Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Still lovin' Knit Picks

So, I alerted the folks over at Knit Picks about this issues I had with the ball winder, and even gave them the link to that pretty scathing review that I wrote last night. I really commend the folks there for being able to read something that harsh about their product, and then to come back and send me a lovely reply. Here's what they sent me:

Dear Karen,

I read your review, it sounds to me like you got a defective ball winder, I'm happy to replace it.

That is the advantage of the Knit Picks ball winder, if you ever have any trouble with it we will send you a new one at no cost. If you are willing to give it a try let me know, otherwise I'm happy to give you a refund and you can toss that one in the garbage.


Knit Picks Customer Service

I really have to say that made my day. It absolutely, totally, made my day. I let them know that I would prefer to take the refund and just get one like I used to have, but other than this one time, I've never had a problem with any of their merchandise. In fact, I usually love their stuff: I love my Options needles, my Harmony wood dpns, the needle case that I got (still need to take pics of this), and all the yarn I've bought from them in the past. And now that I know they've got such good customer service, I have to say that I'm pretty happy to keep shopping with them.

So, lovely knitters, please don't take what I wrote last night as a reflection of what I think of Knit Picks in general. It may well be that I ran into the defective winder in the lot, but I have to say that I'm unfortunately once bitten, twice shy, and so I went ahead and got myself a Royal ball winder again. However, will I be shopping at Knit Picks again? Absolutely.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You get what you pay for

I wrote earlier about how Andrew broke my ball winder, so I had to get a new one. Well, I saw that Knit Picks had one for sale that was much cheaper than the Royal one that I used to have. After using it, I now know why the Royal is worth every penny. This one from Knit Picks is terrible - its absolutely just a cheap knock-off of the Royal that lacks the little details that make winding a ball of yarn a joyful act done in anticipation of the start of a new and glorious project.

The first thing I noticed was that the clamp is quite fiddly when you try to attach it to the actual winder, and it doesn't even fit snug once it's attached; it shifts around if you're not careful. But, I managed to get it more or less the way I wanted and decided to give things a go. As soon as I tried to attach it to my table, I noticed another thing that was different compared to the Royal. The Royal has nice little 'stops' on the bottom clamp that allow you to position it in perfect alignment with the winder on top. The Knit Picks version does not, and it takes a bit of concentration to get everything lined up properly. Still, not a deal breaker. As I kept going, I noticed another little annoyance: the wire yarn guide doesn't snap into position after you swing it out. I found this more troublesome than the lack of stops on the clamp as the guide would move while I was winding. I ended up holding it in place with my free hand, which was at the same time guiding the yarn off my swift. Can you see how things are adding up to create a very frustrating experience?

The real difference, though, comes when you actually start winding the ball. I don't know what to call it exactly, but let's just say that there is something wrong with the 'balance' of the whole thing. However they have positioned the centre column/spool thingie or angled it, or something, it doesn't guide the yarn to the bottom of the winder, so you end up winding your yarn just on the top portion of the spool. I couldn't even wind an entire skein of sock yarn on it! And then the yarn would slip off the yarn cake being formed, tangle underneath it, and basically create a mess which has to be removed from the winder, and rewound. I must've wound that skein about 6 times before realizing that I just wasn't going to be able to finish it, so now it sits half done at my craft station waiting for me to return this winder, and get another Royal. I'm additionally incensed because I will have to pay shipping again to send it back. Grrrr!!!

Lovely knitters out there, I know the Royal looks expensive, but don't be fooled by cheap imitations like the one Knit Picks sells. Save yourself the hassle and frustration, and get a good quality winder.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


I finally went ahead and did it. I ripped up the 5-way cable shawl that I had started.

I realized that I didn't quite have the right gauge for it, nor enough yarn, to do it justice. So, I'm now searching for projects for my 4 skeins of Malabrigo. I'm debating making a Bandana Cowl with one, and a hat with another, but that still leaves 2 skeins. I was originally thinking of making a February Lady sweater with it, but have since changed my mind as I don't think the shape of that sweater is the most flattering for me.

An added challenge for me right now is that Andrew broke my ball winder, so I haven't really started anything up lately despite having lots of ideas. I'm getting a replacement one soon, so hopefully my stall won't last long. Still working on that Baby Yours, and actually picked up my Milkweed shawl again. Maybe I'll actually finish something one of these days.

This weekend's been a bit of a rough one for us though. Andrew had his, and my, first experience with projectile vomiting on Saturday. I was utterly dumbfounded when it happened. He was fine after some crying and cuddling, but then had another bout of vomiting on Sunday. Poor kid. To make matters worse, Jamie also got sick, so there was A LOT of cleaning for me to do this weekend. As long as I don't get sick, we'll all keep on trucking. I've made entreaties to pretty much every deity out there to keep me from falling ill, so we'll see if that works. If all this wasn't enough, someone broke into our car and stole some cables out of our car. Thankfully nothing of import was taken (our radio, and child car seat were the two things that came to mind immediately), but it was still just maddening to think that someone had gone through our things. We are partly to blame since we accidentally left our car door unlocked (this never used to happen to us, but now that we've got Andrew, it happens a lot more than we'd like), but our car was right on our driveway, visible from our bedroom, so I still think they were pretty bold. Oh well. We're all okay, we don't need to repair anything with the car, and the stuff they took is fairly easy to replace, so I guess we're lucky in that sense.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Laugh out loud!

