Darn Good Blog
7 Common Yarn Problems (Or Knot)
I find it to be a problem to write about yarn problems. I mean, our Darn Good Yarners are our friends and so is all that creative fiber we have. Problems do happen when working with fiber and like life, it's how you deal with them that matters! I love yarn so yarn problems are on oxymoron just like jumbo shrimp!
1.Tangles and knots - Yeah, we all see hanks and skeins where things just don't unravel smoothly. What I always do before starting a project is to roll the yarn into balls. I prefer a couple of balls per skein as I love to have manageable balls that I can tote around with me. Have swift, will travel!
2. Another reason I love to have my yarn in balls? I can address any issues before I am in the middle of the project. Fair trade, hand spun, or hand made- even if you have yarn that is processed assembly line style in a factory-yarn does have flaws at times. Personally, I much prefer to have my yarns rolled and ready to rock so I can just focus on my project.
3. I use a wooden yarn bowl. The DGY yarn bowls come in a few options for sizing and style. Again, I have my yarn in a ball and the yarn bowl makes the process fluid and my progress uninterrupted. Like a relationship, putting some effort in at the beginning will help keep things running smoothly.
4. Color! Yes, any of you that read the DGY blog regularly know that I am a color junkie! So how do we choose colors? Yes, if you hit the big box store you will find yourself burrowing in bins and trying to find matching dyelot numbers. Here at DGY, we don't have dye lots- we do have skeins that absolutely are the same. An example would be our Premium Chiffon Ombre Packs!
5. We are super into the creative side of things and love that our Darn Good Yarners are adventuresome souls! So yeah, some of our fair trade and recycled yarns, are not exact in color. We happen to love that! Our Chiffon Ribbon Color Packs are one of a kind and each skein is a little different! When you order one of these packs, you'll get the color and shades in the picture but not the exact skeins that are pictured!! Love!
6. Have vegan crafters who don't want to use certain fibers? That's not really an issue either because we have great plant based fibers like even banana! Being vegan matters and that's why we have a fiber line for our vegan friends. Our Specialty Yarns come in a multitude of categories to meet lots of unique yarn needs!
7. I don't know about you, but I really consider where things come from before I buy them. I hugely want to upcycle, recycle, and unicycle(NOT!!!) whenever I can. Using recycled fibers means giving yarns, threads, and fabrics a new life. DGY is super proud that we have kept more than 1,000,000 pounds of saris OUT of landfills and reincarnating them into new materials!
Okay, so I don't see yarn as a problem. For me, it is the life blood that runs through my veins. Here at Darn Good Yarn, we are solving problems like how to keep reusable materials out of landfills. We are very proud of the many women that make some of our gorgeous handspun yarns which provides them with meaningful work.
Yarn? No problem at all! It's like a passionate relationship and the more you put in to it, the more you get out of it!!! But if you do have a yarn challenge, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org because we would love to help you!
Newly Discovered Yarn is Over 3,000 Years Old (and Newer Plant Based Fibers)
Okay! So we all have a love-hate affair with facebook, right? Most of us use it! Some of us are addicted to it! Some of us hate to admit that this is where we spend a lot of time! Well, I have gotten over it because I am busy and the reality is that I can find soooo much information on facebook! One stop shopping!
Social media is how we communicate, phones are lifelines to everything, and we all want to know the answers to....to well, everything! Many of us are on social meeting working, every day. I have learned to embrace facebook because it's not just about looking at your friend's photos. Shop, find news, check in with your favorite crafting group, and of course see what's happening at your favorite stop, the Darn Good Yarn facebook page!
Yeah, Older than Dirt!
And speaking of using of facebook, did you see the amazing information about this tiny ball of yarn? It's 3,000 years old. For much of its existence, it has been buried underground, in boggy land, along with the rest of the remains of three small houses built millennia ago, near what's now Cambridge, England.
