Saturday, July 29, 2006

WEBS rocks. UPS on the other hand...

So, I place an order with WEBS (at fabulous close-out prices) after closing on Wednesday night. It ships on Thursday, and (since it's not particularly far from Northampton to Cambridge), it's due to arrive on Friday.

When I get home (from a lovely soak and massage at Urban Oasis - highly recommended, by the way), it's not there. I check the online tracking, and it claims to have been delivered, and left at the rear door. I check every possible location, but it's not here.

I call UPS, and they say I can't do anything, and I should have the sender place a request for investigation.

At this point, I'm a little cranky, because, not only is my yarn not here, but there's no way the package was left at the back door; to get there, you have to open two gates and walk 3/4 of the way around the house. (Plus, it is completely unsheltered, so if they had left it there, it would have been soaked through from the rainstorm.)

So I call WEBS on UPS' advice, and not only are they pleasant and willing to deal with UPS, they offer to send me a new shipment. I didn't have to ask; they just offered.

Reasons to shop at WEBS:
- it is both a LYS (at least semi-L) and a convenient on-line store
- huge selection
- good regular prices, great sale prices, and a fantastic discount program
- nice, friendly people who want you to be happy

Reasons to use UPS:
- um, it's often the only option

Friday, July 28, 2006

Checking In

Whoo-eee, it's been a big three weeks. Here's what's up:

1- Frogged Green Gables (yet again. Oh, how I love Calmer's frogability)
I think I need to go back to my gauge swatch and re-calculate the entire pattern: how wide *I* want the neck to be, how many increase rows *I* need, etc. The "pick a size and then increase until it fits" method has just not produced a flattering neckline.

2- Decided to make an extra row and column for the Retro Throw. With my squares coming out at 14", rather than 20". And, while it is a throw blanket and not a bed blanket, the recipients are 5'10" and 6'7". The new blankie (heh heh) will be 4x5 squares, rather than 3x4, and will have a wider edging (skinny stripes, I think). That's 8 more squares to knit (no problem), and 8 more squares to block (yuck). The extra yarn arrived this week, along with some Main Line and Shimmer:

And some size 00 needles from Knitpicks' addi turbo knock-off line. Should be nice for sock knitting.

3- Am 1/2-2/3 through a Clapotis for my mother-in-law's 60th birthday present.

I'm using Mystical Creations Silk/Merino in Dublin Bay. This is a nice yarn. It's soft, has a nice sheen, and comes in a dizzying array of colorways and semi-solids. It's about a half-step down from Lion & Lamb (which has a butterier feel and more sophisticated color transitions), but it's a little cheaper, at least by weight. It only comes in 1/2 lb increments, so the total price is not a whole lot cheaper, but you have enough to make a longer Clapotis or make a hat to match.

4- Ripped out the upper few inches of my sister's Lelah Top, and re-knitted it with short rows. Also used a purl row to turn the upper edge for the elastic casing, and made some i-cord for straps and a sash. I'll be seeing her in a week and a half (our cousin is getting married - whee!), so we're going to do a fitting then. Must remember to block it before then...

Things I'm excited about:

- the lovely yarn I bought for my one-skein SP, which I could tell you about, but then I'd have to kill you. I will say that I bought on close-out (could never have afforded it otherwise) in my first order from Webs, which is due to arrive today - whee!

- my yarn suitcase

I've actually had this for a while, but somehow didn't manage to blog it. It's nice and roomy, has lots of little pockets inside and outside, and, has a telescoping handle and wheels, like a suitcase. Was a gift from my mother-in-law.

- KnitPicks' new fall yarns
I don't think thse have been formally announced, but they show up if you do a yarn search on their site. I'm seeing a trend towards designer knock-offs (tweeds, a nice-looking alpaca boucle) and I like. I like very much. I ordered some sample balls, along with some close-out Main Line.

- Secret-ninja project for my one-skein SP
The august package is supposed to contain something you knitted from one skein of yarn. Mine will be an adaptation of a pattern by a blogger I admire. Again, I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you. I'll just have to wait until she gets it and post later.

- Design ideas
I've had quite a few ideas for patterns lately, but by the time I get the details nicely fixed in my head, I stumble across a pattern for pretty much the same thing. Cases in point:
- The Cambridge Jacket from this summer's Interweave Knits

(So similar to mine, right down to the ribbing at the shoulders!)
- The Center Cable and Rib Pullover from America Knits by Melanie Falick

(okay, I didn't have that cool a cable in mind, but I did have a ribbed t-neck with a center cable in mind, and I did want the cable to be something unexpected)

At first, this was kind of frustrating. But now that it's happened a few times, I'm going to take it as a sign that I'm on the right track, if a little behind. :)

UPDATE: 11:33pm: Knitpicks just announced their new line, and, along with it, an intriguing modular purse/project bag set. It looks like you pack a regular purse, and then it latches on to a project bag (which comes in different sizes). I am highly interested in this, but wonder:
- how does it look when it's latched on? I can't tell from the picture.
- how do the pieces themselves constructed, and how do they look? There is a photo on their web site, but it's not detailed enough for me to get a sense of the qualityl. I love the modular concept, but I don't want to spend money on a cheap-looking bag. That's one thing I love about Jordana Paige's bag; it looks actively nice.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'm a Bad SP-ee

Confession time: I've been a bad one-skein secret pal spoilee. My SP sent me the fabulous package below TWO WEEKS AGO, and I've only just gotten around to blogging about it. (I did send a thank-you email earlier though.) I feel bad. But look what I have to distract me from my shame:


- a skein of Orkney Angora lambswool/angora blend in a gorgeous minty-aqua-robins-egg color (swoon). This passed the rub-against-still-shower-damp-neck test without even a hint of the pricklies.
- a skein of Loiusa Harding Sari Ribbon with such a nice sparkle I might use it for a belly dance costume and not knit with it
- sugar-free dark chocolate
- a cute bookmark
- delicious-smelling soap and shampoo from Lush
- a package of earl grey tea (mmm... bergamot...)
- a nice note from my SP in a "beware of the sheep" card

Thanks, SP, and once again, I'm sorry for the delay posting!

In other news, I've finished the 12 squares of my sister's Retro Throw and blocked 6 of them, but didn't manage to stretch them to 20"; the best I could get was 14x14". That gives me a deficit of 18" of width and 24" of length. I haven't decided how I want to deal with that. I can get some more yarn and make another 8 squares (one row and one column), but that still leaves me a bit short. I was thinking of a border of thin stripes to make up the gap. I don't want to make it any smaller than the 60x80 it calls for; it's a throw blanket, not a bed blanket, but my sister and her boyfriend are T-A-L-L.

Have also restarted my Green Gables in Rowan Calmer. I love this yarn. Between this pattern and Soul, I must have frogged and reknit 4 or 5 times, but the yarn is still soft and elastic. Love, love, love.

I like this pattern, but it definitely does run small. I made the medium (in theory, a perfect fit) the first time, and it was TINY. Not just having a fair bit of negative ease, but stitches-stretched-out, don't-wear-this-to-work tiny. I cast on for the large this time, and will be doing some extra increases to make up for being a hair off-gauge (5.25 st/in, rather than 5).