The Kraken Revisited

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.

yarn storage
Looks good.  Worked for a while.

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.”

Shelving about the closet door.

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.

Unspun fiber and fleeces

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!


Former kitchen cabinets become yarn storage shelves.

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.

Yarn Bands

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.

The finished storage solution.
Who can resist those cute, wooly faces?

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.


6 thoughts on “The Kraken Revisited

  1. The repurposing is impressive ! I am trying to understand why I have so many single socks in my drawer ? Can you assist with this perplexing dilemma and organizational opportunity?

    1. The shelves are actually above the closet door and go the length of the room. And the spreadsheet…well, it kept evolving as I entered data. And I haven’t even added the unspun fiber!

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