Darn Good Blog
Yarn Painting: The New Craze
Painting! Gotta love it, right? Okay, so maybe you are not a painter but enjoy great art. I have no talent but love to play with color palettes and fiber. I'm also completely passionate about kids and painting! Yes, it's messy but the openness that young children exhibit when creating is beautiful and totally contagious!
How about painting with no paint? Is that a bit more your style? And what a great way to introduce kids (or adults) to fiber, texture, color, and creativity! While it is the new craze, to do yarn painting that is, it isn't a new idea at all. Using unique fibers to paint a picture is an important part of many cultures and continues to be so in the Mexican culture!
Huichol art has its origins in Mexico and yarn painting is just one aspect of their art culture. The unifying factor of the work is the colorful decoration using symbols and designs which date back centuries. The most common and commercially successful products are “yarn paintings” and objects decorated with small commercially produced beads.
How do we create yarn paintings? Here's what I recommend for the beginner:
1.Materials-Thick cardboard or plywood cut to size wanted for yarn painting, glue, paint brush, paper towels paper, color pencils, and interesting yarns!
2.Draw out your rough design with paper and color pencils.
3.Trace or draw basic design on cardboard or wood.
4.If you are more advanced it will be easier to add wire or other hanging material before you begin working. That way, once your yarn painting is dry, it's ready for hanging or gifting!
5.Cut strips of yarn, cover small area with glue (using paint brush) and add that color beginning in the middle of that section unless you are doing straight lines.
6.Do small areas and build out toward edges.
7.Add beads for embellishment or use DGY beaded yarns.
8. You are working with glue so remember that you may want to wash your hands several times so you don't get stuck to your fibers!
9.Set aside to dry.
Rainy Day FUN
I've included a few images in this blogpost and Picklebums.com shows some yarn painting creations to get you thinking as well. Color is predominant in yarn painting and has me also thinking about texture to give the piece greater depth.
Kids love crafting and as we head into the months where we hunker down more, yarn painting is an exceptional idea for kid projects. This is one of those projects that can be done with little ones all the way to adult. So get your Darn Good Yarns and figure out your palette and get painting, yarn painting that is!
How to Make Beautiful Marble Jewelry and Other Handmade Jewelry Ideas
I am not big on glitz and glam; it's just the way I am. I do love wearing an accessory to tie things together sometimes. I am also amazed how I can wear jeans and a shirt in the garden or wear the same outfit with a piece or two of jewelry and it just dresses things up a tad!
Marbles, they're not just for playing any more! The idea of baking marbles has been around for a few years. Have you heard of it? With a sister who just loved taking the ordinary and experimenting with it, she was a marble chef! She totally loved making jewelry creations for friends and family. She wasn't much of a cook so I laugh to think of her love of baking marbles!
DIY crafts are wonderful! We love helping to get you crafters think about other ideas. So how do we actually use marbles to make jewelry? Here's the basics on how to bake marbles:
1.Bake your glass marbles at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. (Muffin tins are awesome because the marbles don't roll off!!!)
2.After baking, immediately put marbles in ice water. The transition from hot to cold makes the marbles crack on the inside
3.Once cooled and cracked, marbles can then be glued to jewelry piece where the chain will be threaded.
4.Thread chain, wire, or sari silk ribbon for a necklace. I am all about fiber so that is always my go-to option!
Simple, right? This could be great fun with the kids but remember that these marbles are super hot and you are actually going to have to be careful and do much of this project yourself. Could be a fun way to talk about hot, cold, and what happens when those forces meet! Here are more ideas for baking marbles at wimp.com!
The part that will be more hands-on for the kids will be when they chose their sari ribbons or other fibers to decorate their jewelry. Sari ribbon, cotton yarn, and others can be found on DGY Sampler cards....soooo perfect for pairing with baked marbles.
Lost Your Marbles?
I am always open to taking things to the next level! Perhaps you are looking for other jewelry making materials? Perhaps you haven't done a lot of jewelry making and would love to try the Beaded Crochet Necklace Kit? This kit has great color options and has really opened my eyes to jewelry making ideas!
