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Maine Loves Darn Good Yarn

February 27, 2014

Nicole Snow, Darn Good Yarn creator, owner, late-night-picture-taker of new merchandise, over-achiever, arm-knitting fiend, and generally all-around fabulous entrepreneur, is kind of a rock star in Maine.  No, seriously.

She lives in Piscataquis County in Maine, in a town called Sebec.  According to the US 2010 census, 630 people live in Sebec.  But with a trusty internet connection and FedEx delivery trucks, her reach has extended across the state and across the world.

As Darn Good Yarn expands and more people learn about our support of families across the world, responsibly sourced materials, and gorgeous products, more and more people are supporting us and our goals.  And we love the support! One of the folks that supports us? The governor of Maine, Paul R. LePage.

Nicole and Governor LePage

Nicole was even invited to the “State of the State” address earlier this month.  Governor LePage is all amount micro-enterprise business.  He spoke all about it in the address:

“We are a state of entrepreneurial “doers.” There are 40,000 small businesses in Maine. Our state has roughly 130,000 micro-businesses. They employ 170,000 people. They drive our economy. If they could each add one more job, that would transform our economy.

Nicole Snow of Sebec is a very successful micro-entrepreneur. She created Darn Good Yarn, and she does all of her business online. Nicole is growing her company into a million-dollar business—thanks to the internet. Nicole, please stand.”

*Insert Wild Applause Here!* :)

How fabulous is that?  Thanks, Governor LePage!

Not only that, but Nicole’s local paper has hopped on the Darn Good Yarn train as well. :)   The Piscataquis Observer featured the Darn Good Yarn story on the front page!  Check it out!

Thanks to the Piscataquis Observer for your support as well!  We have so much love for everyone out there who helps spread the word about the great things Darn Good Yarn is doing, and all of the great stuff we provide!

We want to continue to expand, offer more great products, and be able to employ more great people around the world.  Help us out if you can – talk to your local yarn shop about carrying Darn Good Yarn, share us on Facebook and Pinterest, and, if you have a website of your own, look into becoming a Darn Good Yarn Affiliate.  Thanks so much to everyone who already supports us and loves our yarn and craft supplies.  We love ya!

Happy Crafting,

Marissa :)

 

Crafting for Charity

February 21, 2014

From chats on Facebook and many inspiring emails, I know lots of you Darn Good Yarners do lots of great crafting for charities of all kinds.  There are so many great places to donate knitted and crocheted items!  It’s great that so many people are inspired to give to great causes.

Here at Darn Good Yarn we are all about supporting people.  Supporting the families in India, Nepal and Chile that make our yarn, and supporting everyone that love and support us in every way that we can!  Now we have a whole new way in which we want to support everybody out there that is crafting for charity.

If you have a charity event that you are crafting for, or items that you are donating for a raffle – anything for a good cause – we’d love to give you a great deal on our fabulous Assorted Chiffon Ribbon.

You can get great discounts on packs of chiffon and make excellent projects that will bring in the money for charity.  Don’t know what to make?  We might have a few ideas… :)

Interested?  Want to get crafting for charity right away?  Just tell us all about it by emailing info@darngoodyarn.com, and we’ll let you in on all the great deals available!

Happy Crafting!

Marissa :)

Darn Good Fashion

February 19, 2014

Kristina Vetter, a design student in Germany, was glancing through Facebook one day and saw an ad for Darn Good Yarn.  Little did she know this would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  She says, “It was all by coincidence on some ad on Facebook. I wasn’t even looking for it. Isn’t that how all good love stories start?”

All images courtesy of www.christian-bacher.com

 

Kristina knew she wanted to put together a collection around the theme of “Catastrophism”.  She was wrestling with the topic somewhat.

“I only had some silhouettes and a vague idea of the topic of the collection. It´s called ‘Catastrophism’ and I thought it had to be all dark and spooky. As I wanted to incorporate redesigned pieces from the very beginning, starting to work with the fabrics and old clothes and dye them, I realized that it´s not only the generic idea of a dark colour that could carry the message of a world after catastrophe.”

