This is my response to the third prompt in A Playful Day’s Love Your Blog Challenge, which is Ugly. I’d been thinking about how knitters handle storage, which oddly seemed to sort of fit.
So many knitters I follow online take such lovely pictures of their projects and workspaces, I think sometimes it’s easy to believe that all knitters’ projects are so beautifully arranged and organized and stored. If you follow Stephen West on Instagram, for instance, he recently posted the most envy-inducing pictures of his yarn stash, organized by color in a free-standing antique cabinet with glass doors.
Me? My knitting storage is kind of ugly. I use a rolling three-drawer unit made out of plastic from Target, with a smaller, desktop-sized three-drawer unit made out of plastic (probably also from Target, but I can’t remember) stacked on top. It’s actually pretty well organized, it just doesn’t rate so highly on the aesthetics scale. The yarn that’s stored in the rolling-drawers-thingy sleeps safely in ziplocs. They’re not sorted within the drawers by anything other than “this is where this yarn fit,” but I did go through and Sharpie onto each ziploc how many yards are in it, at what weight. (If I know.)
My current projects all live in ziplocs as well:
They’re not beautiful, but gallon-sized ziplocs are pretty much the most useful objects ever. I can fit yarn and needles and pattern together in one, and protect them all from the rising tide of cat hair and dust that threatens to overwhelm my home.
The ziplocs live in a a basket for my current projects:
Stuffing it full of ziplocs isn’t that attractive, but it keeps everything sorted and from taking over the living room.
Hidden in the basket is this Chicken Boots circular needle case, which I love. It holds a surprising number of circular needles in decent order in a fairly small space. Before this, my circular needles lived in their packaging in a big padded manila envelope, so this is a huge upgrade.
It’s sort of a compromise between efficiency and prettiness. The fabric is pretty, and this is about the best way that I’ve found to wrangle circular needles, but they remain ungainly and awkward. Straight needles and DPNs can be very pretty, and look elegant stored in jars and vases, but circulars… not such much. But the thing is, I like knitting with circulars so much better. So I will stick with stuffing them in plastic dividers.
My stitch markers and crochet hooks and needles and row counters and so on live in a couple of little plastic containers that some people might find ugly, but please my inner twelve-year-old.
The whole setup is more pragmatic than enchanting, but it works for me based on what role knitting currently plays in my life and how much space and time and money I have.
If I could pick any way to store my yarn, ever? I’d have beautiful, beautiful things. I love the idea of a glass-fronted cabinet, or hand-crafted wood shelves, with cubbies. I’d love for everything associated with my knitting to be the most exquisite items possible.
But I don’t want to focus on how my knitting tools look at the expense of what I can do with them. Sometimes ugly is good, or good enough. Which isn’t at all meant to say that people shouldn’t care about how the items around them look; it’s just that sometimes we’re so surrounded by carefully crafted images of genuinely beautiful things, we can forget that not all of life is so pretty, and it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes useful is even better.