Tips and Tricks: Strip Sorters

I’ve had to come up with some creative ways to sort my wool, depending on the demands of my projects and the spaces that I needed to work in. I’ve used a variety of sorters for that task, and I’ve found that I really like one particular style of sorter: one piece Sally sorters.

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Darlene’s one piece Sally sorter.

I really like Darlene Pezza’s Sally sorters in particular. These sorters are a really great tool. They are very well made and well designed. Each sorter can fit 8 values. They can fit a large number of strips and a wide variety of cut sizes. Another benefit to these sorters is they don’t require elastic bands, which have a tendency to get brittle and break over time, as some other strip sorters require. 

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Typically, hookers will use one sorter for one color, like above.

These sorters are also uniquely well suited to one of my favorite tricks when it comes to using sorters: storing two separate colors for one project on one sorter.

The first time I did this, it was because I had limited space where I was working and it was simply easier to have one sorter with me instead of two. I like to run one color along one side of the sorter, from the lightest value to the darkest, and then flip the sorter over and run the other color along the opposite side, so that the lightest value from the second color shares the same space as the darkest value from the first color.

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Looking at the first side of the sorter allows you to focus on your first color.

I quickly realized that this method of storing wool has the added value of showing you what the relative value of each wool you’re working with is. When you line up the values of two colors this way, it becomes much easier to see what the middle tones of each wool is, and how they compare with each other.

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…by flipping the sorter over, you can focus on your second color.

I bought my sorters from Pam Bartlett. If you’re interested in these sorters for yourself, they’re available from her at the Woolen Pear (located at 563 Rte. 106 N., Louden, New Hampshire), or online at Red Horse Rugs. If you’re interested in carrying these sorters in your own store you can contact Darlene for wholesale inquiries at, and let her know where you found out about her sorters!


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