Autumn, Fall, Inspiration, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Socks, Winter, Wool, Work, Yarn, Yarn Store

Racing against Time and the arrival of Warm Weather

Hey Everyone!

I finally finished up the “make it pink, make it blue” socks on Sunday. At this point I am still leaning towards selling this pair eventually, but I want to wait a bit, and see if there are any more pairs I knit up that I decide to sell as well.

I am still have the second “let it snow” sock on the needles, but I went ahead and cast one one of the Bumble Bee Acres Farm yarns I had ordered last autumn. I chose the campfire s’mores colorway to cast on. I had gotten this colorway on the Coquette yarn base. As this is an autumn colorway, it is no longer available in their shop.

This is just the progress I had made by about 4:30 this afternoon. As of writing this post (at 11:00 at night), I have made a bit more progress on the leg.

Last week, I want to say it was on Thursday, that I was surprised that the latest Bumblebee Bee Acres Farm order “shipped”, and actually shipped on Friday. I could be wrong, but I get the feeling that they process and get orders ready throughout the week, but actually ship and take to the post office on Friday’s, or at least that has been the case with my last two orders (I honestly don’t remember the first). Now that I feel like I understand their system a little better, my opinion of them isn’t quite as low, and has gotten a bit better. That being said, I am still trying to buy from people / small businesses that have a bit better turn around and align with my values a bit more, or are at least able to stay neutral as far as their business is concerned when it comes to polarizing issues.

This last order from bumblebee acres arrived yesterday, and here are the three Hanks that I ordered:

The colorways are from the Outlander Collection. From left to right they are: Safe Harbor, The MacKenzie, and Murtagh. All three of these colorways are on the coquette yarn base. As of writing this post (February 4th, 2020), they are still likely in the shop should you choose to order them.

One of the things I have learned about indie dyers is that some of them only do a limited run of certain colors, and when it’s gone, it’s gone while others keep particular colors in stock on certain bases, and when their stock on hand is low, they dye up more while others keep particular colors in their shop and dye to order (and are up front about that and about turnaround time). So, if I am shopping a new shop that I haven’t dealt with before, I know that I need to snap it up if I really want it, just in case it sells out. There are others, that I know keep an inventory of certain colors, or if it in in the shop, it is dye to order, so if I like it, it can wait until payday to order.

Now that work has slowed down, and I have a lot of sock yarn that I have ordered the past few months, I am trying to get as many pairs of socks knit up as I can, while it is still too cold and wet to hang them outside to dry. I love line drying / blocking socks. Since all of my socks are at least part wool, the idea of putting them in the tumble dryer is definitely a no-no. I would just as soon wait several months for warm weather to dry them outside then tumble dry them. This is for my newly knitted socks, I have other hand knit socks, that if I wear them, I will wash them, and hang them out (even if it is cold and wet) to air out the smell of the wool wash, then bring them in to finish drying. I would eventually love to live in a house with a wood burning stove (among other things) and be able to set up a collapsible clothes dryer at a safe distance away, and put my socks over that to dry near the fire. By the time I have worn my socks, and they have already been blocked and shaped so I wouldn’t need to really block them in the way I need to block the new ones, to get the feet shaped right. I would and will likely set the new ones aside for warm weather to allow them to hang up on the blockers on the clothes line once I wash them for the first time.

I also use a different wool wash for the first time I wash my socks, than I do for subsequent washes. I prefer using the laundress wool and cashmere shampoo for the first wash, I feel like it helps get all the excess dyes, waxed, and anything still there from the processing and anything left behind. Once I have done that and I am washing them after having been worn, I use either Kookaburra Brand or Outback Gold wool wash. Both have tea tree oil which not only is a deodorizer, but also has anti microbial properties. Both claim to be biodegradable, which is nice. Though I am leaning a bit more toward the Australian Gold, as it is made in the USA and the smell isn’t as strong, but we will see in the long run which one I stick with.

KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Local Yarn Shop, Winter, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Store

Another LYS is Closing

Hey Everyone!

