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Knitting with Plastic and How to Make Plarn

Caring for Mother Earth

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

Cat-atonic

 

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

 

Passion

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!

Tina's Tote

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.

Sweet Dreams

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!

Plus One

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!

7 Gift Ideas for the Creative Lifestyle

Okay so not everyone is into crafting in the traditional sense. I know you have people on your gifting list that are creative, unique individuals, and you have no idea what to get for them! The reason I know this? I have some of those same people on my list!

Friends! I am going to share with you some of the coolest ideas for the creative lifestyle. These are things that you probably won't find elsewhere and are guaranteed to bring smiles!

1. Do you have people on your list that need nothing? You want to give them something but ugh, what to do? How about this lovely parasol? Exotically colorful and covered with a design embellishment, this gift guarantees to bring the joy of creativity.

2. Scarves are one of those gifts that people love to get and rarely buy for themselves. They are also completely in vogue right now! Here's a great combo-a Sari Silk & Cotton Scarf. Each scarf is unique and if you have a color preference we love hand picking the one that is perfect for your gift!

Okay, so I am interrupting your regularly scheduled blog! I can't pass this one up. So say, you do find that perfect gift ( of course at DGY). Wouldn't it be so cool to wrap your gifts creatively? Yes, this is something for you but hey, you deserve it and this really wraps up the festivities beautifully!

Alright now let's talk trash!

3. We are super earth friendly and we work really hard to bring you many recycled materials. This is a super cool idea for the earth conscious person on your list - give them gifts for the home that are practical, beautiful, and made from trash! Our made in Nepal Homemade Trash items are fair trade home goods, amazingly bright and whimsical and surely will be a unique gift!

4. Here is an idea that flies out of our warehouse! Sari silk skirts are part of our creative lifestyle clothing line and really adhere to the creative, funky, beautiful look that you are seeking in a gift. Our Sari Silk Skirts are made of recycled saris by amazing women in India. The skirts you purchase will be one-of-a-kind and whoa, who doesn't love that kind of creativity?

5. Ooooh-la-la! Accessories can add so much to an outfit. Look how cool this photos is by adding one of the Sari Silk  Necklaces to this simple white tank top! What's not to love about this gift idea? And there are many more looks you will get with the DGY artisan and fair trade jewelry line!

6.Okay! So we are all about diversity! Diversity of people, diversity of place, and truly diversity in our product line! Have you seen the wide variety of bags and purses that we carry? Whether the DGY Multi-Color Patchwork Slouchy Bag  or our One-of-a-Kind Sari Silk Purse (above) or one of our other satchels, you will have your list "in the bag" for this year with these creative lifestyle options!

7. Shopping for someone else but not sure what to give them? We totally understand that dilemma because we have been there, too! Give them the gift of choice with a Darn Good Yarn gift card.Gift cards are delivered by email and contain instructions to redeem them at checkout. Our gift cards start at $10.00 and have no additional processing fees.

We've got you covered for that artsy person who perhaps loves the look but isn't going to be making anything for themselves. So many of our creative lifestyle gift ideas provide work for women around the globe so you are not only purchasing a super nifty gift, you are sharing the spirit of giving on a global scale. The team at Darn Good Yarn thanks you for that!

5 New Products Just for You

Stagnant is not in our vocabulary and here at Darn Good Yarn we love to bring new things to our online storefront. Rather than waiting for you to stumble across them, Keri suggested that we create a blog post about what is new and different!

We listen to you, our Darn Good Yarn family. After all we are a small team here and when you let us know what you love, we are able to search out and bring these products to you. An added bonus is that we provide work for many women and stock many recycled fibers!

1.Yes, we listen! Many of you wanted to see some needle work designs and we have some amazing designs for Cross Stitch Kits. These kits come with everything you need to get started on something new for your home or great for a housewarming gift!

2. Some of you have been requesting a more wild, more windswept version of our sari silk ribbon. We are pleased to introduce you to our Sari Silk Windswept Ribbon. This is the same, gorgeous sari ribbon that is handcrafted in India and now we offer a more organic edge for greater texture and spirit in your fiber arts.

 

3. As much as I love to craft, there are times when I just want to have the crafting done for me. The DGY Felted Leaf Clutch is just not something I know how to make and how adorable is this? Lots of color options, too!

4. Yes, coloring! It's all the rage and who doesn't love the opportunity to relax and play with color? The Darn Good Yarn coloring book is downloadable and a sweet way to retreat from the everyday. Great for inter-generational fun, too!

5. Looking for a heartwarming gift? Well this is actually toe-warming!!! Our artisan and fair trade socks are vibrant, warm, and the perfect way to stay warm this winter. Get some for your friends and be sure to get a pair for yourself.

We thrive on innovation and exploring new ideas. Our team loves to hear from our friends out there and welcome your suggestions! Write to us at info@darngoodyarn.com and let us know what your thinking!