Such as....I am creative but I need a pattern or something to just gain a bit of confidence. I am loving the idea of this crochet necklace kit and trying it using baked marbles once I get the hang of it. I would love to see baked marbles with some of our gorgeous options in recycled sari silk using the pattern in this kit. How cool would that be for up-cycling jewelry?
Beautiful Jewelry, Beautiful People
As a creative lifestyle company, we support not just our knitters and crocheters, but all things creative! Jewelry making, mixed media, spinning, weaving-what ever your craft we have unique materials for you!
And if you are not wanting to make your own jewelry, Darn Good Yarn has some amazing jewelry for those who want to spice up there wardrobe a bit with artisan good but are not ready to bake marbles!
This is another amazing story for Darn Good Yarn! How about some beautifully hand crafted earrings? Darn Good Jewelry creates opportunity for adults with special needs who are often unemployed or underemployed. Created by acclaimed designer Maggie Dykzeul, this jewelry collection was designed as a form of art therapy for adults with special needs.
Be it marbles, our crochet jewelry kit, or hand made earrings, we take great pride in our story! Supporting our amazing crafters and offering so many recycled fibers is our passion. So grab that old stash of marbles, a muffin tin, and get cracking! And for all you great chefs, did you know you can fry marbles, too?
11 or More Pokemon Crochet Patterns To Try and a Few Knit Ones, Too
The first Pokémon games, Pokémon Red and Green Versions, came to the Nintendo Game Boy system in Japan on February 27, 1996, which was the fulfillment of Satoshi Tajiri's dream and allowed people of all ages to catch, train and trade 151 creatures and become a Pokémon Master.
Darn Good Yarn is fascinated with again, yet another resurgence in Pokémon interest. With what the creators call generations, there have been many waves of Pokémon and here is yet another one; Pokémon Go is a whole new game! Do you know a Pokémon lover? How about making them their favorite character?
Really? How adorable is this Pichu? A shout out to www.favecrafts.com for a great selection of Pokémon crochet patterns for you to try.I don't think these patterns are for the beginner but if you have basic crochet skills, you got this!
Totally loving the idea of making these with some of our banana fiber . The fiber is soft and almost silky, the yarn is earth friendly, and it's made of bananas! Now what kid doesn't love bananas? We also have a rainbow of Pokémon colors!
Topcrochetpatterns.com has 11 crochet patterns of Pokémon characters and I am finding the options endless, really! Look online to find the character you want to make and if you or your gang are playing Pokémon Go, bring your project with you while you are on your adventure!
Etsy.com has some amazing Pokémon creatures such as this knit pattern for a Bulbasaurus thanks to LittleKnitsWhits. Matter of fact, have you been on Etsy lately or ever? We love to frequent Etsy for inspiration and to answer your darn good questions about our DGY yarns.
So how about a blanket square to go with your toy character? We found a cool knit pattern thanks to latesandllamas.com for this blanket square of Chamander. I love the use of color and inversion of color here.
Speaking of amazing color, have you tried this yarn? Another idea for making your creation would be to use this Gumball Yarn-it's soft, it's silk, and the colors are Pokémon perfect!
Or how about a Pokémon Beanie from instructables.com? Don't just stop at stuffed animals for your Pokémon characters...there are sooooooo many characters now. Explore the options for what you can make by going to sites like pinterest or etsy. And don't just limit yourself with yarn choice. We've got some darn good options!
Adorable right? I love these Pokémon puppets but as a former librarian, I have always had a thing for puppets. I found them on pinterest! Use pinterest to help you find designs and patterns for puppets of any kind and stop by and say hi to Nicole and the Darn Good Yarners!
Okay! So I haven't downloaded Pokémon Go because I'd have to stop crocheting and knitting! But I sure have downloaded a few other patterns! Which Pokémon character are you going to make?
Cast On and Bind Off Knitting Methods and Where to Begin
There are many methods for casting on and binding off with knitting. I am only going to show a few options here because let's face it, we can all google these things. Mostly, I just want to give you some basic guidance. Be sure to start by getting some darn good yarn! Start with something basic like either a bulky or a worsted weight yarn because bigger yarns are easier to manipulate!
