I have a friend, Miriam, who is a knitter and who, upon her mother-in-law's death, was the natural person in the family to receive the stash.
Her mother-in-law, who lived in Montreal, was a knitter ... no, a Knitter.
I never met her, but I've met her stash, and I can tell quite a few things about this woman by what she meant to knit during her lifetime, besides the fact that she was extremely ambitious or expected to live to 450.
She bought the good stuff - Noro, Jamieson's, Manos. She liked kits and she wasn't shy about knitting hard things, like Kaffe Fassett sweaters.
Her library had a lot of Alice Starmore hardcovers (be still, my beating heart; the Fool and I had to tell her son that he should call his father *that very minute* and not let him give those to Goodwill like he planned to. The family didn't know they sold for hundreds of dollars on eBay.)
She didn't seem to knit socks.
This stash takes up quite a bit of space. Miriam has a beautiful craft room with built-in wood shelves, and they are stuffed with her mother-in-law's yarn. There are more boxes she hasn't unpacked yet.
As much as such a stash is a windfall, a beautiful fibery treasure, it does mean that Miriam cannot, in good conscience, buy a single ball of yarn (unless it's sock yarn, which doesn't count and isn't represented in the stash.) I ran into her at Stitches Midwest, and she had one sweater pattern and some beaded stitch markers while everyone else was staggering around with giant sacks of yarn slung over their shoulders.
Whenever the Fool and I visit, she asks if we might need some yarn. Which we don't; we have a lot of yarn too. The last time we had brunch with them, she caught me eyeing some navy blue yarn with tweedy colorful flecks in it and now I have nine skeins (and a couple skeins of pink Noro that will make a good hat and mitten set for someone who likes pink and which I ended up with because I picked it up and said, 'wow, this is a nice pink.' Which is all it takes to get yarn from Miriam.)
I'm not sure what the blue yarn is, because it has no label on it, but it feels like Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran, although some other knitters have speculated that it might be Noro.
No matter. It's beautiful and the fabric is soft and has that little squeak that silk has. I'm knitting a slouchy sweatshirt-type sweater out of it - a really easy top-down Knitting Pure and Simple Pattern - with a couple amendments. I think I'll use linen stitch rather than seed stitch at the cuffs and hem, and I think I might not have enough yarn, so I'm going to put a stripe in across the chest and maybe the sleeves.
I'm not too far along yet; only about six inches or so, but it's a good sweater and the first one I've knit in this manner.
Here's a picture - it's not very exciting yet, but I'll be dividing for the sleeves soon, and whoo-ee, then we'll be cooking with gas!