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11 Reasons to Crochet Afghans

So, it's cold out there! Yes,  most of the Darn Good Yarn team is in the northern part of the U.S. and we should just buck up and take it. I mean we choose to live here right?  I have lived in the north my entire life and this time of year I crave the warmth! I love the idea of a warm weather escape but it's not in the cards every winter.

So what makes me happy during those winters when I don't get away? Being warm is key and along with some good tea or wine, I love crocheting afghans! What a great craft project for keeping warm!  Here are a few ideas about crocheting blankets:

1. Winter can seem long for some of us. I actually find the gray days of November and December to be tough but with the months that start the new year, comes a lot of deep cold. I love being outside but as I get older, I want to be warm, too! By starting an afghan in the late months of the year, I have a great project to look forward to all winter and that makes me happy!

2. While I have knit afghans, crochet is just quicker! As the days get colder, my afghan continues to grow...and keeps me warm, too!  In making crochet afghans, I sometimes get a couple done a winter!  

Is Bigger Better?

3. Bigger hooks mean your crochet project will work up quicker, too. Take time to consider your crochet hook as this will make a huge difference as to the size of your finished throw and the gauge of your stitches.

4. With the hook size, you also will want to consider the type of fiber used. Remember, with any project, the yarn weight does matter! If you are working with a small hook, a light lace will be best and for a larger size hook (say K and up), you will want a chunky yarn. Perhaps some of our Yak Wool? Warmth factor? Very high!

5. Its' just darn good to see something work up so easily. I love having one big project where I can see the results. In the dead of winter when things seem a bit frumpy, big needles and big fiber like our chiffon make great sense! So yeah, sometimes big is better when it makes you happy!

Snuggle In and Get Creative!

5. Speaking of fiber, I tend to think of afghans as being just about warmth where I live in the north. Not always the case.  Are you making this afghan for Project Linus? Or perhaps for someone at your local nursing home?  Alternative fibers such as cotton make lovely throws and are the perfect fiber for those needing comfort more than warmth.

6. Crochet patterns are abundant. Yes, you probably have a serious collection but are they for afghans? Here is a thought, and a simple idea, really. Take a pattern such as our crochet scarf pattern, work on a sample gauge, then consider what size you want your afghan. Once you have figured out stitches needed, you can simply follow the pattern to get the design you want on a larger scale!

Time Is On My Side

7. Why take the time to play around with crochet patterns to adjust for an afghan? Let's face it, granny square afghans are beautiful and yes, I have and will make them again. The main reason I continue to devise an afghan look from a pattern that isn't for a throw is this-it makes me happy to mastermind an idea and I love to create unique, one-of-kind throws! Now, that keeps my winter going!

8. Don't feel you have to work solely (or is it soul-ly?!!!) on your crochet afghan. Find happiness in the large project you have created. Work on it when you wish, and always feel free to jump into another crochet project. Have a few smaller craft projects around so that nothing gets stale. Taking breaks are a good thing!

9. Yes, these handcrafted throws take time but make an incredibly worthy winter project. It's great to have long range projects because, well, um, winter is long, too! Like that warm weather trip that you might not be doing, a crochet afghan gives you the diversion and warmth that will bring you to Spring before you know it!

10. Crochet afghans are beautiful and can be a family heirloom. Be proud of the amazing work you do and remember how much love and time goes into your handcraft. Whether gifting to yourself, a loved one, or a stranger, your commitment to this project shows how much joy you find in creativity.

11. If you really want a quicker blanket idea, have you seen our arm knit  blanket kit? Don't let the idea of arm knitting scare you! It's super simple and will give you a beautiful chiffon blanket in no time at all. Whether you crochet, knit or are just a beginning crafter, arm knitting is sweetly simple!

The gang here at Darn Good Yarn loves helping you with your projects. Whether its that long winter project like a crochet afghan or something quick and easy, we thrive on being able to answer your questions or help with fiber choices. Stay warm and inspired, Darn Good Yarn family!

 

8 Valentines Day Gift Ideas for Creative People

Feed the Passion

Crafters are passionate about what they do, the materials they use, and creating incredible handmade gifts.  This is the season of love, though all things at Darn Good Yarn "start with love", and we want to share with you some really awesome Valentine's Day ideas for gifting your crafter and those seeking the creative lifestyle.

