My Brief Encounter With Dyakcraft Darn Pretties

15 Dec

So you’ve heard of yarn snobs. Well, have you heard of needles snobs? It’s those folks who look down on factory manufactured needles and insist that artisan/handmade stuff is best. (if you’ve read my previous posts, you know how i feel about that.) In that category, you’ve got Dyakcraft needles for wood, Signature Needles for metal, and Blackthorn needles for carbon fiber DPNs. And yes, they are all really pricey.

Despite my love of trying all things new, I do have a mental budget and just could not for the life of me spend that kind of money, fully knowing that I’ve already got enough needles for a sweatshop of knitters. I mean, $342 for a small set of DPNs? Are you out of your freakin mind?! (yes, that’s how much a Signature Needle DPN set costs)

Well, I wasn’t gonna back down that easy. An interchangeable set from Dyakcraft was a relatively affordable $150. Sure, the wait time was 12 months but they didn’t require payment until the item was ready to ship so I figured, what did I have to lose?

Fast forward 12 months (that would be last December), and I had in my hands my very own “snooty” needles. Hahaha!

Dyakcraft Darn Pretties – They took a darn long time getting to me!

The needle case that came with it was cute but totally useless and despite the gushing reviews on Ravelry by Dyakcraft fanatics, I wasn’t floored by these needles. Yes, they were nice and smooth with almost seamless joins and all but what can I say? I had big expectations and these were just ok in my opinion. Sure, they were better than the Knit Picks needles, but they also cost 3-4 times as much and waiting 1 year for needles is just plain ridiculous.

Since I tend to save the nice stuff, just in case I might wear the needles out, I used the Darn Pretties all of twice, to knit sample swatches.

Fast forward another 8 months and bam! Rutland PlyWood, which supplied the rainbow colored Dymondwood to Dyakcraft, had a huge fire and could no longer supply the wood. All of a sudden, more people were scrambling for the Darn Pretty needles, now that it was clear Dyakcraft would no longer take orders. (no wood = no needles)

Normally, I hoard stuff. Yes, I hoard a lot of yarn and then some. I probably would have held onto my Darn Pretties feeling smug that I had what others couldn’t buy. But, no. That wouldn’t be fair. And my ever dwindling bank account balance wouldn’t be too happy about that either. So I let them go at a fair price – what i paid (i probably could have jacked up the price and left with quite a profit but that’s not my game). The whole transaction, from posting the sale with pics to answering interested messages to receiving the money took all of 3 minutes. Yeah, they sold like hotcakes. Whoever you are, enjoy the needles!

Now as for those Signature and Blackthorn DPNs….anyone want to lend me theirs so I can test drive them?

Yarn Dyeing with Food Safe Dyes

6 Dec

I’ve been rather busy lately (no, not because of Thanksgiving and its subsequent discount sales, although I must say that I did partake in a few of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals that were simply too good to pass up…)

For the month of November, I was spending a lot of time perfecting my home dyeing skills in order to do a presentation for my local knitting guild. Yep, I did something called “Yarn Dyeing with Food Safe Dyes,” where I did a demo of simple acid dyeing techniques using Kool-Aid, food coloring, and red onion skin water (which I had prepared at home in advance). Since many indie dyers come to the our knitting guild to speak and talk about their yarns but never discuss in detail HOW their yarns are dyed, I figured ‘Hey, let’s see how those are dyed live! Can’t be that hard…I dye them at home all the time!’

Well, the dyeing and demo was pretty easy. But the logistics of bringing all the supplies and trying to accomplish all the dyeing without a kitchen was much more difficult. What amounted to simply bringing a pot of water to boil and dumping yarn and Kool-Aid in required me to bring 3-4 boxloads of supplies and equipment. Yeah, shoulda thought of that. Haha.

Here are some of the yarns from the demo night.

Handpainted using Kool-Aid dyes and then steam set. Pretty clown-barfy, right?

Dyed in a pot with a blend of red, yellow and caramel food coloring with citric acid added later. Came out surprisingly even/solid

Super simple mason jar dyeing result. Just add wet yarn into a glass jar with boiling water and Kool-Aid mixed in. Wait until the water turns clear and voila!

Cone Yarns Pt III – The Brands

5 Oct

Today I’d like to talk about the specific brands behind these cone yarns I buy. I figure, since there’s so little info out there regarding some of these brands that it helps to share what I know.

The Knitting Yarn Companies that Sell Cones

loropiana2loropiana

These you’re well aware of, because you probably own some of these yarns, in skein form.