I found out this afternoon that another Portland yarn store that has been one of the main yarn stores for years will be closing its brick and mortar store in a couple months. That will make the fourth yarn store (that I know of) to close its physical store in about 5 years. While the reasons given, typically are personal in nature (family illness, time to move on etc), I can’t help but wonder if the rising rent / lease prices in the shop front spaces and the growing move of consumers to online retailers is also part of what is driving this shift in Portland’s (and thus Oregon’s) LYS scene.

I also kind of feel like the crafting (knitters and crocheters) community here isn’t what it once was. Then again Portland isn’t what it was 10 – 15 years ago. The demographics of the area has been changing a lot since many of these yarn stores opened.

We do have a handful of local / indie dyers here in the area (only one that I can name off the top of my head), and the closest fiber festivals are 15 – 18 hours away, in SoCal.

I know I order a lot of my yarn online, and while I have definitely ordered a fair amount of yarn from KnitPicks, and will likely order from there again, most, of not all the sock yarn I have ordered in the last year has been from small, indie dyers from back east.

I would definitely love to see things change out here, since this part of the country is home. At the same time I definitely want to attend a few fiber festivals, meet my favorite dyers, and see some more of the country.

Autumn, Fall, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Socks, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Store, Yarn Store Review

Multiple Occasions of Poor Customer Service

Hey Everyone!

My last yarn order FINALLY arrived. Let me tell you, waiting for definitely was irritating. I have ordered from the company I ordered this yarn from a total of three times, and all three orders had shipping delays that were not communicated until after the order was submitted if at all. My first order was delayed because they were too busy with fiber festivals and only had a blurb about it on a side page that was not easily accessible, and didn’t pop up until after I ordered. The second shipment was the quickest to ship, but was still quite slow to ship. The yarn I had ordered this latest time, I only ordered because I wanted the colors that bad. I knew I was doing a preorder, but the statement about when shipping was going to occur was a bit confusing, but had stated that orders would start shipping on September 20th. So, ok, I put my order in on the first day preorders were open, which was like the 6th or 7th of September. September 20th, came and went. So did the 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th. Finally, Sunday the 29th, I got an email in the evening that my order shipped. “It’s about time”, I thought to myself. On my shipping tracking it stated that the label was created super early the morning of the 30th, which the time difference accounted for. Ok fine. I’d deal. So I checked the tracking info a couple of times a day, to see when it would be accepted by the post office (ie to get an idea when it was taken to the post office). Monday passed, so did Tuesday (which was October 1st), and Wednesday, as did Thursday. Friday morning I had checked it again a few times throughout the morning (like before I went to work, when I got off work, and when I got home from work), so I finally went and showered after I got home (as I was hot, sweaty and gross). I got thinking that I should email the owner to see what was up, once I got done with my shower, as having been waiting 15 days after shipping was supposed to start (and 5 days after the label was created, which is usually a sign it will ship that day), it was nuts. It finally shipped, on Friday, and arrived today (a month after I ordered it).

So, I will not be ordering from this particular company again. I should learned after the first or second delay, but three times in a row, is unprofessional, and I am sure that I am not the only one this has happened to.

I guess it gets to me, because I have not only ordered from plenty of other companies online, and had way better customer service and communication. Not to mention the fact that I have worked from a professional knitting studio, and I have been the one to make runs to UPS, USPS, and even a fedex run in the time I worked there, because the item got finished up and packed after the UPS and Mailman had already come to the studio. It was important to us, and the business to get orders out in a very timely manner.

The yarn itself is beautiful, though the product is only half the experience of yarn shopping. Customer service is the other half. Shipping turn around time and being clear on actual shipping time, is a big part of that for online orders.

This is the yarn I had ordered:

Like I mentioned, it’s beautiful, but the experiences I have had with shipping delays that were not clearly communicated right up front, on multiple occasions, were the largest factor in why I won’t be ordering from Bumblebee Acres fiber Farm anymore.

Earlier this afternoon, I finished up the first sock of the pair I am knitting up out of Heirloom Pumpkin from Forbidden Fiber Company.

I have been wanting to work with this yarn for quite a few months. I love the colors even more now that I am seeing them in a sock.

blog, Inspiration, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Socks, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Store

Leather Waistcoat Socks!!!

