A couple of years ago (I think it was only two!), I needed to come up with a better way to store my yarn and fiber. I devised a system to sort everything by color. I hung a few crates on the wall and filled them with all that wooly goodness.
See my post “Release the Kraken” for all the details.
That system worked well for a while and then I began to acquire whole fleeces and needed additional storage. Enter “Son of Kraken.”
Eventually, I realized that my current storage needs weren’t working for me anymore. I couldn’t find stuff in the crates. Small balls of yarn got hidden in the back. And things were always falling out whenever I dug deeper into the stash. As my weaving skills progressed, I really needed to be able to put my hands on yarns that were the same weight, or wraps per inch, to be able to create a balanced weave and to use similar fibers in a project. Weave acrylic and wool together and you get a nice product but one that shrinks at different rates when washed. I pondered the problem for a while and decided to separate the unspun fiber from the yarn. All the fiber and fleeces went to live on the Son of Kraken shelf.
I decided on a shelf and bin system to separate the yarns by type (cotton, wool, acrylic) and then by weight. I already had some wall brackets and standards from a shelving unit I repurposed a few years back. The next step was to find the lumber to make the shelves. I headed out to the shed (yes, I have a lumber stash, too) and pulled some boards salvaged from our kitchen remodel five years ago. These were 12 inch wide, solid wood boards, not plywood veneer. I cut the boards to size, glued two pieces together for the width. Lots of sanding and puttying holes and I was ready to paint. Each side of the board got four coats of white paint and one coat of polyurethane. So, let’s do the math. Five boards X two sides X five coats of paint = painting fifty boards!
While the boards were being painted, I tackled the yarn. This entailed pulling everything out. And since it was out, I decided to wind the hanks into balls and re-wind some of the balls that were loose or falling apart. I find winding yarn into balls very Zen-like, but spending days winding yarn loses its luster after a while. As I began to re-label the balls of yarn, I found myself writing the same info over and over. I decided to come up with a strip of paper with a form printed on it that I could just fill out.
As I handled each type of yarn, I also had to figure the yardage and wraps per inch. There was lots of math going on. And I got the idea to create a spreadsheet with all the pertinent data included. This project was growing by leaps and bounds. So for a week, I would give the boards a coat of paint, wind some yarn, label it, add it to the spreadsheet, paint a second coat, and repeat.
I pulled out all the plastic bins and shoeboxes I had in the attic and sorted the piles. I realized that I was going to need some additional bins. I had calculated the maximum size bins I could use on each shelf and went in search for them. I found the size I wanted online and ordered a dozen. Each shelf would hold three bins but I could get a case pack of 12 at a discount so that’s all I ordered. But as I started to fill the bins and place them on the shelf, I couldn’t handle having empty slots on the shelf. Back online to find a local source and Target came to the rescue! This was working great. I could take down an entire bin and find the yarn I wanted and balls weren’t falling on my head. I only need the step stool to reach the top shelf. As I looked at the clear bins with the cacophony of colors, shapes and labels, I knew I had to “pretty it up.” I made uniform labels with the fiber and weight listed and, to add interest, a picture of the fiber type. I printed these on card stock and slipped them inside the bin. Easy to change and no sticky tape residue.
All told, I spent 18 days on this project. Eight days on the boards, one day putting up the shelves, and nine days working on the yarn and labels. The only items I purchased new were the bins. All the other items were recycled from other projects. And I learned from my spreadsheet that I have 152 different yarns. No wonder I’m having dreams of frantically weaving.