Tian Connaughton is a sought-after designer, and a technical editor, course creator, business strategist, and coach. She has published 2 books, Unlock Your Inner Design: How to Start Designing and Pattern Launch Plan: Sell More Patterns Consistently Without Being Sleazy. Tian is passionate about empowering knitters, crocheters, and designers through courses, coaching, and accountability. She’s the creator behind the wildly popular courses Pattern Grading Made Easy and Get Published, as well as Pattern Partnership, a membership program providing training and community to help crochet and knit designers build successful pattern businesses, create profitable brands, and make consistent sales. Tian lives by the motto, “a rising tide lifts all boats” because she believes there is more than enough room for all of us. You can find her openly sharing her knowledge on Instagram @knitdesignsbytian and her website, tianconnaughton.com.
What system do you use to organize your yarn?
My yarn is organized by weight (handspun yarns are separate, of course). Sweater quantities and bulky yarns are stored in bins under the bed with light weight and smaller quality lots are stored in my office/studio close at hand.
What furniture/storage systems do you use to organize your yarn?
I recently turned the closet in my office/studio into a shelving unit. This unit is great for displaying pretty things on the shelves move visibly for inspiration and aesthetics. Then, extra books, stitch dictionaries, magazines, and yarns are on hidden shelves, in bins and drawers. I don't like a lot of clutter in my space so this appeals to my visual and practical sides.
How do you like to de-stash?
The top way I like to de-stash is through finishing project. A close second in giving yarn for gifts and donation. I don't do yarn swaps any more. I like giving away my yarn without the obligation of getting something back in return, especially if it's to someone that had their eye on a yarn I have that maybe is no longer available or maybe it's not in their budget.
More often than not, what colors are always in your office/yarn corner?
The orange yellow and rusty red colors of my office/studio walls. Everything else is white or muted because the walls are the show stopper of the whole space. The walls are just so vibrant and cheery. Who wouldn't be happy in that space?
Do you like to work in the same space where your yarn is stored? Why or why not?
No. I work wherever is most comfortable at the moment. During the warmer months, I'm outside A LOT so, I'm grab my project and sit out on the pergola or deck for hours. Also, I like to take my projects on the go so they too can get a bit of vacation and see the world too LOL. While I do have a cozy spot in my office for stitching, if the weather is fine, I'm outside or if my boys are watching a movie, I want to be where they are.
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 am not working on a project, they pretty much stay in my office/studio. If it's for a commission with definite timeline, it's near my cozy chair. If it's in timeout because I can't figure out something or there is a more pressing project where that work in process will not be worked on for a while, then it goes in a project bag with notes and into a a drawer on my bookcase. And it's important to include all the pertinent information about the project because sometimes I might not get back for months at a time.
Was the majority of your yarn bought with a project idea in mind?
The majority of my yarn was bought with absolutely no project in mind. That might be why my stash is so large... but I'm okay with that LOL.
Do you or have you ever found it difficult to manage/organize your yarn?
Yes, very much. When I am working on a big project, it seems like there is just yarn and books everywhere, spilling beyond the walls of my office/studio. It use to be frustrating because it felt like I should be more organized. But I've realized that that is just a part of my creative process - that messy unorganized state turning into to something amazing. Plus, it helps to have a designated place in my office to return everything to when I am done.
How did you find an organization system that works for you?
It took a lot of trial and error to find the system that currently works for me. It's buying a lot of different storage items, testing them for a while, not having it work, and then trying something else. Some days I feel like I am still search as my work and my stash evolves. Right now my built-in bookcase in my office and bins under my bed might work but I'm open to any change that might happen 6-months or a year from now. For me, it's all about being open to the evolution of what I need and not be too stuck on what's working now because things change.
How important is a well-organized yarn corner/office to your mental wellbeing?
A well-organized yarn corner/office is very important. And my definition of "well-organized" is likely different from others. My studio/office is open and airy without a lot of clutter - don't open drawers because that's where the mess gets stuffed. A lot of clutter feels overwhelming. So having the openness, it feels like there is infinite possibilities. So, if I am feeling down and cluttered, a good clearing up of my studio/office tends to help clear my head.
Where did you purchase everything shown in your photos?
The closet system was designed especially to fit that space and my needs (ever changing), created, and installed by Designer Closets (designerclosets.com) located in Southwick, MA.
Do you have any tips or advice you have for someone who is trying to reorganize their stash? I
My advice for anyone trying to organize their space is to think about what you need and what you value. Do you want to see things out in the open or have them hidden away? Think about a space you enjoy going to - what do you like about it? That's what I did. I tried to not capture or replicate the spaces I saw but rather to capture the feelings I got from that space. How do you want to feel in your space?
Are there any current projects or promotions you'd like to share?
As a designer, I am working on a lot of projects I can't share. But I do want to share my Creativebug courses coming soon and my other trainings for designers and tech editors. You can find details to all of that on my website.
Photos courtesy of Tian Connaughton.