It's been a long time since I wrote, and a whole bunch of things have happened since. One of which was me going back to work, and even though it's only part-time right now, it's made me a lot busier than I used to be. The other thing that was occupying a lot of my time was a big show I just did with the Chinese Dance Workshop to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Now that it's over, I can actually breathe again and devote my spare time to other things.

One of the things I'd like to do more of is give Andrew the chance to play with other kids. He's in daycare now, so I know he plays with lots of kids all the time, but I never get to see it. Plus he has so much fun when other kids are around. Here's some video proof.

Andrew and his friend W (I won't give the full name here) were sitting patiently while their respective mommies were doing some shopping, and Jamie managed to catch it on video. Even when they're just sitting around, they seem to amuse each other! Love it.

There unfortunately hasn't been a lot of time for crafting though. Only recently have I been able to do a little here and there while watching a rather ridiculous show that Jamie introduced me to. It's absolutely moronic when you think about it, but I can't stop watching! It's called Deadliest Warriors, and it basically pit two historical warriors against each other in a virtual arena based on data collected by measuring different parameters like strike speed, force of impact, and type/severity of damage. They basically constructed a computer model that takes in all the data collected, and then runs a battle simulation 1000 times to see which fighter wins the majority of the fights.
Stuff like, Samurai vs. Viking, or Spartan vs. Ninja. I know. Totally stupid, right? And yet I've watched about 4 episodes already! While watching it, I can't help but think that humans are a truly messed up species for having come up with so many ways to kill each other.

But I digress. This TV watching has allowed me to do some crafting, and here's what I've been working on. First up is a baby sweater that I'm working on for a friend of mine who has already had her baby. Yes, I am terribly late, but I console myself with the fact that her daughter was premature and that I have chosen a size that couldn't possibly fit now anyway.

That's just the back. I've finished the sleeves, and am just finishing up the front now. Hoping to finish it before the end of the month, but we'll see.

These little guys are quickly becoming a bit of an obsession of mine. I found the pattern for them over at Attic 24, and got addicted. I'm not really an expert in crochet by any stretch of the imagination, but these are really fun. I'm joining them together as I go, which is a lovely, lovely technique that Lucy (the lovely author of Attic 24) explains so nicely. It's not that I'm looking to make a blanket or anything though; just going to make them here and there and see what I get.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Any kitty psychologists out there?

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll be quite familiar with our household kitties, Dany and Hana. We've had Dany for about 10 years now, and Hana for 8.

They've been great companions, and Andrew loves them, so we put up with their various quirks. Dany has a taste for chips and popcorn but
generally behaves , while Hana wails like a banshee for food whenever he's hungry, and makes a play for whatever food we have out, no matter what it is.

However, lately, they've developed some habits that have been quite problematic. They are now occasional litter box users, preferring to use our basement floor instead. It's gotten to the point where there are "presents" waiting for us pretty much every time we go down there. Yuck. We're pretty sure Hana is pooping on the floor out of spite (when we make him wait for food, or when he feels we've let Andrew play with him too much, or whatever else he doesn't like), and Dany is peeing on the floor because Hana is stressing her out when he tackles her and fights with her all the time. We've taken them to the vet to make sure there's nothing medically wrong with their waste disposal systems, so now we're down to figure out how to make them stop doing it. I'm pretty sure if we went down to a one-cat household, the problems would stop, but I don't want to do that because I really like both of them. Still, this can't continue, especially since we've got young child in the house.

So, any advice out there? We need help!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Plugging along


We're plugging along over here in our little corner of the world. Andrew is almost a year old now, always on the go, doing lots of babbling, and eats so much that we can barely keep up with making food for him. All in all, it's been a most awesome year.

What isn't so awesome is how long it took me to finish knitting my sweater for him. I guess I can take solace in the fact that I got it done before he turned one.
It's yet another Tulip Sweater, but using just two colours instead of the eight that it usually is. Haven't tried it out on Andrew yet, but I hope it fits.

In other news, we are still trying to get my craft room set up.
We got an Expedit from Ikea, and it does a fantastic job of holding my stash and other goodies. Now all we need to get is a work table for me, and I'm going to start moving things like my computer, and a small filing cabinet, and then I'll have a little craft room/office. I'm really looking forward to that. Eventually, we're going to change the floor, but we decided not to wait for that to be done before actually using the room.