Yes, we love our wine! We love our chocolate! Here is what really will set our creative hearts a-flutter this Valentine's Day! Pick out a gift that really sparks our fires and makes us fill up with love and happiness. Here are a few suggestions of what Nicole and the DGY team are loving right now:

1.We created this one just for you! Ogle over our Best of Darn Good Yarn Packs which will give your crafter both an amazing selection of our yarns and a darn good sale price! Note the gorgeous "Struck by Cupid" color choice-perfect for your love! 

Struck by Cupid contains 1 skein of white yak, 1 skein of pink suede ribbon, 1 skein of pink windswept ribbon and 1 skein of red multi-colored banana fiber.  All packs come with a free DGY silk bag! What's not to love? 

2. Hand crafted yarn bowls are the perfect gift for the knitter, crocheter, or fiber arts person in your life! These amazing bowls are better than candy because they have over 550 great reviews AND provide work for over 50 people. Providing sustainable work is something we can all feel happy about and is oh, so sweet!

We offer several options for bowls so check it out. Our Designer Craft Pack makes another almost-better-than-chocolate Valentine's gift! With fiber, pattern, needles, bowl, and bag this is an impressive gift all in one! This is going to have you looking good!!!

Writing You a Love Letter

 

3. Honestly, with crafters if you buy any beautiful fiber, you have it covered. The truth is we all have a fiber addiction and you may as well feed it! Take a look at our gorgeous fiber options and throw together skeins of love. This wool is "Love Letter! Believe me, you can't go wrong with that Valentine's gift!

4. Does #3 above make you a bit nervous? Hey, we want to make this fun so don't go there. If you are not sure about what to choose (though you can't go wrong), how about giving the gift of choice? The Darn Good Yarn gift card allows you to encourage your crafting person the extreme pleasure of choosing fibers, clothing, or other goods right from our site!

Wrapped with Love

6. Speaking of clothing (yes, we support the creative lifestyle even if you are not crafty), have you seen our amazing skirt line? Through Nicole's collaborative efforts with co-ops in India, we are able to carry the most amazing, fair trade handmade skirts while providing year round work for women! Buy this Gift Giver Pack for all your loves!

7. Or how about our cotton skirts? Our maroon maxi skirt has a feel of Valentine's colors with an exotic flair. Our cotton skirts, with amazing color choices, might just be perfect for your vegan love, too!

Special Delivery

8. Wanna give a gift that keeps on giving? Over the moon in love and want to have a Valentine's Day gift that goes far beyond a one time gift? We love creating happiness and our monthly gift subscriptions are the perfect way to have a special delivery go to that special someone! Check this link for details on how they work!

We offer both yarn and bead subscriptions so if you have a mixed media artist in your life, the monthly bead delivery is just perfect for keeping those heartfelt feelings going! A great way to put a bit of sparkle in your love life, we know this one is sure to win hearts!

One of Nicole's goals for this year is to create happiness. The Darn Good Yarn Team is on it and taking action on ways to bring more happiness to you. Whatever and whoever you love, this list of things we are passionate about is sure to be a hit-and hey, be sure to gift yourself this Valentine's Day! xo

 

7 Locker Hooking Fibers and Bling

Locker Hooking-have you tried it? I have experimented with fiber for weaving and crocheting rugs but had not heard of or tried locker hooking. We found a simple, basic description of locker hooking thanks to Livingston's-not a new craft, locker hooking originated in the UK and has been around for close to a century!

Wanting to try a tutorial to learn more about the process? YouTube offers many locker hooking tutorials which will help to understand the process better, discuss supplies needed, and give a great overview of this craft. With some of our darn good yarn family including Jainnie J. who made this gorgeous piece and for sharing their mixed media projects with us, thank you! We want to share what we have to offer!

So how does Darn Good Yarn connect with this craft? Well, we support all types of crafters and their paths of creativity. We have had crafters mention how wonderful our unique fibers are for locker hooking so we knew it was time to learn more about locker hooking and which fibers our crafters are loving and wanting to use!

1. Locker hooking is all about fibers and our  2"  wide ribbon is already cut and rolled into strips of reclaimed silk. This take some work out of cutting strips for you!

2. Our DGY block prints on sari ribbon are handmade! Colorful silk ribbon has block prints to add another element of design. Yes, you can buy them individually but I suggest one of the Block Printed Handmade Sari Silk Packs because this price feels like a sale!

