Posts Tagged ‘Yarn Store Review’

Right now?  Right now I am sitting at my laptop typing a blog post… ;P

But what I want to tell you about is what I have been doing while you have not been seeing much of me here.  For Christmas, my mother-in-law took me to a lovely local yarn store in Clinton, TN.  It is called The Clinch River Yarn Company.  It was a little tricky to find, as it looks at first glance just like any other house along North Charles G. Seivers Blvd., but upon closer inspection, and  paying more attention while driving buy, you can’t miss the big sign in the front yard.  And there was even a rock with a knitted coat…  😀  My apologies, I didn’t bring my camera, so I don’t have any pictures.  The store itself was full of yarn.  I think there were 4 or 5 rooms, with walls full of yarn.  And yarn was also in the middle of the rooms.  And yet it was wonderfully spacious, and very easy to navigate.  I was walking around with a 2 year old attached to me, and never felt very crowded.  The owner was also wonderful, available to help, but in no way pushy.  And when I thought that I had seen all, there was yet another room I had not been in.  It is deceptively big inside!  I ended up with some gorgeous locally dyed sock yarn.  It was dyed by Atomic City Fibers.  It is a nice, even, well plied sock yarn, with a great dye job.  There was quite some variety in terms of saturation among the different colors, but they all were beautiful.  There were 2 skeins per color on display, but 4 available, and the skeins of the same color (as far as I could tell) matched in dye-job.  I ended up with this green, it is actually called Green Salts:


The put up is 50 grams, or 1 3/4 oz and 218 yards.  It is 75% fine superwash merino, 25% nylon, and so wonderfully soft!  Have I started using it yet?  Well, yes!  I actually ran out to Walmart, a place I don’t go to very easily, because I just don’t like it, and tried to get some needles.   I had fully intended on leaving the yarn alone until I got home, where I have plenty of needles, but I just could not get my mind off of it.  And at the yarn store, I had seen a gorgeous little top that I was planning to make with this yarn, for my oldest daughter.  I managed to find some US 3 needles, DPN’s, not circs (which is what I was looking for), and got started:


I am a little further now, I have used 2 skeins so far, and they work beautifully together.

The pattern is called Clara by Amber Bertram.  It starts with a stockinette bodice on top, and continues with a wonderfully lacy lower half.  This is not a very good picture, I promise I will make a better one next time.  The pattern has quite a few different options so you can customize all you want.  Shaped neckline, square neckline, solid or lattice shoulder straps, a fitted or more roomy lower part, 3 different hem options, it is all possible.  And the sizes are from 3 month all the way to 10 years!  There was a tiny mistake in the chart for the lace hem, but the written version for it is correct.  I did write the designer on Ravelry, but have not heard anything from her.  The pattern in general is very well written, and I think I am likely to make it again in a different size some time.  My daughter can’t wait for me to get it finished.



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I have long debated whether I was going to tell you about my experience with a certain company or not. I don’t like talking bad about a company, and I don’t want to write a purely negative post either. But then this weekend I had a completely different experience with a different company, and I decided that maybe I could tell you about both of them at the same time. Just so we are all on the same page, I would love to hear your experiences, especially if they are different from mine. But these are my experiences, and I am going to do my best to be respectful about all involved.

The first order was with Patternworks. I had a lovely $75 gift certificate to spend, not that the amount should make any difference in my opinion. I had never before ordered anything from them, and was enjoying to chance to try out a new yarn company. I mean, who doesn’t appreciate more yarn sources? I placed my order on March 2nd, and received it March 12. Not too slow, not terribly fast, but that definitely did not bother me. But when I opened the box, the first thing I saw was a very thin thread attached between the flaps of the box. This got me a little worried, but I was not too annoyed until I discovered that it was a thread from my skein of Filatura Di Crosa Centolavaggi Chine, which is 1531 yards per 100 grams, and it was not the only thread that had been completely pulled out of the skein, as a matter of fact, this turns out to be the opposite side of the box from where the skein had been packaged, and the box was 3 feet long! This is what the skein looked like when I retrieved it.

