Getting Organized: Yarn Scrap Explosion!


Yikes! Look at that pile of tangled up mess.

I have a bin that’s specifically for leftover yarn and over the last few months I’ve been slipping a little bit of this and that in and out of it. When I went to find a particular ball of yarn a few weeks ago, I found that this was the result of my “slipping in and out.” Wow. I was a little overwhelmed to say the least.

I decided it needed to end right then and there. I put on a movie…and then another. I proceeded to untangling one of the biggest tangles I have dealt with in quite some time. I would equate it to the epic untangling of the Sale Crib at the Yarn Exchange some three years ago.

Anyway, it got me to thinking that part of using your leftover yarn is keeping it sorted (and untangled) and I should tell you how I keep mine from turning into a big mess like this – as long as I follow the guidelines I set for myself.

1. Untangle it.

There can be no organization until you have things untangled. There are a few tips I’ve learned from working at yarn shops to help make untangling less of a chore.

+ Never keep pulling once you feel a strand tightening up.

+ Tease out a clump of tangled mess before trying to pull on any one particular strand.

+ Follow one strand of yarn at a time and wind it up as you go along.

2. Wind the yarn as you untangle. Trust me. If you don’t, you will have untangle the now loose pile of yarn. I like winding my yarn into little balls, but if there is just a few yards I use the butterfly bobbin method. I wrote up a tutorial for how to make a butterfly bobbin a few summers ago that you can check out if you don’t know how. It’s pretty handy.

3. Keep it all straight. If you put your yarn into a bin loose, the picture above will soon be it’s state of being. I keep my yarn leftovers organized by weight and fiber type.

Will you check that out? That is all the leftover yarn I have left in my stash! Can you believe it! Awesome! Just a half bin full.

When I started up Craft Leftovers, I had 3 garbage bags and quite a few bins of leftover yarn.

I think it’s time to make some more dishcloths and stash socks.

Happy Crafting!

Kristin Roach


7 thoughts on “Getting Organized: Yarn Scrap Explosion!

  1. Good tips!
    In the past, I’ve bribed my kids to untangle for me. Sadly, as they’ve gotten older, the charm of helping their mom has worn off.

    3 bags to 1/2 a bin – that’s amazing. And hopeful for me! It seems my yarn is multiplying every time I turn around.

  2. I sort my yarn by fiber type and the larger scraps just go back in the rest of the yarn. Doing so makes it easier to pull together stuff for small project or find something to use as an accent on a larger piece. I keep my small scraps (1 yd or less) in their own little jar. It makes a neat little piece. Leftover sock yarn gets it’s own box so I can find it when it’s time for darning.

    Good luck using up all those leftovers.

  3. Or you can just send it to someone in the Knot a Problem group on Ravelry:

    “A group for people who love to untangle or detangle skeins of yarn that are in a big, giant, tangled mess!”

    I haven’t actually made use of the service but I think it revolves around barter and/or goodwill.
    Great to have in your back pocket for a real bad snarl.

  4. Nice, nice, nice. I have baskets of yarn balls. I am off to see the butterfly bobbin. Mary Ellen

  5. Nice, nice, nice. I have baskets of yarn balls. I am off to see the butterfly bobbin. Mary Ellen

  6. many years ago my mother taught me a way of keeping electrical cords tidy…back then the waffle iron,pressure cooker etc had removable cords. Her idea can be used for tidying up yarn as well….Using the butterfly bobbin technique you can then tuck the yarn into a empty toilet paper roll. Easy to see the colors and keeps all nice and neat.
    Might even cover the cardboard rolls with fabric!

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