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Shedding Some Light

Hi! Welcome to the third post in this series where we are journeying through the stories of our amazing artisans and also what this business really means to me and my team. This week we are going to talk about one way in particular which we can all come together and support these women even further.

We heart it: Relationship Goals

Do you know why I love February 14th so much? Well, it's a beautiful day full of love<3, chocolate & the halfway point of being done with February---bringing us closer to Spring!! :)  But, all jokes aside, it is a beautiful day to celebrate the pairing of two people (or yarns) that compliment & bring out the best in each other all while making beautiful creations together. 

 

The Women Behind It All: Meet Biwi

This is absolutely going to be my favorite part of each of these 3 part series. I get to introduce you to the amazing women artisans who make our products; the very reason this company is what it is. I couldn't be more thrilled <3 

So without further ado, meet Biwi Chunni. She works with one of our cooperatives and makes the yarn many of you use. There are 10 people in her family and include herself, her husband, 4 sons and 4 daughters. (And I thought just one was a handful.) :)

8 Historical Photos of People Crafting

Okay, so I love black and white photography. I find that surprising because I am such a color fanatic, but it's true. Something about the light and shading that completely captures my eye. The photos show emotion so well with the lack of color.

And older photos can get me to thinking....I almost climb into the photo. One of my favorites is French photographer, Jacques Henri Lartigue, because it feels like one can discover humor, love, and live in his stories. I can just imagine the back story.

I digress! I thought it would be fun to share some photos of crafting. I'm going to add some captions but do take time to venture in to these photos as well. Did you see the net repair photo? Our fiber arts tradition began with fishermen!  Fiber arts are a huge part of our lives today but it's fun to consider the past through these photos!

Happy Knitter

1. This one cracks me up as it looks very contrived. Perhaps a cover for a catalog at one time?  I certainly love my knitting but rarely dress for the occasion and never sit in a straight back chair!

I Think I Dropped a Stitch

2. Okay, so this is not a photo. I love this painting of the Monk Knitting by Lytras Nikiphoros. This looks like the knit project may be done, but certainly the monk is deep in thought. You know how we inspect our handwork!

Bottom's Up

3. Fiber arts are such a broad craft area. This Haidi woman of Massat is weaving a basket. Look closely as this work requires great detail. Note the carving in the background. What an amazing photo! Looking for a simple basket idea? We've got you covered!

We Love Unique!

4. Yep, we are all about creativity, unique fibers, and creating happiness!  The stilt shepherds of Landes, in southwest France, were able to care for their sheep in marsh, scrub, and boggy lands because of their stilts. This fellow is working with wool while on his stilts! Talk about multi-tasking!

Hooked

5. Crochet was absolutely a past-time for royalty such as Alexandra Petrovna- Grand Duchess of Russia.  Note her head-wear and adornments are crochet projects that many of us don't know of today! While times have changes, it's exciting to know that what brings us joy has been around for quite some time!

The World Keeps Spinning

6. Spinning is something I would love to learn and is on my crafting list!  Being an amateur weaver, spinning seems like a logical progression. I'd love to grab some of our Pulled Silk Fiber and sit right down with these ladies. Imagine the knowledge these ladies could share with us!

Off the Grid

7. This old photograph cracks me up. Mixed media art is definitely the theme of class today. Students have their yarn and their canvas-looks like some type of needle work? For me, I would much prefer a cross stitch kit from Darn Good Yarn!

Sew What? 

8. Some of us remember home ec class in school. I have vivid memories of struggling through the sewing portion of that class and the hot pink, wide wale, corduroy jumper that I made. Yuck! Sewing surely has come a long way, baby!

Whatever your craft, we love supporting your creativity. It's fun to look at historical photos to put our traditions in perspective.  One of our goals for this year is to create happiness so please ask the Darn Good Yarn team if you need support or have a question!

5 Darn Good Projects from Our Friends

What inspires you? And what makes you happy? Every now and then, the Darn Good team gathers up some of the most amazing creations that our family of crafters has made and posts them in a blog. Why? Because we are exponentially inspired by our Darn Good Yarn family and it makes us happy to see what you are making! So, of course, we want to share that inspiration and happiness with all of you!

1. Our new friend, Sandra, shared with us her very first arm knit scarf. Our 30 Minute Arm Knit Scarf Kit is the perfect introduction to arm knitting and our reclaimed chiffon ribbon.  Have you tried chiffon ribbon? Sandra likes it so much she had decided to order more!!! She's also really jazzed about the DGY commitment to bettering people's lives.

