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Well, guess what. I finally finally FINALLY talked to someone at Colinette.
Ack, that’s such ancient history that you don’t even remember that, do you? Let me explain.
No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
Holy cow, my training in science writing is really paying off. That was dang concise and to the point. If you want the whole back story, the original post can be read here.
So I initially contacted the company about it on Wednesday April 25, 2007. Here is my original email, to ColinetteYarns UK:
To whom it may concern:
Hello. I recently purchased a skein of your Jitterbug yarn, in the color Bright Charcoal. At the time of purchase, I was much impressed with both the colors and the softness of the yarn. In this respect, it is one of the best sock yarns I had yet found and was anxious to try more. In fact, I even gushed about how wonderful this yarn was on my blog. However, I was very disappointed once I wound and knitted up this yarn. There were several knots in the skein. I understand how this can happen, and would be willing to forgive one or even two knots. I found at least six. Unfortunately, I stopped counting at this point, so I cannot give you an exact number. This is simply unacceptable. When one purchases a high-end priced skein of sock yarn, it is expected that one is getting a high-end quality of yarn. Apparently this isn’t so in the case of your company. To make matters worse, it appears from the finished socks that one of the knots had connected yarn from two different colorways. It can be seen very clearly on the left sock in the following picture(http://www.flickr.com/photos/64188044@N00/469873959). The next photo in the stream also shows the color differences circled, for clarity. I am extraordinarily irritated about this, as I put so much time and effort into knitting this pair of socks. It makes me very reluctant to purchase any yarn from your company again. I wrote a blog entry about this occurrence, and I’m sorry to say that many of the commenters agreed with me in their disappointment and disinclination to knit with this yarn in the future. This does make me sad, as I really love the colors and the knitted fabric that the Jitterbug makes.
Your former customer,
Their answer, dated April 30, 2007:
Firstly I would like to apologies that you have had the problems that you have with our Jitterbug yarn and assure you that we work extremely hard to avoid knots within the hanks of yarn, but unfortunately on occasion one or two hanks do slip through.
Due to the ‘Hand Dye’ process that we use this cannot be avoided, to get the wonderful colours that we produce our yarns in, we can only dye the yarn one kilo at a time and therefore there is a variance between colours and hanks, this is part of the uniqueness of Colinette Yarns
I have forwarded your comments to our U.S. distributor Unique Kolours for their information and I’m sure that Sharon will be in touch with you, or I have included her email address for you to contact her should you wish.
Thanks you for your time and your comments.
Great. However the problem, as some of you know, was that Sharon never got back to me. I got the next email on May 11.
Good Morning chemgrrl,
I have had Sharon at Unique Kolours asking for your correct email address as she has try to contact you and the email keeps bouncing back, so I have resent her the details but thought that you might like to contact Unique Kolours yourself
Email : XXXXXXXXXXXX
Please would you also be able to email me your telephone number as I will then pass this on to Sharon.
Many Thanks Elaine
And my response:
Here is my telephone number: (312) 867-5309*
It’s odd that Sharon’s emails have been bouncing back–I’m getting yours just fine.
Elaine then forwarded this email to Sharon, the US person, and copied it to me (the date on that was May 14).
So then I waited. And waited and waited. At one point I emailed Sharon directly giving her my phone number again (the real one, not Jenny’s), reminding her of my email address, and also giving her an alternate email. I don’t remember the exact date of this, since my email account doesn’t automatically save my outgoing messages. Anyway, after I still got no response, I emailed poor Elaine again since she was the only one who actually would answer me.
It’s been quite awhile now, and I’ve yet to hear from Sharon. I realize that this is not your fault, but it’s getting ridiculous. I have emailed her myself, given her an alternate email address from me, and given her my phone number. No response of any kind. Is there anyone else in the US I can talk to? I’m really starting to lose patience here.
Dammit, I’m nice. This was her response, sent on May 29:
I hope by now that you will have had contact with Unique Kolours, please would you be kind enough to confirm.
Thanks you for you patience.
