Darn Good Blog — fair trade


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


A Maroon Maxi Skirt and 7 Reasons to Have One

Just wanted to make a quick note to all of you! We have some amazingly beautiful skirts and today I want to run by you the incredible 100% Cotton Skirts. Available in different lengths and colors, I am loving the maroon maxi and will focus on that!

1. Having grown up in the 70's when maxis were huge, I am excited that the style is coming full circle. Our ankle length is approximately 33" in length, perfect for covering what needs to be covered!

Marooned in Maroon!

2. As found, in dictionary.com, the definition of maroon as an adjective pops and I know this is true of the skirts! 

    1. Dark brownish-red.
    2. Chiefly British
       1. a loudly exploding firework consisting of a cardboard container filled with gunpowder
       2. a similar firework used as a danger or warning signal, as by railway brakemen
Maroon is an eye-catcher, for sure! The fireworks definition was new to me but is so true!
3. Another reason to wear maroon? The color represents courage, bravery, and strength. Wearing our gorgeous maroon maxi gives you confidence to get out there and tackle whatever the day brings knowing you look amazing while doing it! Wearing what makes us feel good makes us happy! We choose happiness every time!
4. Did you see the colors we pair with our rich maroon? This really opens up options for what to pair with our maxi skirt (and we all love options)!  I am loving the orange with the maroon as it's snappingly (okay, so I make up words!) beautiful and two colors I would not think to partner! Break out that beautiful peasant blouse!


5. Speaking of pairing, I have a few other suggestions for what to wear with your maroon maxi!  Boots are so in and look great with these skirts. Add a turtle neck and your warm sweater for a great winter look. DGY skirts also looks great with a pair of flats and a solid t-shirt and for warmer climes and vacations, tanks and sandals will do it. 
6. Not sure you are ready for the confident, strong maroon design? Then please consider our  black and white skirts, there is nothing gray about this decision! Perhaps a bit more subtle, black and white patterning still leads you to many color and clothing choices! Think accent colors!

Fair Trade

7. Our cotton skirts provide sustainable fair trade employment to women around the globe. Your purchase helps families to have meaningful work to support their families year round! Now that is happiness!
Whatever the day brings, how we dress influences our day! Our 100% cotton skirts provide you with options for dressing for the creative lifestyle and feeling beautiful inside and out. Bring it on and bring on happiness!

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 To Soften Scratchy Yarn, or Maybe Not

 Yarns come in a plethora of color, size, and texture. We pride ourselves in having super unique fibers to inspire and rock the world for all our crafters! Whether young or old, beginner or pro, stuck with the same old fibers or adventuring with all the possibilities, all of us have had fibers that we didn't care for the feel of. Bummer, right?

So what do you do? I have a few thoughts on this and am sure one of my ideas will help you out with your yarn purchasing and scratch factor!

Reap What you Sow (or Knit or Weave or....)

1. You sometimes get what you pay for. Buying large skeins of synthetic, manufactured yarn from a chain is totally your choice. I just want to remind you that yarns of that caliber feel synthetic, cheap, and don't get softer with time. Totally fine but don't anticipate a softening over time.

2. Durability can be a trade off. Here's what I mean-you want to buy a durable product like our Denim Ribbon. Perhaps you are weaving with coarse fibers or want to create a sturdy strap for a handbag; durability matters for some projects I know! You have to also know that with durability comes a density of composition which can mean a roughness. Consider what you need in fiber and if that roughness is okay.

3. And you know, sometimes scratchy is totally what you want-it does add  a grainy dimension, a rough and tumble feel, a wandering of fiber content that brings on the personality! Don't avoid scratchy but consider your end game! If you are creating a scarf or socks, something close to the skin, soft does matter! ( A little aside-I recently had my cellar insulated by "Itchy and Scratchy"-LOL!).

4. So, I am saying scratchy may be what you want! For example, if you have the Darn Good Yarn Purist Hemp Puff Kit, you want some abrasiveness in those puffs and the two skeins of hemp are perfect for these puffs! The nice thing with hemp or nettle is they are plant based for our vegan friends and they do soften up with use!

5.Yes, our hemp and nettle fibers  are coarse to work with but the results are a strong and durable product. These fibers are natural and become softer with use; in other words, the more your creation is used, the softer this yarn becomes! So try it and know you are going to love the way this fiber morphs over time!

Going Bananas!

6. Don't be deceived into thinking some yarns are scratchy just by looking at them!  Our Banana Fiber Yarn, a little out of the ordinary, is made from the sustainable fibers that are scraped from the bark of a banana tree and handspun by women’s co-ops in India. A multi-use yarn, you need to try this one!

