Darn Good Yarn: A Review

I had a Visa gift card for $50.00 that I received as a Christmas gift.  I was poking around on Amazon, and it’s unusual that I can’t find anything on there that that I want, so I decided to look around my bookmarks on my web browser to check out other merchants.  I saw one for Darn Good Yarn.  Hmmmm, I haven’t bought cool yarn in a while, I said to myself.  I opened the page.

I am one for a bargain, so I clicked on their Sale tab and was taken to Best of DGY Packs.  It was $45.00 for four skeins of recycled silk sari yarn.  Why not?  I bought the Holi pack, which includes one skein of each of the following in a pretty silk bag:

  • At the Bahamas, a fairly traded silk sari ribbon yarn
  • Nepalese *Hand-Spun* Recycled 100% Pure Silk yarn
  • The Blender, a fairly traded recycled silk yarn
  • Tibet Jewels, another fairly traded recycled silk sari ribbon yarn

With $4 for the economy shipping, I received my package in a few days, and set off winding the three that were in hanks, and got to work.

Fair Trade

I’m going to change gears slightly now and tell you a little bit about Darn Good Yarn.  They employ women from India and Nepal to make their yarns, giving these women a good living wage and selling their products at a reasonable rate.  This is basically what fair trade is.  In addition to this, a lot of the yarn is recycled, mostly from saris, which are those brightly wrapped dresses that a lot of people in Nepal and India wear.  You can read more about this idea on the Our Story page.

I adore fair trade.  There’s an awesome fair trade store called Ten Thousand Villages in my area that I sometimes go to.  I also have a dress and a skirt made from recycled saris, too.  DYG’s product and philosophy sucked me right in.

The Yarns

Yes!  Let’s get to the yarns!

At the Bahamas

Scarf knit from At the Bahamas sari yarn from Darn Good Yarn

At the Bahamas was the first skein I sunk into.  I got a pattern for a one skein sari scarf that I found on DGY’s site, and started to work.  I had the needles it called for, and now I had the yarn, so I went ahead and started knitting.

The yarn sections are knotted and sewn together, so they are really fastened well.  Don’t worry about the knots, as I think it gives a nice texture.  The colors are fun, too!  I have finished this scarf, and am wearing when I go outside now.  It’s a great length to wrap around with!

Only drawback:  it does have a slight odor to it.  It’s not bad, but it’s strange.  I’ll have to have the scarf dry cleaned to remove the smell.  No biggie, though.

Nepalese *Hand-Spun* Recycled 100% Pure Silk

Nepalese Hand spun recycled silk yarn from Darn Good yarn

This is a worsted weight yarn that comes in a ball.  It’s got slubs, thick and thin parts, and lots of fun texture.  I really like it.  It takes the fun fur concept and makes it sophisticated.

I knit a scarf out of it on small-ish gauge needles ( I think US 4), and cast on 15 stitches.  I used seed stitch until I had only enough yarn to bind off.  All I have to do is weave it the ends!

This yarn is a little frustrating work with at times.  I did have a spun join break once, and only once.  I just reattached the yarn and kept on going.  It also has a tendency to curl back into itself like it’s overspun, which is part of the charm of the yarn, really.  Just an FYI.

The Blender

The Blender yarn from Darn Good Yarn

The Blender is probably the least favorite, but I still like it. The skein makes one short scarf on big needles.  I intend to sew the two ends together and make a really cool cowl.

I think this yarn would be fantastic for arm knitters!

Oooh, and maybe a few skeins together would make a really funky shopping bag, too.

Tibet Jewels

Tibet Jewels yarn from darn Good yarn

Ah, the last gem in the pack.  Pun intended, of course.

I like Tibet Jewels!  The colors and the fuzzy textures make nice contrasts.  Again, this is a recycled sari yarn complete with knots that are reinforced with machine sewing. You will be fine.

When I knit the scarf, the skein again rendered a scarf that is really short, so I’m going to sew the ends together to make a cowl.  Think how those colors would look against a black shirt!

