So, I have a moderately sized stash. You can visit it in Ravelry if you're truly interested (I'm archiknist--creative, huh?), but to sum up, I have about six miles of yarn, enough for a couple of pairs of socks, four sweaters, three shawls (one of which is Hanami), four scarves I'm planning to make for Christmas (maybe), and then a few miscellaneous single skeins that I'm hoarding till they coordinate with something. Totally reasonable, right?
(As an aside, for someone who thinks of herself as cheap, the consoling thing about this stash is how much of it was free, or at least didn't cost money directly--nearly three miles (or two shawls and two sweaters) came from Schaefer Yarns, as payment for knitting, and another mile came from the swap with my knitting group. Tragically for my sense of myself as frugal, this makes me think I can spend more on the yarn I actually do buy, but it kind of balances out, at least.)
Anyway, I've been keeping track of how much yarn I knit each month (thanks for that compulsion, Annie!), as well as when I acquired each batch of yarn. It turns out that if I knit diligently, and didn't buy any more yarn, I could finish knitting up the yarn I have in 4-6 months (that is, I've been knitting between 1 and 1.4 miles per month (mpm) since I started keeping track in January). See, totally reasonable!
The age of my yarn basically reflects my knitting speed (as measured in mpm), taking into account that I continue to buy yarn, and that I sometimes knit up my new yarn immediately), because the oldest yarn in my stash is from last year's Rhinebeck: 2 skeins of Duet from Brook's Farm, in the frost colorway (grey, grey-ish olive, and grey-ish purple). So naturally, since this year's Rhinebeck is coming up, I'm starting to feel like I should turn it into something.
I think I planned to make a sweater when I bought it, and I'm still trying to make the perfect comfy, throw it on with anything but still look presentable sweater (it bothers me that the equivalent sweater in my wardrobe is currently store-bought) so last night I tried to cast on a bottom-up yoked pullover (to be based on brooklyntweed's Cobblestone, but with waist shaping and more fitted in the arms, which would make the yoke shallower and the whole thing shorter).
I did cast on, actually, but discovered a couple of rows in that--as usual--I'd picked the exact number of CO stitches to make the yarn create vertical stripes up the body. (Casting on the number of stitches that causes striping without trying is my third superpower, along with taking the wrong exit out of subway stations and falling asleep instantaneously in motorized transportation). And alternating skeins wouldn't have helped, since then I'd just have two alternating sets of vertical stripes.
So I ripped it out, but now I can't decide if this yarn wants to be a sweater at all, since I can't get too far away from that number of stitches and still have a sweater that fits (I really liked the fabric on that size needle, so I don't want to change needle size). Maybe four more or fewer stitches, plus I could knit the sweater flat, at least to the yoke? (I don't dislike purling or seaming, so that would be fine). Or maybe it wants to be a shawl or wrap? Or maybe I should knit it along with something solid, to tone down the variegation? (Note to self: stop buying handpainted yarn! You get all the gorgeous handpainted yarn any one knitter needs from Schaefer! Buy solids, so you have some variety!)
[Edited to add: I thought mmp looked funny, but I couldn't figure out why! Thanks Beth!]