The other day, I mentioned to a non-knitting co-worker that I was thinking of knitting myself a hat from some leftover yarn I had in my stash. My co-worker gave me a funny look and said that if my stash was really as big as I claim, couldn't I find something to make the hat without having to use leftovers? I explained that not using the leftovers for small projects would be wasting yarn, and left it at that.
Thinking about it, though, crafters are big on using scraps. Knitters make hats or scarves or stripes in sweaters with bits of yarn too small to make something big. Quilters are famous for using cut up clothing or scraps left from making clothing. Though the modern quilter gets most if not all of her/his fabric from the LQS, scrap quilts are still very popular. Some quilters even make charm quilts, where no two pieces of fabric are the same.
When we finish a project, the remaining supplies go back into stash to marinate a while longer. We'd never dream of throwing it away! I know, I know, the idea made me feel faint, too. Go get a drink. I'll wait. (This, btw, is exactly what my SIL is trying to get my DB to do, throw out the yarn he has left from finished knitting.)
We wouldn't throw our yarn, or fabric, or unspun fiber away because that's exactly the opposite of the point! We love the stuff. We touch it, pet it, fondle it, sniff it, even threaten to roll around in it. We have our stashes because we want to surround ourselves with it. Some of us only do the crafting to justify having the stash in the first place.
It's more than that, though. We like to use the leftovers because they remind us of the previous project. If I enjoy making a sweater and then later put that yarn into another sweater, I'll think of the two projects together. If I use a great green fabric in a second or third quilt, that project will be linked to the previous quilts in my mind. (Again, this is something people often think of with quilts made from clothes--there's Grandma's apron, Mom's first dress, etc.)
Do you think my hat will be warmer with the echos of old projects knit into it?