Darn Good Blog
Our Small Independent Company Flys with International Connections
At Darn Good Yarn, we are a very small team that has global implications. We strive to bring you the most amazing handmade, fair trade, and sustainable products while providing work for over 600 women around the world! How do we do it? It's really about believing anything is possible and building relationships!
Our story is an amazing one and we are jazzed about how we keep adding new chapters. We love working with people around the globe and here in the U. S. Here is one more chapter about how we love to believe anything is possible with broad horizons! Whether providing sustainable work or getting that package to you, we soar for you!
Did you know Nicole has always been fascinated with flight and at one time considered becoming a pilot? So, it's so appropriate that Darn Good Yarn is now part of the Museum of Flight in Washington! So how the heck does yarn have anything to do with flight?
FedEx completely gave Darn Good Yarn what it needed to be successful and professional in a global capacity! In reaching out and learning what Darn Good Yarn could be, our company quite literally was flying the heavens.
Okay, so how does Darn Good Yarn end up in the Museum of Flight? Again, connections. Darn Good Yarn is part of a display about air cargo in collaboration with FedEx. How cool is that? We work super hard to bring you the best and building our business has also meant building those connections
Another example of how important it is to build relationships!
Again, it's really about connections and making connections that help us to be both that small, friendly company and reach out to where ever you may be! Fed Ex! Nicole has collaborated with FedEx for many years now because she knew that her packages needed to get to you safely and well, Nicole is not someone to be limited by any boundaries!
And, when Darn Good Yarn was awarded the Small Business Award in 2013, Nicole knew that her partnership with FedEx was the shipping piece that she needed to expand her global reach and give her customers what they were asking for.
Over the Moon
So yeah, we are super excited to be in the Museum of Flight. We are super proud to collaborate with Fed Ex to bring customers products through fair trade employment around the globe. And we are flying over the moon to have our amazing relationships with our Darn Good Yarn customers, too!
Crocheting with Fabric Instead of Yarn
I really want to talk to you about our fibers. Sometimes people wonder about the difference between some of our yarns versus our ribbons. I am going to talk in the context of crocheting because we love all our crochet family out there! That being said, all of what I say applies to knitting and other crafts as well.
Here at DGY, we are all about using fiber in our projects. We have some incredibly gorgeous lace yarns, hand beaded yarns(above), wool, hemp, and more. Awesome, crazy, unique yarns and traditional yarns - wonderful for many projects. Many of them are going to give you a completely different look- lacey with drape, coarse, elegant, etc. We have yarns to fit all gauges....and then there are the fiber ribbons!!!
The beauty of using fabric for crocheting is the amazing way it works up. I am passionate about our bulkier fabrics (that are reclaimed fibers coming from fair trade co-ops) because they bring texture, form, and dazzling color to crochet projects. Have you seen our hand blocked ribbon above? I know, crazy, right? Get's you thinking about the possibilities!!!
Remember rag rugs? Maybe not, as they originated long, long ago(again, my age shows!). Back in the day, when clothing was worn to rags, people recycled the material in many ways and rag rugs were one of them. Taking worn fiber and giving it one more re-purposing! I love rag rugs and they are easily made using Darn Good Yarn Ribbon!
Options are a Good Thing!
Why the ribbon? Well, fabric gives rugs the density and diversity that really add both functionality to those cold winter floors and can be eye popping-ly gorgeous! Grab your large hook (you can play with the gauge a bit to decide how large you want your stitch) and your DGY ribbon and go for it.
It's okay to mix color and I prefer a lot of color. I do find it wise to have similar width in your ribbon so that the crochet strip is consistent. Darn it up and you have a gorgeous rug for a home warming gift...might be too nice to give away! We have great solids and I would most definitely add some At the Bahamas to ramp up the color I so love!
Options are crazy with our ribbons. One of our best sellers is our Market Tote Kit (yes, it is available for both our crocheters and knitters) and is made from our incredible recycled chiffon that you are going to love working with! We also have some 2" ribbon- a width that works up incredibly well with your larger crochet hooks!
Look Mom! Neon Ribbon, Too!
So yeah, I love our yarns but in becoming part of the Darn Good Yarn team, I have opened my eyes and my crafting options to so many amazing fabric ribbons that are easily crocheted into incredible handmade pieces. And then there is mixed media...and weaving...and...sewing and...!!!
Knitting with Plastic and How to Make Plarn
Once thought of as ingenious and a clear improvement for shoppers, plastic bags are clogging up our pathways to a cleaner environment. Holy Moly, we see them everywhere! The use of cloth bags are preferred by many and we are seeing the demise of plastic. Hooray!
Here are Darn Good Yarn we strive to provide earth friendly products whenever possible, We are incredibly excited that through our collaboration with co-ops in India, that DGY has kept over 1,000,000 pounds of sari silk waste from going into landfills! These recycled materials are not only getting a new life but provide sustainable work for hundreds of women!
