My stash fits, more or less neatly, in 2 13-gallon plastic bags tucked in the corner space between my chair and the wall (well, what else would you put in that empty space?) And a dozen or so skeins in a basket next to the chair. And 3 or 4 shelves full of spinning fiber. And a large box full of cross-stitch supplies and patterns. We won't mention the books. Or the tools like knitting needles, crochet hooks, spindles, or, oh yeah, we weren't going to mention it.
A year or so ago I went through the yarn stash and traded or donated away all the "what the heck do I do with this?!" skeins and got rid of a decent amount. I was a bit surprised to realize that all the space I made by getting rid of the yarn I didn't like got filled up again. Well, they say nature abhors a vacuum (so do I, that's why dh does the vacuuming at my house, but come to think of it, he doesn't vacuum much either).
I went through the yarn stash again a few weeks ago and I found that very few "what the heck do I do with this?!" skeins had come back. One yarn I really didn't know what to do with was a skein of Opal Purple Mosaic #1113
that I had gotten somewhere along the line. I do like purple, but something about this skein just didn't work for me. I tossed it back in the stash bag figuring I'd offer it up for trade one day or something.
I was talking to my mother a few weeks ago and it turns out my brother wants a few pairs of mittens hand-knit for his little boy. One thing led to another and next thing I know, I'm making mittens for my nephew. Not a bad thing by any means, but a bit tricky without hand measurements. I asked my brother for a tracing of nephew's hand (he's 3, so I figured it wouldn't be that hard) and what color he likes. Purple is his favorite color says my brother.
Purple? Ok, purple is doable. After checking the stores for a dark purple (guessing that pastel lavender wouldn't fly) and not finding I liked for mittens, I remembered that purple Opal skein. The color would work, but fingering weight? Using two strands would work, and I carefully (at first...) wound a ball of Opal with 2 strands (mostly) matching the pattern.
Deciding that plain stockinette with a ribbed cuff is really all this yarn needed, the color changes A LOT especially with 2 strands, so I just cast on, ribbed a bit, ripped out when I realized the ribbing was too wide. Repeat then just sort of winged it from there. Now I've got 4 mittens done, with enough yarn for 2 more, or at least one mitten. They're all the same pattern, with the same speckled purple and offwhite non-pattern. The striping pattern just didn't show up with the 2 strands. But that's not a bad thing, it made it very easy to match mittens, and if one gets lost, well, there's 4 or 5 more matching mittens! I made a pair with 3 or 4 spares! Now, let's hope it's good enough for a 3yr old.