The cheapest yarn holder around
Years ago I met a woman in a waiting room and marveled at her brilliant idea for keeping her yarn clean while she crocheted. In that brief meeting she gave me permission to "steal" the idea (that she herself had "stolen") and she also gave me the basics of crochet for which I thank her very much.
I've seen yarn holders of all sorts in stores and on line, but this will be the least expensive setup you'll ever be able to come up with. If one tears up or gets ruined somehow, recycle and make a new one. You can store your yarn in these, and easily grab what you need and take a project on the run. Never again will your inquisitive kitties or pups be able to destroy that beautiful brand new skein of yarn you just bought, and balls won't get dragged around in lint and hair on the floor anymore.
Stick a row of these in your yarn bag and it's easy to pull from them as you knit or crochet. Grab a bottle that's the right size for your yarn and go. Three liter bottles are often found with "budget pop" in them at the grocery and they work best for the big skeins of Red Heart, or for balls of bulky yarn. Two liter bottles are perfect for the average skein, and one liter bottles (you can find these with tonic water or club soda) are great for small cotton skeins.
Prepping the bottles
Cutting into the bottle
You can toss the cap of the bottle. Strip the label off as cleanly as possible, then with a craft knife or box cutter cut a "door" in the plastic.
Make the side of the door about 5.5 inches tall up the bottle, along the straight part, about from the ridge at the bottom of the bottle up to where it starts to taper toward the mouth.
The top and bottom are about 4 inches back from the side of the door.
Don't cut the square of plastic completely out, you need the "door" left to hold in the yarn as the skein or ball diminishes.
The "door" in the bottle:
Finish the edges of the cuts with masking tape, especially if they are jagged. That will keep your yarn from catching as it unwinds inside the bottle.
Put the skein into the bottle with the "pulling end" toward the neck. Hook the yarn with a crochet hook (or similar) and pull a few inches out. You can secure the pulled end with the cap until you need the bottle, or with a piece of masking tape or a twist tie.
Almost every skein that comes into this house gets put into a bottle for storage, that way I can just find it and pull it out and put it right in my project bag. It's a wonderful way to recycle these bottles and keep your yarn spiffy clean at the same time!