Ever since archaeologists discovered Must Farm, which has been called Britain's Pompeii, they have been uncovering small clues as to what life was like for the families that lived here. This ball of yarn is one of the most delicate finds--extraordinary in its survival over all these years. Here is the facebook link to the Must Farm discovery.
Plant Based Fiber
The artifact is one of a rich cache of finds that includes textiles, beads, and domestic tools. Like other fibers discovered at the location, the yarn is probably plant-based in origin. “All the textiles appear to have been made from plant fibers,” said Margarita Gleba, an archaeologist specializing in textiles. “The people at Must Farm used cultivated species, such as flax as well as wild plants, such as nettle and perhaps trees, to obtain raw materials.”
How cool is it that DGY has so many plant based, vegan friendly products?!!! Yes, we are flying forward with technology and the cultural phenomena of facebook and other social media but there is a huge trend toward using earth friendly fibers and so much to learn from these archaeological digs!
The folks back then really knew their stuff, too so there is much to learn from them! “The linen textiles found at Must Farm are among the finest from Bronze Age Europe,” Gleba added. “Wild fibers appear to have been used for coarser fabrics made in a different technique, known as twining.” Wanting to read more about this find? Yep, check out Must Farm Arcaheology on facebook! See, this social media stuff isn't so bad after all!
So is your stash looking rather ancient, too? Darn Good Yarn has some incredible unique fibers and we'd love to help you find something a bit newer than this old ball of yarn! How amazing that a 3,000 year old ball of yarn was found and even more amazing that we have the technology to learn about it! I love intertwining the old with the new! Be sure to friend us on facebook or follow us on twitter! There's a lot to learn about, old and new in the world of DGY fiber!
DIY Holiday Pom-Pom Wreath
The holidays are fast approaching and you know what that means...time to start DECORATING! In this post, we are going to show you can make your own festive holiday Pom-Pom Wreath. Not only is this project super easy and fun, but these wreaths make great gifts for party hosts or hostesses.
One of the best things about this project is that you can replicate it for any season or holiday! We chose to create a Thanksgiving/Harvest Wreath.
Supplies for Pom-Pom Wreath
How to Make Pom-Pom's
- Select Pom-Pom size (this kit comes with 4 sizes).
- Wrap yarn loosely around the semi circle. Once you finish the first half, cut your yarn and repeat the same thing on the second half.
- Fold the pom pom maker in half so it becomes a circle.
- Lock the half's together.
- Take your scissor and cut around the edges.
- Make sure you have cut all the yarn off the edges
- Cut a 8 inch piece of the same color yarn and wrap it around the flat side of the pom-pom maker. Then tie it off.
- Trim your pom-pom so all yarn is the same length (make sure you do not trim your 8 inch piece of yarn used to tie the pom-pom together.
How to Make Your Pom-Pom Wreath
- Make approximately 30 pom-pom's of varying sizes (we only used the largest 3 sizes).
- Cut a 24 inch piece of yarn and fold it in half. Then wrap this around your wreath so it becomes your hanger.
- Once you have your selection of pom-pom's, begin by tying your largest pom-poms to the wreath first (see below).
- When you are happy with the placement of your pom-pom, secure it with a dab of hot glue.
- Continue tying and hot gluing pom-poms until your wreath looks complete.
- Once all pom-poms are tied, flip your wreath over and trim the excess yarn from the backside.
- Display your wreath for everyone to see!
How to Knit a Perfect Edge
We are a rather fun-loving gang at Darn Good Yarn. And why not? We work with crafty people all day, get to try all kinds of recycled fibers, and create meaningful work for people around the globe. Life is good as the expression goes!
So what makes us really go over the edge? We love when really creative ideas take us away from the norm. Yes, the repetition of patterns is relaxing and is a place we love to be. And then, how about trying new things, like creating beautiful edging for your projects? In this blog piece, I am going to discuss a few edging ideas and be sure to check out the blog post about crochet edging I did recently, too!
