The ‘Nicole’s Corner’ Category...
June 14, 2012
Good morning lovelies!
This week’s guest blogger should have been last weeks guest blogger, but I dropped the ball so here we are back on track! I think you will love this guest blogger. Shannon is a fashion designer and brings some cool variety to Darn Good Yarn. Shannon, thank you so much for being a part of the Darn Good Yarn Guest Blogger Project!
Greetings! My name is Shannon N. Hunter and I am a local fashion designer in Seattle, WA. I draped my first evening gown in 5th grade, have been unofficially studying fashion since high school and am now attending school while designing clothing and accessories, writing and knitting on the side. I own and operate High Maintenance Productions http://www.highmaintenanceproductions where I freelance as a wardrobe stylist for film and individuals and plan events. I also sell vintage clothing and accessories on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/fancyterrible
My clothing company is named Fancy Terrible Clothing http://www.fancyterribleclothing.com and my blog can be found at http://shannonnhunter.wordpress.com
10 Fun Facts About Me:
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a dancer on Solid Gold. I took lessons and everything. It didn’t work out.
I was raised by my Army Colonel Grandfather (Hooah!). As an Officer’s Wife, my Grandmother was obligated to entertain her husband’s colleagues with lavish dinners and cocktail parties. It was through this that I learned the Art of Manners & Proper Etiquette when I was a wee one. We threw lots of elegant parties. I still throw grand parties to this day. Go big or go home, in my opinion.
I flew to France by myself when I was 12 and stayed with friends of the family for 3 weeks. My grandparents then joined me and we travelled Europe for two months. I have also travelled around the U.S. during three separate road trips, all before I was 14.
My Dad is a biker. Everyone in my family has owned a motorcycle (including my Grandparents) and I grew up riding on the back. I would love to have my own but I know myself enough to know I would have “too much fun” and wreck. I’ve decided I want race snowmobiles instead. It’s safer that way!
Even though I’ve been in Seattle for almost 20 years, I still consider myself from California and am barefoot as much as possible, even in the winter. (Inside always, of course, never outside. Ew.)
I love pugs! Someday, I want an army of white pugs with one black one named “Darth”.
I have a shoe problem. (I had over 50 pairs in high school alone…call me Imelda!) And a jewelry addiction. I’m a sucker for anything shiny and would rather have costume jewelry over diamonds any day (especially if it’s vintage). And too many fashion magazines. (As in several boxes worth…but in my defense I do sort through them to make tear sheets for reference material in my work).
The Vampire Writing Queen, Anne Rice, once told me she loved my sense of style! (I was wearing a white lace dress, black tights and black bra with my Great-Grandmother’s huge silver and amethyst iron cross pendant with Doc Martins in a sea of people wearing black. Oh, and I had platinum hair. I might have stood out a bit.)
I organized and produced my first fashion show by myself at the tender age of 19. I say “by myself” because I had zero assistants. No one showed up to help and I lost 5 models the day of the show. I never gave up (I couldn’t, the event had been airing on the biggest radio station in San Diego all week!), and only one person ended up in the hospital. True story.
At one time, I owned an Internet Cafe & Vintage Clothing Boutique where I sold clothing I had been collecting since high school as well as consignment items. It was featured in the local paper and I continue to sell items online to this day.
The Teach: Be Happy! Or, How To Knit With Intention
When I first considered knitting as a hobby, I knew absolutely nothing about it. I didn’t know a single thing about the various types of yarn, metal vs. wooden needles and their different gauges, or what a purl was besides a pretty bauble from the ocean. I bought the least expensive yarn I could find in a color I liked, grabbed some needles and then left them in a closet for three years.
A few months ago, I started learning to knit with a friend of mine, who has been knitting for over 5 years. I became enamored with her beautiful lace work and she took my (horrid) skein of burgundy acrylic yarn and taught me to cast on (rather awkwardly since I was all thumbs). I had finally begun to knit my first scarf. I was on my way! After a few inches and many holes later, I realized I loathed the feel of the yarn and that the scarf was looking more like a baby blanket than a scarf. (The yarn was too thick, I had cast on too many stitches and was using the wrong needle gauge!)
I kept knitting anyway because it was the same stitch over and over and I clearly needed the practice. As I knit, I found my mind wandering because I wasn’t having to think about what I was doing. Throughout the day, I would put the knitting down to go do something and return to it in a different mood. It was then that I realized I actually needed to pay attention when I knit. I kept dropping stitches because I wasn’t watching and checking my work.
As my day unfolded, my mind wandered through happy thoughts, and I knit well. When irritating thoughts intruded, I became sloppy. If I really let my mind go to a place of anger, I would get stabby with the needles and jab myself or unravel a few stitches accidentally. Who knew? What a waste of time!