So I emailed her back and said no, I hadn’t heard from Sharon. So Elaine sent this email to Sharon on the same day, and copied it to me:
I know that you are at the moment very busy organizing and getting ready for the TNNA show, but please would you contact chemgrrl regarding her Jitterbug yarn, on the above email address. I also have chemgrrl’s telephone number if you find that the email is returned please would you give her a call – (312) 867-5309
Please would you confirm that you have spoken to chemgrrl and let me know the outcome.
That was the last one. So I was still waiting and waiting. Then last night I decided to clean out my incoming call log on my phone at home. As I was happily deleting, I noticed a call from Unique Kolours, dated TWO WEEKS before. Sharon had FINALLY called me, but she didn’t leave a message. I really don’t know why. So I called them back today.
And I actually got Sharon. I’m still astounded by this. I fully expected to be blown off.
Anyway, we talked. As my powers of auditory recall aren’t perfect, again I will have to sum up.
So I told her again the problem. She said she was very sorry, I had a right to be angry, what happened was unacceptable. She had talked to the manufacturer recently and discussed these problems. She had been trying to get a hold of me, she was so glad that I’d called (okay, she called my house once, didn’t leave a message, and never tried to email me at my other address). She said she didn’t leave a message because she didn’t know when the best time to get a hold of me would be and she wanted to talk to me directly (um…). She was sorry. They had been really busy. She was sorry. One of her co-workers had a baby two months early. She was sorry. She would send me yarn. Was there anything else she could do to make me happy? Um, no. Not really. I told her I would watch the mail. I also gave her this blog address, along with the information that I will be posting about this whole ordeal, so she may be reading.
A really good thing that came out of this was our discussion of the yarn itself. As you guys know if you read any of my posts about the Pomatomus socks, I did really love this yarn. And I told her that! I also told her that I (and A LOT of other people—see web search on this topic) am reluctant to buy this yarn because of the skimpy yardage. I brought up to her that Blue Moon Fiber Arts (who she had never heard of!) sells their Socks That Rock Mediumweight (which is really similar to the Jitterbug, I think) in 150 g skeins. I suggested that they also sell theirs in 150 g (or even 120 g) skeins instead of 100 g skeins. She said that she would pass that along to the manufacturer, and let me know what he said. So okay, that’s good. I hope he listens. Twenty-one dollars is a lot of money for 289 yards of sock yarn.
So yeah, that’s it. Chapter done, book over. Well, I guess not quite yet. We’ll see how long it takes for me to get my box. If the past behavior can predict the future, I’ll expect it around Christmastime.
Okay, sorry, that last comment was probably uncalled for. But I’m mad! I don’t like being an in-your-face mean person, but dammit, I don’t like getting walked all over, either. I do feel like I was definitely shunted in this case, especially since it took two months to get the matter resolved, and the matter only got resolved because I took it into my own hands. Unique Kolours should have worked a lot harder to contact me. I shouldn’t have had to be the follow-up person.
Can I go knit now? I wanna go knit now.
*Thanks for everyone’s concern, but this is NOT my real phone number. See here. Sorry to disappoint those who wanted to drunk dial me cough Jennifer cough cough.
Hello, it’s Wednesday again. Here’s what I’ve been
Listening to (really just So Long & Thanks For All The Fish–I heart that song)
Reading. This book was….oh wait. I can’t talk about it.
(psst…if you haven’t read anything by this guy, you should. He can write the pants off an alligator.)
Thanks everybody for your kind words about Steggy! As I type this, he is winging his way toward Ohio, where I really hope he will reach by Friday. I must admit, I’m nervous about him getting lost. I insured the package for $50, but that doesn’t even begin to cover what he’s worth. It’s weird having him gone–he’s taken up just about all of my knitting time lately, so it felt very strange last night to not be working with that green yarn. I kind of miss him…but then I have Niece E’s gift to worry about, whose birthday is in two weeks. Onward and upward.
Here’s hoping you have a happy hump day!
At long last, here he is
and I heart him.
Oh sure, he was a royal pain in the keister, but look at him!
He was totally worth it.
