Nicole Snow, A Darn Good Yarn

Nicole Snow, A Darn Good Yarn founder, made for the perfect FRIDAY guest on the Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird.

Nicole shared with us that her company, begun 2008, was a way for her to get her own hands on great fibers to create with, while learning to knit! A Darn Good Yarn gathers recycled fibers and offers about 90% reclaimed through their various products. Many of the fibers are collected by about 300 families and contains silk, saving it from landfills. Thus taking care of families in India, saving waste and filing regular taxes as a business all of which contribute to global economy.NicoleSnow

Nicole began knitting with a scarf of recycled yarn. Her mother-in-law taught her and she found help to better her skill with online videos. She has kept her craft fun and whimsical for herself and others. also knitting on a simple level, because she needs the creativity, the colorful textures in her life but without the complicated, time consuming challenges that knitting can become. She found her first materials ‘didn’t mean anything to her’ and had another business (she refers to it as her “Fisher-Price” business) where she imported rugs and things from India. Through that she found responsibly sourced materials and followed through to A Darn Good Yarn! The Website: https://www.darngoodyarn.com/

Anamika Silk Yarn (It’s from silk waste! and fairly traded)

The yarns are of three categories: Ribbon, Hand-spun and Fabric Strips. Ribbon is created by torn silk saris with the edges are sewn together. Some is kept in the orignal colors, some of the colors can be stripped and overdyed to acheive another brilliant, multitonal yarn. Hand-spun might be silk remnants including banana fiber, hemp, newspaper which is hand-spun generally by drop spindle and the Fabric Strips are mechanically spun but hand-dyed.

A Darn Good Yarn was operated out her house from it’s founding. When she and her husband moved to Schenectady, NY, get made the big leap to a brick and mortar store there, opening in December, that has been warmly received by the community. They are supporting those women and their families in Nepal, so they offer ready-made articles as well. The items include clothing and accessories, home decor. A Darn Good Yarn also supplies to local yarn stores through wholesale, which is a large portion of the company’s income.

Finding that through business, she can change the world, Nicole hopes to continue offering items to an admittedly mostly women audience supporting mostly women in impoverished circumstances. For instance, on her most recent trip to India, she met a 17-year-old girl who spins the banana fibers, who says she’s saving to go to medical school. That yarn may become a wonderful scarf or shawl to adorn a knitter in a warm climate like the fine piece of knitted jewelry that it really is!

If you are not able to travel to New York follow them to hear about their special promotion that they are putting together at either the Facebook page or the Ravelry group.


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  1. Michelle says:

    This interview was just like sunshine after a rain. Lovely and fun! My daughter goes to college in upstate NY, so now I have a new yarn store to go and explore!

  2. Theresa says:

    Loved hearing the interview. It was so nice to hear as there has been no sunshine here all week. Also, love the different types of yarn on Darn Good Yarn. Bought a skein of bannana fiber.

  3. Mary K. says:

    A little sunshine is always welcome this time of year. The colors on the sari silk yarn are absolutely gorgeous! I have done a couple projects with it and it is beautiful.

  4. Alina says:

    Beautiful and inspiring interview! I love the ribbon yarn – it makes a good old stockinette stitch look completely different.

  5. hotknitter says:

    How weird. When Nicole picked the key word sunshine, I happened to be looking in the Sock Innovation book at the Sunshine pattern.

  6. Sally says:

    Great show – like a ray of sunshine on a grey January day! The yarns are very interesting, and so nice how they support communities as well.

  7. Tony says:

    A ray of sunshine for me would be to read the show notes without grammar and spelling errors. It drives me crazy, but I continue to listen to these captivating interviews. I hereby challenge you to put text out there that is easier to read. I’m not trying to be negative. I’m actually offering constructive criticism. You’ll soar even more in your business with good write-ups. I promise! The language of them is great. The mistakes detract from that.

    This interview was AMAZING by the way. I really like the concept of this yarn company. I love Nicole’s attitude. She stated in her interview that at work she and her employees don’t take themselves seriously. I’m convinced. Her web site is great to read and reflects that attitude. A breath of fresh air.

    • Ruthie says:

      I loved hearing about A Darn Good Yarn. It is so nice that they are doing good things for others as well as the environment. We are getting ready for more snow here in the northeast, so will not be knitting in the sunshine. At least it gives me time to catch up on podcasts!

