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.