She had discovered Darn Good Yarn a few months earlier, and had become truly inspired by the unique art that imbues every skein.  She found some new directions she could take in her own work.

“The idea blossomed that it was the story that those recycled and redesigned pieces carry that show the brutality, but also the comfort, of the topic. It’s all about making the best out of a new start with the little you have out of a lost world. And there is nostalgia and happiness in this. DGY carries exactly that. It has the same story. The fringes. The unperfect. The getting thinner here, thicker there. The many knots and ties and seams. The changing colours, starting here, stopping there. I love the organic ever changing texture and colour. It feels like it lives. Carrying the history of a past life as a sari or whatever else, assembled to something new. DGY very much inspired the topic and the designs.”

All images courtesy of www.christian-bacher.com

 

Some of the pieces were specifically inspired by certain yarns.  Olga’s yarn, shown to gorgeous effect in this sweater, was one of them.  (We no longer carry this rope-like yarn, sorry!  But at least you can marvel at it’s loveliness here. :) )

All images courtesy of www.christian-bacher.com

 

“Darn Good Yarn inspired certain pieces, such as the sweater out of Olga’s Yarn. I saw that yarn. And I had that sweater in my head and I knew it couldn’t be out of anything else. Unfortunately, I can’t knit. My aunt did all the knitting for me.  It was mainly the accessories that are made out of DGY. But I feel they complete the outfits and make the colours within the clothes in the outfits work together.”

Kristina has since been tentatively learning to knit herself.  All the pieces in the collection were made by her very talented aunt, who has been knitting for 25 years and knit some commercially when she was younger.  Like so many of us, Kristina is a bit of a craft-addict.  Her most recent favorite craft is the Japanese art of fabric dyeing called Shibori.  (You can learn all about it here.)

“I love about any craft I am fortunate enough to lay my eyes on. It’s amazing what people can do. But my favorite craft that I practice myself is Shibori. It is also incorporated in the collection. I love the changing of colours when you dye something yourself. It’s like it’s out of one’s control, but still you try to control it through the binding and folding, and every piece is unique.”

You can see the fun results she achieved with Shibori dyeing especially well in this piece, along with more lovely Darn Good Yarn accessories.

All images courtesy of www.christian-bacher.com

 

When asked if she had any tips for other designers or creators, she was very humble. “I don’t think I’m really someone to give tips about designing as I’m only in the beginning of a long process.”  And aren’t we all?  She did pass on some important things to remember though.

“What is important to me is that I don’t want the things I can’t do interfere with the things I want to do.  …Whenever I have the feeling I HAVE to work with a certain material, or that I really would like to realize a certain product, I will find a way to incorporate it in my work… on the skill level I have. That includes so much trial and error. But that process is so much fun and you can discover so many new looks or ways to use something you weren’t even looking for. Just let nothing ever stop you. If you have that inner drive, try it, learn from what you try and enjoy it.”

Great tips for creating in general, especially with wild and quirky materials like Darn Good Yarn!  I love the mix of starkness and drama, against the comfort and color of the DGY pieces in Kristina’s work.  Truly lovely and inspiring!  For more gorgeous photography, make sure to check out Christian Bacher’s photography here.   What will Darn Good Yarn inspire you to create?  We love when you share!  Feel free to email me at marissa@darngoodyarn.com.

Happy crafting and creating!

Marissa :)

Darn Good News!

February 9, 2014

If you have been following us on Facebook, or are an avid reader of this blog, (especially this post)  you know all about how much we love FedEx here at Darn Good Yarn.  Along with enabling Nicole to ship yarn from all over the world to a tiny town in Maine and then get it out to you as fast as possible, FedEx also made it possible to greatly expand our efforts with their Small Business Grant that Darn Good Yarn won last year.  A few weeks ago, Nicole and another Small Business Grant winner, Danny Catullo, went out to Memphis, TN to visit the FedEx World Hub.

