In the meantime, I stumbled across a pattern called The Beekeeper's Quilt on Ravelry. At first I thought, "Cool, another way to use yarn scraps." I love the idea of scrappy things coming together into something lovely, but I would worry about it looking nice in the end--does this green left over from Keith's socks *really* look nice alongside the dusty-pink-carnelian from my cowl? I'd be tempted to go out and buy new yarn to make sure the colors looked well together, and that totally defeats the purpose.
But when I started browsing the project gallery, I really fell in love with this pattern, and now I'm convinced I must knit it someday. Probably next year, during the summer.
One of the reasons I love it--wouldn't this be a great project for people to work on as a group and then give to someone? A friend who is grieving a loss, or celebrating a new child, or going through any time of either celebration or sadness--how cool would it be to receive a blanket like this, knit by the hands of many friends? People could just use yarn from their stash, or buy new yarn cheaply; I'm betting it's not that difficult, so that knitters at any level could do it; and though gauge would be pretty important so that the hexagons all fit together in the end, it seems like coordinating such a project wouldn't be that difficult!
I love the portability of it as a project. I also love how some people adapted the pattern to make cushions for wooden chairs, or pillows.
But what really sold me was the designs that some people added, either in the knitting itself or embroidered afterwards. Bees (of course!), foxes, owls, sheep, beads, flowers, hearts, constellations, argyle ... I love the whimsy behind this; I love the "I spy" sort of quality it would give the finished project, and I'm sure kids would LOVE having a blanket like this where they could find all the little treasures. And how cool would it be to knit one of these for every child's first birthday? (Okay, I may be getting a little ambitious here, but think about it: one hexagon per day, then stitch em all together and you've got a birthday blanket!)
So that is how I've spent the past twenty minutes or so--browsing through the gallery for inspiration. I may spend another twenty minutes doing so. But I needed to take a sharing-break. :)