I don’t know why I thought throwing all the minis into one big basket was a good organizational strategy.

So, I’ve been working on the Life-Long Blanket again lately. I needed something that didn’t take much thinking for evenings after work while we watch TV. I’ve been working on it again for a few nights but then I reached the point where I was down to my last 3 or 4 unused yarns, so I thought it would be a good time to get some minis ready for swapping.

Yesterday I pulled all the yarn out of the basket where the blanket lives. And, well. Hrm.


Now, maybe you’re a better person than I am. Maybe you’re very organized and conscientious about how you work on your blanket. Maybe after you finish each square you wind the yarn back up neatly and tuck it away so that it can’t unravel and so you never run into this problem. I don’t know what you do. Me, so far, I’ve been working on a system where I mostly try to keep the newest yarns separate, usually in the envelope I got them in ’cause most of my supply has been from swaps, and then as each yarn gets used, I toss it in the basket.

Seriously. Just in the basket. For 5 years now. The basket is a foot and a half deep! Sometimes when I run out of new yarns I’ll plunge a hand into the depths of the basket and do a few repeat squares, but mostly it’s just been get new yarn, use it, toss it in the basket. And I never thought about what a bad strategy that was until yesterday when I went looking to sort out some yarns to swap and see if I could maybe dig up a few more new ones that found their way into the wrong side of the “organizational system.”

So, this was how yesterday morning went.

1) Clear some space and spread the blanket out on the couch.


2) Realize how big it’s gotten.

3) Start believing I might see the end of it someday.

4) Pull a ball of yarn out of the basket, untangle its end, wind it neatly, and figure out whether it’s an Unused, Already Used, or Too Small for a Square But I Think I Can Still Do Something Fun With It.

This last step involved all those matching skills I haven’t used since I was 4.


Turns out I’m still very good at it.

5) (THIS IS THE IMPORTANT STEP!) Put all yarns away neatly in such a way that we don’t continue to have a tangle problem.

In the end I have 4 gallons of Already Used…


…one very surprising gallon of Unused…


…and a stuffed-full quart of Too Small for a Square But I Think I Can Still Do Something Fun With It.


(I’m thinking maybe a scrappy scarf.)

Now we only have 1 problem, really. I swear to you — I SWEAR! — I really did believe that if I just went through methodically, pulling out 1 ball of yarn at a time and untangling its loose end, that by the time I got to the last ball of yarn, that awful mess I showed you at the beginning would be gone. I truly thought that giant tangle represented only the loose ends of all the actual balls and cakes and butterflies of yarn that I could see in the basket. I can’t explain why I thought that, except to say that yesterday morning was spent waiting out a migraine hangover, so my cognitive abilities weren’t really what they could have been.

After all of that sorting and matching and untangling, this is what I’m left with:


No, it doesn’t look very different from what I started with to me, either.

Anyways. Who’s up for a sock yarn swap? I think winding up some mini skeins would be an excellent distraction from that mess.

Which I am leaving in the bottom of the basket.

Maybe for another 5 years.

7 thoughts on “I don’t know why I thought throwing all the minis into one big basket was a good organizational strategy.

  1. The blanket is BEAUTIFUL! I like all your tiny yarn balls, and your jar of pickled yarns, and your handful of yarn spaghetti <3

    1. Awww, thanks! I don’t love the handful of yarn spaghetti quite as much as the others, but overall I’m feeling very affectionate about the whole thing.

    1. Yes! How does it happen? I didn’t think the basket had been jostled all that much, but something has clearly been in there just juggling yarn balls for 5 years.

  2. throwing balls into a basket has always been my ‘organizational strategy’, too—and i’ve pretty much had the same results. I’ll often take the tangled mess I’m left with at the end and give it to the birds for nesting material. Love seeing bright bits all over the neighbor!!!

    1. Oooooohhhhh, I love the bird idea! I have a few giant tangles right now that I know are mostly natural fibers, and that could definitely be a good way to get them off my to-do list!

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