While there, they got to share their own experiences and successes with their businesses, as well as helping inspire the folks that are applying this year.  FedEx’s Josh Rosa recently posted some great stories about their visit.  He writes,

“Watching the two small business owners enjoy their rigorously scheduled “vacation” to Memphis, I think back on the last 48 hours. Since meeting for the first time, Danny and Nicole have spent hours telling and re-telling their story to attentive listeners at FedEx, each other and anyone else who would listen. Each story contains a few variations or things not mentioned before, but each rendition is delivered with the same enthusiasm as the first.”

It’s a fantastic article, and I would highly encourage you to take a look at the whole thing here.

 

More exciting FedEx news – we have discovered a better (and cheaper!) way to ship to Australia!

Regardless of where you live, we want you to be able to get your hands on great yarn!  And did you know there’s even a special Darn Good Yarn Australia Facebook page?  It’s true!  Right here.   Here’s the low-down: every 2-3 weeks, Nicole will be shipping Australian orders all together to Karleigh (our fabulous Darn Good Yarn Australia coordinator and crafter) in New South Wales.

Karleigh: The Woman You Can Trust with Your Yarn :)

From there, she’ll be able to ship out individual orders through the regular Australian post system.  It won’t get there faster (when will someone invent instant teleportation?) but it will be only half as pricey to ship, get through customs way more easily, and be simpler to track!  Yay!  So if you live in Australia or just want to send yarn there, it’s now a whole lot easier.  What will you do with all the money you save on shipping?  I would wisely invest it in more yarn. ;)

 

Thanks for all you do, FedEx!  And as always, happy crafting!

Marissa

 

Darn Good Yarn & FedEx Both Love Small Business!

January 20, 2014

Thanks to all the support of fabulous Darn Good Yarners, a unique and innovative business plan, and the dedicated passion of DGY owner Nicole Snow, Darn Good Yarn was the first Grand Prize winner of the FedEx Small Business Grant last year.  We won $25,000 to help expand Darn Good Yarn, support more women in India, Nepal and now Chile, and bring the best products to you!  Working with FedEx has helped Darn Good Yarn reach more people, save money along the way, and ship faster despite being located in a tiny, often snow-bound town in Maine.

See FedEx in action and see the lovely video created after Nicole won the grant last year here.

After the success of the first Small Business Grant, FedEx is offering another one this year!  Hear more about what Nicole and one of the other winners, Danny Catullo, were able to accomplish with their winnings.

Darn Good Yarn is a very small business indeed (feel free to get to know all of the Darn Good Employees here!) and we try to support other small businesses.  Not only do we support micro-enterprises and small businesses in India, Nepal and Chile, we also try to help out Darn Good Yarners and their businesses with our great wholesale opportunities.  (Learn about those here.)  FedEx wants to help small businesses too!  They are again giving away $50,000 in grants to 10 small businesses.  Check out their grand announcement here.

If you have a small business, or know one you’d like to support, make sure you tell them all about this great opportunity.  Here’s the vital stats:

Register your business or vote for one you’d like to support at http://smallbusinessgrant.fedex.com/.

Need tips on the best way to win?  Check out recommendations from last year’s winners, Nicole included,  here.

Spread the word and make sure to support the business you love!  And in the meantime, Happy Crafting.  :)

Marissa

Darn Good Projects from Darn Good Yarners

January 12, 2014

Here at Darn Good Yarn, we love getting pictures and stories of projects Darn Good Yarners have created using our many products.  These are a couple we wanted to share!

Some gorgeous projects that caught our eyes are by a husband and wife team of Larry and Julie.  While they both have day-jobs, they both are dedicated and talented crafters on the side.  Larry makes lovely wood-turned vessels – you can check them out on his blog here.  I took a wood-turning class myself once, and absolutely loved it.  I did discover that: a) wood shavings get EVERYWHERE when you are working, b) I would have gouged a line through my own nose if it wasn’t for the very important precaution of face-shields, and c) people who can make a balanced, evenly-walled wood-turned vessel are amazing craftsmen and artists.

