Darn Good Yarn

I discovered some “Darn Good Yarn” when we were visiting in Arkansas.  I found it at my old knitting home Knit Unto Others  – where I’d returned to see my knitting friends.  Claire (the owner) has always carried and promoted fair trade yarn. One example that I discovered this trip is Darn Good Yarn.  This company provides opportunities for local artisans to make yarn by using primarily scraps from sari production (I had no idea how much waste there is involved!).

I chose some silk yarn.  It’s called Silk Cloud, and it knit up beautifully.  I chose a pattern that I’d purchased when I was visiting Loops in Tulsa.  It’s a fun pattern called “Effin’ Scarf”. This is a scarf that is knit with size 13 needles.  I loved how it knit up, and I’d make it again, but I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of knitting fingering weight yarn with size 13 needles.  However, I love the almost cobwebby look it creates.  Davey likes to ask what it would be like to knit with spider silk (he is lately fascinated by spiderwebs).  While this is not cobweb lace, it does have a kinda webby look to it knitted up in this pattern.



I love the combination of colors.



I had a hard time taking good pictures of it or pictures that captured how pretty I think the yarn is.



I am spending time on Ravelry already trying to figure out what I’d like to make next with Darn Good Yarn.  I love their mission!  There’s a great video on their website which does a great inspiring job of showing what they do.  Check it out! :  The Story of Darn Good Yarn.

Snow? Snow! and a Fancy Tiger knitting class

It’s Monday afternoon, and we are watching the snow just pour down.  (pour?  plummet? I don’t know what the word is exactly, but it is really snowing.)  Again, this is hard for a former Okie/Texan/Tennessean/Arkansan to get used to.  Snow in mid April.  My mom is coming tonight and she will get to enjoy a couple more days of snow with us.  We will have fun going out to play in it.

Yesterday, I was so happy to be able to go to a knitting class at Fancy Tiger (greatest crafting store ever (after Knit Unto Others of course!)).   It was led by Stephen West and Ragga Eiriksdottir.  I’ve followed Stephen’s work for awhile, and he does some cool stuff.  I was surprised to learn how young he is!  He is from Oklahoma and I asked him what year he’d graduated from high school.  2007! I admire all that he’s accomplished in just a few years since graduating from high school!  I was not familiar with Ragga’s work, but I really enjoyed learning from her as well.  This is not the greatest picture in the world.  I just had my phone with me and I was trying to be quick about it.



I have another lousy picture to share because I was fascinated by this sweater that Stephen had designed and knitted.



The sweater is made out of linen, but see the white stripes?  They are made from linen (I think linen and not cotton) dipped in latex!  We all had to touch the sweater to see what this felt like.  Linen is not the softest although I think it softens over time.  The white stripes were actually fairly soft and not that latexy feeling.  I thought this was really neat.  I think he’d gotten the yarn in Belgium.

So we played with shapes.



We tried some different techniques where we played with different edgings and increases and decreases.  One of my favorite things that I learned was when we knit several rows and ended the row (on the right side) by slipping 3 stitches with the yarn held in the front.  This created an “applied?” i-cord along the side of the swatch.  I think the upper right of this picture shows that although this is the wrong side.  It’s smoother on the other side.  I loved this look.

Ragga taught us something she called the “Insanely Stretchy Cast On”  It involved using a helper needle.  It was something like the long tail cast on with the helper needle added in. There was seriously a “twirl” at the end to bring the needles back up and it also added a twist on the yarn for the cast on stitches.  I am not sure I can remember how to do it now, but when I was done, I removed the helper needle and so then had these elongated cast on stitches.  Very neat.

We played with short rows and just swatched around.  It’s not very often that I do this – just play with different stitches and short rows, and it was really fun.  I have several of Stephen’s projects now that I really want to make.  It was through playing around that he has created some really interestingly constructed shawls.  I want to make “Rockefeller“, “Geysir Stretch” and “Bolting“.  For starters.

So I guess it’s easy to see that I am pretty excited about the class.  It was a great opportunity to get creative and to think about knitting in different ways.

Ok – I’m thinking this snowy day calls for potato soup.  Davey is going to help me make some banana bread too.

Happy Monday!