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One of the things those new to crochet photo patterns might have a problem with is figuring out how to easily work with multiple colors at a time. My gray scale patterns use eight colors, and color photo patterns can use a lot more.
How do you work with all of these different yarns and not get the individual strands tangled up?
When I first started doing crocheted portraits a couple of years ago, I put small balls of each color in a little sandwich baggie and labeled the baggie with the color number and name. I typically crochet on the couch, so I had the four darkest colors on my right and the four lightest colors on my left.
This wasn’t too bad because I could easily identify the color I needed by the label on the baggie. And after you do these patterns for a while, you memorize which color name goes with which color number. But I did have to constantly look down and to my right or left, depending on which color I needed.
(Click the photo for details.)
Yarn sleeves or skein holders are a step up from the sandwich baggies if you have a little money to spend. They are great if you don’t want to spend time winding balls and work with the skein instead. You never have to worry about the skein coming undone as you get towards the end because the sleeve hugs the skein, no matter what its size. And it’s easy enough to attach a label to the sleeve to identify the color number.
Storage Bags and Boxes
Another possibility is to use a yarn storage bag that has holes in the top that individual strands can pass thorugh. If there are pockets in addition to the holes at the top, you could place yarn balls in the pockets, with the strand coming out of the top of the pocket.
Similar to this solution, you could get a large cardboard box to put your skeins in and pass individual strands through holes you cut in the top of the box. Then mark each hole with a yarn color number. A large box would accommodate eight skeins; a smaller box would accommodate the baggies I use in the photo above. Just make sure you don’t permanently seal the opposite end of the box, because you’ll need to replace skeins/balls from time to time.
“Yarn Hack” Using Binder Clips
But what seems to be working extremely well for me these days is this “yarn hack” I found on Facebook and adapted to my needs. By the way, a “hack” is an inexpensive solution to a problem, and this one lives up to its name very nicely.
I still have my yarn balls in the little labeled baggies, and the baggies in a box, but I’m passing the individual strands through binder clips, with the corresponding color number below each clip. And while I can’t see the labels for Colors 0 and 7 because their clips are on the side of the box, it’s not very difficult to figure out which ones they are when I need them.
I like this solution because the box is so portable. I can place it in its WIP bag along with the piece I’m working on and store everything away until I’m ready to work on it again.
If you’re doing a full color crochet photo pattern that uses more than eight colors, simply use a bigger box. I would recommend winding the yarn into balls so you can get all the colors in the box. And if you need to place clips on the far side of the box, label them on the inside of the box so you can see them.
Have you come up with some interesting “yarn hacks” to keep your yarn organized while working on crochet photo patterns? Tell me about them in the comments section.