Julie is a very talented quilter with a great eye for color and pattern.  I’m still sleeping under an amazing quilt my mom made for me when I left to go to college, so I have a soft spot for a great quilt.  She has a fantastic blog where you can avidly follow her latest creations here.  (As a quick aside, did you know Darn Good Yarn has great sari fabric you could use for your own quilting?  We do!  Check it out here.)

This crafty team joined their wood-turning skills and fiber skills to create some unique and interesting work!

Julie told me all about her process: “Larry had turned a thin-walled (about 1/8th inch thick) hollow vessel from a box elder log, but hadn’t done anything else with it.
I had recently ordered some of DGY’s newspaper yarn, intending to use it instead of ribbon when wrapping gifts.  Then a light bulb moment happened.
I finished the interior of the vessel using Annie Sloan’s Emperor’s Silk (red) chalk paint and a coat of her dark wax.  Then I settled in and started wrapping the exterior with DGY’s newspaper yarn.  I started at the bottom; soaking the yarn with thick white glue then pressing it onto the vessel, applying pressure until the tacky yarn stayed in place.  Slowly, I wound my way to the upper edge.  As the glue dried, it hardened the yarn and created a clear durable finish.  Late Breaking News has gotten rave reviews from all who have seen it in person.”
Using a similar method with Mod-Podge and 2 skeins of our Blender Live Wire Sari Yarn, she also created this beautiful piece:
Julie had some other great ideas to share using this same technique: “Re-purpose a boring clear glass florist’s vase to create something unique.  Wrap the exterior of a chipped or worn bowl (display with seasonal fruit or holiday items).  Re-purpose and wrap a sturdy box to create storage for magazines or books.  Wrap a wreath form, then decorate.”  She also said she uses her own Darn Good Yarn stash for: “…wrapping gifts.  I’ve even used some to tie special ornaments on our Christmas tree (think ‘tying your shoe laces’).   Fabulous colors and textures!”  Thanks, Julie and Larry!  We love your work!
Want to share your own unique Darn Good Yarn project with us?  Email me, Marissa, at marissa@darngoodyarn.com or Maggie at info@darngoodyarn.com.
Happy Crafting!
Marissa :)

Get Cozy with Darn Good Yarn

December 13, 2013

Darn Good Yarn has hit Hollywood.  That’s right, the crafters you know and love now have famous fingers.  Their knitting needles and crochet hooks shall be bronzed for prosperity.  Ok, not that last one, because then they would be difficult to use.  But some fun and silly cozies made by Darn Good Yarners have been featured in a nation-wide commercial!  Check it out:

As you may know, Darn Good Yarn won a FedEx Small Business Grant at the beginning of this year.  Watch a super cute video about it here, and read even more about it here.  When they wanted to make this fun commercial all about cozies, the FedEx folks came right to Darn Good Yarn.  Nicole rounded up her troops, had us all crafting madly, and made it out to LA all in about 1 week!  But who made what, you ask?  Let’s see:

Joie, one of the owners of Foxcroft Agway, a store near where Nicole lives in Maine, made 2 of the granny squares on the refrigerator cozy, and also helped out on the Christmas tree cozy.

We love our Cozies!

I (Marissa, your faithful DGY blogger) made the other 6 granny squares on the fridge, and also made the toaster cozy.  Nicole (our crafty leader) made the dog cozy, worked on the Christmas tree cozy, and helped put everything together on the set.

 

Tail cozy!

(The separate little tail cozy on the dog may be my favorite!)

Olga -- yarn-bomber extraordinaire and faithful Darn Good Yarn fan, check out her fabulous work here -- helped on the Christmas tree as well (that was the largest project!) and also made a cozy for a bush right outside the window.  It’s hiding right here:

Sue, Nicole’s wonderfully crafty Mother-in-Law, made the commercial’s crowning glory that is the kid cozy.

