Organization, Sort Of

Organized mess

Organized mess

Last week, someone asked how I organize my yarn and needles. I have to admit, it’s more like slightly organized chaos around here. Everything has a place, but everything is rarely in its place.

Let’s go with the yarn first. I thought I had a fairly large stash, but a knitter fan laughed and said that was cute. To me, I have a lot. I organize all of my yarn on two shelves. I can’t guarantee how long this system will last, but on one shelf, I have all of the wound yarn and the skeins. (Sorry, some of these pictures turned out much darker than I thought they would.)

Wound and skeins

Wound and skeins

The other shelf has all my hanks and sock yarn. There’s no rhyme or reason why this turned out this way. At one point I had wound all of my yarn into cakes. I was actually kind of surprised to see how little of it is ready to go. I might have to remedy that some weekend. Plus, cakes just stack so nicely!

Hanks and sock yarn

Hanks and sock yarn

The tools are a little more haphazard in a way. In the very first picture, you can see that I keep all of my straights in one place. I honestly don’t know why I keep them. I haven’t used straight needles in a long time. Most of my projects are done either on dpns or circs. Also up on this shelf are smaller balls of yarn, pins, wool wash, and other bits that had no other home.

Then there’s the tool box. I found a stacking, interlocking box at Walmart a few months back, and that’s been a lifesaver. Before, my dpns and crochet hooks were all kept in one bag. To find anything, I had to pull them all out and sort through. Also at Walmart, I found drawer organisers. These keep my dpns and crochet hooks separate and from getting loose everywhere. An index card holder keeps my smaller tools, and little boxes and bags hold my stitch markers.


The tools

Then the part I wish was more organized. All of my circulars are literally just thrown into the box. I have no real order to them. The interchangeable ones stay in the bag Knit Picks sent them in. The others just kind of lie there. Also in there are my pencils in case I want to sketch an idea out. I’m as good at sketching as sewing, but when I do at least a caricature of the idea, I can plan out what colors I want where and such.

Pencils and circs

Pencils and circs

And then there’s my projects. Anything that’s going to leave the house with me gets put into a small reusable bag. I really like the ones with drawstrings because they keep my mischievous kittens out of my knitting. The projects that stay at home are kept in little plastic boxes. All of the tools, needle sizes, and yarn (unless it’s a big project and won’t fit) go into the box along with the project. That way when I sit down at night, I know I can just get to work with what’s there.




My project shelf looks a bit bare at the moment. There’s a pair of socks in there, as well as the Bosc scarf, but that’s it. This weekend, I finished both Super Why and the mermaid, as well as the test knit project. I also whipped up a quick cowl in super bulky yarn. That leaves only 5 projects going right now: Ken’s socks, my socks, Ken’s sweater, hexipuffs, and the shawl. I feel like I need to cast something on.

I hope you all had a good weekend! If you have any organization tips, please share! I’m always looking for better ways to organize my knitting stuff.


41 thoughts on “Organization, Sort Of

  1. I’m deeply in awe of your tidiness. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to photograph my (lack of) working space before trying to make it look decent.

    • I kind of wish I had tidied! But last night, I was like ok, I should just show how it really is. Luckily things weren’t just lying around the rest of the house like they usually are lol.

  2. I started to buy clear plastic totes to helpfully get my stuff organized.

    I noticed that you do not do your by colour and wondered how that was working for you. I figured it would be easier to organize by colour first so I knew where to look.

    • I think because I don’t have much in any particular color, it’s easier for me to organize by type – like cake, hank, sock, and skein. If I ever get everything wound again, I’ll probably do better about organizing by weight at least, so I can pick yarn for projects more easily.

  3. I’m in awe of your tidiness too! I have a chest crammed FULL of yarn. It’s driving me nuts! I’m going to start organizing though as I can’t stand it much longer…so appreciate your posting this! You’ve given me some ideas. Our local yarn shop takes any yarn you no longer want, so I have some things i need to donate to them which will help immensely.
    I think I have the exact same yarn as you have in your top photo. The bottom right ball of multi-colored purple. I just posted a knitting project on my blog I’m using that yarn for if interested! Tx so much for sharing!

  4. I like putting my WIPs in baskets. It looks quite cute and I have everything I need in one basket when I am ready to go. I love your coloured hooks.

  5. Wow your stash seems surprisingly organised to me! I love that everything is visible…my yarn lives in plastic bags in a cupboard and when I open that everything falls on my! N. B. bags of yarn don’t stack well! I feel slightly limited for options as I still live at home so all of my possessions are limited to one room!

  6. I have the toughest time with my circular needles. I wish I could buy the circular needle ‘kit’ and someday will, but for now…circular needles are a real challenge for me. So if anyone has any ideas on organizing those I’d appreciate it. I do separate out the short ones I use for hats from the longer ones, but that’s about it.

    • I evemtually put them in mini-glad bags labelled by length and them in a shoe box.
      But i researched it and some other ideas are files with plastic sleeves (like comic book storage), coat hangers & pegs, plastic filing cabinets. Pintrest is great/addictive for researching this.

  7. I have sewn a really great knitting needle case that keeps all my needles organized by size, it even has space for circular needles. It is easy to make and can be adjusted to fit your needs. I’ll be making one for my daughter this week and will post it on my blog. Keep an eye out for it if you are interested!

