The Yarnologue

Yarn Holders

Keeping our knit and crochet WIPs (works in progress) neat and organized is important not only for inspiring us to work on them, but for keeping our living spaces looking good.

313947_10151048516990983_973697833_nThis picture has been floating around the internet for a while. I’m not clever enough to figure out the original source, so I can’t give the proper credit.

Still, I’d like to applaud the person who came up with this idea for being pretty creative.

If you aren’t sure what you’re looking at….it’s a free-standing toilet paper holder. These items have a fairly slim profile and a weight base, which combine to make them good holders for your working yarn. If you wrap the yarn around an empty toilet paper core, as the picture taker has done, you ensure your yarn will spin freely as you knit or crochet. (Or when your pet attacks it.)

However, as clever as this is, I don’t think my hubby would approve of having it in our living room. Since I believe the ability to compromise is important for a healthy marriage, I started thinking up other options.

IMG_3052Yarn in a tea-pot is a new trend I’ve been seeing recently, so I thought I’d try it out. (I used Louisa Harding Grace Harmonies Yarn for this experiment.)

You won’t catch me doing this on a regular basis. In fact, this photo is the one and only time I’ve done it.

Maybe my tea-pot was the wrong shape, but I found it very difficult to get the yarn tail out the spout. I had to use a crochet hook to feed it through.

Then, as soon as I manged to feed the yarn through the spout, I had a craving for a cup of tea. Lesson learned: Don’t use your only, or favorite, tea-pot as a yarn holder.

IMG_3049This wine box seems like a viable option.

The small, slim skein of Sirdar Kiko fit in the tube quite nicely.

IMG_3050There would even be some room for a pair of needles, as well as the project as it grew. You could poke a hole through the lid and feed the tail out for easy use.

Alternatively, some people use wine boxes of this type to store their straight knitting needles or crochet hooks.

A down side of both the tea-pot and wine box was that I couldn’t see my pretty yarn.

IMG_3054So I shoved it into a cookie jar. This seems to have potential. I can see my pretty Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn and the lid closes securely to keep out pets and dust.

I just can’t bake any cookies until the project is finished!

IMG_2988Another option that allows me to see the yarn, and is decorative to boot, is one of the crystal bowls we received as a wedding gift. It might as well be useful while it’s taking up space on the table. (Yarn is pretty than potpourri!)

Speaking of potpourri, that’s a lot of yarn. Sirdar Giselle Aran, Louisa Harding Amitola, Sublime Luxurious Aran Tweed, Queensland Collection Superstar (gold), and Katia Hechizo (red)

Multiple balls can be used for decoration. Put one ball in the bowl if you’re making a project. The ball can roll around, but not escape.

Another option is to pick up a “yarn bowl.” You’ve probably seen these pottery bowls around. They have either a hole or a notch in the side through which your can feed your yarn. It keeps thinks a little neater than an open bowl like mine would.

Many local yarn stores keep a small stock of yarn bowls on hand. Fiber festivals are also good places to find them. There is an art gallery in my town that has them in the window. Just keep your eyes open.

IMG_2989After all my experimenting I settled on this nice basket that was part of a care package I received over the holidays. I was standing there munching on cookies and though, “Wait a minute!”

The basket is big enough to hold a sweater, has handles for portability, and doesn’t look half bad on the coffee table in the living room.

It’s a much better situation than when my projects were spread all over the coffee table! Projects using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, Viking of Norway Balder, and Louisa Harding Amitola.

How do you keep your active projects contained?

Tell us in the comments, or share a picture on our Facebook wall.


  1. Absolutely agree! Absolutely Love It! I’ve been doing such awhile now, and think Crystal Containers look so nice, better holdint yarn than in the lighted Display Cabinet! πŸ™‚

  2. We received three cans of assorted popcorn for Christmas and I’m using the empty cans for yarn projects. Can see the yarn through the plastic lids, keeps the yarn free of pet hair, and tolerates the grand-baby happily rolling around or toppling over the stacked cans even with yarn in them. Hubby burned holes in plastic tops to feed yarn through and glued the plastic inserts to the lids for reinforcement.

  3. I am the tote bag queen – cheap at Wal-Mart – especially if end of season and who cares if I’m using a NY Yankees bag in the winter, also great souvenirs with a practical purpose – and always ready to pick up and go!

  4. Marianne Loveland

    March 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    very nice and cute ideas

  5. I keep mine in one tote bag or another, but my current project lives in the pretty Vera Bradley bag my son and his wife gave me for Christmas, which was given specifically with that in mind. Thanks, kids! I LOVE IT!