That’s my review of DGY’s Holi pack.  It’s a great bargain and you get some fun yarn to play with.  You really do!  There’s tons of cool stuff on their site besides yarn.  There’s ready made jewelry and clothing, as well as beads to make your own projects, too. It’s really worth your time to check them out.  You’ll be helping women, helping the earth, and helping augment your yarn stash.  It’s a win-win-win!

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Look How We’ve Grown!

I really want to say that I love being a part of the Wrap Up! Project, and want to share how we’ve grown over the past three years. We’ve done two scarf-bombings this year and already have put out almost as much as we had total the first two years. That’s awesome.

The Wrap Up Project

Happy New Year from the Wrap Up! Project!  To start the new year off, we want to share some awesome statistics with you to show you how the project has grow, well, exploded, over the past three years.  We couldn’t have done it without your participation and support!

Ok, let’s see and take a look how we’ve grown!

First Season

During the first season of WUP, we had four scarf-bombings, and 524 items were put out in various places around Lancaster City.  Not bad for our first season!

Second Season

For the second season of WUP, there were are total of five scarf-bombings, which included both Lancaster City and Columbia.  Ready for this number?  1132 items total were put out for people to take during the cold weather months.

Third Season

Now, keep in mind, we are currently in the third season, but here’s what has been done so far.

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Cone-free Doggie

My husband and I took off Sputnik’s cone, ZenTube, and bandages off yesterday.  He was nekked for  little bit, but we did put his regular collar back on him, of course.  Cone-free doggie, at last!  Since the cone has come off, he’s once again curious about yarn, but there’s improvement.

I inadvertently used natural fibers around him, a soft merino superwash .  It was from a Zauberball actually.  He had no problem with it.  Then I took out an alpaca blend that I am knitting a simple shawl with, and we were a little curious about that.  After a firm correction and praise, I was able to knit.

I know there are still going to be times when he thinks yarn is a toy.  He’s young, and will be seven months old tomorrow.  Still, knitting around Sputnik is getting better.

 

Dog v. Yarn and Something Cool

The battle of Dog v. Yarn is getting better.  Sputnik is still curious about what I’m doing with string, but has learned, with the back up with a spray bottle, that yarn is a not a toy.  I’ve also been sticking to synthetic fibers as not to entice his nose with natural ones.  That’s another battle for another time.

I got a few quick projects off, like this cool hat I crocheted (yes, crocheted).  I also managed to knit a scarf for the Wrap Up! Project, too.

Me in my newly crocheted hat.

I apologize for the glare of the fluorescent lights on the hat.  Ugh, office lighting.

Now, for the cool thing.  Familiar with the Craftys Awards?  I nominated myself in the craft blogger category, and they featured me on social mediaHow cool IS that?!

I hope that you had a fantastic New Year!

 

Christmas Memory Lane

I’m still working on that Mara Penny Taste of Home Color! adult coloring book, and came across a page that stirred a lot of good memories.  Let’s take a walk down Christmas memory lane, shall we?

Colored Christmas Ornaments from TOH Color! book drawn by Mara Penny.

These ornaments remind me of my grandmother. Every year on Christmas Eve the entire family would meet at her home.  We’d pile presents around the tree.  Next, we’d have a nice dinner that my grandmother would have made.  I remember looking up at the chandelier right above the dining room table, and she would have hung ornaments similar to these on it.  Here’s were shiny blue, silver, gold, and other bright colors.  You could see your reflection in them.  I found them fascinating.

That’s why I had to color in this page.  It stirred fantastic childhood memories.

My aunt and uncle live in that same house now with the the same chandelier, and my aunt hangs the same ornaments from it.  She told me that her mother, my grandmother, bought them for the reason that they would fascinate her children, my two aunts and my father.  Next, the fascinated her grandchildren.  Now, they fascinate her great-grandchildren, too.

Aunt Ellen hangs those ornaments in memory of her mother, and I’m glad she does!

Oh, to finish up telling you about the Christmas Eve traditions.  After dinner, it was time to get dressed and go to church for the service that night.  It was always a lovely service, complete with a singing of “Silent Night” with everyone holding candles.

Funny, I’d look up at the candelabras in the sanctuary and see the reflections of hundreds points of light in their polished bronze.

