I just spoke at a local guild on this topic so I'll share a few of my ideas here. First, why? I've been working on busting my stash since last summer. I donated a lot of yarn which I knew I wouldn't use to a group in a shelter. Another friend was running classes there and they got some of my stash. I've also realized it doesn't matter how old you are you can't escape the lessons your family taught you. In my case my Grandmother never got over the depression. Being wasteful just seems wrong to me. Finally, I really get a kick out of working on design challenges and this has been a lot of fun! I've got two stashbuster patterns, both with super simple knitting, mostly garter which allows me to combine very different yarns together.
Here are the tricks of the two designs. First working top down or sideways, while increasing and decreasing means you can knit as long as you have yarn.
Both patterns require a minimum of three colours/yarns and you can go crazy depending on how many ends you want to deal with in the second version which is the Ruth Kettering Wrap.
My earlier stash buster is the Dolly Bantry Shawl.
There are several colour strategies I used for both patterns.
Pick one variegated or multicolored yarn and choose other yarns that look right to your eye when you put them together. The green and mauve wrap on the left of the top photo uses that combination, which is mainly green and mauve.
Choose three solids - two neutrals and a colour or two colours and a neutral. In the photo at the top you will see these versions as well. Or you could go monochromatic and choose all one colour or even all one neutral.
What about a rainbow spectrum based on a colour wheel?
If you do use a colour wheel and want to use three colours, a harmonious mix could be analogous groupings. Pick three colours in a row. As an example yellow, yellow/orange,and orange.
Remember if you use complimentary colours (across from one another on the wheel), equal proportions don’t work as well, use the Ruth Kettering pattern not Dolly Bantry and shift the complementary proportion to be about a 1/9 ratio.
Keep in mind, colour is very personal so feel free to ignore my suggestions and experiment. What is pleasing to my eye might not be to yours.
Once of the reasons I had so many bits of yarn I could combine is that we are often drawn to the same colours. You will probably find the same situation when you dig into your stash.
Mixing yarn weights works in these patterns because you are changing yarns very quickly, so there are no large areas of a single yarn. It's often a good idea to start the edge with the heaviest yarn before switching to lighter yarns.
The picots were added to my second design as a place to bury the ends and keep everything neat with multiple yarns.
The samples have as many as three to four different weights in them. They vary from lace, fingering, dk, worsted, aran and include a thick and thin handspun.
For needle size, I use either the needle recommended for the heaviest yarn or one size up. If you are a tight knitter go up two sizes, you want a drapey fabric for a shawl/wrap.
For the Dolly Bantry pattern the smallest one has 154 yards as its shortest yardage for a single yarn. The lower edge is started when about 45% of the yarn is used up.
The Ruth Kettering Wrap has a total of 600 yards (200 each colour of light fingering) in the black, green and yellow version. You can get more details on the pattern and project pages about sizing.