Fiber art scarves handbags yarn pillowcases headbands

Chicago, Illinois · 2612 Sales


Fiber art scarves handbags yarn pillowcases headbands

Chicago, Illinois 2612 Sales On Etsy since 2008

5 out of 5 stars

Announcement   Your expedition begins with wearable art scarves for women and men, purses for cell phones, batik totes, felted wool handbags, exotic pillowcases, table runners, winter hats & hoods & headbands. Bohemian, tribal, rustic. 16-22 yarn skeins ship for $13.99. FAQ's below listing description will answer most of your questions.


Last updated on Dec 20, 2016

Your expedition begins with wearable art scarves for women and men, purses for cell phones, batik totes, felted wool handbags, exotic pillowcases, table runners, winter hats & hoods & headbands. Bohemian, tribal, rustic. 16-22 yarn skeins ship for $13.99. FAQ's below listing description will answer most of your questions.

dj runnels

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dj runnels

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Holiday Greetings from Life's an Expedition. Take a look at our unusual gift suggestions. We stand ready to ship your order pronto.


Life's an Expedition. And your expedition is about to begin.

I'm writer/artist dj runnels. If a casual glance at my shop suggests I cannot commit to one craft... well, that's because I grew up in a household in which my mother the art teacher filled every room with ongoing crafts. But much as I love papier mache, painting and collecting antiquarian books, my heart belongs to textiles.

I learned to knit when I was 8. I began sewing on a machine before my feet reached the pedals. I made a skirt and bolero without a pattern when I was about 14. I can't remember the last time I knitted a solid color anything and I don't understand why anyone would. And no one taught me to crochet; I just winged it.

But I didn't start out as an artist. My career path after college led me to be an ad agency copywriter, then creative director. (If you're a Mad Men fan, that means I was a Peggy Olson and later a Don Draper.) I was a freelance writer with six unpublished novels when September 11 hit. I re-evaluated my life and decided to follow my artistic whims. Life's an Expedition was born in 2003.

That first year, I was weaving handbags. My husband Roger and I were collaborating on the birdhouses he made. My mother Joan would sometimes provide hand knit components of a gift basket. Most of this merchandise went into our art shows. One day, I threw together an odd combination of yarns and listed it on eBay just for laughs. To my surprise, people pounced on it. Within months, I was a yarn powerseller.

We've reinvented Life's an Expedition many times as our creative muses changed. Lately, I am exploring multi-fiber scarves created from new and upcycled fabrics, dyes, beads, coins, etc. Roger is contemplating a series of fantasy houses. My mother is finding all sorts of fleece for me to wet felt or spin. And I use many of my own yarn blends in my winter headbands, hats and scarves for men and women. But I'm still perfectly happy to supply you with the raw materials for your own creative expeditions.

Life's an Expedition: Color. Nature. Texture. Culture.


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Shop members

  • dj runnels

    Designer, Owner, Fiber Artist.

    Writer turned fiber artist. [My About Page tells more about my background.]

  • Roger


    Husband Roger makes birdhouses and stone castles, helps select really cool antiquarian books and is an expert at cramming huge amounts of yarn tightly into a box to save our customers money on shipping.

  • Joan


    Joan sometimes spins, dyes yarn and procures fleece for me.

Shop policies

More information

Last updated on Mar 19, 2017
Frequently asked questions

How will my order ship?

We ship within 3-5 business days, using USPS 1st Class mail for packages under 13 oz--and that's most of our hand knit or sewn goods (takes 5-7 days to arrive)... Priority Mail for packages over 13 oz (takes 2-3 days to arrive)...Media Mail for books (1-2 weeks to arrive). These are ESTIMATES; they apply January-November. We have always shipped when we said we would, but there can be USPS delays due to hurricanes, blizzards, holidays...especially in December. To track, log into Paypal, click on Payments Sent, find Life's an Expedition, click on TRACK on the far right. International orders usually ship 1st Class International within 5 business days; your tracking # will come from an Etsy convo. See more on shipping in FAQs below.

Why does the shipping keep going up when I add yarn to my cart?

