reason it might be hard to get of yarn we know we’ll never use is because we might have paid a lot of money for it. It’s easier to get rid of this kind of yarn if you can sell it and get some of that money back (to buy more yarn of course!). Try selling your yarn online at places like ebay, yarnfind.com, Ravelry, and Etsy.
  • To keep things simple, you can also sell it in a garage or yard sale, though you probably won’t be able to get as much money for it.

Trade It

  • One of my favorite ways to get rid of yarn is by having a yarn swap with some fiber friends. It’s a lot of fun going through other people’s unwanted yarn finding your next treasure. Later this month, some of the WEBS employees will be getting together for an evening of yarn-swapping fun.
  • In addition to being able to sell your yarn on Ravelry, you can trade your yarn with someone else on Ravelry too.

Give It Away

  • If you’re tired of your unwanted yarn taking up space or need to get rid of it fast for fear of it creeping back into your stash, drop it off at a nearby thrift store like Goodwill, post it on Freecycle, or leave it in a box at the end of your driveway with a FREE sign on the box.
  • Donate your yarn to a worthy cause or charity. There are a ton of knitting and crochet charities out there that accept yarn donations.
  • Give the yarn to someone you know who wants to learn to knit or crochet. Bonus points if you help teach them!
  • Give it to another knitter or crocheter. Bring the yarn to your next knitting group. Or ask a friend or family member if they want first dibs on the yarn you’re getting rid of.
  • Find somewhere locally that could use your yarn like a school, art department, knitting club, or nursing home.

Keep It

  • Yes, that’s right. I just told you to keep yarn I told you to get rid of. I like to keep a little yarn in a basket to use for testing new stitch patterns and trying out new techniques. I also use this same yarn when someone comes over and wants me to teach them how to knit.
  • If you were getting rid of yarn just because you hate the color, consider over-dyeing it. You can make an ugly duckling into something you love. If you’ve never dyed yarn before it’s a lot of fun. Check out Gail Callahan’s Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece book.

When you need to find a new home for yarn, what do you do with it? Do you have a favorite person or charity you like to give yarn to?

- Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: Tracking Your Yarn Stash

Thursday, January 10th, 2013
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Sorry to have missed posting an organizing task yesterday. Between digging myself out of what looked like a yarn stash explosion (I was right, it does look worse before it gets better) and dealing with a persnickety computer glitch, the hours slipped away from me.

Now that we’re done weeding out the yarn we no longer want, today’s task is to update our yarn database and notes about our stash. But maybe you don’t have anything set up to keep track of your yarn. Here are a few things to help you decide if tracking your yarn stash is something you want to do.

WHY TRACK YOUR STASH? – A lot of us have some sort of record of what is in our stash, but if you don’t, why is it useful to keep track of your stash?

  • After your stash has grown beyond a certain amount, you might not be able to remember what you have. Write it down and you don’t have try to keep it in your brain anymore. There’s no way I can remember every color of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool that I have. It’s so much easier to look a my list than it is pulling it off the shelf and checking all the labels.
  • Especially if you keep an electronic database of your stash, it’s easier to sort and search through your yarns to find out what you have. See below how I can easily sort by color on Ravelry.
  • Check your list while you’re shopping and you’re more likely to buy what you need and not find out later that you already have something similar.

HOW DO YOU TRACK YOUR STASH? – It really comes down to two basic ways, handwritten notes or an electronic list.
  • If you’re an old school kind of crafter, you may like to just keep a handwritten list of your yarns in a notebook, journal, or on index cards. If your stash isn’t crazy big, this is a nice solution since it’s easy and portable.
  • Ravelry has been around for awhile now. And it’s hard for a lot of us to remember what it was like without it. If you’re not familiar with it, think of it as a social media platform for knitters and crocheters, but with so much more. Keeping track of our stashes is just one reason why we love Ravelry. 99% of the time I try to add a yarn to my Ravelry stash, it already exists on Ravelry; it’s so comprehensive. If you want to know more about the benefits of using Ravelry to track your stash, I recommend reading Fresh Stitches blog post on the subject.
  • Another online way to track your stash is Nimblestix. You can track your stash, show off your latest project, and interact with others like you.
  • Excel and other spreadsheet programs provide an organized way of listing your yarn and if you set them up well, they can also be great at sorting your stash by weight, color, location…whatever you need.
  • Got a smart phone, well there are a lot of knitting/crochet apps if you haven’t checked lately. Knit Keeper, Ewe Stash, Vogue Knitting Knit Buddy, and Stitch Stash are just a few.
WHAT YARN INFORMATION DO YOU TRACK? – You can get as detailed as you want here. But for simplicity’s sake, just track the information that is useful for you later. If you use an electronic program, don’t feel compelled to fill in all of the information just because there’s a field to fill in. Here are some attributes of a yarn you might want to track.
  • Brand and name of yarn
  • Photograph of yarn, especially nice if you can get an accurate color representation
  • Color name and number, and dye lot if you have it
  • Amount of yarn you have including the weight and yardage
  • Details like yarn weight, yds/ball, type of fiber
  • Recommended hook and needle size
  • Care instructions
  • Notes of where you store the yarn so you can find it when you need it
  • Purchase date, location and amount spent

If you do use electronic tracking of your stash, I would recommend occasionally backing up this information somewhere. Last year I lost 3 years of my exercise log because of a couple of poorly-timed electrical storms. It was really time consuming to recreate. If you use Ravelry, it takes just a moment to download an Excel spreadsheet of your stash. Click on the little green Excel icon in the top right of your stash page. Bam, you’ve got a backup copy now.

Do you keep track of your stash? What keeps you from not tracking your stash or from keeping your tracking up to date?