3. And while I am mentioning sari ribbon, did you know that each 100g skein is made by hand from start to finish! Vintage silk saris are first torn by hand into quarter inch strips, then sewn together to make this wonderful recycled sari silk yarn. Great for locker hooking as there are gorgeous colors and again, it is already in strips, thanks to the women working at our co-ops in India!

4. Locker hooking is not new but like many traditional  arts and mixed media, it's definitely hip to recycle these artisan crafts.  Wool is another timeless fiber that brings interesting color and texture to locker hooking. Known for its durability, wool is great underfoot and here is a link to a instructables.com page on locker hooking rugs!

5. Silk cocoons are uniquely original. If you are wanting to get that fiber and card it yourself, this is a great selection that you may want to use in finer locker hooking and other mixed media arts.

6. Creativity is all about messing around and our sample cards are great for experimenting with different fibers in locker hooking. We created these cards just for you- we know fiber is something we love and now you can test out some of the crazy, unique ones found at Darn Good Yarn!

7. Here's an even better idea! Our DGY Mixed Media Sampler Pack gives you a fabulous selection that you will absolutely love trying for your locker hooking project or other crafting ideas! It's just a fun, inviting sampling of what we are all about!

I am excited to explore locker hooking fibers and to educate myself more about this old time craft. The recycling of  crafts fits super well with our philosophy of carrying lots of recycled materials. In learning more about this craft, I notice that beads and bling are used...

8. Our Beads of the Month Subscription is a simple way to have an easy delivery to your door of beautiful beads and bling that you just might work into your next locker hooking project!

Check out our mixed media products because locker hooking is all about color, texture, bling, and integrating the unlikely and that IS something we know about.  I've included lots of possibilities here because we love making you happy and this eye candy will get the creative spirit thinking!

We'd love to hear from you as to whether you have tried locker hooking and which Darn Good Yarns you are loving for this new trend in an old art!

How To Use a Darn Good Yarn of the Month Subscription

Special Delivery

Monthly subscriptions are a big part of Darn Good Yarn. With so many fair trade and unique handcrafted fibers, one of our goals is to figure out the best way to get those fibers into your hands. We know there is nothing ordinary about the fibers we carry and we also want to inspire you to try new things!

Like this sweet little grandchild, we are really excited about our yarn and bead subscriptions! Getting word out there about our Darn Good Yarn Monthly Yarn Subscription has been easy thanks to the many new members we have! That being said, photos of what people receive in their special delivery package might be the best explanation of all!

We will send a pattern  each month and you can use it or add it to your collection.The  beautiful photo above is from Richie on facebook!  This Darn Good Yarner decided to venture out on her own and made this fun hat that her granddaughter is wild about! And so are we!

What'cha Get?

Each month, the Yarn of the Month Club members will receive a sampling of Darn Good yarn, a pattern, and some other goodie.  In December, packages included a skein of recycled sari ribbon, a scarf pattern, and US size 15 wooden knitting needles.

Around the 20th of each month (providing you have signed up previous to the 1st of the month), there  will be a unique delivery and we are offering this for $10 plus shipping of $4 in the lower 48 and $6. for anywhere else. Bargain, right? Please read our FAQ for more information about the Darn Good Yarn of the Month Club!

Patterns may be for knit, crochet, or some other craft! This is intended as an appetizer, a dabbling in fiber(not the kind that you eat!), a delicious taste that leaves you wanting more!

Some interesting suggestions from those receiving our basic subscriptions:

  • One person is going to receive the package and then re-gift it to a different crafting friend each month
  • Another wants to save each month's delivery and at some point use all the fibers, notions, and a pattern to make one very diversified handcraft with the fibers
  • Many people are ordering this as an ongoing gift (remember, you can opt out when you want) for the crafter in their life, near or far
  • And many more are gifting themselves and love the anticipation of a special crafting delivery each month

In letting you know about our Darn Good Yarn of the Month subscription, I certainly want to share some of our gang that shared what the scarfs they made with the December supplies.

Being a color junkie and a purple lover, I chose to post some gorgeously rich purples. Our Darn Good Yarner, @demonpeepers, loves purple as well and looks great in this creation she whipped up!

Order Up!