And yes, that look on the table is eventually attached to the part of the skein that is on top. I wrote them the following e-mail, mostly because I was appalled that yarn was shipped with such apparent disregard of the product. Mostly I was wanting the company to be aware of this problem with shipping, even if this was the only time the problem ever occurred, and I was expecting an apology.
To whom it may concern,

I just received my order, and wanted to let you know that I was surprised by the sloppy way it was packaged. Thankfully nothing was actually damaged, but the skein of Centolavaggi lace weight, while packaged in the almost bottom of the box, was partially stuck under the packaging tape of the box. The skein is pulled quite out of shape, and I fervently hope it won’t tangle when I wind it into a ball. The box my shipment came in was tall and skinny due to the lace blocking wires, and the yarns were basically stacked on top of each other. But, while the Centolavaggi was more then 2 feet down in the box, and had all 4 skeins of Nirvana on top of it, a number of strands had somehow been pulled out of the Centolavaggi skein, were stretched past the Nirvana and stuck underneath the tape that held the box closed.

This was my first order with you, and I had heard lots of good things about your company, which is why the state of the skein very much surprised me.

Cindy *****
Cust # 1********
I send this on March 12th. This was the response I received:
Thank you for your email. Your inquiry is important to us and we will respond just as quickly as possible. It can take a couple of business days for email inquiries to be handled. If your question needs immediate attention, please give us a call and one of our Customer Service Representatives will be glad to help you right over the telephone.

For Keepsake Quilting, please call 1-800-525-8086.
For Patternworks, please call 1-800-723-9210.
For Keepsake NeedleArts, please call 1-800-526-1148.

Our telephone number for international calls is 1-603-253-8731.


Customer Service
Nine days later I had still not heard anything. At this point I was getting a little annoyed, and sent them another e-mail, expecting if nothing else, an apology for not having heard anything. Sound reasonable to me, or am I expecting too much? This is what I sent, with a copy of my original message attached:
I have not had a response yet to this e-mail I am forwarding to you. This very much disturbs me. Can someone please explain why this does not seem to require a response?

I got the same formletter response, so I won’t re-post it, but this is what I received the next day:
Dear Ms *****,
Thank you for shopping with us.
We’re very sorry for the packaging problem on your order.
Do we need to replace the skein for you?
If this had been the response the first time, I would have been perfectly happy. But at this point I was expecting some comment about why I had not gotten a response yet. I did ask the question directly after all. So I sent them this e-mail:
No, you don’t need to replace the skein, but I hope you can understand that it disturbs me that I did not get ANY response from the company when I reported the problem. The problem itself is disturbing enough based on how the order was packaged, but the lack of response from your company was much worse. I will unfortunately have to think twice before I order from your company again, which is really too bad, because I liked what I had heard from others, and your company sells nice items.

And this was their response:
Unfortunately email can be unreliable at times. If you ever have a problem, question or concern in the future we encourage you call us at 1-800-723-9210.

We hope you will give us another opportunity to serve you in the future.

No apology, but blaming it on e-mail being unreliable. I have had better luck contacting companies by e-mail then by phone, and in today’s day and age this should not be the answer to an unanswered e-mail, in my not so very humble opinion. It will be a while before I order from them again. It did tangle in winding, not surprisingly, but I got it untangled pretty well. Thankfully there is only 1 break in the yarn, pretty much at the beginning. I had not noticed that at the time of this e-mail exchange, or I might have had them replace the skein just because.

Now for the other experience. The company was Knitpicks. I have ordered from them in the past, and never had a problem. But on April 8th I ordered some yarn, and a row counter. The total of the order was barely 1/3 of the previously mentioned order. The ordered arrived in a very similar time frame, I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but it was probably about 10 days or so. Again, I find this acceptable, not great, but definitely not bad. The yarn arrived like this:

Well, not completely, the skein that is on top in the picture was also inside the bag. Very neat. I will admit, there were more skeins of the same kind, and Patternworks might not have had a bag to put the six miscellaneous skeins I ordered in. But when I started knitting my shawl, which is what the yarn was meant for, I also started using the row counter. And I realized it sort of bugged me that when I turned the numbers, they were upside down for me. I just thought this odd, and a couple of friends had just about convinced me that I was just holding it oddly, and that it was just fine. But I had bought another of the rowcounters a number of months (or is it years already?), and I didn’t remember this sensation previously, despite using it excessively (It was used while I was knitting Oregon Shawl), so I thought I would compare the two. When I did I discovered to my surprise that the new row counter was upside down compared to the older one. So I went to the website, and compared it to the picture. The same result. The old counter matched the picture, the new counter looked upside down. Thinking there might be some way to turn it over, I decided to e-mail Knitpicks:
DATE: 4/29/2011 08:41 PM
SUBJECT: Problem with a product
PRODUCT No: 80585

