I have 'pack rat' in my blood. I like to think that I might use things at some point, and have always been the one to be able to say 'I've got that!' when someone mentions something that they need. 'Oh, a wrench? Yes, I've got one in my trunk.'
I think I'm finally getting it through my head that's it's easier to have less things, but have VERY useful things. Half of this I learned from moving into a new house last summer, and leaving behind all of the things I didn't feel like packing. The other half I'm learning from my knitting stash.
My stash isn't nearly as large as some people have. But, the percentage of 'useless' yarn is probably the highest. I have so much of the cheapest, itchiest yarn, that I'll never want to use. Some of it is from late night eBaying, some of it is gifts from well meaning friends and family, and some is from trips to craft stores where I convince myself that if the color is pretty, the yarn will be usable.
This week's lesson was the wool that I loved the color, and believed that it would soften up once I made it into something. Lies! I made some fingerless mittens, and even when I was casting on, it was itching me AS I WAS KNITTING. Normally, this would stop people. But I now have a pair of fingerless mittens that I will not wear, and I will not sell. I'm going to try soaking them in some conditioner, and see how they do, but I have no faith at all that it will work.
But, even though this yarn will not work well for mittens, or any other things that is worn, it is wool. Which means I can use it for dryer balls, because as itchy as it is, it felts. If you haven't made or used wool dryer balls before, you are seriously missing out. Things dry faster, have less wrinkles. Especially larger things, like my down comforter, which without them would take 4-5 rounds in the dryer, take only one.
For those of you who have scrap wool yarn and would like to make something you'll actually use, these are my directions:
1) Start a tight little ball of yarn, winding until the ball measures approximately 3" in diameter. Cut yarn, and with a crochet hook, weave your end in and out under several layers of already wrapped yarn, and tie off with a knot so that the yarn will not come loose. Make 4.
2) Using either some pantyhose that you've torn doing adventurous things, or some that you've never worn because, well, why wear pantyhose, cut off the leg at the thigh and drop the first ball in. Make a knot above it, and drop the second ball in. Make a knot, repeat.
3) Wash all balls in the washing machine on the highest, most agitating setting, and then dry. You may need to run them through twice to completely felt and dry.
4) Start winding yarn again around the smaller felted inner ball. Be sure to wrap tightly so that nothing comes loose. Continue winding until your ball measures approximately 5" in diameter. Again tie in loose ends with a crochet hook so that nothing can come loose. Make sure you pull the end through deep in the yarn ball with the hook, and tie off tightly.
3) Wash and dry balls again in the other leg of the pantyhose.
4) Start drying your clothes with 4 of these balls, and love that even larger loads come out dry and fluffy.
5) Notice that your yarn stash has gone down considerably, and you're knitting less projects that you can't wear.