Pattern: Stegosaurus, from Paton’s Dinosaur booklet #1227
Yarn: KnitPicks Essential in grass for body, just over 1 skein; Lion Wool worsted in pumpkin for scales, small amount; KnitPicks Bare DK for spikes, very small amount; scrap of Fleece Artist merino sock for mouth
Other materials: two small black beads for eyes, and a crapload of stuffing
Begun: May 24
Finished: June 26, 1 am
So I’m going to go through all of the things I hoped to change about the pattern, originally discussed here .
Thing one: I hoped to make Steggy a bit smaller than the pattern stated he would be, by substituting a fingering weight yarn for the DK. Pattern states Steggy should be 12 inches high. My Steggy: 8½ in (I estimated he would be about 9—am I good or what?). He’s a good size, perfect for hugging.
Thing two: Steggy’s scales. Remember in the picture, where his back scales were all falling over and wonky looking? Well feast your peepers on this:
Ha! Mine are staying up! Instead of knitting them out of the same yarn, I switched to a heavier yarn (worsted weight) and felted them instead. I didn’t actually follow the printed pattern on the scales, either. I started to, but then figured that they’d be waaaay too big, so I scaled them down (heh). The biggest ones are curling a bit, but I think that’s due to the fact that I threw them in the washer and the dryer. I kind of like it, though. It gives him a sort of angelic look, don’t you think? I’m especially digging the pumpkin orange color with the green. Oh, I felted the spikes, too.
I really heart the spikes. I think they’re my favorite part.
Thing three: Steggy’s drunken posture. If you also recall from the pattern picture, none of the dinos stood up on their own. Well, guess what?
Steggy is clearly standing on his own four feet, no proppage necessary. Ha again! When I started him, I asked my mom what I should do about his legs (my mom’s a long time sewing guru, remember the quilt? She also has made a lot of toys in her day. I still have several dolls and stuffed animals that sprung fourth from her sewing machine.). Her advice to me? “Stuff the shit out of them!” That’s verbatim, folks. So stuff the shit out of them I did. Those things were rock hard when I was done. In fact, I stuffed them so full that the seams began to show a bit in the back.
That doesn’t bug me too much, though. I don’t think it will get noticed.
Thing the fourth: this wasn’t something I had initially planned on doing, but I knit the feet in the round instead of knitting the top and bottom separately, then sewing them together. They were supposed to be a different color on the bottom. I did initially do it this way, but when I went to seam them up, um…they looked like pig doody. So I totally redid the feet. It was oodles easier that way. I also omitted the claws, since they seemed like they would be a jagnormous pain in the arse to both knit and attach. I have Z’s momma to thank for that idea, who knit a loverly brontosaurus for her son (go look, it’s cute!). I like Steggy’s feet. They kind of look like Kermit feet.
Thing five: I used beads instead of safety eyes, just because I couldn’t find safety eyes small enough. I also embroidered a little mouth on, because he looked like he needed one. I also gave him nostrils.
He’s a friendly dinosaur. But he’s not so friendly that he wouldn’t, say, attack a marauding sister’s Barbie dolls. In other words, he’s perfect for a five-year-old.
So, the fifty-five million dollar question: would I knit him again?
YES I WOULD! I heart Steggy. I think I’ll make another dinosaur from this book. BUT there are a few things that I would do differently. I would definitely knit everything I could in the round. I think it would have gone so much faster, plus been much more enjoyable. I would also try to figure out a better way to get the legs on (Patons’ directions—“Attach legs.” Gee, thanks). Sewing the legs onto Steggy was by far the most difficult part. I think I had to take the second back leg off twice before I got it exactly right. To line the legs up, I used my long Inox dpns as axles, then stitched them on. Ouch. A curved needle would have really helped, since I was trying to sew from the back of both pieces. At least the tips of Chibis are a bit bent, but if I had to do this again, I would buy one of those curved needles made especially quilting. It would have helped a lot.
So what do you think? Did he fulfill your wildest dreams?
Well, he didn’t quite fulfill mine. But he’s cute, and he’ll be loved. Sometimes, that’s all that matters.
Before I get into anything, I just want to say that my seams turned out just fine. Well, as fine as they ever turn out, which isn’t saying much. But the point is that being three sheets to the wind didn’t impair me in the slightest. In the seaming respect. I think it messed with my photo-taking ability quite a bit.