I began to wonder about handmade items and what people thought while making them. It may sound silly, but I really didn’t like the idea of knitting a scarf that my husband would be wearing around his neck that was infused with negative thoughts or feelings. It seemed wrong, somehow, like my negativity would be strangling him! Not a good image to have when seeing him in the scarf each day. Now, I am not a person who believes in full on woo woo, but I was starting to understand the concept of knitting with intention. I realized that at least to me, it is a very important part of my process when working on any of my projects.
If you are creating something by hand and love what you do, good thoughts and juju will be infused into the item. Your positive energy will flow and it will show in your work. If you are in a negative frame of mind, you will inadvertently be putting negative energy into whatever it is you’re working on and your art may suffer for it. Try to keep your customer in mind and stay in a happy, zen-like state of mind while working. This will keep you focused and as you constantly check your work, you will see the profits of paying attention, of being present. You will then see the profits in your bank account because you are producing quality work which is ideal.
To end my story, I completed a square foot of fabric and tied it off to give to a pet shelter as a kitty blanket. I couldn’t even bring myself to donate it to the thrift store! I thought “Why would anyone pay money for that?” I could have easily completed the scarf anyway and given it to a person in need of something warm but it was so full of odd energy, awkward revelations and holes that I didn’t want to have it out there in the world for human eyes to see. I was mortified and humbled. And slightly amused.
The next day, I started over with a new skein of yarn-this time a blend of alpaca and acrylic as it was the best I could find nearest to my home. I cast on half as many stitches and used a smaller gauge. Things went much more smoothly after that and now my husband is the proud owner of my first real scarf. It’s color-blocked forest green and dark amethyst and we’ve dubbed it The Joker. (He’s a huge Batman fan, and, well, my first knitting project clearly started off as a joke.
The moral of the story is simply this: Don’t knit while angry. There is a reason why there are knitting jokes about needles being stabby. Be mindful of your thoughts and it will show in your work. Happy Crafting!
May 30, 2012
Hi Nicky … Question – - what is the difference between your “At The Bahamas” and your “Around the World” … ? I prefer the “softer” silk yarn … I got a perfect ball in my last order but of course can’t remember the name of it … Also … the Multicolored Tibet Jewels Strip Ribbon – - how is that different from the other recycled sari yarn balls? Thanx a bunch … Have a great week – Marilyn
So I wrote her a killer answer and I was like…hmm.. I bet some of you out there have a similar question… So Darn Good Yarners, here’s your official Nicole-certified answer!
Hi Marilyn! I hope you’re having fun:) So here are the differences:
At the Bahamas: this is the softest of the three–you’re going to get some solid runs of colors mixed in with patterns but it’s the thinnest as far as density goes for the silk which makes it ideal for clothing and scarves (things that will be close to your skin)–it’s my personal fave from the three because the coloring
Around the World is a denser more sturdy silk–the bahamas sometimes has really thin pieces in it which can rip and you’ll have to knot back together, the Around the World will rarely have that problem and it’s usually double stitched. This ribbon is perfect for bags that require a lot of structure ( I just published a pattern for this last week and it uses three skeins) It would also be great for mats that aren’t in high traffic areas or crocheted bowls
The Tibet Jewels is a lot lot the Around the World as far as density is concerned but it has a lot more royal colors and pieces of metallic and brocade pieces in it. You can do scarves in this but on large needles (personally I like at least a 19 for this as there can be stiffer bits in and you need the large needles to “release” that in the stitch.
So, my dears, what questions can I answer for you?
May 23, 2012
Creating a non-toxic lifestyle has been an ongoing process for me and is still a work in progress. I am amazed at the rate things are changing and the new discoveries and technologies that appear each day. When I first created Groovy Green Livin my intention was to create a space for sharing tips on healthy eating, living a green and clean lifestyle, and forming a community of like-minded eco peeps. I’m very grateful that it’s blossomed into so much more.
Over the years the most common question I receive is “Where do I begin?” There’s a lot of green information out there. As we go through our daily lives we are confronted with information overload, pressuring us to buy specific brands –the media, our friends, family-everyone has an opinion. How do we sort through it all? How can we be sure we are making good choices for ourselves and our families?
I always suggest starting with small, simple changes. Here are my top three:
- Start to phase out plastics in your home-especially those that come in contact with food. Plastic and food just don’t belong together. There are so many toxic chemicals in plastic that can leach into your food. The production of plastic is hurting our environment. Plastic ends up in our water ways and landfills, killing wildlife and not decomposing.
- Make the switch to reusable bags. The next time you visit the supermarket bring along reusable bags. Leave them in the front seat of your car so you remember them. For those visits to the mall or pharmacy carry a smaller version in your bag or backpack.