Subscriptions are intended as suggestions-some may dive in to the project such as our scarf pattern in December, our upcoming Artist of the Month pattern, or just add it to their pattern stash. There are no rules with our subscriptions and the intent is to have some fun while pushing boundaries with fiber!  A fun, education in crafting!

Consider our Darn Good Yarn of the Month and options for how to use it or share it with others. Then consider that we have other craft subscriptions including our Premium Darn Good Yarn of the Month and our Darn Good Yarn Beads of the Month!  

This company starts with love and always has. Whether for yourself, friends, or that crafting grandchild, Darn Good Yarn subscriptions are one sweet delivery offering a springboard to creativity and unique crafting. We love shipping out a little happiness for you each month! What's on your doorstep?!!!

13 Clever Yarn DIY

I am continually amazed at how many unique and different idea there are out there for using fiber. One of my art teachers in college said to me when working on a paper project, "it's just paper and can be manipulated to be anything you want". Clever DIY yarn activities are everywhere and like the paper revelation, I am reminded that yarn can be used in so many simple DIY ideas!

Here are a few I wanted to share with you:

1. Look at things differently! And then push that boundary further still. For example our Garland is playful and makes you smile, right? You can string it up and bring some festive new year flavor to your space. BUT, what if you were to add this to a macrame piece, weave it into your textured work, or gently wrap it around your lamp shade? And just keep going....

2. Speaking of wrapping, how about that jar that you use? Yeah, that glass one! What if you were to take some amazing yarn and put a wrap on it? Color transform that jar into a piece of art worthy of giving to a dear friend..if you can part with it.

3. I don't have to spell it out, but DIY projects shout of creativity and bring incredible interest to any space. Why not create some letters and wrap them in unique yarn for a great way to give a room both ownership and pizzazz!

4. Newspaper Yarn is clever onto itself! It's recycled paper which is super wonderful and yep, it's different like so many of our DGY products. This makes a great wrap  for potted plants, but mostly our newspaper yarn needs you to let that creativity fly! We can't wait to hear how you use it!

5. Anyone that knows me, knows I have invested my life in kids! So, please do remember to include these busy people in your fiber projects. Adventures in fiber might open a young person's mind to all kinds of ideas. I love how they have no inhibitions with their art either.

6. Hmm...Darn Good Yarn Sari Ribbon....how about trying our super cute 45 Minute  Reclaimed Sari Silk Scarf Pattern? I throw this into the DIY mix because it may be a great introduction to our reclaimed sari ribbon AND after playing with it, you will come up with some darn good other  clever DIY projects using either the fiber or the pattern!

7. Speaking of our ribbons, both the sari silk and the chiffon are on to another life. These reclaimed fibers are crazily beautiful and whether making a market bag, outrageous mixed media wall art, or adding that extra something to that antique piece of jewelry, what they add to your DIY project really up-ed the wow factor!

8. It's Baaaack! Hemp is here to stay...or did it ever leave? As a student in the 70's, I ran a business creating macrame hangers and art pieces. Darn Good Yarn loves to carry plant based fibers, and our vegan collection offers hemp, banana, and other earth friendly fibers. DIY knot projects, whether macrame or others, are here to stay! 

9. Along with hemp, is beads of course! We love providing the catalyst for your creative ambitions! The Darn Good Beads of the Month Club gives you beads, findings, and suggested ideas! Beads go well with so many things that we want to give you a string of shiny,cool possibilities and leave the rest of the DIY up to you!

10. DIY yarn projects are definitely inspired with our yarn subscriptions! With yarns, patterns, and extra goodies, you can work on our suggested ideas, or take the path less traveled and design your own DIY!

11. Yarn Globes are great fun for most ages and an easy DIY yarn project. The DGY Globe Pattern provides the instructions for the globe making and I highly recommend trying this with some of your bigger grand kids! FUN, FUN, FUN!

12. Perhaps you aren't in DIY mode but would love some gorgeous inspiration? Our Wild Women Weekend Pack is just the catalyst for adventuring in to your own DIY weekend. This one is great for gifting to that super crafty friend of yours, too. And we can't wait to see what you make!

12. I find that most DIY projects are super for the kids! Remember to take in to consideration where the child/children are at developmental; the idea is to have a fber adventure! How about  the Darn Good Yarn Dyeable Yarn collection? While not for the little ones, fiber dyeing is a great experience in both fiber and color play! Being a color junkie, the dye-ables are just perfect for DIY!

