Darn Good Blog — fiber


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!



6 Inspirational Yarn Projects from Darn Good Yarn People

We love our blog as it gives us an opportunity to share what we know and learn in this great fiber adventure called Darn Good Yarn! We also want to give a shout out to some of our amazing Darn Good Yarn crafters. Inspiring our crafters is what we love to do but you know what? Our crafters inspire us in so many ways and we are giving a shout out to some of them each month in our blog, Check it out!

1. Our friends at Fabric of Life sent us this great display of their Darn Good Yarns and arm knitting, too. We love their promotion of "make your own" and knew that it was best way to start our blog showcasing some of our amazing artisans! How cool is it that they feature many of our recycled fibers?!!!!

Oh, and yes! We do sell wholesale and here is the link to account information!  Shops like the Fabric of Life are able to offer our products up close and personal because of wholesale options!


2. Weaving is an optimum way to experiment with crazy and unique fibers. Our fellow crafter @greenroomweavings shared the start of something great here. The cream colored sari silk gives the other colors a nice opportunity to stand out and note the textural change as well!

3. Amazing story alert! This is one of those incredible stories that I am so very proud to share with you all. I recently wrote a blog post about plarn and heard back from Janet McGaw-Monroe. The above example is one of the plarn sleeping mats that Janet makes for homeless, disabled veterans. Janet is known as the "Bag Lady" in her community in Arizona. Thanks, Janet, for your inspiration and for allowing me to share it with others!

4. Our Darn Good Yarn friend, Patti Best, has been creating the #ScarfOfHappiness. Patti shared this with us on facebook and we are loving her amazing work with Darn Good Yarn. I asked her about her fiber choices and she says "the banana is the multi color. The yellow is cotton held together with a strand of white fine silk".

Patti loves to create works of art for her customers looking for handmade items. What intrigued me with her post and work, is her willingness to mix fiber options, for color, texture, and yes, to add some happiness, too! Thanks for sharing your talent with us, Patti!

5. New to crochet, we are very impressed with Laura H.'s first crochet project. Rather amazing, don't 'cha think? Here are her thoughts on this first crochet basket- "The pattern was easy to follow. I did make the base a bit wider and the sides a bit taller. I used the Bahamas skein first and finished the top few rows with the purple I ordered at the same time. Tip for beginners like me: be patient with yourself and take breaks when your hands get tired. Stop and admire your progress!!!"

We love her beginner thoughts and really great attitude. Laura also confided in us that she sees more silk ribbon in her future!  Sounds like she is hooked, for sure!

6. And I couldn't finish this post without a thought about the workers in our co-ops in India. Amazing women create the handspun fibers that we carry. When you work with our handspun yarns, you not only make something beautiful but you help to provide sustainable year round employment! From their hand to yours.....wow!

Thanks to everyone who makes up the Darn Good Yarn family. If you haven't sent us a photo of your amazing creation, now is the time. Reach out to us on twitter, instagram, or facebook as we love your inspiration. Contact us via email as well! We love what you are doing!



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?