I got the latest issue of your catalog in my mailbox today, and my heart beat a little faster to see that pastel tangle of loveliness on the cover. I ran upstairs and hid the catalog under my pillow to retrieve and read at my leisure.
I did read my regular blog roll first, and The Knitting Curmudgeon gave your catalog a pan, but I wasn't too worried, I only agree with Mar about 90% of the time.
So when it was time to flip through the pages of yarny goodness, I was very excited. What exciting yarns and patterns will I find, what new notion will be sprung across my brain, causing me a total meltdown of admiration and covetousness until I too, can have that sweater/vest/shawl/pair of socks????
You heard me. Nothing.
I am still stunned at my level of disappointment regarding this catalog, the one that says on the back cover "Don't let this be your last catalog; order from Patternworks and keep our catalogs coming to you without interruption!"
First, your catalog has no real organization any more. Most catalogs group their yarns by weight, and work either smallest to largest, or vice versa, but you only kinda-sorta do this. There are three different layouts for "Tools of the Trade" throughout the catalog, interspersed by pages of yarn. Why? When I want to look at all the little gizmos, I want them all in one place, not scattered all over. I want to buy yarn, not indulge in a treasure hunt. And the article about the (rather self-serving) Project Linus blanket contest was across three half pages in small print, separated by your other wares. If you're so proud of the (rather self-serving) contest and the participants, then why didn't you do a two-page spread dedicated only to it?
Second, I find it rather irritating that you are so attached to Brown sheep products that you not only give them a two-page spread, but have them also listed in your sections by weight. Don't get me wrong; I love Lamb's Pride and Naturespun as much as the next knitter...but you're a mail order business, show me something I might not be able to find in town, please. And while we're at it, what is the point of having four pages of "All time favorites"? Whose favorites? Why? What process do you use to determine a favorite? If there's an actual, interesting process, then let us know (most especially if it involves a kick-back from the spinner, I love a good scandal). Otherwise, just list the yarn by weight, please!
While we're at it, please stop having a section called "Hand-Dyed Heaven" if you are going to list only five yarns, and the majority of the space is for Koigu's KPPPM. At least carry another Koigu yarn! There are others. Yes, I too revere the Koigu name, but let's see....you've used the same layout for KPPPM for what, ten years?
Finally, I find it highly irritating that you sell Cascade 220 as a "felting" yarn. Cascade 220 is a great yarn, comes in tons of colors (which you don't carry), is great for sweaters and heavy-weight socks and scarves and mittens and is worthy of so much more than a squinchy little listing in the "Crazy About Felting" section; of which I am not.
I hate to say this, because when I got the knitting bug bad, I ordered from your catalog, I explored your website (which is now horridly awkward to use) and learned lots about yarn from you. But now, you aren't even a pale shadow of your former glory...you've gone all lazy on us.
I don't want another catalog from Patternworks; there are too many others out there that are actually good, ones that are visually stunning, organized, and helpful.
So sorry that I had to get this off my chest.
Gri-Chan, the Kitten who Chases Yarn