Well, so it’s Wednesday. Here’s what I’ve been
Listening to (oh, my mum would be so proud if she knew…)
The Brothers Grimm was kind of a letdown. I’m a fan of all things Python, and I’ve liked Terry Gilliam’s movies in the past. This one kind of fell flat. It also has approximately nothing to do with the real Brothers Grimm, who were respected scholars in their day. Ah well. That’s Hollywood, I suppose.
As always, enjoy your Wednesday!
No, I’m not hunting wabbits–I’m trying to keep my head from exploding.
I got drunk last night and did some seaming.
In my own defense, the alcohol was necessary. You saw those pictures! It’s a veritable seaming nightmare! Plus, add the feet and stuff that I’ve knit since then and you might feel faint. So to add to my courage, I tossed back a, um, few.
Okay, so I had a beer for every seam I did. It didn’t add up to very much, but as I’m a two-beer drunk, and I sewed up three seams, you can probably figure out what happened.
I did take some pictures (click for bigger)!
I think that last one was an attempt at an intervention. So, yeah. I’ll take some more later. Right now, my head kinda hurts.
I do have pictures of my new yarn though!
2 skeins of Berocco Love it! (opal) for a top for my niece.
And 2 skeins of Panda Cotton (blueberries and grapes) for thockies for me! This yarn is really soft and nice, I can't wait to knit with it. I also can't wait until these morning glories bloom. I forget what the variety is called, but the picture on the seed pack was awful purdy!
I guess I'd better finish Streggy first. I'm almost done! Well, I have to knit the spikes and the foot claws still. Oh, and the scales. Then sew the rest of the thing together. Yeah. I'd better lay off the booze in the future, though. My boss might have issues otherwise.
Oh, it's father's day! Happy Daddy Day to the most excellent of fathers.
That would be mine, if you're wondering.
That's me and Dad at my wedding, in case you couldn't figure that out. It's hard to believe that it was almost three years ago already. Anyway, my Dad is usually better looking than that, I swear. In all the pictures of him walking me down the aisle, he looks like he's going to puke. I like to think it's because he just can't fathom giving his only daughter away in marriage, but it's probably due to the fact that he was up drinking the night before. Not that I can sympathize there.
Like father like daughter, eh?
Happy Father's day, Poppy! I love you!
Oh jeez, I’m so exhausted. How the bloody hell do you moms do it? Baby-sitting a seven-month old and a 3 1/2 year old for four days nearly finished me. Plus, they were both sick and I came home with their cold. I wish to sleep for seven years, but I can’t. I have to announce the winner!
Well first, the sock I’m knitting is Rococo, designed by Anne from knitspot. She really writes lovely patterns—if you’ve never tried one you need to get over there pronto and check them out. Isn’t it pretty?
Nobody got the right answer, so I put everybody that commented in the hat and pulled out LibiLou as the winner! So I’ll just pop the book and a surprise goody in the mail to her soon.
I also started another sock, with some TOFUtsies that I’ve been wanting to get my needles into for ages. It was good airplane knitting.
I’ve started another toe-up just for shits and giggles, using the garter rib stitch from SKS the first. It’s the same one I used for the Beast socks, which I think looked very nice. This yarn is so weirdly variegated that anything a notch higher than simple would get lost in the yarn. So, simple it is. This will be my brainless project for the near future.
I took Steggy with me, but did not even take it out of my suitcase. That pattern takes too much concentration to knit with kids around (*k2, k2tog, don’t hit your brother!, k37, inc in last st, repeat from *—doesn’t work). I’ve got to make that my main project now, since D-day is rapidly approaching. Nephew E’s birthday is June 29. I’ve got to mail it, too, so I need to have it totally finished by about June 25. Holy crap, I hadn’t realized it was that close. Hmm, I guess I’ll be freaking out soon.
I did go to the MAKS sale on Friday, on my way to the airport. I’ll flash my haul later in the week—I haven’t gotten good pics of it yet. Oh, and the raccoon? The blub took him to another woodsy area and let him go. Hopefully, it was far enough away (I insisted on it being across at least TWO highways) and he won’t darken our doorstep again. I did feel a bit guilty about trapping him, especially in light of that forlorn look on his face in the picture. I must admit, the first thing I thought when I saw him in the trap was, “Awwww! Poor thing!” Of course, then I remembered what he did to my garden and flower boxes.
times about ten.
