Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Open letter of Snarkiness

Dear owners of Patternworks,

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

Friday, February 2, 2007

Silent Poetry Reading 2007

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It didn't work...

I am not so thrilled with this dying thing...at least as far as koolaid is concerned. This yarn will be knit up into some nice and warm (if a bit ugly) items to be sent to Dulaan.


Ah, well. I read about someone else using Wilton icing dyes...perhaps I'll try that next.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Can this yarn be saved?

I thought that I was all hip to Kool-Aid (tm) dying, because I had successfully dyed sock yarn with the stuff several years ago, and it turned out great. (pink, yellow, and cream base-color yarn) The socks were a different story, but the yarn looked good.

Last week I decided to dye 400-some odd yards of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool purple and red. I used the grape and cherry, with a splash of pink lemonade. After two goes, what you see on the left appeared before my eyes. It looks awful, doesn't it? Trust me, it's even worse in person; the purple is faded and blah, the red and pink are fighting for dominance, and my eyeballs are losing the fight.

I am extremely reluctant to give up, that's 400 plus yards of perfectly good wool that would make a great scarf or a hat and mittens, once the color issues are taken care of. And the wool feels like something that will wear well and keep me warm. I had turned my nose up at the Lion Brand yarns because I'm an inveterate fiber snob, but I may have hit onto a new way to get hand-dyed yarn without killing my bank account or causing my mate to give me "the look".

But first I have to get this skein to resemble colors I would wear (anywhere, not just in public)

Wish me luck!

Results posted Wednesday.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Once upon a time...

...there was a girl who loved to knit. She knit socks, sweaters, scarves, hats, mittens, and whatever else took her fancy. She knit for herself, for her family, her mate, and even for people she'd never met in person but talked to over the internet.

This girl's love of yarn led to her seeking out yarn on the internet: knitting blogs, online knitting magazines, yarn for sale, and even brief forays onto eBay (she's still a little afraid of what she is capable of spending on eBay). Being a person with a Real Life, she has also made serious investigations into the local yarn scene, seeking both the usable and affordable, along with the ridiculously expensive and precious. She also has a not-at-all secret passion for knitting magazines, even the really awful ones.

There is so much that this girl realized she wanted to say about yarn, knitting, and related activities such as late-night caffeine consumption and the proper care of one's hands that she decided she need to start a blog dedicated to her upstanding love for a really good wool. This will save her from driving her mate and non-knitting friends and family screaming into the street with her chatter about the difference between K1 P1 ribbing and K2 P2 ribbing.

She hopes that you'll find her interesting, entertaining, or at the very least, a cautionary tale about how a hobby can become an obsession.

And the picture? That's a pair of socks in Cherry Tree Hill Superglitz, in the colorway River Run. When I finished the second sock I had only TWO YARDS left. Way too close for comfort!