While reading through the knitlist today, I came across a message from Sister Grace of the Sisters of St. Margaret in Boston, MA. She indicated that their group knits scarves using donated yarn, then sells the scarves to raise money for their mission work in Haiti. This is most excellent timing since I've been wanting to clear out my yarn stash quite a bit, but didn't just want to take yarn to the Goodwill store. I really wanted the yarn to be used by someone for a good purpose.
I made a cursory pass through my yarn stash this evening. I'm apparently ready to get rid of more yarn than I thought. Close to two Rubbermaid bins worth, actually. There are yarns in there that I'm just not going to use. It's not that there is anything wrong with them. Either my tastes have changed or they were a screaming deal on sale and I thought I had an idea for them at the time but never quite got around to actually knitting the project. Some of these are yarns I bought to knit baby stuff, but the "babies" are now 5 and 3 years old! Approximately a quarter of the yarn is stuff that was given to me when I was given my loom. It's good wool yarn--some of it is Harrisville wool on cones--but I haven't done a darned thing with it in over 7 years, so I think I can let it go to folks who WILL do something with it.
The determination of what to keep vs. what to donate came down to "Am I realistically going to knit with this yarn in the next 12 months? Do I have a specific project in mind for this yarn? Would I wear something made from this yarn? Do I really love this yarn and want to keep it/knit with it?" If I couldn't answer "yes" to these questions, I figured it was time to let it go.
When I wrote to Sister Grace, I mentioned that I could also send knitted scarves and she said that would be fine too, so I even have a place to send my charity knitting too! I haven't done any charity knitting in a while, but I would like to knit my way through my Mountain Goat yarn stash and also try out the beautiful cabled scarf patterns of SmarieK Knits. I'm a whole lot more motivated to knit things as experiments if they get used by someone at some point. Not only do I get to try new patterns, but I also get to do someone some good and perhaps my scarf or other project will bring someone warmth and joy.