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09 January 2016

Tag, You're It!

Have you ever been struck with a splendid idea just out of the blue?  That happened to me today, and it's such a neat idea, I want to share it with you.

I keep my yarn in baskets on open shelves.  This allows it to be accessible, yet safe from the curious claws, nosy noses, and fidgety fingers of the cats, dogs, and grandkids (respectively).  Because I also use yarn pegs to keep samples of all my yarn (see my post from last April, or Lucy's post at Attic24, which inspired me to set up my own peg system), I usually discard the ball bands when I'm shelving new yarn.  So, long story short, I had about a dozen baskets, each with a different type of yarn, with no ball bands to tell me what was in the basket.  Just in black alone, I have seven different wool/wool blend yarns of varying weights.  Now multiply that times gazillion.  Add to the mix the fact that I wear bifocals, and ... well ... you can see how this would be a problem.

So I decided to do something about this.  My first thought was to put a cardboard tag on each basket, but I worried that cardboard would rip or fall off.  Then I thought about the different kind of tags available at craft stores, such as Joann's and Michael's.  Since I was in the medium-big town today, I decided to swing by Michael's and see what they had.  I found exactly what I wanted in the aisle where they sell wooden doodads ready for painting or embellishing.  They had wooden tags, shaped like gift tags or old-fashioned price tags, for 29¢ each (that's about 20p for my British friends).  I bought ten of them.  I already had different colored fine-point Sharpie® markers and chenille stems (aka pipe cleaners) at home.

My idea was to use one tag per basket.  On each tag I would write the source of the yarn, the name of the yarn, the fiber composition, and the weight.  I would also add, for woolens, if it was washable or not washable.  Then I would attach the tag to the proper basket.  As I was writing the first tag, however, I saw that I had some new yarn in that basket that still had its ball band.  And that's when inspiration hit:  I would remove the ball band, cut out the part of the ball band that contained fiber, gauge, and care instructions, and glue it to the back of each tag!  Brainstorm!

So that's what I did, and I remembered to take photos -- although they're not very good, and I apologize for that.  I took them with my phone, holding the phone in one hand and keeping Beagle #1 out of the way with the other hand while using my body to block Beagle #2.  The Spaniel, as always, was a very good boy.

Here you can see the front (top) and back (bottom) of a tag.  I have so much sock yarn,
I had to split the lot of it into two baskets, one for variegated/multi and one for solids!

This is what the tag looks like when it's on the basket.  I cut chenille stems into thirds, and used those to attach the tags to the basket.  This allows me to change tags easily, if I need to move yarn to a bigger or smaller basket in the future.

And here's a photo of my tidy and reorganized shelves, with the baskets all properly labeled!

Of course, I couldn't just stick tags on baskets, nooooooo, that would have been too easy!  This simple task turned into a major reorganization!  ALL the yarn came off the shelves, some got sorted to different baskets, some collections were even divided and sorted into baskets by color.  Three hours later, I'm "all done and done in," as they say.

Where do you keep your yarn, and how do you keep it organized?  Let me know in the comments section below! Send pictures, too!  :)

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