PLastic + YARN = Plarn
Ah, I get so excited about our recycling efforts that I digress! So, what is plarn and why should we care about it? Well, each and every day we want to do things that help to keep this one planet clean, safe, and alive so using plastics that were heading for a dump or just roadside trash makes huge sense. Plarn is the process of using plastics such as those plastic bags we see everywhere and creating reuable yarn to create something once again.
Have you seen Nicole's design for a plarn tote bag? It's a super cool way to use those plastic bags and the 80 Ways to Save the Earth Tote Bag Pattern makes a great messenger bag. What an exceptionally cool way to use up those bags and have the end result of a very practical and handsome bag!
And here is this nostalgic video(2008) of Nicole with her tutorial on how to make plarn using plastic bags. And this also shows Nicole making her Earth Tote from bags and the Darn Good sport weight recycled silk yarn. How ingenious to give the bag more pizzazz and texture!
What to Call It?
Do you recycle? Or are you into upcycling? Or perhaps, you prefer to re-use materials, or are they reclaimed? Whatever your wording, the idea is quite similar; in using materials again, we are breathing a new life into things that seem to be only uni-functional. How cool is it that we are not only saving the planet with our recycled materials, but that we also create practical, use-able things!
So whatever you call your efforts, be open to different ideas and be sure to share them with the youngsters in your life. After all, in giving plastic bags another life as plarn or other Earth friendly practices you are also giving life to the kids who will inherit this world. Teach them well and do hands-on projects using recycling options available so that they might have a healthier planet.
Let us know what you do to incorporate crafting and recycling because we love to recycle ideas, too!
DIY Cat Yarn Ball- A Holiday Gift for Pets
Okay, I confess! My two cats rule! They are the complete and total bosses of our home. And all of us pet-crazed people need to keep our pets busy over the winter, right? Robert and Maxine (my shelter cats) love romping outdoors in our cat safe world, but with cooler weather, I find them in more and looking for extra-curricular activities.
My cats are older so they love to watch me knit, crochet, and weave. They are more engaged weavers than the other crafts! This time of year I need to keep them active- a bit like me, they need to be coerced into action. Play is important for all of us in our house and during the winter it keeps us nimble of mind and body! Yes, think yarn!
Cat Scratch Fever!
Yarn balls are a great winter activity for cats, dogs, and their humans! Here is one idea for yarnballs thanks to makingtimeformommy.com and I would love to share my thoughts on this, too. Do you have extra yarn? Why, of course you do! Taking some yarn, stash busting at its best, and you can easily create a yarn ball for your cats (or dogs!).
Wind the yarn much as you would for a ball for yourself EXCEPT wind it tighter. The yarnballs I make for my cats are wound as tight as possible for the core (avoiding the need for a styrofoam or other inner core). Basically, I love using a lace yarn wound very tight because that means it is not going to unravel.
So now, do you want a small toy (my cat's preference) or a large one? After a taut ball is started I tightly knot a bulkier fiber and wrap this around the core layer. The bulky yarn has more texture for claws and creates a bit of intrigue (after all they are curious!). If you want a bigger yarnball, obviously you need more wraps.
Lastly, I create a long, loose end on the ball that serves two purposes. I can hold the yarn ball end while the cats and I get our chilly weather diversion and family time of fun! Or, the cats can have fun with the long string (preferred method in my home) while I hold the ball. Wild abandon ensues!
Going to the Dogs
And yes, we love diversity so whether you have a dog, cat, or pet rabbit that enjoys yarnballs and winter play, it's time to create those holiday gifts for your pets. How about a matching scarf and cowl kit for you and your favorite dog? Be sure to check out all the other holiday gift idea blogs we've shared for more help with gifting.
The Darn Good Yarn Team and all of our menagerie of pets can't wait to hear what yarn toys you make for your pets. And if you use up some of your stash making yarnballs or other quick toys that means you can buy more unique yarn!
9 Darn Good Friends and Their Fiber Projects
Yes, it's passion that keeps us reaching and going. We love inspiring all our Darn Good Yarn family by providing amazing products and an ethical business model. And you know what? Our dear family of crafters really inspires the Darn Good Yarn team and we absolutely love hearing from you on facebook, other social media, and be phone or email!
Gorgeous, Simply Gorgeous
So I want to share with you some of our amazing crafters and their creations. I don't necessarily have their patterns but their words and photos are truly awe-some!
1. Check out this work in progess (WIP) above from @susieddesign . This eye popping weaving is simply breathtaking. @susieddesignbottom says the "fringe is black Tshirt yarn I cut and some beautiful silk sari yarn called Spice Market by Darn Good Yarn . Then I used the Spice Market for some soumak weave and wool roving soumak weaves after that." Thank you Susie!
2. Michaela L. just sent this to our facebook page. Michaela found this awesome pattern by Lisa Mutch at Ravelry.com. Michaela used 3 skeins of our sari silk ribbon and she says " I folded the finished product in half and sewed four inches together in the back". Thanks Michaela for sharing with us your amazing creation! Your color choice is amazing!
