Sometimes it's the yarn and sometimes it's a pattern that inspires. Approximately a year ago I came across this (click for big):
I knew immediately that I wanted to make an afghan. It would be for me so I was willing to invest in the quantity of wool that would be necessary. Hey if you cannot splurge once in a while, what's the use, right?
So, I dug through my stitch dictionaries. I looked at patterns to see what stitch combinations were being used. I swatched, frogged, swatched, frogged, swatched, frogged (well, you get the idea). This afghan was going to be something I kept for the rest of my life so it had to be just right. The yarn had to be shown off to it's best. And if I could find a stitch pattern that didn't eat yarn, that would be even better. The yarn was going to sit there and taunt me until I found just the right stitch pattern to show it off. I was NOT going to give up.
Know what? The moment I gave up trying to find a stitch pattern that would conserve yarn, I found the right one. A pattern I'd used before. One I love that really shows of the long color repeats and provides texture. I have capitulated. The afghan won't be as large as I would have liked (maybe blocking will help me eek a bit more size out of it), however, it is just lovely.
Every time I pick it up to stitch, I smile. Mission accomplished.