Darn Good Blog — inspiration


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!


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 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!