For example, I will say let's use a worsted weight recycled handspun and how about needles? Yes, there are so many options for needles! Some people love the aluminum because stitches slide, some like the circular that has a cord between each end.
I love many kinds depending on the project, but for general use I love the straight bamboo needles. Why? I like the feel of them and the look, too! So grab a pair of size 8 needles and your handspun and let's get casting (no, we are not going fishing)!
Cast On #1-Single Cast On
- Start by making a loop with the yarn.
- Bring the yarn through the loop, creating another loop with a knot at the end
Single Cast On
- Slide slip knot onto needle. Pull yarn to tighten knot.
- Wrap the working yarn (yarn connected to the ball of yarn) around your thumb so you have a loop around your thumb.
- Bring the needle under and up through the loop around your thumb
- Remove your thumb from the loop and pull the yarn
- Continue from step 2 until you have desired number of stitches casted on
Here is a great video visual from instructables.com
Cast On Method #2- Long Tail Cast On
I love the long tail method for casting on because I love how easy it is. It creates an even edge and it's easy to slide off your needles for your stitch row that follows.Once you get the hang of it, it's faster than Single Cast-On when you take into account that this method creates an already knitted row
In other words, using the Cast On Method, you will be knitting your first row at the same time you are casting on (technically, anyway…but patterns don’t count this row).
You will need to guesstimate how long you want your yarn tail to be but a good estimate is 12" of tail for every 20 stitches. The bulkier yarns will need longer tails as the tail will work up quicker.
Knittinghelp.com has a great tutorial video on the long tail cast on method. I think this will be more useful than me talking about why I love this method! One last note about this method-I have been known to run out of the tail end of the yarn so you may want to try gauging it with your yarn and needles.
Tension is something you will learn about when knitting. Casting on too tightly means you can't knit the stitches but I have a few suggestions! Cast on over two needles and you will get a looser cast on edge or (my personal favorite), cast on with a size larger needle than pattern calls for and then swap out to smaller needle size after you have cast on...easy and I love easy!
Binding Off or Yeah! I'm Done
So there are many ways to bind off and again, I think the visual will be most useful to you. Rather than show you many methods for binding off, watch this for the basic bind off stitch video . The options are endless and here are eight popular methods for casting on and binding off from onlineread.com.
And my best idea on this? I love Cast On, Bind Off because I can hold this great book in in my lap while I figure out what the hell I'm trying to do! This book is excellent and has levels from basic all the way to complicated methods for casting on and binding off.
Here at Darn Good Yarn, we love to support you in your yarn endeavors. We'd like to thank all the amazing people out there on YouTube and elsewhere who are helping the world learn the joy of creating. We love to make videos, too, and I have to say Nicole is a comedian;) and she intends to make lots more videos!
Have you seen any of the Darn Good Yarn videos?
8 Alternative Knitting Ideas That Won't Hurt Your Hands and Wrists
Time Marches On
Okay, so let's face it! Some of us aren't as young as we use to be! I have discovered body parts I never knew I had because they now talk to me on a regular basis. Some days the aches and pains are subtle, other days they scream at me! I love life and know this is part of aging but what to do?
I am learning acceptance (not easy for a notoriously strong personality). The other thing I am learning to do is to listen to my body and accommodate myself where I can. After a day on the lap top working with Darn Good Yarn, I go for a walk, put my feet up, and bend and stretch to get things moving again. I have used my hands a lot in life and want to listen when they speak about pain, too!
And So Can You
Crafting is something I love to do and you do, too, right? What can we do to still stick with our passion for knitting or crocheting and still listen to our hands. Here are a few of the ways I am learning to adjust and still craft!
2.Remember also, that saying "if you don't use it, you lose it". Maybe you have days where you can't do a lot of knitting but try and do a small bit. Whether a few rows or a few stitches, give it a try. It is exercise after all!
3. Try a bit of wine while you knit! Your muscles and aches won't feel so bothersome and it certainly couldn't hurt!
4.Try patterns that contain different stitches. Something as simple as a purl row versus knit will give your hands a slightly different motion. Change of motion gives different parts of your hands an opportunity to limber up and strengthen.
