Monday, 14 July 2014

Darn Good Yarn


A few months ago someone from the yarn company Darn Good Yarn contacted me and asked if I would like a free yarn sample. I gave the question of whether I would like to receive free yarn the 0.00001 seconds of serious thought it took for me to conclude that OH YES PLEASE I WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE SOME FREE YARN, and the skein of Roving Silk Yarn pictured above was duly sent to me. Which in turn led to me checking out Darn Good Yarn projects on Ravelry to see what other knitters were doing with Darn Good Yarn's yarns, and from there to the Darn Good Yarn website itself.





Darn Good Yarn, founded in 2008, offers a range of yarn that is handmade by hundreds of women in India and Nepal. These women, many of whom live in areas where there are few viable jobs for women, are selected for their skill and can earn a livable wage in their own homes. Not only does Darn Good Yarn give all these women the means to support themselves, they also help reduce waste as the much of the fibres used to make the yarns for a Darn Good Yarn are recycled and reclaimed, such as those used in their silk yarns, which are made from recycled silk saris.

Darn Good Yarn offers quite a full range of yarns, from hand-dyed silk, llama, yak, and banana fibre yarns that could be used for general purpose knitting and crocheting, to ribbon yarns, art yarns, and yarn made from jute, linen, newspaper, and hemp that would be better suited to home decor items, art, or strictly utilitarian projects than to anything wearable. They also offer some fabric, and spinning and felting supplies. The crocheted basket photo above is one of Darn Good Yarn's product shots and is available as a kit containing the instructions and enough ribbon yarn to make three nesting baskets.





This plant holder is another of Darn Good Yarn's suggested projects: it's a bread crumb container covered in newspaper yarn. The instructions are available for free on Darn Good Yarn's website. To be honest, many of the free project patterns on the Darn Good Yarn website leave something to be desired, but then that's often true of the designs offered by yarn companies; their forte is supplying yarn rather than coming up with creative things for a knitter to do with it. So let's have a look at what the users of Ravelry are doing with their Darn Good Yarn.





Ravelry user HaliBea knitted this hip scarf to wear in a student recital at the dance studio she attends. She used Darn Good Yarn's Recycled Resolution Sari Silk Yarn for the project. The play of colour is fabulous, and I'd love to see this idea expanded into a standard-sized shawl.





Ravelry user purple4885 knitted this Malawi Cichlid Skinny Scarf with less than a skein of Darn Good Yarn's Silk Cloud.





Ravelry user BettyBee made this Plush Boxy Bee scarf with some of Darn Good Yarn's Plush yarn and some black yarn from Lamb's Pride. This scarf is woven, not knitted, but it would be quite possible to knit something similar. This piece makes good use of a solid dark colour to tone down a bright, multi-coloured yarn.





Ravelry user babjoysong knitted and sewed this vest using Recycled Sari Silk Yarn Rope Cording and some coordinating striped fabric. She reported that "the yarn is tough, coarse, wiry, and challenging to work with".





This little witch doll isn't knitted or even crocheted, but she is just too wonderful and deliciously creepy not to include. Ravelry user magyarreeddog made twelve-inch Violet the Witch's hat, overskirt, and embellishments from Darn Good Yarn's dyed silk roving, silk gauze and ribbons.

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