Also helping out finish the giant Christmas tree cozy were Wendy and Cathy -- local friends of Nicole’s who helped her out -- as well as Jackie, a fellow dedicated Darn Good Yarner, and Beth, a friend of Nicole’s from California.  I’m sure we have all tried not to let this overwhelming fame go to our heads.  ;)

If you have a silly cozy or other fun project, especially made using Darn Good Yarn, I’d love to see it!  Email me at marissa@darngoodyarn.com.

Happy warm and cozy holidays and happy crafting!

Marissa

Darn Good Yarn is on Flickr!

November 21, 2013

Have you ever needed to show off Darn Good Yarn products to generate yarn-envy in your friends, neighbors, or yarn store owners that you know?  Well, Natasha, Darn Good Yarn’s glamour yarn photographer, has given you a great way to show off Darn Good Yarn to everyone.  Our very own Flickr account!

Get up close and personal with our Silk Bubbles Yarn -

Or show off the different colorways of Silk Cloud:

All of these and more are available on our Flickr page.  Just click here to check them out!

Share them with everyone!

Marissa :)

Help Darn Good Yarn Take Over the World!

November 13, 2013

As you (hopefully) know, Darn Good Yarn was founded with the idea of not just bringing you amazing and fabulous fiber, but also helping people along the way.  Darn Good Yarn currently helps families of India and Nepal earn a living wage by producing the gorgeous yarns and other products we provide.  But why stop there?  Let’s help families everywhere!

Darn Good Yarn is all about supporting micro-enterprises -- small business ventures that have a big impact on families.  Earning a living wage from these kind of businesses can allow men and women the financial stability to send their kids to school and help their communities.   And Darn Good Yarn owner Nicole’s vision of supporting these families this way is shared by other people around the world.

Jorge del Carpio is doing much the same work with the Aymara llama herders in Chile.  He has created Royal Llama Yarn, which supports a dwindling llama population and the people who work with them.  And to top it all off, they have discovered a way to process the llama fiber in a way which makes it deliciously soft and great to work with!  Find out all about Royal Llama and how they work here.

Some of the people (and llamas!) DGY wants to visit!

Here’s where you come in.  Nicole, Maggie and Natasha -- the core Darn Good Yarn Girls -- want to go to Chile to meet Jorge, the Aymara people, the llamas, simply everyone and everything involved in the operation.  After that, we can start bringing this wonderful fiber to you!  Llama fiber that is still wonderfully warm, great for knitting, crocheting, or spinning -- but isn’t itchy at all!  How can you miss out on that?

In order to make this visit and join in with this great company, we need your help.  We need the funds to make the visit!  We are running it just like a Kickstarter campaign, if you are familiar with those.  There is a great reward for you regardless of how much you donate!  And the more you can give, the bigger the reward.  Nicole will give you the low-down:

Read even more about Royal Llama and donate what you can here.

So go ahead, donate a dollar.  How about 5?  Whatever you can.  Tell your friends!  Tell people at your local yarn store!  Tell random people you meet at the grocery store!  Go nuts! :)

Remember, visit our Chile project page here to donate.

Thanks for all your help and your support of Darn Good Yarn!

Marissa, Darn Good Blogger :)

Expand your Business, Love your Local Chamber of Commerce!

October 29, 2013

Recently Nicole Snow, owner extraordinaire of Darn Good Yarn, had a chat with Denise Buzzelli, the Executive Director of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce.  Piscataquis county, according to Google, is the least populous county in Maine.   You can totally invite the Director of the Chamber of Commerce over to your house for a chat if you live there.  You especially can if you’ve been working together to help local small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs!  In this video, Nicole discusses how awesome it is to have community support, the need for diversification of industry, and some courses she will be teaching at the Chamber of Commerce.  These classes may be going online, so keep an eye out!  You can also subscribe to the Darn Good Yarn YouTube channel here.

-Marissa :)