Good riddance, you stupid bugger!
Hey, do I deliver or what?
On the bottom, left to right, are the two back legs and one front leg. Above them are the two sides of the body, and that little thing at the top left is the head gusset. I think I may need to block these before sewing them together. Great. I don’t see how I can get around that, because the edges are curling so much. I got them to stay relatively spread out for the picture, but off camera they’re not so pretty. They look like little tubes.
Speaking of little tubes, as I get farther and farther into this project, I’m really wondering why all these pieces are knit flat. It would make so much sense to knit them in the round. It has occurred to me, however, that the pattern might be based on a sewing pattern. If I were sewing this, and not making the fabric for the pieces myself, this is exactly how I’d do it—cut out all the pieces flat, then sew them together. It makes perfect sense if you think about it that way. It seems like the designer of this pattern looked at a sewing pattern, knit pieces to the sizes, then sewed them together. If that’s the case, gosh, how lazy!
If I weren’t on a deadline here, I would definitely convert this pattern to in the round knitting. Maybe I still will, after Steggy is sent to his rightful owner. Or maybe I’ll knit a different dino, but do it in the round. I do have another nephew, after all. His birthday’s not until the end of October, plus there’s always Christmas. And I do also have nieces. Who says only little boys can play with dinos? Although, one niece is too old for this, one doesn’t like stuffed animals (can you believe that?), and the third probably isn’t interested. Maybe when she sees the cool one her brother gets, she’ll change her mind.
I’ve also started my sockapalooza socks. Finally! It was hard to decide on a pattern, but I ultimately did. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
Can you tell what it is? (snort!) Yes, it’s a toe-up sock (and it IS written that way). But anybody care to guess the pattern? I’ve got a copy of The Shop on Blossom Street that needs a new home! I got it from a contest on Macoco’s blog, I’ve read it, and wish to pass it on to a new reader. Leave a comment telling me what you think the pattern is, and I’ll pick a correct guesser at random. If nobody guesses correctly, then I’ll just pick someone who commented at random. If nobody comments at all, I’ll pick one of my cats at random. Then I’d have to teach them how to read, which will take up valuable knitting time and a lot of frustration, because everybody knows that cats don’t do well with personal tutors. So comment, okay? Tell all your little friends!
(Oh, yeah–you don’t have to be entered into the drawing if you don’t want to. You can comment anyway, but include in there somewhere “No book for me!”)
Oh, also, I’m going out of town tomorrow and I won’t be back until Wednesday. I’m going to Florida to baby-sit my brother’s kids (ack!). So I won’t be updating with winner until then. Good luck!
I saw that damn raccoon on the porch again last night. Do they have middle fingers? I swear it flicked me off.
Well, it’s Wednesday. Here’s what I’ve been
Watching (not nearly as good as the first one, but some funny parts)
Hey, look what finally got released! WAHOOOOOO!
Also, if you want to hear my “Ode to a Knitted Dishcloth” poem read in a very charming Australian accent, head over to changelings knit and stitch and download episode #4, Too Big For My Boots. It’s a nice podcast–I listened to #2 and 3 and enjoyed them very much. Thanks for including me, Cath!
Whew! Hello all, sorry to be breezing in a bit late this week. I’ve had a very interesting and busy last couple of days. I’m so psyched up to tell you all about it! Ohmigod!
Put on your cheerleading pom-poms, kids—I’m feeling perky!
Okay, thing the first: progress on Steggy.
Steggy’s going just fine. I’ve now finished both the front and back body pieces, both back legs, the “head gusset” and started on front leg numero uno. As I’m looking at my ever increasing pile of dino pieces, I think I might start seaming as I go along. That probably will reduce the risk of me burying the whole thing in the backyard at the end (…dino? What dino?).
Anyway, that’s what it looks like right now—a pile of dino pieces. I hope to get some very exciting pictures of these pieces later in the week, so everybody can gaze upon them and think, “Yup. That’s a pile of dino pieces.”