Bigger Can Be Better
5.Think bigger! Make projects that you can see (bulky yarns) and use bigger needles for your knit projects. Bigger means easier to handle, easier to hang out to on the days where you have the dropsies.
6.Arm knitting is a great way to still craft scarves and other things. The best part is that you can use your arms and give your hands a break. It's quick and will give you some great handmade gifts without a lot of hand use...perfect!
Adjusting To Life
7.Loom knitting is great for achy hands as you will have a whole different motion than what you use for traditional knitting. You still get the knit stitches that you know and with different motion, can work up some lovely hand made things. Looms are great for the kids, too!
8.I haven't tried the Portuguese knitting method but have been told that if you’ve been suffering from arthritis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other aches and pains which have prevented you from knitting as much as you’d like, this is the knitting method that will keep you knitting!
Isn't it crazy when we look in the mirror and are reminded of the long path we have traveled? I love every gray hair and wrinkle; my life badges of honor. I have no intention of sitting quietly and watching life go by. I listen when my body tells me to take it easy and I am learning new skills to accommodate my aging body. I love my Darn Good yarns, figuring out what life looks like now, and besides, who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
Basics of Knit Toys and Embellishment
Crickets are in full chorus, green grass and leaves look dull and dry, and birds are congregating. Yes, Fall is just around the corner with lots of birthdays in my family and the holidays are not far behind! Whether a grandparent or a parent, starting on your crafty project now means it will be ready for gifting!
This homemade bear is really sweet in his monochromatic colors. I like the look a lot but I am a color junkie so what if I took some of this sari silk ribbon and gave him a new bow...or a flower... or a.....
...or...I think you get what I'm saying. I am not a toy maker but I am a fiber lover. I can make a simple toy or add some gorgeous fiber to make one over-the-top beautiful just by playing with fiber and color!
The staff at Darn Good Yarn loves seeing the amazing creations that you, our crafters, make. Whether it's our knit patterns or something in crochet, we are always in awe of how amazing you are and the creativity you show with making your crafts! Toys are another opportunity to make something homemade and to use unique fibers to make the project have your own style!
Here's a great example! I am an ocean person so find myself drawn to this starfish. It's not all that amazing but it is a sea creature and my grandkids would like this...or is it too ordinary?
And then I have one of those Eureka moments! What if used a starfish pattern and made this knit toy using Darn Good Yarn's lace weight Sparkle Collection? I could make these in shimmery colors and there's even one color called Tidal Pool!
What a Doll!
Dolls can be an incredibly satisfying way to create a gift and make them as much an individual as the person you are giving them to. Using a doll pattern will be helpful and then let your imagination go wild!
Have a red head in the family? How about using some of our Gumball Yarn for hair? It's light and has great potential for color... in case, your doll needs gold, teal, or purple hair! Check out the great color options!
And what about this doll's clothes? Does she need a hemp belt or does his outfit need an extra touch that you might find with some handmade block printed sari ribbon? I am just playing with ideas here but you get the idea of using fibers to make amazing possibilities with your knit toys.
Toys to Make and Toys to Make Unique
Patterns for knit toys are infinite. Here are some examples of teeny tiny knit toys projects courtesy of intheloopknitting.com. As with all toys, be sure it is safe and appropriate for the child you are giving it to!
Another great idea would be to get a sampling that you can use to add a lovely bow, weave in some color, or give reins to that toy horse. Our sample cards will give you just enough variety to make that toy have its own personality!
Another Kid Idea
So maybe you don't want to make a toy? Our Cutie Pie Cowl Pattern is easy to make and incredibly fun for kids to wear! Or maybe, it's for you? Our Thick and Thin Mirror Yarn is one of those quick knitting yarns and is over-the top fun for knit projects for big kids, too!
So yeah, the seasons are starting to change. It's time to consider handmade crafts for gifts. It might just be time to make a toy or two for the little people in your life. And have fun with all the possibilities for adding yarn embellishments to your crafting! What are you making in your toy workshop?