  8. For circular needle storage, I saw a long fabric strip (sew 2 layers, right sides together with a heavy interfacing inside and turn) and they made tucks along this strip to hold each needle (or sets if you have a lot) so they hung by the middle of the cord and the needles hung down on both sides. Not sure that makes sense but it was a pretty cool thing. It hung on the wall. You would have to do the math to see how long the original strip would be. I don’t remember where I saw it and it was a long time ago. I keep mine in those zippered pencil cases because I haven’t found the time to make one of these….some day! Oh, and I have my yarn in BIG plastic bins…big ones. Way too much yarn but I figure I’ll get to it some day. I ahave one with nothing but sock yarn.


  9. Your organizations looks similar to mine. I keep my needles in a bag though, but would love a case for them and my hooks. I’m hoping to get to the store to purchase more yarn this week. I’ll have to post pics of my tiny space.

  10. The bottom line is we have to organize for ourselves, not for how we THINK it should be organized. If this works for you and does not hinder your work – then NICE JOB.

  11. You have a very nice, colourful selection of needles!
    At home my stash is kept in a set of plastic drawers, with outsize bags of yarn in a bigger storage box. And tools just live in pots on a shelf nearby.

  12. So true…Everytime I organize a particular pattern attracks my attention and it’s back to the stash searching for the perfect yarn. The act of searching clutters my space all over again. I do like being surrounded by all the color and texture.

  13. Yours has more organization than mine…but I’m going to be gutting a clothes closet in a bedroom turned office and making it a craft closet with organization. Someday, soon…yeah, someday soon! LOL! As soon as I find the time and decided to tackle it instead of picking up the current yarn project.

  14. my main stash of yarn, spinning fibre, fabric, magazines, etc lives in its own room at one end of the house.Yarn organised by weight in plastic tubs and stackable drawers, fibre also in tubs [ if you don’t count the new bag of alpaca fleece still on the table on the verandah ] quilt fabric in a wall of plastic drawers by colour or genre. Swifts and yarn winders and such live down here too.
    current projects, WIPs, interchangable circs, dpns in needle roll[s] and knitting notions [ in zipped pouches ],all live in wicker baskets under the coffee table in the rumpus room at the other end of the house, which is where I do my ‘at home’ knitting.
    Spinning wheels are wherever they fit in the house, except when I’m actually spinning and then one will migrate down to the rumpus room.

  15. I have a beautiful needle holder by Lantern Moon for my circular and straight needles and notions. I keep my yarn stash organized (and conveniently hidden) in large wicker baskets with lids.

  16. Trust me, that is a small stash ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a post on my organisation here: and others about bits and pieces filed under “equipment”. I’ve just moved a three drawer, plastic chest from doing duty holding veg (there’s only me here most of the time, I don’t need that amount of space) to holding finished objects, ready for sale – it’s wonderful! (Cost – ยฃ12 at supermarket). And my knitting bag holds *everything* I need to move around with me – needle roll, work in progress (or more than wip)… is a horse grooming bag! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I have a ridiculous ‘shove it all in one big box’ system that I think works because it’s all together in one place. In reality however, I can never find each other and all my yarns get knotted together so i just have one huge ball, meaning I just go and buy more ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin discusses great cleaning tactics for quick pick-ups around the house, and now my living arrangement isn’t quite as cluttered. You might enjoy the read ๐Ÿ™‚ By contrary, if you deem the clutter an organized mess and can manuver through materials with ease, maybe there’s no need to clean?

  19. The ‘everything has a place’ tag reminds me of a house my daughter used to visit. She said ‘everything has a place, everything is in its place, and every place is labelled with the name of the thing that belongs there so if you find a thing out of place you know where its place is’. I aspire to that, but I’m so far off it’s not funny. I love the Bosc scarf, beautiful work, and thanks for liking my latest post.

  20. I am actually pretty impressed by your organization skills!!! I can relate, I dabble in the yarn world and love it, but my studio is metalsmithing and it is a task to stay organized! I am getting there I think, maybe…? Thanks for letting us have a glimpse into your workspace:)

  21. I enjoy reading about other people’s storage ideas.
    I have most of my needles in a shoebox. I did have them in individually labelled glad bags, but that didn’t last.
    I have one basket full of yarn (again in glad bags by weight as much as possible), and a few bags in the spare room.
    However most of my knitting ends up in this space between the back of the couch and the wall. I couldn’t have a couch without this now. It has really wide edges too which have become yarn and WIP storage.
    It annoys the hell out of my partner when he accidentally falls asleep on the couch and gets tangled in yarn.

  22. I claim organization too, when it’s really just a jumbled mess….but it’s on shelves….and behind cabinet doors…and I know where it is so it’s all good! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Organising things pleases me too. I have a beautiful mango wood box to keep my wools in and made a fabulous tube to keep my needles in – all on my blog! Thank you for your visit! One of my favourite knits is a Cat cowl and hat for my Grand-daughter but she will only wear the hat~!

  24. I just started knitting again for the past year. I live in a <1000 sq. ft. apartment, so my stash is contained in a vacuum sealable bag (I think it's the size you would use for just clothes), so I can toss all my yarn in there and squash it down to a third of the size. Then I can just tuck it in the otherwise useless spot between my wardrobe and dresser. Organizing my needles is a work in progress. I still haven't figured out a way to contain them… Right now they're just hanging out in a fabric tote where I keep my work in progress.

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