I have ordered a second row counter, as I was very happy with my first one, and can’t remotely stick to one project at a time. When I started using it, I thought it odd that I never before was bothered with the directionality of the numbers. While it is just a minor inconvenience, I was curious, and compared it first to my first row counter, and then to your website. And I noticed that my second row counter is upside down, compared to both my first row counter, and the picture on the website. Is it possible to reverse the row counter?
I got the following response:
Dear Cindy *********,

Thank you for your email to Knit Picks about a problem with a product. We welcome your input, and appreciate that you’ve taken the time to contact us. Our Customer Service department will be in touch.


The Customer Service Department
Knit Picks
And within a day I received this response:
Dear Cindy ************,

I am very sorry to hear that you received a defective row counter. I am sending out a replacement right away. It will arrive in 5-14 days through the US Mail. You can just dispose of the defective row counter. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with. If you have any other questions you can also call us at (800)574-1323. Sorry again for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Have a great weekend!


Knit Picks Customer Service
Phone: (800) 574-1323
I did not ask for a replacement, I even said it was just a minor inconvenience, and yet, without any questions they are sending me a new counter. And I got the message today that they shipped it already. I have heard similar stories of good customer service from Knitpicks before. I will order from them again in a heartbeat.

Am I having an unreasonable response to the first situation?

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The Sassy Spinster

My goodness, time goes so fast. I was fully intending on writing just a few days later. But things have been going on, and all of a sudden it is 2 weeks later. Nope, no baby yet, for those of you who actually keep up with this blog… I have no real idea how many of you there are, as not many people leave me comments. I know there are some visits, more then I expected. Please know that I would love to receive comments on what you liked or didn’t like about my blog, projects, etc.

But now in regards to The Sassy Spinster, a yarn shop in Lancaster, TX. The store just opened last year, in a small little hole in the wall off of the Historic Town Square in Lancaster. I met Susan, the owner, at that time, thanks to one of the ladies on one of the e-mail lists I belong to. The store had an amazing amount of stuff in it, yarn of all kinds, but also a lot of roving, spinning tools, weaving tools, knitting accessories, you name it. And despite being new, she kept adding new and wonderful items.

Then around the end of last year, my friend told me that the Sassy Spinster was going to be moving to a new location, a much bigger store. I had been very curious, but was also in the midst of moving, and did not manage to make it up to Lancaster until last month. And WOW. (And I have only one regret about that visit, but more about that later.) Did that store change! And only for the better. The store is, I believe, 3-4 times as big, maybe even more then that, still filled with all the fiber goodies you can think off, but now you can see all of them. It now has a wonderful couch area for people to sit and knit, several spinning wheels and looms set up, a round table where you can sit and knit, and so much more. In the back was also a section of gorgeous dolls, I have to apologize, I don’t remember their name. There are several toys that my 2 year old could play with while I could shop to my hearts contend! None of the yarn seems extremely pricey to me, and oh so yummy!

I was looking for some purple bulky weight to match the Dune I used in the scarf I was working on last time. I found some Baby Alpaca Brush in color 1805, a wonderful dark purple. I think it matches the scarf beautifully, and I will probably try to make at least a matching hat and maybe fingerless mittens with it. But that will have to wait until next winter I think. I first considered making the scarf longer, but I decided I did not like the heavily multi colored Dune right next to the Purple. But my, is this yarn soft!

I was also looking for some cotton to make a nice soft sweater for my new baby, and found Cotton Kisses, which I am working on. I don’t care for the yarn much, but the end product is lovely, and soft. Just what I wanted. I am changing the pattern a little, I am going to try to put in short sleeves, so my baby can wear it a bit longer in the Texas spring.

There was also some wonderful roving, but I had pretty much spend as much as I could, trying to stay on somewhat of a budget with the new baby coming and all. But I hope she will still have that roving the next time I come in, because then it is definitely coming home with me!

My only regret was that I did not bring my camera. I have no pictures to show you! I will try to remedy that the next time I go! For now, I am going to knit on my baby sweater, I am hoping it will get finished before the baby arrives, and that could be any day now. 🙂

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