Birdie Alaniz, aka @bobcatandbirdie, is a fiber artist who specializes in the art of latch hook, specifically creating latch hook patterns and kits. She sells BYOY (bring your own yarn) latch hook kits on Etsy that allow you to customize your own latch hook design using the colors of your choice and the yarn in your stash. Along with latch hook, she also dabbles in embroidery and digital art and we think her designs are a fun, colorful mix of 90's nostalgia and RGV (Rio Grande Valley in Texas) awesomeness!
What system do you use to organize your yarn?
I organize my yarn by color (ROYGBIV, always) in a bookshelf. Before I begin a project, I like to envision different color combinations for my latch hook pieces. This helps me to see everything that I have quickly/at-a-glance. I like to purchase multiple skeins in the same color so I make sure to group those within the space.
What furniture/storage systems do you use to organize your yarn?
3 out of 5 shelves of an adjustable bookshelf are devoted to my yarn stash. The other shelves are home to different photo backdrops, paper, and scrap rug canvas.
How do you like to de-stash?
Years ago, I was a hobby crafter with a very sweet friend that gifted me her entire stash of yarn. There was so much and I had no idea what to do with it! So a few years ago I began my *big de-stash plan*-- I was going to use up all the yarn through my childhood love of latch hooking. I started making DIY latch hook pieces and before I knew it, my yarn stash had doubled. Oops! I may not be "good" at de-stashing, but it kind of changed my life. Long story short, I'm still de-stashing through every completed project, except now I know it's not for good.
More often than not, what colors are always in your office/yarn corner?
Without a doubt: lavender (even my walls), lime green, and light blue.
Do you like to work in the same space where your yarn is stored? Why or why not?
Yes. I do most of my projects a few feet away from where my yarn is stored. I really like it because I can quickly see all the colors I have available.
When you are working on a project, do you have a specific spot you put it when you aren't working on it, or does it follow you around beyond your space?
When I'm working on a latch hook project, I usually have a specific spot for it. I work with thousands of small pieces of yarn so I always work at a table or desk. Also if I have a big piece to work on, I like to set up a small table in my living room so I can binge-watch shows and movies with my husband!
Was the majority of your yarn bought with a project idea in mind?
Most definitely! The majority of my yarn stash was purchased with a specific project and/or particular color combination in mind.
Do you or have you ever found it difficult to manage/organize your yarn?
I've definitely had my share of yarn-induced headaches, especially when I'm working on a large-scale project and have a pile of skeins across my desk. At the same time, my system allows me to put everything back pretty quickly. Also, since I buy multiples of colors, it's easy to see if I've started a particular color before starting up a new skein.
How did you find an organization system that works for you?
I love organizing by color because I'm a very visual person. I organize everything in my studio by ROYGBIV (rainbow order: red, organge, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) so that was a clear organizational move for my yarn.
How important is a well-organized yarn corner/office to your mental wellbeing?
It's pretty important to me that I have a well-organized space because I run my small business out of the same space that I work creatively. I work hard to dedicate different spaces and corners to different things and to swap out those spaces when necessary.
Where did you purchase everything shown in your photos?
Pegboard (mounted to wall studs): https://www.lowes.com/pd/1-Piece-Hardboard-Pegboard-Actual-47-75-in-95-75-in/3014308?
Wall shelving (DIY): 36in x 9in wood
8in L-Brackets: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Grip-Tight-Tools-24-Pack-8-in-White-Shelf-Bracket/1002563798
Sterilite mini crates (I swear by these! Awesome for holding yarn in-between projects too!): https://www.walmart.com/ip/Sterilite-Mini-Crate-Black/17126915
Great for small items: https://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-Section-Small-Drawer-Organizer/dp/B00FVZ7E4O/
Do you have any tips or advice you have for someone who is trying to reorganize their stash? I
Make a list! It helped me so much to make an inventory list of everything I own and every craft I love. Dedicate spaces to your stuff and don't be afraid to change things up if it doesn't flow or feel good.
Make groups! Grouping crafts and supplies not only keeps you organized, but it's a really nice way to keep stock of what you have. Grouping by color, or following ROYGBIV, takes a lot of guess work out of organizing items you have in several colors, too! Yarn, embroidery floss, sequins, and felt are some of the things I keep ROYGBIV'd in my studio.
Are there any current projects or promotions you'd like to share?
DIY Latch Hooking for Beginners class:
Current WIP (latch hook cube): https://www.instagram.com/p/CMXboRQBl4u/?igshid=124i81t0w08xg
Photos courtesy of Birdie Alaniz.