When You Need to Store a WIP
Updated: Sep 25, 2022
Now look. This post is NOT going to be about the number of works-in-progress (WIPs) I have closeted away in drawers and bins and corners collecting dust. It's not.
But I DO want to talk to you about how to properly put a WIP away for (temporary!) storage if you need to because, say, you have an emergency project that suddenly needs taking on. Like you just got invited to a baby shower and you want to crank out a handmade gift. Or a friend's birthday is coming up and you just learned that their favorite shawl you made them a decade ago got stolen while on a trip out of town, leaving them devastated, of course. Hey, emergencies happen. Even crochet emergencies!
So. What do you do with your current WIP while you focus on your energy on this emergency project?
First, PUT A STITCH MARKER IN IT.
I'm serious. Go do it right now. To any WIP you have! Take the hook out and put a stitch marker in that loop. Don't wait for your dog to grab your project bag and have a romp around the house, ripping have your stitches out in the process. Do it.
Second, if you can't or don't want to leave the crochet hook with the project, you need to make a note of EXACTLY which you used. Don't just say "green hook" or something like that, either. Be VERY specific. Such as "green 4.0 mm Boye hook" or whatever it may be. Because not all green hooks are created equally. Not even every 4.0 mm Boye hook is created equally, though I'm sure they try their best!
So where do you write this information down? In a pinch, a sticky note to include with the project will do. Ideally? I want you to go set up a project page in Ravelry, of course! And don't neglect the details, either, like, for example, the hook size. I get SO MAD at myself when I go to look up an old project for reference of some sort and I discover that I did not input the hook size I used. SO MAD! So do that, please, for the sanity of your future self.
But this also brings us to my third recommendation, PRINT OUT THE PATTERN. Because this is also an excellent place to make note of the specific hook you used, yes? Be sure to also mark, very clearly, EXACTLY where you stopped working on the pattern. Even MORE clearly and specifically than you think you need to so that your future self, or your grandchildren someday if, like me, you never get back around to stored WIPs, cannot possibly misunderstand where you left off.
And write down any other notes you might have, too, like about modifications you've made or intended color sequences - anything that your grandchildren, I mean your future self might need. Yeah, actually, go ahead and do that! Imagine that you're leaving notes for someone ELSE to follow.
And never, EVER, under any circumstances, tell yourself, "Oh, I'll remember that!" You won't. You like. To yourself. We all do it. If you hear yourself saying that in your head, write that shit down! Write it on the pattern and in Ravelry, too, because, you know, papers get lost. (Ask me how I know.)
So. Once you have your free loop properly secured, pattern printed, hook notated and secured, and any and all possible other potentially necessary notes made, wrap it all up neatly (maybe wrap your scarf around the skein of yarn, for example, and then your yarn is less likely to come unraveled AND you won't have creases in your work!) and put the whole shebang into a project bag or a ziplock baggie. And do try to put it into a bag that FITS the project - you don't want to have a bunch of extra room in there for the yarn to shuffle around in and come unraveled.
If you have multiple skeins of yarn, bag those, too. Pretend you're packing for travel! Roll, tuck, arrange, squeeze out extra air, seal. Now. To find a safe place to store your carefully packaged WIP... Maybe make a note of that in Ravelry, too!
And if you're not sure about how to add a project to Ravelry, here's a video from my friend Karen, who will walk you through everything you need to know!
Karen also made several other Ravelry tutorials that I recommend periodically, so if you'd like to learn more, go check out her entire How to Use Ravelry playlist on YouTube!
Okay! I think that's all of my best advice on WIP storage. I didn't mention mothballs or lavender or cedar sachets because this is only a temporary storage solution for an emergency project, right? Right. If you're looking for super long term storage, like for those grandkids we mentioned? Well... I wish you the best of luck!
Do you have anything you would add to this list? Have you had a storage disaster occur? Comment below and let us know your best WIP storage tips!