3. Our very own Keri loves to craft. She uses the pom-pom maker to create this very cool Fall wreath a while back. Now, you might want to be make one using holiday colors! Here is the how-to of this pomp-pom wreath. We love supporting all kinds of crafters!
4. Have a vegan friend or two? We cater to our vegan friends and love this idea for a banana fiber scarf ---@kaleidoscopicalkraft is working on Christmas gifts! Made from our kaleidoscope banana fiber yarn, the scarf has so many amazing colors! And yes, our banana yarn is made from real bananas!
5. I love to weave but am quite a novice even after several years. Anyone else out there weave? @jamiedebree started this loom project using our recycled silk yarn and reminds me to say hey to all our weavers. The fibers we carry our so darn unique that you are going to love using them for weft in your weaving! Thanks for sharing this lovely piece, Jamie!
6. Shala Kerrigan at DontEatThePaste is one of our very creative, designer friends and we love collaborating with her. She is our Artist of the Month and we love the Jar Cozies Kit. A crochet project that requires two skein of our Neon Handmade Sari Silk, you can also order the downloadable pattern! Fantastic work, Shala!
7. This story is just so beautiful it needs to be shared. Darn Good Yarner Joanne shares a family story of how her DGY project has sent ripples through her family (as well as across the globe).
"I am the youngest of 3 girls. Our mom passed away 21 years ago and now our Dad is battling Alzheimer's and is not doing too well. My oldest sister is getting ready to retire and I wanted to crochet her something special. I spoke about this to my middle sister and a few days later she called me and told me that she had purchased DGYarn with some money that she had gotten from our dad. We decided together that this special gift would be from the three of us: Dad, my middle sister and myself. Chances are, when my older sister retires, my Dad won't be there, but this gift that he is part of would be."
"I'm sending along some pictures to you of the bag I made. It's an original design and I call it "Tina's Tote" in honor of my big sis." Thank you Joanne for sharing the beauty of hand made gifts and your very moving story.
I'd like to end this blog that is loaded with love and creativity with two more end of the day, sweet creations!
8. First, I want to share another beautiful dreamcatcher made by Bohemian Mermaid. Her ideas come to life in her amazing and unique dreamcatchers. This is another great use of our sari silk ribbon! Thank you, Kerry!
9. Lastly, I want to send you off in peace with this lovely weaving, Thanks Chel for this awe inspiring weaving using many unique fibers.@chel_c_marie created this beautiful piece of art and is going to be our December Artist of the Month!
Thanks to each and everyone of our customers that brings such joy of creativity to us each and every day. Yes, we have global reach and one creative experience after another brings us all together as one. We can't wait to see what you come up with next so please share your Darn Good creative endeavors with us on twitter, instagram, and facebook!
6 Plus 1 Crafter Gift Ideas Under $20.
Looking for some inexpensive ideas for gifting this year? We get it! Here at Darn Good Yarn, we are totally into being in tune and being in tune with financial matters! Because we want everyone to have the Darn Good Yarn experience we strive to have great sales all year round. Be sure to check our blog for other posts on holiday gift giving!
We also wanted to offer our friends some reasonable ideas for gifting. So whether you are staying in budget, want to add a bit more for the crafter in your life, or need something for a stocking,the DGY team has pulled together some of the best bargains just for you!
1. I love this idea-what about just ordering up some patterns for your crafter? I mean, we have some really amazing patterns and to put it bluntly, they are cheap! You could order up several and give your crafter, a collection of inspiration to work with this year!
2. What is the most useful tool I have (other than my husband)?!!! I am crazy about my Knitting Needle Gauge Ruler! I can't tell you how many times I have needed to figure out what size double pointed needles I have in my hand. I also love this because I keep it in my bag (it fits!) and it's super easy to measure. I may have even mentioned this before but I don't care...this is an expensive and super useful gift!
3. What about a knitting loom, my friend? A gift for both the expert who might like to try something new and for the beginner. This is perfect for introducing the grand kids to crafts and you are going to love it, too! The price is right and it's made of wood!
4. Maybe your gift doesn't need to be a lot, so how about a little? Our Darn Good Yarn Sample Cards come in a variety of options. What a great way to give someone a taste of some of our most exotic recycled fibers and not break the bank!
5. Looking for something on the earthy side? We have a great line of hemp products and yarns! Not only are these fibers Earth friendly, they are strong and weather resistant. Your vegan friends are going to love a hemp gift. Great for a multiplicity of crafts, we carry a full line of jewelry making supplies.
6. And then what to put your inexpensive gifts in? Hmmm...how about one of our RBFS Snarky Totes? This really is an awesome way to wrap up a gift all in one stop shopping!
Okay! So I almost forgot this one...Gift cards allow the freedom of choice and start at just $10.00!!! An incredibly easy idea, keeps you in budget, and gives the gift of choice....gotta love it!
Whatever your budget, we know how important it is to feel great about your purchases. Giving gifts you are happy with is part of feeling great in your giving. We love making that happen! Did you know that Darn Good Yarn always has a sale shelf for you to look at?
Happy Holidays from the Darn Good Yarn Team!