Darn Good Blog — crafting


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!

8 Ways to Become a Better Knitter and Crocheter

It's that time of year when we consider ways to become better. Better at taking care of chores, ourselves, and those around us. Sometimes our resolutions and reflections on how to be better are attainable and yahoo to you for reaching your goals! Sometimes we set ourselves up for failure and that's okay, too!

Today I want to write about happiness! Keep your goals in mind and remember to have your goal be happiness at the end, not "better". For me, happiness comes in doing for others and I have some great suggestions for how to incorporate impacting others with my love of knit and crochet projects!

1. Love what you do! Stay away from the guilt train. You love crafting and why not make that super cute, scarf for your grandchild? The chores and errands will be there, no doubt!  Consider the happiness you personally get from finding the next project and who it will be for.


2. We crafters are a generous bunch! Yes, I am stereotyping and yes, I think this is 100% true! I do love to make a pair of socks or scarf for myself, but what gives me greatest joy? Craft projects where I am knitting or crocheting every stitch with my dear loved one in mind that I am giving it to!  Love that ripple affect!

3. Projects for those we do not know is also just part of what we do. Have you seen the recent blog post about some of our Darn Good Yarn family?  Be sure to read about our friend Janet who is  making plarn mats for the homeless! Or in Canada, there is a project for making scarfs for the Special Olympics or in the U.S., blankets for Project Linus! I make baby blankets for the needy and also chemo caps for Hope Lodge.

By now you must realize my thought process for being a better knitter or crocheter is about happiness. Being a better knitter or crocheter is not necessarily about your level of skill, as we pride ourselves in reaching out to others. The joy of creativity has broad ripples and brings much happiness!

4. Start at Love is how Darn Good Yarn was founded and almost 9 years later, we continue to work hard and with thought-full intent to make the world a better place!  Creating jobs for over 600 women around the globe where year round sustainable work means families now have improved education, services, and quality of life.

5. Recycled fibers and skirts make of reclaimed sari silk are another way that your DGY purchase brings happiness to the world! Along with providing employment, DGY has kept over 1 million pounds of sari remnants from going to landfills. Caring for Mother Earth is essential and thanks to you, we continue to offer a large line of recycled materials.

6. Are you wanting suggestions on how to become a better knitter as far as skills?Here is another blog post thanks to nobleknits.com that offers a list of knit skills to aspire to. Guess I am not ready to tackle charts but I do like the idea of increasing my abilities. Keep in mind that Nicole has a flair for being on camera and has some entertaining and useful tutorials to help you with crafting.

7. Another avenue for becoming a better knitter and crocheter is our yarn bowls! Did you know that our Indian Rosewood Yarn Bowl has gotten rave reviews on our website? While we love that, it's the 50 plus jobs we are able to provide that makes this a beautiful way to bring happiness to your life and many others, too!

8. Take time for yourself (see #1 again)! Better is just a word and yes we all want to improve on something. Why not take some of that Darn Good Yarn philosophy and "retreat from the everyday"? Becoming a better knitter or crocheter might just mean doing what you love, allowing yourself to be creative, and giving back. Happiness is a far "better" goal!

The Darn Good Yarn team supports you in your endeavors. Smile! It may just be the start of something!






How to Meld Super Bowl LI and Crafts

Okay, so I love to have fun with writing blog posts for Darn Good Yarn. I think I've really scored with this idea and its super simple! Embrace football and other things that give you time to craft!

Like me, perhaps you have been following American football for many decades? Like many New Englanders, the Patriots are my team. But I also need to make a confession. I am not really engaged with a lot of what this game is about; I know my team and will engage in conversation with my husband, but over the years I have become surreptitiously engaged in winter crafting!

Show Me The Numbers

My husband knows players stats like we had them over for a "bar-b" last week! He remembers plays from years ago and last week as well (though has no clue where he left his car keys)!  From August through February, our social life is dictated around game schedules (including all other months for trades, deals, and NFL data)!  So what's the super bowl to me?

Yep! I love my wooden yarn bowl and use it religiously. I chuckle quietly through the Fall as we head toward football playoffs. Just like those teams, I have a strategy and stealthy plan for my season of projects. I learn new techniques (like the players) and thrive on challenging new moves! My play book is my patterns, my equipment is my unique fibers.

Yes, I craft year round but I also know that I want to spend time with my husband as we both work hard and value our time together. Between my never ending quest to understand why people want to pummel each other  to get a pigskin and my desire for time to craft, this is a coin toss where all win! He queries me about my knit or crochet project and we all our happy!

Time Out

So, yes! For those of you who never have enough time to craft, I recommend football, a sport that is on several days and can literally take up your Sunday. With my minor attraction to the game and my major attraction to my crafts, this has been a great score for family time!

Designated family time is tricky in our busy lives! In our home, we love our football time together. Conversation varies from  a call on the field that I don't understand to what my "next" project will be. Yes, Super Bowl has a whole different meaning for me but we love our time together. And sometimes, I even know the score!

Super Bowl LI is Sunday, February 5th this year and here are a few other details about the game.  Good friends and family, good food, and good craft projects will make for a great finish to another strong season of crafting!!! Darn Good, you might say with a super bowl finish!

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?!!!

How Knitting and Other Crafting Helps Overcome Addictions to Technology

Yes, I am using technology right now to type this blog post about escaping from digital addictions!  I  mean, how else would I find you out there while you are clicking through your email, googling to find out that Static Electricty Day is January 9th, sliding through all those gorgeous photos of the new baby in the family, while preparing for that virtual meeting in 10 minutes?


If I were to send you a smoke signal, write you a paper and pen letter, or call you on the phone, it just ain't gonna get to you. So here goes! Technology addiction is a real thing according to addiction.com and while I agree that some people are obsessed, I luckily can break away from it. I know that real happiness and real stress-free moments come from crafting projects for many of us.

We know that stress is detrimental to all of us. Living in a world of instant internet means that work, free time, and communication can and does become technology based. Slow the pace by choosing (and choosing is key here) to work on that necklace kit you want to create?  Choose to relax and watch your stress level drop along with your blood pressure!

Take time to look through patterns and just contemplate whether you are going to try that pattern, or maybe you prefer the idea of a kit where you can get everything you need; pattern and fibers make that easy for you! 

Grab a movie, audio-book, or a glass of wine and knit, it's that simple! Again, you are choosing how to spend your time! Cuddle up with Unicorn Snuggle yarn and enjoy! Here's one person's story of crafting and breaking away from the overload of digital device obsession courtesy of slate.com. Through her knitting, she is finding focus!

Plan! Not only the project and the fibers, but time! Yes, it's easy to drown in the technology we so desperately feel we need. Here at Darn Good Yarn we believe in retreating from the every day. To do that, you may need or want to set aside time that is device free to pick up those needles and breathe!

It might sound silly, but sometimes we need reminders to break away from the screen; when my step-son was young, he had a timer to help him manage his computer time.  It was an easy solution so figure out what helps you with technology habits and honor yourself with the joy of creativity.

Creativity brings happiness, challenges, and avenues for brain connectivity in a whole new avenue.  Yes, technology is essential to the world we live in and a huge part of Darn Good Yarn. Find that balance between using technology and getting back to the crafts and hobbies that bring you so much happiness.

No, I am not going to drop you a note. This is how we communicate, work, and play! I know technology matters to all of us. This is a reminder to check your online calendar, negotiate what matters, and block out chunks for crafting. Let's put it in perspective and retreat from the everyday!