DIY Yarn Organizer

Have you ever finished a project and had a tiny bit of yarn leftover? It’s such a shame to just chuck it back into the stash and forget about it. That’s exactly what happened to me after I finished knitting the baby kimono. I really wanted to knit a pair of booties to match the kimono but the question is do I have enough yarn? Oh, the stress!

leftover yarn

I wanted to use every last bit of the yarn so I had two choices. I could weigh the yarn and knit precisely half the amount per bootie.

The second option was to cast on both booties at the same time using the two ends of the ball of yarn and knit both sides at the same time. This is what I chose to do. 

knit from both ends

But there was a small hitch. The yarn kept tangling up! Bugger. 

So my hero aka hubby came to the rescue. I asked him to make me a yarn organiser. Naturally he had no idea what I was talking about but he was more than happy to help.

1. Start with a plastic container. I used a round one with a screw on top.

2. Mark 2 holes on opposite sides of the lid. Drill holes. Tidy up any sharp edges with a file. You don’t want your yarn to get caught in the holes.

drill holes in plastic container

You can stop here if you haven’t cast on yet. Just pop the yarn into the container and thread the ends of the yarn through the holes. BUT if you’re like me and in the middle of a project, you will need the following steps.

3. Using a small serrated knife, cut through the lid towards the holes. Use the pictures below to guide you. Again use a file to make sure all the edges are smooth.

Cut lid

Lid with holes

Drop the ball of yarn into your new yarn organizer. Using the slits on the lid, thread the yarn into the holes. Screw the lid back on. Knit away!

knitting with yarn organiser

Pretty easy, huh? So I knitted until I ran out of one colour and then changed to the other colour. I ran out of yarn for the soles and just used a small amount of unlabelled pink yarn from my stash. Worked out perfectly actually! Who would have thought.

stay on baby booties

Free pattern: Stay-on baby booties 
Yarn: Treliske Organic Merino 4 ply from Ecoyarns and Kathy’s Fibres SW Sock
Needles: 2.5mm
Ravelry project page

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Tutorial: Winding a (mini) skein of yarn using basic household items

Hello! How is everyone today? It’s starting to feel like winter is almost upon us here in Sydney. I’ve actually started wearing my handknitted sweaters again. Yay!

Today’s blog post is to complement Vivian’s tutorial a few weeks ago about skeining and balling hand-dyed yarn. I have an alternative method to show you where I use basic household items to wind skeins of yarn into balls. I find this way of winding especially good for winding mini sampler skeins of yarn. My pretty sampler skein is from Kathy’s Fibres and it was part of the Ewe Beaut Fibre Sampler. Pretty, isn’t it?

Did you know that Ecoyarns is a regular contributer to Ewe Beaut and other sampler boxes? Subscribe now to our blog (RSS) and newsletter (email) so you never miss out!

Tools you’ll need:
2 heavy containers – I use a coffee tumbler and coffee jar filled with water
Toilet paper roll 

20120506 Winding tools

1. Unwind your skein and untie the ends. A larger skein of yarn probably has shorter bits of yarn tied around the skein to hold it together. Remove these. 

2. Place the untwisted skein over the containers as shown below. For larger skeins, use the back of two chairs as Vivian explained in her tutorial.

20120506 Wind yarn around jars

3. Cut 2 slits on opposings sides (on one end) of your toilet paper roll. Slip one end of the yarn into the toilet paper roll. See pictures below.

4. Start winding the yarn around the toilet paper roll. Do this for a few rounds. Keep a loose, even tension.

20120506 Wind yarn around toilet paper roll

5. Wind the yarn at an angle and slowly move the toilet paper roll around. It should start looking like this. 

20120506 Keep winding around toilet paper roll

6. Ta-da! You have now wound a skein into a ball. I find that knitting directly from this toilet paper roll is easier when you don’t have much yarn. But if you started with a full size skein, then you can just squeeze the toilet paper roll and slide it out. It then becomes a neat centre-pull ball.

20120506 Wound mini skein

I’ve shown you a sneek peak of my current project. I used this pretty handpainted yarn to finish the baby kimono I knitted for my girl. But that’s for another week. I can’t wait to show you the finished product. To quote the hubby, “That’s the cutest thing you’ve made so far!” :))

Happy knitting!

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Skeining and balling a hand-dyed yarn

Alright. So now you have a skein of yarn, dried on the line after getting really bright with jelly colours. What are you going to do with this? 

Option 1: Skein/Hank it up and store it because you already have several other projects on the needles so this has to wait. This form reduces stress on the yarn, so this is the preferred option for longer term storage. The yarn will not be overstretched when you knit your garment.

OR

Option 2: Wind it into a ball now and cast on immediately. There are many sock and shawl patterns that would work with this amount of yarn.

Over the next few weeks we will bring you a simple sock pattern step by step.

1) Skeining/Hanking

I stretch the yarn between my two hands with my finger through the loop at both ends, then rotate one hand to start twisting. At one point the yarn will start to twist on itself, at this point, hold your hands firmly at the same distance from each other and add another 2 twists to the yarn, then rapidly bring your hands together allowing the extra twist to move into the skein. Tuck one end into the loop at the other end and TA-DA! there is a skein/hank.

There should be a nice fluffy twist to the yarn. 

When I first tried this, it took me about 10 tries to get it right.

_skeining_1
Skeining_2Skeining_3Skeining_4Skeining_5

2) Winding into a Ball by hand

I asked my kids to demonstrate this. First one person holds the yarn taut with their hands/forearms.The other person gently finds the ties that hold the yarn together and very carefully unties the knots. Usually two ends are tied together for security, pick either one, but if one end clearly lies on the outside of the skein, then start winding with this. Sometimes there are 2 ends tied onto different parts of the skein, pick one that looks the least tangled.

Winding
Winding_2_butterflyWinding_6Winding_3Winding_9Winding_7

Start winding the yarn onto your hands, forming a figure 8 between your thumb and pinkie. When this little bundle gets slightly puffy, release your fingers, fold it in half and start winding the yarn around across the strands.

Continue winding this way until there is a sizable ball in your hands, rotating the growing ball of yarn every few times as yarn is wound onto the ball.

I know some very clever people that can make perfect spheres, egg shapes and can even leave the inside yarn tail in the middle as a center pull ball.

As you are winding, try not to pull the yarn too taut, because if the yarn is stored that way, it can lose some elasticity and give an incorrect gauge when knitting with overstretched yarn. The correct tension for your ball should feel like it gives a little when squeezed, like a juggling ball, not hard like a cricket ball.

Well, frankly handwinding is pretty tedious and boring, and there might not be a willing volunteer to hold the yarn for you. Thats ok, try the back of a chair, or flip the chair over and drape the yarn over the legs. Or invest in a swift and ball winder.

PREVIEW:

For those who are really keen to cast on those Top-down socks, Using 2.25mm needles, cast on 64 stitches and join in the round. K2 p2 for 20 rows.

Use either double pointed needles (dpns) or 2 circular needles

more pictures and instructions coming in 2 weeks as Salihan is our blogger next week!

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