Thing the second: garden!
Garden! Garden! Garden! Garden! Garden! Hooray!
You may have noticed in the tagline ^up there^ that it says, “yarn and sticks, flowers and dirt…” blah blah blah science stuff. So here’s the flowers and dirt contribution.
So we’re going to look at a few before and after shots (click to see larger pictures in flickr).
Here’s an overview of before:
Squash and okra bed before:
Beans! After (I forgot to take a before shot, but trust me it looked horrendous):
Perennial bed before:
Holy crap! It doesn’t really come through in the pictures, but my garden now looks A LOT better. I didn’t do much with it last year, because I thought I was going to be gone for the summer (I ended up not being gone, but by the time I found out it was too late to put anything in). So I neglected my poor garden, and the valley got pissed off decided to take it back. I put a lot of hours into reclaiming it, and I’m damn proud of it now. Of course, I realized as I was outside for so many hours over the weekend (I think it ended up being about 14 hours of work, all told) that I’m going to have to rip the whole thing out and redo my raised beds in the fall. Hey, I’m okay with that. I like redecorating. I’m thinking stone raised beds. Opinions?
Thing the third: the great animal kingdom.
I live in the woods. I mean really, in the woods. Here’s the view from our front porch: looking south (sorry for crappy picture—it was kinda dark),
and looking north.
Those woods on either side? State forest. My house lies between two of them—our property borders one state forest on one side, and I could throw a rock and hit another state forest on the other. So, it’s woodsy. As such, there are a lot of critters about, both furry and non-furry. Hell, the blub came home one day last summer to find a big honkin’ rattlesnake below our deck, but that’s another story. Anyway, having these animals around is something I’ve grown accustomed to, but this kinda takes the cake.
So first, a little background. Our cats come and go through a cat flap in the front of the house. Their food is kept about 15 feet from said door, which we keep filled for them to eat whenever they want to. Now, for the past 2 or 3 days, I’ve been coming downstairs in the morning to find all four cats mewing pitifully around empty food bowls. This is really weird because a) the bowls normally get filled right before we go to bed and b) there’s no way that they would eat that much in one night. So, I’ve been wondering what’s going on here. I got my answer Saturday night, about 11 pm.
As soon as I turned off the light upstairs, I heard several noises in quick succession: the “click” of the cat door, the clanging of the stainless steel food bowls, the growling of several cats, then a loud and angry hiss. “What the hell’s going on down there?” I yelled in my best white-trash mom voice, and turned on the light. I got out of bed and peered over the edge of the loft to see what was going on.
There was a raccoon standing in front of the cat door.
Did ya get that? There was a friggin raccoon IN MY HOUSE!
I shouted “Hey!” and it nipped neatly outside, like it did this all the time. By then, the blub had actually roused from his slumber, and he went groggily downstairs to check on the cats and look around. We decided to turn on a light downstairs (so the raccoon wouldn’t come back, cuz they’re nocturnal and don’t like lights—it made sense at the time, I swear), then the blub came back up and we waited.
Approximately three seconds is all it took for the raccoon to put his head back through the cat door. It looked me in the eye. I loudly clapped my hands. It pulled its head out, then poked it through again about a second later. It stared at me for a long moment, as if to see if I would actually come downstairs. Then I got really pissed and starting yelling and jumping up and down. I think I even threw something at it. It skedaddled outside again, where it hung out on the porch. It wouldn’t even go away when we went out there.
Brazen little fucker.
So, we brought all the cats inside and barred the cat door. We couldn’t think of anything else to do, really. After we went to bed again, I could hear the stupid thing banging and slamming and trying to get the door open. The next day Nels got a live trap and set it. The following morning: trap tripped, food gone, no raccoon. It was that way last night, too. The cats are going nuts, being kept in the house overnight. I barely got any sleep last night, because Oscar kept running up and down the ladder and jumping on my head, then on the floor again, then back on my head. Arrugh. Something needs to be done. But what? There, I have no idea. Anyone else?
Oy, sorry this post was so long. If you made it to the end, you deserve some kind of special reward.
…anybody want a pet raccoon?