31 Days to Get Organized: Destashing Your Yarn

Monday, January 7th, 2013
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Thanks for sharing the photos of your piles of yarn yesterday. I hope if you didn’t post it publicly, you still took a photo of your stash. This is Day 7 (one full week!) of 31 Days to Get Organized. Today we’re yarn destashing. A yarn purge. Yarn decluttering, whatever you want to call it. Essentially, we’re trying to get rid of the yarn we don’t love or won’t use.

Getting rid of yarn can be a hard task for many, especially if you paid good money for the yarn, or if someone you care about gave the yarn to you as a gift. But our time is too short and our spaces are too precious to have them filled with yarn and things that aren’t useful to us. So grab some containers for your big sort. With my recent move, I’ve already tossed anything that is useless to most. I’ve also given away a lot of yarn too. Whenever I get rid of yarn, I pause and think “Am I going to miss it?” 99% of the time, I never think about the yarn again. And all the recipients of the the “free” yarn totally make up for the 1% I kind of wish I had back.

So back to the piles you’re going to make.

Keep It! – If you like the yarn, if you plan to use the yarn, even if it just brings back a happy memory, sort the yarn into your keep pile. Most of the yarn in my stash I intend to knit, crochet, or weave someday. (I’ll be around until I’m 97, so I have some time.) But I have yarn in my stash I have no intensions of ever using. It’s keepsake yarn for one reason or another. I’m ok with this. I keep this yarn out in the open in a bowl, on top of the shelf of my craft books. I look at the yarn frequently. This makes me happy, so I’m keeping it.

Find A Better Home – Then there’s the yarn we don’t like anymore, or don’t have any use for. There are SO many other places where this yarn could be used. On Wednesday, I’ll be posting lots of ideas for new homes for wayward yarns, places to sell yarns, and places to give them away. Stay tuned.

Just Throw It Away – Sometimes there’s just no hope for a yarn. Maybe you tried making something; it became hideous; and the yarn fused to itself. You really can’t rip it out now. NOBODY is going to want it. So just chuck it in the garbage. Have a few yards left from a project? Toss it too. On Friday, we’ll post some ideas of what you can do with your leftover yarn. But sometimes, it’s best if it just goes in the trash can. You make the call. Some of you can’t bear to throw out a scrap. Who knows, maybe someday you could use it for a knitted toy or some crochet amigurumi. But if you don’t have the patience for saving bits of yarn, toss it.

A yarn destashing can take a little bit of time. There’s a lot of decisions to be made. Have you ever noticed that it’s not the organizing that takes so much time, but all of the decisions you have to make?

Tomorrow we’ll have a tutorial on how to recycle yarn from a project you’ve ripped out so you can add it back to your yarn stash. This gives you an extra day to possibly spend on destashing. Take the time you need. The rest of the organizing posts will be waiting for you when you’re ready.

Happy destashing!

- Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: Flash Your Stash!

Sunday, January 6th, 2013
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Today is Day 6 in the 31 Days to Get Organized series. As you can see, we’re going to dive into our yarn stashes. I know a lot of you have been looking forward to tackling your yarn stash. Today’s task is a simple one. I want you to collect all of your yarn and take a quick picture. There’s a few reasons why we’re starting with this task.

It’s hard to organize what you can’t see – It’s going to be much easier to come up with a way to sort your yarn if you can actually see what you have.

Finding the hidden yarn – Once you start pulling out your yarn in the open, the act of gathering it may jog your memory of other places you’ve been hiding storing yarn.

A picture is worth a thousand words – Seeing your entire stash in front of you may make you look at it in a different way. You might be thinking you’d like to start trying some new colors beyond your usual. Or you may have more or less yarn than you actually do.

A yarn time capsule – I photograph my entire stash every so often. It’s fun to have a snapshot frozen in time and to look back at what my yarn stash used to look like.

Yarn as inspiration – As you pull out the yarn, seeing it and feeling it may inspire you to start working on a project you forgot about. Or if you’ve been in a knitting and crocheting funk lately, you might get the urge to start playing with your yarn again.

As you create your wonderful pile of yarn, pay attention to what yarns you get excited about seeing again and what yarns you’re less than thrilled about having around still. If you do not already have a way of sorting your yarn that’s been working for you, start thinking about how you may want to organized your stash (by color, weight, fiber, project).

I would suggest piling your stash somewhere you can leave it for a couple of days. We’ll be working on purging, sorting, and storing our yarn stashes this week. And yes, pulling everything out into the open, it’s going to look worse before it gets better.

Feel free to post your photo of your stash in the comments, on our Facebook wall, or our Ravelry page. It’s fun to see everyone joining along.

- Dena

31 Days to Get Organized: Keeping Notes about Your WIPs

Sunday, January 6th, 2013
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Good evening everyone. It’s Day 5 of 31 Days to Get Organized and we’re onto our final WIPs task tonight. All of our works in progress are organized now (well mine aren’t quite yet, but will be by the end of the weekend). So today’s task is to make sure the notes we’re keeping on our projects are up to date.

I learned to knit before the days of Ravelry, and kept all my notes from projects in my Stitch ‘N Bitch Design Journal. Once I completed a project I would write about it on my blog. Knitting was the reason I started a blog. But now Ravelry is my notebook, and my blog is pretty silent these days. I add all of my projects to Ravelry and try to keep good notes, partially for my sake as a record of my work. It’s hard to remember all of the details like what yarn I used, who I made something for, what alterations to patterns I made. I’m glad it’s all there for me to come back to later. But I also know that some of this information is useful for others too wanting to make the same pattern. That’s the other reason I continue to keep my projects up to date on Ravelry.

Do you keep track of your projects on Ravelry too? Or do you prefer to write them down in a notebook?