After church, we’d open that massive pile of presents.  My grandfather would always put the wrapping paper in the lit fireplace to burn it up.

Next, my tired sisters and myself would pile into the family van, and go home and sleep to get ready for Christmas Day.  Still, Christmas Eve always had a magical touch to it.

I want to wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas!

Sputnik, Destroyer of Yarn

I would like to introduce everyone to a our new dog, Sputnik!  He’s a Great Pyrenees/Labrador mix, hence a “pyrador,” and is six months old.  Sputnik is going to be a BIG boy.

My husband and I got him from LaMancha Animal Rescue in Unionville, Pennsylvania, USA, not far from Coatesville.

LaMancha is a beautiful rescue facility!  They are a working farm with chickens, cows, horses, and, of course, dogs in clean kennels and cats in a special house to adopt.

Sputnik’s story is that he came from Alabama, USA, where he was a stray.  LaMancha transported him here, called him Zeus, and he was barely there a week until Sam and I snatched him up.

We were going to LaMancha to see two other dogs and didnt’ know about Sputnik until we got there.  When we arrived, we were told that the one had been adopted, and the other one we walked for a little bit, and he seemed frightened.  Not a match.  We asked about the other dogs there, and were told about Zeus.  We walked him on a trail on the farm (all the dogs get walks there), and were treated to kissed, hugs, and was known as the Pyr Lean.  Great Pyrenees will lean into you really hard you pet them.

We had our dog.

Sputnik was put into the back seat of my car, and I was treated to hugs and kisses on the way home as I was sitting back there with him.  Here’s a video of me introducing him.

Sputnik is going to pose a challenge when it comes to knitting.  I’ve knit in the room with him just fine, but one time he got a good grip on luckily some cheap yarn, and ripped it one space.  Granted, he’s a puppy.  Everything is a toy right now.  We will work on this.

How to do your dogs react to your knitting?  Any advice for a knitter with a large puppy who’s very interested in stuff in general?

When Coloring Meets Knitting

I love adult coloring books.  I really do.  To be honest, I’ve been working on that more than knitting right now.  I’m still knitting, of course, but I need to give my hands something else to do at the moment, so coloring it is!

I got Taste of Home’s Color! Winter 2017 coloring book by Mara Penny at a grocery store check out line.  It was a total impulse purchase, of course, due to the strategic placing of said book.  I paged through it.  They had a page devoted to yarn and knitting notions.  Yup, totally bought it.

The picture above is a section of the page, but here is my completed page below.

Yarn page from Taste of Home Winter 2017 adult coloring book

This was a fun page to color, mostly because of the subject matter for me.  Still, it was fun to get creative and to get my thought processes churning on how I was going to fill out each skein, color each button, where to place colors, etc.  I love stuff like that.

Here’s another page I did of birds from the same book

Birds page from the Winter 2017 Taste of Home coloring book

I love songbirds, and have feeders up for them in my yard, so they had to get some coloring love, too.

Do you color?  If so, awesome!  Show me your work!  If not, and if you’d like to, it’s not hard to get started.  Here are the supplies I use.

Otherwise, here are some of my tips and tricks into making adult coloring easier.

  • Use GOOD colored pencils.  Don’t use the Crayola ones, and don’t use the Prismacolor Scholar once, too.  Staedtler Noris Color pencils are great pencils, too.  They erase ok.  As a rule of thumb, don’t skimp on your pencils; get artist quality.
  • Get a GOOD sharpener.  A simple metal sharpener is great.  Sometimes they have a small bore for general sharpening and a larger bore for fine tuning your point.  A sharp pencil is a happy and good pencil for coloring.
  • Get a GOOD eraser.  There are tons of artist pencil erasers to choose from.  This is one case where Prismacolor’s Scholar line is ok.
  • There are so many themed adult coloring books out there.  Pick one, pick a few!

Good tools are key to less frustration when it comes to coloring in your pages.  Seriously.

I hope that a few fellow adult coloring book artists are out there, and maybe I inspired more of you out there to join our ranks.  It really is a lovely and relaxing activity!