Have you made an i-cord? Super simple with roughly 4 sts cast on and continue in stockinette stitch until piece is desired length. I recently made a hat that started with an i-cord on the top and then the edging at the base of the hat was an attched i-cord. It scared me!
I stuck with the pattern and had to try a few times. Once I understood what I was doing, the i-cord edging was super easy and looks great, too! I-cord Edging technique can be done in a multitude of ways and giftofknitting.com has some very clear instructions for you that I wish I had when I tried this pattern!
Some very standard edging ideas are super practical. Why is it that so many hat patterns (and mittens, too) have one edge that is a ribbing pattern of knit 2, purl 2, or knit 1, purl 1? The ribbing not only gives it a nice clean patterned look, the ribbing provides some elasticity which is perfect for getting on and also keeping out the cold!
Garter stitch! Aren't their times where you feel absolute bliss about just knitting? Garter stitch, where you knit row after row after row, is perfect for those days when you just want to have EASY! So go ahead and edge your scarf, sweater, of shawl with a super easy and sweet little change of pattern. Garters stitch it is!
The playful colorway of this sari silk scarf above shows the beginning edge in an easy garter stitch which gives the piece a clean edge. With playful color and a freedom in stitch choices, the garter stitch gives this scarf a defined edge and couldn't be easier!
Seed stitch is another basic edging idea. With a simple pattern of knit 1 (k1), purl 1 (p1) on the first edge row. You then will do the opposite on the next row so all knit stitches on the right side of your work, will now be a purl and vice versa. Each row will show as just the opposite and give a nice patterning edge.
Hmmm....makes me think that many stitch patterns may be fun to try for edging!
A lot of times we think of crochet is being lacey. Whoa! Think about all the beautiful edges that are made by combining some of our most common knit stitches like knit 2 together (k2tog), slip stitch (sl st), yarn over (yo). Voila, a lacey, holey creation and it's knit!
The cool thing about knit edging is that you can work a whole pattern with heaps of repeats and easy knitting, and let the beautiful lace yarn do all the work! Then add an edge that makes the whole handmade piece just amazing. So yeah! Use that pattern that you love with some unique fiber and then, go over the edge with a new edging for finishing it!
We love going over the edge and hope you'll think about taking the plunge, too. The team at Darn Good Yarn is here to help you! And be sure to tell us about an interesting edge idea that you've tried! We love hearing from our Darn Good Yarners! xo
- Janis Minshull
9 Great Yarn Hacks
Life is crazy, isn't it? I don't know about you but the gang at Darn Good Yarn loves when we can get a moment to breathe! Breathe and create, because for some of us working on our fiber project is what keeps us sane! We love our opportunity to retreat from the every day.
I cherish the time I can just meditate with my yarn and can feel the day's stress peel away the moment I pick up my needles. Ahhh, yes! But wouldn't a few yarn hacks make your project time even more relaxing? I love writing about this because I always find more ideas for yarn hacks and some of these are from our facebook Darn Good Yarners!
Drinking and Knitting
1. I had an incident with stitches just the other night. I swear that these stitched have a life of their own and want to co-mingle in the bottom of my yarn bag. Frustrated? Oh, yeah! This wine cork idea for the knitting needles is just what I should do because it would make my life easier. Guess I need to drink some wine and get corking!
2 .Another simple hack is the idea of having a glass of wine. You deserve it and I sometimes have a small glass the size of a juice glass. It gets me feeling more relaxed and gets me in the zone for knitting. Have you seen our wine koozie pattern? A super easy idea and great for gifting with wine!
Darn Good Yarners on facebook
3. Love this idea from our facebook page from Darn Good Yarner Carrie J. Lynch! She calls this the "poor woman's ball winder" and uses a beer bottle to make her yarn cakes...she also suggests it's great for traveling!
4. Darn Good Yarner Abby Johnsen mentions using earrings for stitch markers which is not one I have thought of before and it's so practical! Another of our facebook fans, Susan Harper, additionally suggested paper clips for markers when you are in a pinch!
