Cassie Arnold is a fiber artist who received her BFA in Visual Art Studies from the University of North Texas. She has spent the last decade teaching in both private and public secondary schools and has showcased her work in numerous Fine Art Shows and exhibitions around the United States and Europe. Her current body of work explores the unspoken and taboo topics connected to life as a woman. Whether it be inspired by miscarriage, breastfeeding or the transformative female form, her art encourages all people to engage in an open and unashamed dialogue. By using traditional fiber techniques like knitting, her hope is to change the cultural narrative of “women’s work.” Stitch by stitch, her goal is to challenge the stereotypes surrounding females, their bodies, their work, their capabilities, and their lives.
What system do you use to organize your yarn?
I like to organize my yarn in three methods: by color for long-term use (this is extra yarn that I receive as a gift or leftovers from past projects), by project for upcoming use (art series that I have specific yarn for that I can grab quickly in a pinch), and current project (yarn that Im currently working with).
What furniture/storage systems do you use to organize your yarn?
I have multiple storage units, but my two favorite pieces are a wooden vintage yarn holder that was given to me by one of my closest friends (thanks Katie!) that was a family heirloom that she passed on to me for my birthday, and an old metal locker that my father-in-law gave me. I also use a lot of bins and canvas bags for projects on the go.
How do you like to de-stash?
I used to donate to a special recycle craft store that we had in our town called SCRAP. Unfortunately it shut down during the pandemic, so I'm hoping to find another similar store to donate scraps too.
More often than not, what colors are always in your office/yarn corner?
Neutrals. I looooove color but I'm always stocked on creams and neutrals because it's what I work with the most in my artwork. I also have a lot of primary colors since my oldest loves blue and my middle loves red/pinks.
Do you like to work in the same space where your yarn is stored? Why or why not?
Yes. I'm so inspired by yarn and textiles! By working in the same space as my yarn/materials, I usually get a spark of inspiration from seeing it on display! Besides...who doesn't love seeing a beautiful pile of yarn all balled up and on display. ;)
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?
I'm fortunate that my studio space is in my backyard, but since I have three small children, sometimes the only time I have to work is in the middle of the night after they've gone to sleep. I usually always keep a project in my nightstand to keep my hands busy while Im laying in bed, and then I throw it in a bag if I'm ever on the go or happen to get studio time during the day.
Was the majority of your yarn bought with a project idea in mind?
Yes! A few years ago I made the conscious decision to start buying nicer quality yarn for exhibition pieces. This was an excellent decision, but because we are a single income family, I also decided to never buy yarn unless it's for a current art piece since it tends to be expensive. The only exception is when my husband and I travel (pre-pandemic) and it's a tradition for me to purchase yarn from places we visit overseas as a souvenir. :)
Do you or have you ever found it difficult to manage/organize your yarn?
YES! Maybe it's just me, but as an artist and a knitter, I am constantly trying to figure out the best way to store my yarn that best fits my needs.
How did you find an organization system that works for you?
Trial and error! Some methods of storing yarn have been really efficient during certain seasons of my life, but as my family grows and as my artwork changes and matures, I find that so does my method of how I organize my yarn. I actually love change, so if I feel that a system isn't working for me any more, I quickly change it to accommodate my needs.
How important is a well-organized yarn corner/office to your mental wellbeing?
Very. I am weird and have to tidy my yarn before I can get started working.
Where did you purchase everything shown in your photos?
Vintage locker - (similar here): https://www.etsy.com/listing/855095468/antique-metal-green-school-gym-locker?ref=sold_out-1&pro=1
Vintage wooden yarn display - (similar here): https://www.etsy.com/listing/162890280/vintage-wooden-storage-barrel-on-legs?epik=dj0yJnU9Q1dWbWJDRWZoSHI2alNTWGJISmxUQmZRSktRUmNVcFEmcD0wJm49R2ZxQnFlaW5JU3M4S1IyY05RQm1ydyZ0PUFBQUFBR0JZRVVr
Ikea bookshelves with glass doors - (similar here): https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/syvde-cabinet-with-glass-doors-white-30439565/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw3duCBhCAARIsAJeFyPXm5spntSxwd5GRMo_d0zXcM-lrJ30VpdjMHVmhSrbE3yGYWO_I_PQaApusEALw_wcB
Felt baskets - https://www.target.com/p/5-x11-small-felt-basket-with-stitching-project-62/-/A-81455786
Do you have any tips or advice you have for someone who is trying to reorganize their stash? I
Don't be afraid of change. If it's not working to fit your needs, then change it! I used to never want to rearrange things, even if the system was not working, because I was frustrated that I had *just* organized it. Now that I have three little ones, I have found that work time is too precious to be stumbling around trying to gather my yarn. Also, work with what you have! In my experience, you dont need fancy products to find a system that works for you and your style/project!
Are there any current projects or promotions you'd like to share?
I'm currently working on a performance piece with my three daughters that entails them unraviling a cardigan off of my body, and then I will reknit a new/more improved sweater for a second performance piece. The art piece, entitled "She came unraveled," is a statement on my identity and experience as a mother and how that journey has reshaped me and who I really am as a woman.
Photos courtesy of Cassie Arnold.