Thursday, May 31, 2012

5 Tips for Organizing a Knitting Studio

This spring I've been transitioning into a new studio space. I say "transitioning" because the new space is smaller and it's going to require a lot more organization on the intake to prevent it from turning into a giant yarn ball come fall. 

For any knitters out there looking to reorganize their craft materials, here are five tips I've already incorporated into my new studio that I think are great for everybody, no matter how big your stash.

Tip #1: Box It Up!

Divide up your stash into boxes based on fiber, weight, or by project, but keep your boxes small! Don't overstuff them. Take it from somebody who knows -  if you dig into a stuffed container full of yarn, crazy knots and yarn messes WILL occur, no matter how neatly wound it all was to begin with. Using lots of easy-to-peer-into, small boxes, like the boxes arranged below in a dresser with the drawers removed, will save you time in the long run. 
Organize Yarn Boxes in a Drawer less Dresser (from Sew Many Ways) 
Using boxes to divide up your stash not only keeps things organized, but it keeps your yarn safe from "outside elements" (aka. dust, pet hair, odors etc). Wool especially has a tendency to absorb odors, so throw in a sachet of baking soda in each box.

Tip #2: Pin Down Your Scraps!

I've wound and rewound countless small mini-balls of yarn leftover from projects. The reason I keep rewinding them? Small balls of yarn are like small children, they're cute but tend to throw temper tantrums if not handled properly. This ingenious idea of winding your small leftover balls of yarn around clothespins works wonders. Why? The end of each yarn ball gets pinned tight, so you can group them together without them falling apart like a playground full of sugared up toddlers. Bonus, the clothespins make them look even cuter.

Use Clothespins for Yarn Scraps (from Cornflower Blue Studio)

Tip #3: Mind those Ends!

The biggest culprit in yarn messiness can often be those little tiny snippets of yarn that are too short to wind into anything. They might seem like trash to you, but they are actually a treasure trove to the birds outside your window. Keep a pretty bowl or vase wherever you do your knitting or finishing and fill it up with your baby scrap ends (cotton or wool, 3-8 inches long works best). Leave your scraps outside in the winter and spring for birds to use in their nests. I'm not sure if it was the yarn scraps that did it, but I have 2 birds nests in my backyard right now! The little chirps are the cutest!

Tip #4: Look Your Needles in the Eye

If you have the wall real estate, hanging your needles is a great idea. They take up less space that way and something about having them at eye level feels really motivating, like you are picking out tools from a tool shed. Maybe that's not the best explanation, but feel free to give it a try and see if it makes more sense. If you do, I recommend the wall organizers below, especially the easy-to-make circular needle hanger!

Click me
Circular Needle Organizer DIY from Craftster
Organizer from Dapper Toad

Tip #5: Create Stations!

I think I mostly cribbed this idea from a non-knitting-related self help book, but making "stations" for different activities translates really well to the knitting process. 

As a high volume knitter, I've created a knitting "inbox" for yarn for upcoming projects, a "works-in-progress" area for casted on stuff, and an "outbox" for knit up items that need to be finished. Each "box" gets its own station with the appropriate materials. For example, there are patterns and needles with the inbox, markers and scissors and measuring tapes with the works-in-progress, tapestry needles and buttons and such with the outbox. 

If you are a more casual knitter, why not just make one knitting station for all your knitting related goodies? The knitting cabinet below is a great example!