Controlling Skeins of Yarn:
- The new Yarn Bras available at craft stores or
through mail order are wonderful for keeping that skein of yarn in place.
They are a plastic net that expands to fit your skein and then collapsed
down as you use the yarn. They run about $3.50 to $4.00 a package.
Make your own yarn bras by taking a knee high stocking and placing it on
the skein. I use old ones that have runs and I've washed out well.
Making sure the pull strand is at the top of the stocking, pull the stocking
up onto the skein. These little guys work wonderfully because of
the elastic band at the top ... and best of all, it doesn't cost much.
Think of it as a great recycling tip.
- Using the taller 1 lb coffee can, that you've
cleaned out, saving the plastic lid. Cut a hole in the middle of
the lid using a leather hole punch or exacto knife about 1/8" round.
[It's important to actually cut a hole in the lid, not just a slit]
Find the center strand on your pull skein. Put the yarn into the
can vertically with the pull end up. Thread the strand through the
hole in the lid and snap the lid onto the can.
- You can also use gallon size zip lock freezer
bags to keep that yarn in check. I like the One Zip type that have
the actual zipper on the bag, but any zip lock freezer baggy will do.
Put your yarn into the baggy and pull the end out of the bag. Zip
the zipper up to the strand of yarn, but make sure the thread flows out
smoothly. There's a hint below for using one bag for multiple skeins.
- Make your own yarn holders with the larger
plastic soda or water bottles. Making sure you wash and dry
them out really well cut them in half. I file the edges a bit with
a used emery board so that I don't cut myself on the plastic. Then
I put the yarn into the bottom of the bottle and pull the strand through
the opening of the top half. Now being careful, push the top into
the bottom portion of the bottle. You may have to squeeze it
into the bottom.
- For the larger balls of thread like the Knit
Cro-sheen size 10 or the Lustersheen balls, I like to use a Planters Peanut,
or Almond Rocha can that I've cleaned out and saved the plastic lid.
Follow the same directions given above for using coffee cans.
- When using small balls like the DMC cotton I like
to use a canning jar with a large mouth opening. I cut a piece
of cardboard to fit the lid ring. Punch a hole in the middle of the
cardboard and push it into the lid ring. Drop your thread into the
jar, threading the end through the hold in the cardboard lid. Place
the lid onto the jar.
- Use zip lock freezer bags. I like the One
Zip type that have the actual zipper on the bag, but any zip lock freezer
baggy will do. Try the quart size for the larger balls of thread
and pint size for smaller balls. Put your thread into the baggy and
pull the end out of the bag. Zip the zipper up to the thread, but
make sure the thread flows out smoothly.
- I've also taken the liter size plastic water or
soda bottles and cut them in half. I do the same thing as listed
above for the larger plastic bottles to hold yarn skeins.
Using Multiple Strands:
- When using two or three strands together,
like working on a Q or S hook project, use a regular zip lock bag, putting
the two/three skeins into the bag vertically. Bring the inner pull
strand out of the bag on each skein. Don't zip the bag all the way
across, just close the zip lock portion in-between each skein letting the
strands flow through smoothly. For six strands, use two
baggies and staple them together along the sides. You can't use the
one zip style baggy on this one, it has to be a normal zip lock type.
- When I am using more than one container holding
my yarn skeins or balls of thread, I find a paper bag or a box that fits
the number of cans or baggies I am using so that they are kind of snug
fit when placed into the bag or box. Put the cans or baggies into
the the bag/box and place it on the floor by your feet. This way
everything is nice and neat and I don't trip over the loose cans or bags....
I call this my containment zone.
Using Multiple Colors:
- When you are using multiple colors in a project
try using yarn bobbins. You can purchase these at yarn stores or
craft stores along with mail order. Wind each bobbin with enough
of the color you need for each area of color change. No bobbins? Not a problem... cut pieces of cardboard about 2"
by 4" and wind your yarn around these. Cut a slit at one edge.
When not using the yarn, place the yarn/thread strand into the slit to
keep it from unraveling.
- Try using the floss cards that come with embroidery
floss holders. These are small enough not to get in the way and they
come with the slits already there.
- If using bobbins doesn't appeal to you, try using small
plastic bags. You can get them at office supply, craft or stationary
stores. These little zip lock bags come in a variety of sizes.
Wind off enough of the color you need for each color change and put into
the bag. Zip the bags all the way closed when not using the color,
and unzip only slightly allowing the strand to flow freely when in use.
- While working with multiple colors, keep the unused
colors to the back of your work. For more tips on crocheting with multiple
colors, see the tips page for “Changing Colors In Crochet”
- Make a working copy of your pattern. [Write PERSONAL
USE COPY or your name across the top so that you can avoid a nasty conversation
with someone who may think you are infringing on copyrights.] As
you finish each row make an X or check mark next to the row number.
For following a chart, enlarge the pattern on the copier and use a highlighter
pen to cross off each row on the chart as your finish it.
- For multiple rows and repeats such as afghan patterns
that have you "following rows 22 through 195 repeating rows 2 through 21",
write "row just finished" or "number of rows done" at the
top of your copy. As you finish a row of the pattern repeat,
put that row # next to the "row just finished" [Row 4 ]. Update the
"number of rows done" when you are in the total number you have to do [Row
78]. Keep a pencil handy with a good eraser on it and keep changing
the two figures as you go along. If you don't have easy access to
a copy machine... use two post it notes. One for the "row just finished"
and one for the "number of rows done". Place the post-its on your
pattern. This way you don't mark up your original pattern.
- Purchase a row counter like the ones knitters use. You
can do a couple of things to keep this counter handy and attached to your
- You can take a piece of yarn and thread it
through the row counter. Tie it into a loop. Place the loop
onto a safety pin and pin the counter to your work.
- Row counters come in two sizes, so you can use the
smaller size on hooks to about a G and the larger size row counter for
hooks that are larger than size G. You can purchase needle protectors
that knitters use to keep the knitting on their needles from falling off.
They look like a rubber stopper and they too come in two sizes, small
and larger. Place the row counter on the end of your hook.
Now place the rubber stopper on the end of your hook. For steel
hooks or if your row counter slips up your hook, wrap a rubber band around
the hook in front of the row counter.
- There are also row counters out on the market that are
a board with pegs. Susan Bates has one and also Boye puts one out.
I paid about $4.99 for mine. They allow you to place pegs in the
row and the stitch repeat that you are one. You can also use the
pegged score board that card players use for Cribbage... these work really
well for tracking your work.