  6. My WIP’s are tucked away in tote bags…one for each project! I have way too many tote bags in my home! I need to get to work, now! LOL!

  7. I love to use pretty tins to keep my yarns in, especially the big popcorn tins. A friend uses the round oatmeal boxes. And I’ve discovered that if I visit our local tennis court on Mondays, the trash cans are full of clear tennis ball containers with lids.
    My favorite project bag for travel is an old suitcase, about 12″ square .

  8. I split mine between baskets at home for large projects (they fit perfectly next to my feet on the leg rest of my recliner), tote bags or pretty decorative boxes with lids for medium sized projects (depending on whether or not the project is running errands with me that day), and cosmetic bags for the small projects so I can knit on my lunch or in between meetings at work. My 10 year old daughter uses cute hobo style purses for hers and has a coordinating yarn in each bag so she can quickly grab the project she wants to work on based on the bag color.

  9. I like all of the containers, but I too am a bag lady. My cousin gave me a huge bag from Cracker Barrel and I take it everywhere. It holds yarn, needles, scissors, snacks, iPad everything! And it’s durable I’ve had it about a year and still looks good!

  10. Dara Hollingshead

    April 29, 2014 at 4:18 am

    most of my waiting to be finished projects are in rubbermade totes or milk crates i get from a local wholesaler. the stuff i’m working on sits in a little purple basket my mother-in-law found me at a yard sale.

  11. I use my Jeep diaper bag I had for my son. I never use it much as a diaper bag because it was too bulky and I hate carrying bags. I currently have 7 balls of yarn and 3 projects in it as well as all my needles. It holds a lot and I can easily zip it up if my son walks over to it!

  12. I love these ideas, I wind all my yarn on a yarn winder, and I use a pretty bowl to put it in. I love the tea pot idea, even though she didn’t. I would use a ribbon/elastic treader to put it through the spout, getting the right teapot would help and I do think it would help the tension. I love teapots, so this is so cute an idea to me.

  13. Oh I have more totes and bags and lol whatever is handy when I need it

  14. Judith Churchill

    October 13, 2014 at 8:43 am

    i do a lot of crocheting on the go and have found that a sandwich or quart sized ziplock bag with a hole punched near the zip top keeps my yarn ball under control and clean. The plastic also helps the yarn ball unwind smoothly. Fits nicely into a small project bag.

  15. I love the teapot idea, but most of my balls of yarn are too big to fit inside. My WIP’s are in project bags – ready to pick up and take with me as I run out the door. I ALWAYS have a knitting project with me!

  16. I keep my current project in a beautiful applique bag I picked up many years ago.
    I keep the separate balls of yarn (for a multi-colored project) in zip lock bags. I leave them mostly closed so that the yarn is less likely to tangle (as if it were fed through the hole of a teapot), but I don’t have to worry about the yarn “bowl” breaking or being ‘in use’ when I want to use it for something else.
    I also bought a box of 5-gallon zippable clear plastic bags from Amazon. When I get new yarn for a project, I put it in the large bag together with the pattern (so I remember why I bought the yarn and so I have everything handy for when I’m ready to start the project).

  17. At home I keep projects in a pretty hand painted picnic basket that my Grandma gave me. It’s big enough for a baby afghan or several small projects plus my needles, and it closes, so the kids can’t take my projects apart and my cat can’t chew up the needles!

  18. I use baskets and clear plastic bags. Each project has a number, to be found in my small 6×9 binder of WIPs. A form showing the number talks about the project, needles, yarn, notions, notes, etc. I am a bit OCD, if you hadn’t noticed! πŸ™‚

    Also use a yarn bowl, a wooden wine bottle holder, and a low wooden bowll when I am knitting. I collect unusual baskets, bags, bowls (for soup), boxes and bottles………. I am an antique dealer as well! πŸ™‚

  19. My grandma used her heirloom soup tureen as her whole project bag.

    When not in use it rested on a beautiful curio with all the materials (yarn, neddle and the wip) inside.
    At crochet time, it rested on a side table by my grandma side. The yarn when thru the spoon area and she close it. It was so heavy that the motion of the uncoiling yarn inside didnt move it, not even the top. And it was so big that an afgan could fit inside.

    When people said to her that it could get broken, she smiled and said “better to get broken while in use, that on display for an eternity”

    Sadly she no longers crochet, but she its always asking me for my projects… And Im always asking for the tureen.

  20. That’s a great story, Luisa. Thanks for sharing!

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