Hey Everyone!

Last night, I finally finished up the Leather Waistcoat colored socks I have been working on for almost a month. These socks definitely took me longer than I expected to finish up.

The yarn I used is from Forbidden Fiber Company. The yarn base is their Fortitude base, and the colorway is Leather Waistcoat.

I definitely have to say that Forbidden Fiber Company is definitely my current place to get my sock yarn. There are so many amazing colorways to choose from, I do love the yarn, the owner is awesome.

I had so much more written here, but I am choosing to share them publicly, as I have purposefully set out to keep my blog as neutral as possible, as far as trying to be a positive force in the knitting community. I have really only tried to share what projects I have been working on, what I have finished, the Yarns I like, the Yarns I am not a fan of, as well as the shops that I love buying from (those with a great product AND fantastic customer service), the shops I am a bit more indifferent towards (ie: the yarn I purchased was decent quality, shipped in a timely manner, and the bare minimum to meet my basic expectations) and the shops where I won’t be ordering from again in the future based on customer service and the quality of the yarn.

Like I have previously mentioned, my current favorite small yarn shop is Forbidden Fiber Company. It is woman owned. The owner is fairly active on both Instagram and Facebook with updates and such. Her shop doesn’t seem to sell out often (ie the stock she has posted on her website is typically something she keeps stocked, or dyes to order, and if it is something that is sold out, it tells you right then and there and can’t be added to your cart). It’s definitely helpful for those like me who are on a budget and have to wait a paycheck or two before we can order. I was quite impressed with how quick she shipped, the yarn was always beautifully wrapped before she boxed it up to ship, my packing slips always have had a handwritten note to thank me for my order, and that she hoped I like the yarn kind of thing. I have definitely enjoyed working with the yarn I have ordered. I will definitely be ordering from her more.

Places I am neutral / indifferent to include sites like KnitPicks and We Are Knitters, they are the staples and pretty much the big box stores of online yarn shops.

There have been a few shops I have been less than thrilled with, that I have mentioned, when I have blogged about the finished product(s) I made from their yarn(s). While I won’t name them here, you will know I about the ones I don’t like when I do post. I try to be conservative about the feedback I would give and why I didn’t care for them. I am one of those people who doesn’t want to malign someone, just give an honest review about my experience, realizing that someone else will likely have the exact opposite experience with them than I did.

Last night, I cast on the first sock in my next pair. I starting in on my second pair of the Steampunk Collection Yarns I have. I am currently using the Victoria’s Memory yarn, on the Babel yarn base which has 10% Yak wool in it. I was super excited to finally find a color I like that was available on the Babel base, since I have never worked with anything containing Yak hair before. I like trying different yarn based. The Fortitude base has definitely become a favorite of mine, as it knits up well and makes a sturdy boot sock. I still need to try the Gluttony Sock and Pride bases, which I am planning on doing in the near future, when I order the autumn Yarns I am eyeing.

blog, KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Socks, Whats on My Needles, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Store

Leaving Ravelry and Finishing Projects.

Hey Everyone!

It’s a bit crazy how much has happened since my last post.

First off was the #Istandwithravelry / #byeravelry – #unraveled chaos. 99% of the time I do prefer to keep the extent of my political views to myself. Though it came to the point that I couldn’t standby and continue to support private companies that don’t share my values, who choose to discriminate against and inaccurately label a group of people who they don’t agree with. While Ravelry and the companies who support them are well within their rights to have their beliefs, and choose to take whatever stance they choose, it is also well within my rights to choose not to support Ravelry and their supporters. As a White, conservative, woman, I don’t appreciate being labeled a “White Supremacist”, when I am not, just because I chose to vote for Trump over Hillary. Honestly I don’t like the man any more than anyone else, though I certainly wasn’t going to vote for Hillary.

Since all that went down, I have been going through those who I follow on social media, and did some clean up. I choose to follow those who have similar values or are able to keep their business neutral. It did show me who I do and do not want to support.