      • Ruthie says:

        @Tony Are you serious? If you really want help, I think a private email mentioning the errors would have nicer.

  8. Cindy says:

    So amazing, I live about 3 miles from a Darn Good Yarn….and finally we have some sunshine today. I shall stop in soon!

  9. Deila says:

    Was introduced to DGY by my LYS and love it. Did not know the story behind the company til now. It is great that sunshine can be spread to the ladies who live around the world.

  10. Carol says:

    The sunshine is bright here in Colorado today! Love The Darn Good Yarn Company and would really like to try their yarn. Thanks for a great podcast.

  11. joyce says:

    Very nice interview with Nicole. I love her business story. It brought sunshine to my day to hear her doing things for other people. I will definitely have to put her yarn on my wishlist.

  12. Melissa C. says:

    Loved the podcast! Nicole’s yarn comes in such beautiful colors, probably reflective of the good karma she creates. It warms me to hear of folks that find ways to run a business successfully and socially responsible at the same time. Those beautiful colors more closely match the sunshine here in Oklahoma than the blizzard in the Northeast!

  13. Sarah Short says:

    Great episode! It’s always nice to hear about new kinds of yarn. I’ll have to try some while I’m waiting for the sunshine to return.

  14. Mary Kay says:

    Our Cincinnati winters are notorious for their lack of sunshine, but the colors of Darn Good Yarn brighten even the gloomiest days! I loved hearing about Nicole’s business model and her fascinating journey. Thank you!

  15. Debra says:

    I love hearing the back story of Darn Good Yarns. Her yarn is soo beautiful its like sunshine on a cloudy day! Great podcast!

  16. Martha Donley says:

    As I sit and enjoy the sunshine and the birds at the feeder, listening to Nicole just makes the day brighter. I purchased one of her “mystery boxes” a couple of months ago and put together an “arm knitted” scarf almost immediately. I still have one skein left, a dk weight unidentified plant fiber, waiting for a project. Love her mission, all the good she is doing and of course, her product,.

  17. Lisa Nixon says:

    Oh my…..how appropriate it was to listen to Nicole and Marly talk while there was abundant sunshine outside my window. Looking at the website for Nicole’s yarn……I see that I will be having a problem upholding my resolution to not buy yarn at stitches west this year.

  18. cindy gwidt says:

    What a great yarn company, you must be quite a ray of sunshine to these women that you are helping. Thank you!

  19. jackie d says:

    Loved this interview! I also love to knit amd drink wine, so Nicole and i have that in common!! A little bit of sunshine on a snowy January day! (Also, this is the first time I have ever commented on ANY blog!)

  20. Susan Crosby says:

    I have the lyrics to My Girl stuck in my head today. “I got sunshine on a cloudy day….” Loved hearing the story behind A Darn Good Yarn. Very inspiring.

  21. anne j-z says:

    I am a huge Darn Good Yarn fan! I brought sunshine to two friends at the holidays with crocheted cowls in DGY sari ribbon.

  22. Vicki Lynch says:

    I was lucky enough to sit in the sunshine and knit for a little bit today. I love the story of Nicole’s company. I’ve ordered yarn from your store and just love the bags that you send them in too. Your newsletter and emails keep me up to date on specials, but now I know to join you on Facebook too.

  23. Amy says:

    Another fantastic podcast, Marly! I love that Nicole mixes a successful business with fair trade and social consciousness. I believe she brings sunshine into the lives of everyone she works with, in this country and internationally!

  24. Missy says:

    I’m with Nicole! I am ready for spring and sunshine! I loved hearing about her yarns! I’ll be ordering some ASAP! 🙂

  25. carrotmusic says:

    What a fascinating tale! I have some banana fiber yarn, and it is some of the brightest, most sunshine-esque yarn that I own. I wish Nicole all the success she can manage as she helps find work and income for woman around the world.

  26. Susanne says:

    I love the beautiful colors of the silk yarn and the fact that it’s fair trade. I would love to sit in the sunshine and knit with this lovely yarn.

Marly Bird

The One and Only, Marly

Marly is a knitwear and crochet designer (and yarn addict) that is here to help you learn how to knit and crochet in a way that's fun and approachable.

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