Can someone please tell me where the spring weather is? I remember it being nice and warm last year; warm enough for the cherry blossoms to bloom, for us to take super long walks, and for me to eat ice cream without a jacket on. The only reason I remember that is because we were waiting for Andrew to make his appearance, and we went on lots of walks to see if we could get labour going. I also find it weird that there is still hockey being played, and considering how long playoffs go for, we will still be watching hockey well into May, perhaps even until June. That's just not right.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Monday!

I'm usually not the kind of person who puts any stock in Valentine's Day, and it's mostly because of the commercialization associated with it. I personally don't like being told that I have to buy presents, or be extra affectionate towards my loved ones because it's Feb 14. Even moreso, I hate being told that what I want are diamonds, flowers, or chocolate. Kinda like my wedding anniversary; I don't really care for gifts or anything, though I do like to reflect on how we've managed to build a life together as the years go by. But still, no need for gifts or special treatment. So, today as I was looking at store window after store window of pink and red, I got to thinking about why I feel that way about V-day and our anniversary, and I've come to the following conclusion. I don't like big gestures on certain days because it's the little gestures every day that mean the most to me. So, in honour of Monday, I thought I'd write down a few of the small things that my hubs does for me that I totally love. Thanks Jamie, and love you!

+ He puts up with my constant attempts to make him eat more veggies, and get over his dislike of broccoli. Even if he puts that little green floret in his mouth grudgingly, he still eats it.

+ Cleaning the kitty litter is his job. So is the vacuuming, snow shoveling, lawn mowing, and putting out the garbage on garbage day. He actually gets upset when I usurp these duties from him. I've only had to do those duties a handful of times since moving into our house, and it's usually only because he's away on business.

+ Doesn't question me when I return home with yet another skein of yarn claiming that I absolutely needed it. Forget that I have a healthy stash growing in our sun room.

+ Does his own laundry, and leaves the seat down.

+ Is completely understanding when I say I can't have
[insert occasion of choice here] dinner with him because I have a dance practice/show/meeting/anything dance related.

+ Is the stage manager for our Chinese dance shows even though he can't speak Chinese, and our teacher can't speak English very well.

+ Understands just how much an hour of sleep means to me. This was true even before the baby was born, and so much moreso now that we've got Andrew.

+ Is willing to take public transit to work if I ever wanted the car to visit friends, or go on a shopping trip with Andrew during the week. I've never taken him up on the offer because it's a pain for him (he has to transfer from the TTC to the Mississauga line), but it's nice to know that the option is there.

+ Does two sink-fulls of dishes while I'm at rehearsal, and doesn't mention it when I get home.

+ Is the most awesome dad to our son, and the greatest partner I could have in trying to raise a good human being. Okay, this seems like a big one, but is again a case of lots of little things adding up to a big thing. I'm gonna save that list for Father's Day :)


Monday, February 07, 2011

Almost there!

I've finally finished putting all the squares together for my friend's blanket. Now, that doesn't mean it's done, not by a long shot. One look at the photos will tell you why.

See all those ends that I need to weave in? Yeah...there's a whole lotta them. Plus there's a dark blue border that's supposed to go around the whole thing. But good lord, the ends that need weaving in...It's my least favourite part of completing a project, so I'm really hoping that I don't procrastinate too much on it. I'm setting myself a goal to weave in 3 ends every day, so hopefully it won't take too long.

I've started a new project too: the Five-Way Cable Shrug by Lily Chin. I've decided to make it using some Malabrigo that I've had stashed originally intending to knit myself a February Lady sweater with it. I've obviously changed my mind about the sweater, and think that the shrug will be a nice versatile piece that will be great in the transition from winter to spring. I think I may even have enough yarn left over to make a hat, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I'm a little late to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Whoops! So, instead I'll jump the gun and wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year, and a great Year of the Rabbit. Haha!

Not a whole lot for me to report craft-wise. I've been busy getting some stuff ready that I'll hopefully get to talk about in another post once everything is officially settled. I do intend to get back to crafting very soon though. I've gotten back to that blanket that needs finishing, and I'm making it my goal to get it done before the end of Feb.

As I'm typing this, Jamie is resting on the couch re-watching Battlestar Galactica, and it's a bit distracting. He's getting over some sort of stomach bug, so I've been doing a little cooking. I made a potato soup thinking that it would be fine for him, but he didn't seem interested in the end. Oh well. More for me! I also made some really insane cookies.
They look pretty innocuous, but don't be fooled. They are actually 3 cookies in 1. Observe what happens when you cut it open.
Forgive the blurry photo, but you'll notice that nestled within the chocolate chip cookie dough is an Oreo cookie. I ate one after they were baked, and seriously don't think I could handle eating more than one or two a day, they are that rich and powerful. But man, are they yummy cookies!

Now I'm off to check up on the little man. I put him to bed a little while ago, but I know he wasn't asleep. Can you believe he's already 9 months old?! Here's a couple shots of him that we took fairly recently.
He actually enjoys banging at the piano quite a lot. We'll see if he actually wants to take piano lessons when he's older.

Feeding himself is not something he's very good at just yet.

Being a cutie while trying to look serious.

Can't wait to see what else he gets up to in the next little while!