That all being said, I intend to keep my blog about Knitting and yarn crafts in general, and keep it neutral. I don’t mind explaining something if I am asked a question that is respectful, and out of curiosity and just wanting to know why. Anything that is hateful, or looking for an argument will be deleted, that is how I have always operated.

The only reason I am even addressing it, is because the yarn I used for the most recent pair of socks I had knit up, I had ordered from a company prior to the Ravelry show down, that I wouldn’t have ordered after it happened. I am not going to waste the money I have spent on yarn, it just means going forward that I choose not to order from these companies.

I knit up this pair of socks using the hank of bubble sock yarn I had ordered from Bumblebee Acres Fiber Farm, in the colorway “Scottish Thistle”. The last time I had checked it was no longer available, though I have no idea whether it is currently still unavailable.

The socks turned out pretty, but the yarn was kind of a pain in the rear end to knit with.

This was also the same company that it took a month or so to even ship (so I had to wait for 5 weeks to receive the yarn).

That all being said, I am now definitely more mindful of where I buy my yarn from, as well as my patterns. I haven’t found a new place for patterns that I really like, besides KnitPicks, and the patterns I had gotten off Ravelry, most I had printed off when I got them years ago. I had just one left that I had printed off before I deleted my account. It’s no hard loss for me since I hardly used Ravelry anymore, it’s more the principal of the thing. I don’t support discrimination, and I try to treat people with respect, until I am treated with such disrespect that I need to walk away and tell them “Bye Felicia”.

Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Personal Projects, Socks, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Store

Outlander Inspired Sock Yarn

Hey Everyone!

The yarn that I had mentioned that I was waiting for in my last post, finally arrived a week ago, five weeks after I ordered it.

This is the yarn I ordered from bumblebee acres, the yarn base is the bubble sock, and the colorway is Scottish Thistle, which is one of their Outlander inspired Yarns, and is currently (as of writing this post) no long available online. Also note, they are also very busy and if you order online you will be waiting for your yarn to arrive, for a good 4 – 6 weeks.

I was able to get this yarn wound up once I got it. I cast on my first sock of this yarn early this afternoon after I had finished up my pair of Fraser’s Ridge Socks.

Like I just mentioned, I finished up the pair of Fraser’s Ridge socks I had been working on for a couple weeks.

The yarn I used for this pair of socks is from Forbidden Fiber Company, the yarn base is their Fortitude yarn base, in the Colorway: Fraser’s Ridge. This is one of their Outlander inspired Colorways. This colorway, on the yarn base I ordered (Fortitude), is still available on their website for order. They were very prompt in their shipping, even though I am sure they are just as busy with fiber festivals as the other shop I ordered from. I got this yarn within a week of ordering it (note, I ordered these two Yarns within a few minutes of each other).

At this point in my life, and knitting “career”, since I am not in a place to be able to travel to fiber festivals, to support these small businesses in person, besides the quality of the yarn, the biggest thing that will impress me, as an online customer is how the yarn is packaged for shipment, and your promptness in shipping. I am well aware that it does take time to dye to order, but don’t hide how long it is going to take in a page I have to hunt for in order to find, or have a pop up when I am about to complete my order.

I would love to be able to go to yarn and fiber festivals, but at this point in my life I cannot afford it, nor is it part of my paid job. Maybe one day I will get to go to at least one. My goal for next spring is to participate in the Rose City Yarn Crawl.

Knitting, Yarn, Yarn Store

When Local Yarn Stores Close

Hey Everyone!

Over the past three or four years, there have been at least three yarn stores that have closed up shop here in Portland. The most recent one being, KnitPurl, which is the biggest one I knew of in the city. My favorite yarn store closed about a year ago.

I hate seeing yarn stores close, as I love being able to go yarn shopping in person, where I can physically see and touch the yarn.

When I had heard that KnitPurl was closing, while I had never shopped there, I was disheartened. It is the largest yarn store I knew of in the city, and when stores like that close, it’s never a good sign for the knitting and crochet industry in a city. While there are other craft store that sell yarn (like Joann’s and Michael’s), they don’t carry the same quality (or local brands) that these other yarn stores do.