- Leave your shoes at the door. Our country has an obsession with the “perfect lawn” requiring applications of synthetic pesticides that are not only killing weeds and other naturally occurring plants, but are harmful to you and the environment. All of those toxins march right into your living space when you wear your shoes from outdoors into your home. We have declared our home a “shoe free” zone. All shoes come off in the garage and they stay there until the next time we venture out. We try to remind our friends and family to honor our request for a shoeless house and we are grateful that everyone is very respectful. The best solution: we stop using pesticides on our lawns.
There are so many different ways to be green. What would you add to the list?
[Photo used under Creative Commons from D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]
March 12, 2012
Here are 10 fun facts about me and Darn Good Yarn:
1- Darn Good Yarn saved 6,000 pounds of waste from going into landfills last year and turned it into fantastic yarn!
2- My favorite book is Atlas Shrugged
3- Darn Good Yarn just sponsored two daughters of one of the spinners who makes “Darn Good Yarn” to go to school this semester!
4- I’ve moved my house and my business 10 times in 5 years
5- I’m from NJ originally, now I’m in Maine!
6- I love wearing bright colored lipstick
7- My favorite movie(s) are Kill Bill 1&2
8- I’m a lazy knitter–Sure I can make the complicated but I like things simple that fit into my schedule
9- My favorite meal I like to cook is roasted duck with roasted brussel sprouts
10- I am in love with my business–I never feel like I’m working and it always warms my heart when I see the projects that people make with my yarn
Happy Monday Loveys!
March 12, 2012
December 3, 2011
Happy weekend bellas!
Well, I think I am finally better now. Almost 100% but it is nice to be able to put a full day of work in again and not feel totally horrible. There have been so many cool things going on here at DGY.
Last night I got to attend a ribbon cutting in my local town of Dover-Foxcroft Maine. The store is Sister X Two and they carry yarn (including Darn Good Yarn’s!), scrap booking supplies and they’ll carry fabric in about three weeks. It’s pretty exciting and I feel really lucky to have my yarn in their store!
But there has been a lot of behind the scenes stuff going on at Darn Good Yarn. So, if you’re interested to hear about all the dirt, watch this video.
With all of my love, as always,
October 9, 2011
Or at least a chuckle…
I hope you’re having a great weekend. My dad is visiting me right now to catch the leaves changing. Yesterday the leaves looked ok. But today a few of them got the memo that it is indeed fall and they started changing. Check it out:
But my sweets, it gets better. Last night I was shown one of the funnier (top 5) youtube clips and I had to share it with you. I know some of you dog lovers will really crack up. So here’s to laughing.
Have a great day.
October 7, 2011
Well happy Friday my dears. I realize I haven’t been the youtubing, facebooking, blogging yarn darling lately. If you wanna know why, read on…
You may or may not know that I moved into my first house about 3 months ago. I’m totally loving it but it’s in Maine and it needed help getting ready for its first winter. You see it was a vacation rental when we purchased it so it 1) didn’t have any love put into it and 2) I had to make sure things like logs were stacked for the stove, basements were cleared out and dump runs were made. And then to top things off I somehow gained almost 10 pounds during the move… maybe it was the altitude drop. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Oh yeah, did I mention I had to keep up with the day-to-day of Darn Good Yarn?
I’m not complaining at all! I have just been exhausted and have been doing just enough to try and stay up-to-date and not burn out. But something happened this week, I just seemed to get over a hump, got this place a little more feng shui-ed and things seem to be flowing a little better. So, I can get back to working on projects for you like the free patterns (yes, I need to publish that mitten pattern!) and that new portion of the site I want to get going called Darn Good You.
So enough about me, you want to know about the yarn right?! Well, I have a cool shipment coming in about 2 weeks which will have wool and silk blends. When I first saw the sample runs it reminded me of stain glass. But right now I just introduced a 4 ply banana fiber yarn. This stuff is a lot different than the typical banana fiber I normally carry. Check it out here. I have lines of recycled cotton yarn and cotton ribbon that I will try my very very best to get onto the site for you today too!
How do you stay motivated? Please share in the comments below!
Thank you so much for all of your support. My Darn Good Yarn family is so awesome and I feel blessed to have you around!
June 28, 2011
River Colors offer luxury yarn, knitting supplies and accessories from the industry leading manufacturers. River Colors offer a multitude of yarn colors, weights and fibers. When you buy yarn online at www.rivercolors.com you’ll receive the same high quantity products offered in there Ohio yarn Store.
June 13, 2011
Good morning dahlings!
So this morning, I needed to show the wonderful creations that Michelle has put together (ummm see above!!!) Michelle is an amazing jewelry designer and in her latest creations she’s integrated some of Darn Good Yarn’s very own Recycled Silk Sari Yarn, Ribbon and Banana Fiber Yarn.
Please take a moment and check out the posting here to get your inspiration: http://misheldesigns.blogspot.com/2011/05/banana-fiber-is-yummy.html
and if you would like to learn more about what Michelle is up to go and visit her full site: http://www.misheldesigns.com/
Happy Monday everyone! Hope you had a great weekend!