Like many of us, I have a disturbingly large yarn stash - not enough to fill a room (yet), but definitely reaching SABLE* status. I have accepted my problem, however, and am working hard to reduce my stash, one project at a time.
My latest stash-busting project is my favourite way to tackle all those little tiny balls that remain at the end of a project. You know the ones I mean - pieces ranging from 10 to 30g (and sometimes more), which are too long to throw away, but not long enough to actually be made into anything. I have been mocked for this in the past, but I can't resist keeping pieces of yarn that are as small as a few yards long... but you never know when you might need to embroider a face or crochet a flower or something, right?
My solution for all these little mini-balls is to gather up everything of the same or similar fibres and make them into Granny Squares! My usual categories are pretty simple: cotton & cotton blends; hand-wash only animal fibres (wools, alpaca, llama, etc.); machine washable wool & wool blends; and 100% acrylic. There's no exact science to it, so feel free to combine yarns as you like. Different weights can be accommodated by doubling or tripling strands, so my main concern is usually just washability - no one wants to end up with a blanket in which the pure wool sections get accidentally felted and then pull all the machine washable squares out of shape!
This current collection of squares was initially created to use up four partial balls of Patons BumbleBee Cotton that have been in my stash for almost 10 years... long enough that I can no longer remember why I bought the yarn, or into which project most of the orange and pale yellow yarn went (this yarn pre-dates Ravelry, otherwise I would have a record of all this!). In true stash-busting spirit, I also added in a few other bits and pieces that were hiding in my "cotton bits" box**. The bits have now run out, so I am on to the solid pink and blue squares. The next stage (after weaving in all the ends) will be to surround my squares in one solid colour (I'm thinking Navy), and then join them all together into a blanket - the final design of which will be determined by the number of squares I end up with.
The one flaw to this plan (I never said it was perfect!) is that I'm going to have to buy that solid colour of cotton. The remaining cotton in my stash is all in "project quantity" amounts, and I don't want to break into them just to finish this blanket (I have other plans for that yarn!). I'm going to think positively, however, and focus on the bright side - when I've finished this blanket, my stash will be a whole 180g lighter! ;)
PS: If you want to get in on the fun of Granny Squares but don't know how to crochet, be sure to sign up for one our classes with Astor!
*SABLE = Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy... just one of several acronyms used to describe the quantity of yarn in one's stash. Don't think of it as a problem - think of it as a wealth of inspiration for future creativity!
**In hopes that it will one day help me use it all up, I have a well-organized stash. Unfortunately, the efficacy of my system is still inconclusive. ;)