Sunday, August 12, 2007


First, the greatest respect and compliments to the makers of It is a wonderful resource for which I'm truly thankful, and which all knitters should know of. Compliments too to the people at Ravelry, who have all the world's knitters wanting to beta-test their product and organise their stash in the process. Suddenly everyone's interested in indexing and cataloguing their yarn. I've long been meaning to post something about the way I do it, and now seems like a good time.
My own personal yarndex is in hard-copy format. It sits in A5-size ring binders, currently two of them. I can totally see the appeal of an online yarn database like Ravelry because you can access it from anywhere, but there are also things I love about my old-fashioned binders, one being that you can tape generous-sized yarn samples to each page, especially if you use heavy card.

The cards are filed by brand name - but they could be re-organised by weight or by fibre content, just as easily. I do one new card for each new yarn I add to the collection, even if it's just a single ball. If I have the same yarn in lots of colours, they all go on one page, as shown here. But if I have the same yarn in different weights, they get a page-per-weight.

Information appearing on each card is mostly taken from the ball band and typically includes:

  • Brand name
  • Fibre content
  • Yardage & weight per ball
  • Number of balls in the stash
  • Colours in the stash: names & numbers
  • Recommended needle size
  • Recommended gauge
  • Yarn weight (eg 4-ply, DK, aran)
  • Hand wash / machine wash / dry clean only
  • What project it's planned for, if any, & where to find the pattern
  • If it's remnants, what I made with it
  • Date the card was last amended

Here's my favourite thing about my A5-size, hard-copy yarndex: let's say I'm home one evening, completely exhausted and wondering what yarn I have that would suit some nice pattern I've just spotted. Instead of having to dig all through the stash, I can lie in bed with my little yarn directory and leaf through it to see what I have in nice colours and the correct weight. I don't have to sit at the computer to look at it, and the real yarn samples give me accurate information about colour and texture in a way that photos never can. Nice, huh?

Until next time, happy filing.


Ahna said...

I like your system. It's better than mine! My husband had a good laugh at me when he discovered me working at my "knitting database" I created on the computer. It is sort of simple and complex all at once but involves an inventory of all yarn and needles, a sizing index for all friends and family and a list of yarns needed for patterns that will be worked in the future. And some other stuff, but I forget.

Anyway, my database is fabulous but there is one thing it is missing that you have. The yarn snippets! Duh! I totally should be saving my yarn! I have a yarn notes section in my database but no actual snippets!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Fabulous fashions. Fast. And friendly. said...

Thank you so much for your kind words about Yarndex. We're delighted that you like it. We're uploading new yarns all the time so we can help knitters throughout the world find everything they want to know about any particular yarn. If you're ever in Columbus, OH, USA we'd love to show you our headquarters!
Best regards,
Deborah Knight