13.Yep! We're unique and we know it! We want you to explore what we have and come up with your own clever yarn DIY projects so we offer our Yarn And Ribbon Sample Cards. We all like a tasting before the main course, and what better way for you to design a necklace or crochet your curtain ties? These tasty little samplings will bring you back for more!

Inspiration and the joy of creativity is what we are all about. The Darn Good Yarn team is here to support you in your artisan journey. Inspiration is where it is at and is a two-way street! We REALLY love to learn what you are making and share it with the Darn Good family so please send your photos to info@darngoodyarn.com or catch us on social media. What DIY project are you working on?

10 Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Hey, we love supporting you with your crafting dreams and about now, we know that you could use some inspiration with gifts for the holiday season. How do we know this? Because we, too, are doing the last minute frenzied, crazies! How is it that every year there is always one more thing to do or one more person that I want to bake, buy, or bundle with holiday joy?

Well, I am writing this blog because the Darn Good Yarn team wants to lighten your load. I mean, for those celebrating Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, or whatever you get festive with, it's time to do the last minute gifts and get on with the festivities! I have some great suggestions on how to get through this and do it stress free!!! 

1. Grab a glass of wine or a cup of your favorite tea! Set that glass away from your computer or handheld device but refer to that glass regularly!

2, If you have a list, grab that, too, and know that it's time to finish up that list whether they have been naughty or nice. Let's get to this!

3. Sip said beverage (see #1) and be realistic with that list. You want a gift for this or that person, but it may be too late to start that beautiful Lotus Lace Shawl and the mittens are not happening, at least not in time for the holidays. Hard to imagine that stores will have just what you wanted to gift at this point, so take another sip of said beverage (yep, #1 again) and relax.

4. So ready for a few thoughts that WILL work for last minute gifting? Hooray! Because I am, too! Let the stress go and still find amazing, joyous ways for giving to the crafter and non-crafter in your life at Darn Good Yarn!

5. Yes, yes, yes! Ho, ho, ho! A gift card from Darn Good Yarn is an excellent last minute gift idea. Found here and on the bottom of our website page, www.darngoodyarn.com,  you can choose how much you wish to gift and we will email you a downloadable gift certificate that you can give to any one on your list!

The great thing about this is it's quick, yes, but it also gives that person on your list the gift of choice. They can choose from all of our deliciously unique fibers which any yarn enthusiast will love. We have inspirational patterns and kits, too, that they can get using their gift card. And did you know, we have all kinds of great options for the creative lifestyle, even when the person is not into crafting like our amazing sari silk skirts.

6. Here's another quick idea! Downloadable patterns give new inspiration to your craft person and we have patterns for all different types of crafting!  You will find the downloads in your email after you purchase them! Print them out, wrap them with some ribbon, and viola, you can head back to #1 here!

7. Definitely time for a bit more beverage (#1, of course) and here is another simple idea for last minute gifting; the Darn Good Yarn Adult Coloring Book is a quick little download and pairing this with crayons, pencils, or paints makes for a sweet gift. Because we love stress-free living, we of course, had to create our own coloring pages! Pairs well with #1!

8. Now, I want to mention our subscriptions! Hmm...we have three really fun options-where to start? Our Premium Darn Good Yarn of the Month subscription is incredibly rewarding for the crafter in your life with premium yarn and patterns. This monthly delivery won't start immediately but ordering before the 1st of the month, guarantees that special someone a special delivery around the 20th of each month!

9. The other yarn club is our Darn Good Yarn of the Month club is super, fun way to gift someone a sampling of yarn and patterns from our diverse fiber collection. Again, placing your order before the 1st ensures a special delivery to that someone on your list starting in January!

10. Our third subscription is our Darn Good Yarn Beads of the Month club! Each month the person you gift will get a box of beads, facets, and a seasonally themed project expertly curated by Designer Maggie Dykzuel. Order now and this too, will ship around the 20th on a monthly basis!

Phew! So many ideas for last minute gift giving at Darn Good Yarn. I love all these ideas and keep in mind, the gift card is easy but also gives the gift of choice which is tremendous for many of us! I think I need to head for #1 after all this shopping!

Happy Holidays from the gang at Darn Good Yarn!