5. One of our crafters, Rebecca Morrison Renzi, has a very simple yarn hack! She always finishes her knitting for the day by ending so she will start with a knit stitch. Super simple and an easy way to start up again and also remember where you left off!
6. Amanda Currell reminds us that hacks themselves don't have to be tricky. On our facebook page, she suggests that she always winds her yarn into balls first before she begins a project. I do the same thing and love that the balls are ready and work beautifully in my yarn bowl. I also decorate my home with baskets of yarn balls!
7. Angela Vilhauer DeMeritt is crazy about her Stitch Counter app...a great app idea! But what if you aren't that tech savvy? Or don't use an i-phone? DGY has a stitch counter that is tech-free and user friendly! Not all of us are high tech! We might even be a bit retro!
8. Our friend, Andrea Davis says "I make large projects so I use a small plastic hamper to store the yarn in while I work & to keep the project in because I have dogs who think they are cats & like to steal my yarn. It keeps it away from them and when I put it through different holes I don't have to worry about tangling." This cracks me up!
9. We love learning from our friends and also supporting them with their creative adventures! The best hack of all? Darn Good Yarn staff loves helping you find what you need for your next yarn adventure! We love helping you get your creative mojo going!
Be sure to follow us on facebook and let us know what do you do for yarn hacks!
10 Ideas for Making Crochet Granny Squares
Are you someone that wants to learn how to crochet? Or do you remember your first crochet projects? DGY has some sweet basic crochet and knit patterns for beginners so be sure to see what we have for inspiration! We all have to start somewhere! (And remember, I tend to save the best ideas for last in this blog!)
1. You know where I started with crochet? Well, once I got beyond the chain stitch (ch) and learn the single and double crochet (sc and dc), I began making crochet granny squares. I highly recommended this once you get the basics down because the repetition helped me to be a better crocheter. I also loved it because I could make squares whatever size I wanted and once I got proficient, I made some really cool afghans!
2.Crochet Granny Squares are a great way to practice your basics and how about gauge? Experiment with different hook size to see what that does to your squares. And remember, that if you make an afghan you will want to have your squares all come out the same size so you can sew or crochet your squares together in a tidy fashion!
3. You know me by now, and I am a color junkie! I purposely put the quiet gray/blue square above and then, the more colorful afghan where the colors both pop and meld. Start with left over yarn but once you "get the idea" of granny squares, get yourself some unique fibers and really go for it! Color in granny squares is what really makes them unique!
4. Be sure if you are using bulky fibers (which work up wonderfully quick) that you use a large crochet hook. The two go hand in hand so be sure to start your official granny square project with the right combination. It makes life easier!
5. Finish a square having taken a few notes. How many rows did you do, what size yarn and hooks? Did you add any special stitches? Did your turn the corners with consistency?
6 And then, grab a ruler and measure the end result. For most granny square projects, you are going to want to have the squares all be the same size so hook size, yarns, stitches, and tension will make the difference between squares that are uniform in size.
7. Get beyond the idea of afghans! The bowl and jacket above are two nifty ideas for getting beyond granny squares as just for throws and pillows. Here are 10 free crochet granny square patterns to help you change it up a bit, courtesy of www.101crochet.com
8. If crochet granny squares is something you enjoy, please visit the Crochet Guild of America to find ways that you can donate your hand made squares. Seems like a simple way to give back to soldiers, ill children, or cancer patients!
9. Not a crocheter but enjoy sewing? How cool is this? This has similar patterning to granny squares but is handmade by a sewer. Did you know we have supplies for all crafters including our sewing friends?
10. I love saving the best and most intriguing for last. So here is an example of a crochet granny square with other fiber threading through it. Can you imagine creating squares and adding some sari silk ribbon? Or some chiffon? This kinda' opened things right up for me with the potential for re-creating the concept of granny squares!
I mean with all the open areas that granny squares create, there is a whole lot more to consider. Yes, there is the crochet piece and then what will you do with the square using other fibers? Yahoo! I love how creativity takes off!