2. Gifts are just one way that we can reach out and bring a bit of happiness to those we love. Sharing her joy over her wooden yarn bowl, @knittingknight got this gorgeous yarn bowl from her Mom and we love that she wanted to let us know how much she loves this beautiful and practical gift. And look at her gorgeous project!

3. Sari Ribbon at Darn Good Yarn is one of our masterpiece collections. It's not only a recycled fiber, this ribbon also provides fair trade, sustainable work for women in India!  Its uses are many and we absolutely find this silk GI tract to be one of the most unique and beautiful pieces we have seen! Thanks to @theartoflfed  who used our sari silk ribbon for this GI tract creation and our "gut" tells us this is one amazing piece of fiber art!

4. This hat! So many of us are really loving this eye-catching hat! Remember that sometimes combining fibers can make for such a beautiful partnership! Our DGY friend, @whimsicallyhooked, combines our delicious Spice Market recycled silk and a cotton blend and what a combo! The dark cotton makes the Spice Market really pop, which is what this yarn loves to do anyway!

5. Think green! A DGY team member, Lynneamae, loves to design and play with ideas! She took our Natural Nettle, a plant fiber, and made this sweet satchell!  What would you use this adorable nettle bag for? While she has no pattern, @lynneamae is working on putting one together for us!

We love seeing what our Darn Good Yarn family makes. The creations amaze us and we want to hear from you!  Be sure to contact us here, find us on facebook, or other social media! Our inspiration for creating happiness comes from seeing what you are making! Please do be in touch! Sharing inspiration creates more happiness!

Handcrafting Sock Ideas

Happy Feet!

Socks, do you make them or buy them?  I totally understand that sock making is not for everyone so I have thoughts on both making and buying! That being said, do you feel that socks say something about you? Do you have socks that are favorites? Or silly? Or festive? 

I totally get this and love when I have my "best-est" handcrafted socks on. I plan my socks choices for entertaining! Funny, right? It is, but how cool is is when I have "happy feet" -wearing them for get-togethers when we take off our winter boots, etc, and can share our cool-ness with others! Yep, its silly but definitely part of my cold weather happiness! 

Handcrafted Socks That You Don't Have to Make!

So, yeah we have some really awesome handcrafted, fair trade wool socks from our Nepal co-op. I wanted to share these because not everyone is up for making socks and turning a heel.  Our wool socks are lined with fleece which makes them super soft and if you want warm, this is the winter sock for you. Let us know your color preferences and we will do our best to honor your wishes!

We are really pleased to carry these Fleece Lined Socks because this provides valuable and sustainable employment for women in Nepal. Not only are you giving some one happy feet, you can bring more happiness as this makes "happy souls" globally! A win, win!

Soulful Selections

Alright, so are you up for knitting your own socks? Let me tell you, I am not an expert! I started making socks about 7 years ago. This was my first foray into using double pointed needles and I love using them.  I tend to just make different color socks and haven't ventured far so I guess you might say I am sock stuck!  However, I love the process!

The yarns I use are DGY fine, lace type yarns because I love wearing my socks with shoes and boots. Silk lace yarns are excellent as they are fine in weight but also give you the durability you need in socks. And oh so soft!

Speaking of soft, try our linen yarn in a slightly thicker sport weight. Excellent for even those summer socks with delicious color options, this yarn gets softer over time so this will have you smiling with your happy feet!

 

Looking for a heavier sock? Lots of patterns have modification options so that you can make socks using a thicker worsted weight, not necessarily for fitting in a shoe but nice for keeping those toes toasty!  We have some seriously sweet worsted weights with colors that are going to have you doing the happy dance!

With the multiplicity of sock patterns out there, I thought I would just throw a few of the more  ideas I've seen. I know I need to branch out into different sock design and here's what I learned today:

  • Tina's handicraft blog has some really sweet sock ideas- check out the socks with bows!
  • Of course, Pinterest and Ravelry have lots and lots and lots of sock patterns (be careful as you might just get lost with all the amazing stuff)
  • Thanks to allcrafts.net  for over 500 sock patterns!

And Don't Forget Crochet!

Crochet socks? Yes, this is true though I haven't tried them. I feel that most of the patterns I looked at were more sock related but here is one for Basic Crochet Socks thanks to allfreecrochet.com. Haven't tried the pattern though it sounds not too tricky...just wanted you to know there are options!

Soulfully Yours

We are a soulful bunch at Darn Good Yarn and really focus on what matters for our customers! We love supporting you in your crafting and absolutely get that we all don't do every craft. So whether you are knitting or crocheting socks or buying handcrafted socks to fit your creative lifestyle, know that your Darn Good Yarn purchase brings together a world of happy feet and warmth!