 And don’t be scared by the word “fiber,” because there is nothing scratchy about this yarn at all. After harvesting the fibers from the trunk of the banana tree, they are put through a softening process that makes the fiber very similar to silk. Then when it’s spun, it is as soft as silk - soft and strong, full of texture, color, and bio-degradable so it’s completely vegan and eco-friendly!

Sinfully Soft

7.Okay, so Darn Good Yarn has lots of silk yarns and we love that they are recycled and fair traded, too! This is our Gumball Yarn, one of the handspuns, and the awesome thing is that this is darn good and soft (think silk!), and will get softer over time! We do recommend a gentle, hand wash to enhance the softness!

Mrs. Wishy Washy

8. Any one remember that Beatrix Potter title? A favorite of my long-since-grown daughter! The reason I mention it here is that I want you to treat your scritchy, scratchy fibers with love, just like Mrs. Wishy Wasy! Yes, use them, wash them and use them again. This helps immensely with the softening.

Some fibers such as denim are not going to change dramatically with washing so consider that with your project plan. And those that you are not familiar with, treat with gently caution. I always hand wash anything I have made and use a gentle soap like Woolite -why risk it? If you are braver, do a gentle cycle, cool water always in your machine.

Block or set aside to dry. Hanging tends to mis-shape homemade creations. Yep! All this takes time! I agree but it is so worth considering the potential of your yarns, how to care for them, and being able to enjoy them for a long time to come!

Such a Softy!

Darn Good Yarn inventory includes some of the very softest yarns like our sari silk yarn. Think about branching out with your fiber choices, explore coarse, soft, and silky smooth.  Life is not always smooth and sometimes, those bumps in the road are what make life interesting!




7 Reasons to Celebrate $1 Shipping with Darn Good Yarn

Okay, so I guess I live under a rock, but do you know what Green Monday is? I mean, I am well aware of Black Friday, Small Store Saturday, and Cyber Monday, but Green Monday? Thanks to another team member at Darn Good Yarn, I have learned that Green Monday is not about selling recycled fibers!

Sometimes, I can be so quirky and here is one of those posts. I really prefer my original idea about Green Monday being about taking care of Mother Earth soooo...I am going to share some of our amazing reclaimed items. I also love to oogle over our green fibers so am going to show you some of those, too!

1. How cool is this for air plants? Our Tiered Air Plant Hanger Pattern is a quick crochet and brings that earth friendly feel into any room. Because you put air plants in the planter, the yarn becomes just the vessel and one of our Darn Good Yarners came up with this sweet design. 

So I am going to jump in to the green that really excites me. We have the most incredibly, delicious recycled materials and there is no reason to delay this eye candy of greatness any longer. While I am thinking green, keep in mind that these fibers come in many color options.

2. Blasting with green, have you seen all of our Neon Handmade Sari Silk Ribbon? Rich with color, Krypton Green, just hollers to be used in a creation. Oh, and yep, this whole collection is made from recycled sari skirts! Any questions on why Green Monday is a bit different at Darn Good Yarn?

3. Here's an insider scoop on color from Pantone Color Institute... 

I love that Pantone has chosen the color Greenery as their color of the year. I also am moved by their explanation for choosing the color. After all, nature matters in a huge way! Perhaps my affinity for green is showing?

4. Silk Cloud is such a soft and luxurious yarn and if you are looking for something more subtle in color, our Silk Cloud 3 Pack has some hints of green along with some other color. These could be fun to work up in some playful socks! Yes, this yarn is made from silk waste and fair traded!

5. Vegan lifestyle is very common place and we are super proud to carry a line of plant based, vegan yarns. I find myself embracing more and more vegan foods as I feel better for it. Have you tried something made from a plant like hemp or banana? Unique maybe, but earth friendly, definitely! Give vegan yarn a try!

6. Not sure if you know this, but we provide sustainable work for more than 600 women globally and have kept more than 1 million pounds of waste from going to landfills! Made in our co-ops in India, of reclaimed traditional sari material, our Sari Silk Wrap Skirts are one more way we can feel good about Mother Earth!

7.Okay, so by now you are well educated on what a Darn Good Yarn Green Monday looks like! Our Chiffon Ribbon Ombres Packs come in really lovely color palettes with 10 different options! Oh! Yep, chiffon ribbon is recycled, too!

I suggest a cup of green tea and a darn good rest of your Monday! Our good buddy Friday is not all that far away and let's find joy in creating today! Now, doesn't that sound like a Darn Good way of uniquely enjoying Green Monday?

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!

Flying High

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

Going Global

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!

Being in the Musuem of Flight as part of a FedEx dsiplay makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Please join us on this amazing adventure-Darn Good Yarn flights boarding now!