Organizing my yarn collection and knitting supplies

24 June 2008

Yesterday I posted about my new Elfa drawer system which now stores my yarn, knitting needles and notions. Here are the specs: I purchased three 10-runner drawer frames (41 inches high) and platinum mesh baskets with platinum tops over the whole thing. I have three sets of drawers—two medium and one narrow. The way I configured my set, I have 16 drawers to work with, 3 one-runner (shallow), 12 two-runner (medium) and one three-runner (deep).

Here’s how it looks:

For the knitters out there, today I’m sharing the categories I used for my stash and how I’m storing my needles and notions. Organizing yarn is like organizing anything else—it should be organized how you use it. So the way I organize my yarn needn’t be a model for anyone else; it’s just what works for me. But if you’re like me, someone who loves knitting and organizing, you might find my organizing decisions interesting.

Five of the drawers contain general categories of yarn:

  • Worsted wool
  • Bulky wool (that’s in the deep drawer)
  • Cotton
  • Novelty/special use yarn (like sock yarn and baby yarn)
  • Remnants (partial balls of yarn from past projects)

I have larger groups of leftover yarn from projects and also a bunch of yarn from a sweater I frogged (unraveled), so three drawers contain specific yarn:

  • Knit Picks Panache and Decadence
  • Knit Picks Shine, which I purchased for a poncho I never made
  • Silky Wool and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Super Chunky

Works in Progress (WiPs) take up two of the drawers:

  • Active WiPs
  • Kits I’m not working on and hibernated WiPs

My ultimate WiP takes up two drawers. It’s the Barbara Walker Learn-to Knit Afghan, in which I’ll eventually make 63 8 × 8-inch squares, each in a different stitch pattern. So far I’ve completed 50 of the squares, but the lace section frustrated me so I put it down. Here’s a link to Timothy Hunt’s completed squares.

The two drawers for the Afghan are:

  • Finished squares (most of which are blocked)
  • Current square-in-progress (and the bag it lives in), as well as yarn purchased for the project

That leaves three drawers for supplies (one of my medium drawers is gloriously empty. I have room to grow!) They are:

My straight needles are displayed in glass vases on top of the drawer set (divided as follows: long needles, size US10 and higher, long needles, size smaller than US10, short needles of any size, and double-pointed needles, in their packages).

Here’s how they look right now:

Patterns, books and magazines will go in the glass-fronted cabinet I purchased last week. Patterns are in sheet protectors in binders and magazines will be housed in magazine holders. It will be a great improvement over the messy shelf on a bookcase they take up now.

Finally, all my drawers are labeled. I purchased the mesh drawer label holders from the Container Store and used a pretty font in Word (Honey Script Light) on clear Avery labels affixed to the blank labels that came with the label holders. Here’s a (slightly blurry) close up of one of the labels:

The nice thing about this system is that it will be easy to adapt if my stash changes, or the way I use my stash changes. I’m very pleased!

Tagged with: , , , , , ,


Great ideas! My projects are all over the place, but my needles are organized. I bought a sheet of pegboard and some hooks. I hang the needles, still in their package, according to size. Works great, especially for circulars.

Charmian Christie 06/24/2008 03:05 PM

Oh Janine! I’m so impressed. Love those labels. :)

Aby Garvey 07/03/2008 05:36 PM

Thanks, Charmian. I love the pegboard idea! And thanks for the compliment, Aby. Coming from the Queen of Labels, that means a lot!!

Janine Adams 07/03/2008 05:47 PM

Janine – Great system! So glad you posted!

Suzanne Ress 07/10/2008 11:05 AM

This is fantastic! I like knitting but I’ve never really been a serious knitter, and most of my supplies were passed down to me from my mother and mother-in-law. As such, everything is stuffed in two knitting baskets (not matching) and nothing is easy to access. I can’t help wondering if a system like yours (though probably scaled down) would inspire me to work on more projects, not to mention supply a place to put work-in-progress that would be out of reach of curious kitties!

Janet Barclay 01/10/2014 05:51 AM

Add your comment


Your email address will not be displayed or distributed.

You may use Textile formatting including:

  • _italics_ = italics
  • *bold* = bold
  • "text":url = text

About Janine

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

read more »

Recommended *

  • Getting to Good Enough podcast

  • NAPO Golden Circle