I was searching for a coordinating sock yarn to finish off my dad's Christmas socks with, and ended up spending a good 45 minutes or so just digging through stash for no real reason.
Depending on one's perspective, my stash is quite modest. Not counting unspun fiber and sweaters waiting to be unraveled, it all fits in one cubby-holed bookcase, roughly four feet tall by two feet wide. Okay, I'll admit things are slightly crammed into the bookcase, and there's another ten balls or so stashed in an ottoman in my living room, but the overall stash is more or less bookcase-sized. In comparison to the stories of stash I read on Ravelry, this isn't very big. According to my friend Shelly, who has been knitting for just over a year and tends to buy on a project-by-project basis, this is crazy huge. Like I said, it's all about one's perspective.
In any case, my sock yarn search made me go through everything again. Due to poorness, I'm trying to knit as much as possible from my stash, and Christmas presents are no exception. I realize not everything is going to come from here-- for example, my super-special snowflake mom gets socks every year, but can't wear any of the wool or wool-blend sock yarns I currently have on hand-- but I'd at least like to try. Realizing this, I started looking through, hoping for ideas to spring forth from the random hanks, skeins and balls.
I got one. Just not for a Christmas present. As usual, my self-involvement meant that I thought of a perfect project from some long-forgotten handspun for me.
I sometimes feel like I shouldn't keep my first handspun yarns in with the yarns. I don't even really think of them as actual usable fiber and instead tend to view them as an artifact of the learning process. My first plied yarn fell squarely into that category until the other day. It was a purple silk blend that I had started to ply with a grey merino, then switched to a white merino half-way through. In retrospect, for an uneven, horribly underplied mess, it was kind of pretty. Too bad there was only 42 yards of it. But then I came across a basic merino single I'd spun up who-knows-when, and an idea and a swatch or two eventually became a cowl.
I was quite proud of myself-- I waited until I finished a pair of mittens for my brother before casting on, and it went quickly enough that it didn't take much time away from the holiday projects I have to get done. The ends still need to be woven in and it needs serious blocking, but I love the cowl that sprang u from my stash.