Don't panic. The nature of the USPS is to charge more to ship the first pound and gradually less for each additional pound, depending on how far you are from Chicago. So, yes, the cost of shipping gets higher the more single and double skeins of yarn you put in your shopping cart. Generally, if you buy fewer than 16 skeins, there are rebates built in to the price. When you order 16-24 single or double skeins from various listings, we can usually ship the whole shebang for a mere $13.99 within the United States; we calculate and process the rebate AFTER you pay, at the time that we pack your order. (Those "destash yarn lot" listings of 10+ skeins already have discounted shipping. Ditto for yarn cones.)

Are there rebates for all large orders?

If you order a number of things, you could get a rebate, depending on what you order, how big the product is, how much the package weighs, whether we offered shipping rates below our actual cost to mail it to you, what your zip code is, how far you are from Chicago, how fragile the product is, how much we have to pay for protective packaging, whether or not it fits in a flat rate box, whether we can put one of your purchases into the same box as something else you ordered without risk of breakage, etc. Lots of variables, eh? That's why we cannot predict combined shipping fees in advance.

Do you ship to countries outside the US?

Sometimes we include Canada, Australia and/or Europe, but not on every listing and not year-round. (We tend to include Canada in winter because those guys NEED our warmest winter goods.) International buyers are responsible for all customs fees or import taxes. Life's an Expedition is not responsible for fees or delays due to customs or shipping. We use 1st Class Mail when we can to save you money, but the tracking number won't tell you much and a package may take weeks to arrive, especially if it weighs under 4 lbs. Rebates on shipping may be issued on large orders. If your country is not included on a listing, we are not going to add it at your request.

Do you accept returns?

We only accept returns on clothing, as per instructions found in the clothing listings. Follow instructions exactly; we reserve the right to refuse refunds if you don't. If the listing doesn't specify information about returns, read the info carefully and think before ordering, as we do not accept returns on other merchandise. Why? Because no matter how careful you are, it will likely contain fragrance, cigarette smoke or pet hair, even if you're sure it won't. People in our home have severe allergies/asthma and can't handle such things. But if we messed up your order, please send us a calm, polite convo--thru Etsy, not email--within a few days of receipt, without leaving adverse feedback, and we will make things right.

Valuable advice.

Some people just glance at photos and rush to order. Please don't. Use the ZOOM button under the photo and read the listing carefully. Measure your head before ordering a hat from us; we test for size; there's no such thing as one size fits all. If you are tall or plus-sized, don't expect a scarf or handbag strap to look the same on you as it does on our petite size 10/12 model. If you order something 4" wide, don't be shocked if it's 4" wide. No two people see or define color the same way and--I swear this is true--what you call forest green someone else will call blue-gray. Yarn gauges vary depending on how you knit. Softness is subjective; I've known people who made socks out of wool I deemed too coarse for a rug.

Wholesale availability

We don't offer wholesale arrangements, but we sometimes have sale or bulk merchandise that you are welcome to resell in a bricks and mortar shop. Do not list our goods on Etsy, though.

What is my tracking number?

We always send a tracking number without you having to ask. But if you misplaced that email, you can easily TRACK YOUR PACKAGE: Log into Paypal, click on PAYMENTS SENT, find Life's an Expedition and click on TRACK on the far right. Don't count on detailed information, because USPS isn't always informative or regularly updated, especially near holidays. EXPECT DELAYS IN DECEMBER. Read the FAQ below this if you are getting impatient. (If you are OUTSIDE the U.S. and your package is small, we sent you a tracking number via Etsy convo, but your package may take weeks or even a month to arrive, especially if it weighs less than 4 pounds.)

Is my package lost in the mail?

It's more likely delayed, not lost. USPS tracking information is not flawless. Your package could be within a day of reaching you without ANY indication of this in the tracking data. However, if the tracking # shows delivery, yet you have not seen the package, ask other residents at your address if they brought in the mail, look in the shrubs around the mailbox, etc. In our experience, when a tracking number shows arrival, it means the package DID arrive but someone forgot to tell you. However, if those inquiries don't pan out, contact your post office and give them the tracking number we gave you. We've shipped over 100,000 packages since 2003 and while many were delayed, I can only think of a few that did not reach their destination.

Please change ____ for me.

Sorry. We do not negotiate prices, change listings, add photos, accept alternate payment, change shipping method or break up yarn destashes for you. We ship in the time frame and method stated, but if you order a lot of small merchandise that would ordinarily be shipped first class mail--and your total order exceeds 13 oz.--you are automatically upgraded to USPS Priority Mail.