  • Lion Brand
  • Louet
  • Brown Sheep Company
  • Jaggerspun
  • Noro (yes, they do make cones for weavers)
  • Habu Textile
  • Baruffa/Lane Borgosesia

The Weaving/Machine Knitting Yarn Companies

I try to steer away from any weaving yarns because frankly, they’re coarser/rougher, often used for rugs and even the 100% cashmere yarns tend to be of the lower quality type. (and I know this from experience. Imagine my surprise at having purchased a 100% cashmere yarn just to be left with a really scratchy swatch. WTF?)

  • JaggerSpun
  • Rennie of Scotland
  • Kilcarra
  • Harrisville
  • Barlett Yarns
  • UKI
  • Silk City Fibers
  • Valley Yarns/WEBS

Undyed Yarn Bases (typically sold wholesale only)

  • Amtex/Elitespun
  • Henry’s Attic
  • Ashland Bay
  • Wool2Dye4

Textile Mill Cones

These are the cones from industrial factories where they produce the retail store knits. It could be anything from Chanel to Hugo Boss, Burberry to those no name budget sweaters you find at the Gap. Of course, the cones would not have the brand label but the name of the textile mill.

  • Loro Piana
  • Lora & Festa
  • Cariaggi
  • Johnstons of Elgin
  • Filati Modesto Biagioli
  • Lineapiu
  • Amicale
  • Natural Fantasy
  • UPW (HK)
  • Barrie
  • Zegna Baruffa/Lane Borgosesia
  • Botto Poala
  • Todd & Duncan
  • Hilaturas Ribe

and these are just the ones I’m aware of (most of these brands I own. Some, like the rustic Harrisville and Barlett Yarns I do not) Take a look at this entire list of Italian textile mills. Knowing that these mills don’t sell yarn to the public, I have no idea how they make their way into private hands (with the exception of Colourmart that sell mill ends from British textile mills). But they have a way of popping up on Ebay and yours truly has been snapping these babies up. (I should mention that I just dropped $1000+ on cone yarns in the last month. Yeah, it’s a bad addiction)

Cone Yarns Pt II – My Love Affair with Cone Yarns

28 Sep

I’ve mentioned it before in several other posts but I really love cone yarns. (don’t know what they are? They’re yarn wound onto cones, typically in large quantities like 1lb+)

smaller cones. lotsa colors!

They were my first yarn purchases and to this day I still buy them why do I love them?

1) They’re economical (it’s like bulk pricing. Since you’re buying a lot, you get a break)

2) Less ends to weave in after you’re done knitting. (only 2 ends to weave in when you’re done with your blanket/afghan. Hooray!)

3) It takes up less space to store (especially helpful when you have as big of a stash as I do)

4) Faster to knit since you don’t have to bother with joining yarn like you do with balls/skeins.

5) You can create any thickness of yarn since most cones are lace/fingering weight. If I hold them 3-6 strands, I can create Dk, worsted, aran, bulky whatever.

Recently, I’ve gone on a cone yarn binge and basically ran my checking account dry buying one too many of these babies. Many were purchased on Ebay by a knitter who decided she didn’t have the space to store all these cones and was destashing her many (and I mean MANY) luxury cone yarns. She lives in NYC so I would imagine storage space is limited. And that brings me to Silk City Fibers.

What’s that, you ask? Well, if you’re a weaver or a machine knitter, I’m sure you’re familiar with them but for the regular knitter, they’re probably unknown. I could count only a handful of times I’ve seen their yarns sold through retail outlet like Elann or Webs. Well, they’re a wholesale only distributor of cone yarns located in a Northern NJ town called Paterson. (If you live in NYC or the nearby suburbs, definitely go check out their monthly Warehouse Outlet Day. It happens once a month – the second Saturday of every month and they sell off their overstock and discount cone yarns for dirt cheap. And while they carry a lot of funky novelty stuff, they also have tons of luxury yarns like merino, silk, and cashmere. In fact, their current special is $50/lb for their 100% Italian spun cashmere. Yeah, you read that right. $50 a pound. If you consider that ho hum wool like Cascade 220 go for about $45/lb, you can really see how low that price is. (100% cashmere in LYSs usually sell for something like $360-$400/lb since they’re typically 25g balls and you’d need to purchase a brick ton to get a full pound. pretty insane, right?)

I was told by someone who’s been to the warehouse that you can get any of their yarns off their regular inventory when you go there. Considering they only sell wholesale and would require something like a 300lb+ purchase to get those prices, I think it’s something to take advantage of if you live nearby. (Kinda out of the way for me, seeing as I live in Oregon but hey, I used to live in NJ and pass by Paterson all the time. Too bad I didn’t knit back then and didn’t even know the existence of Silk City Fibers.)

And the sale comes to an end…

24 Aug

Well, thank you to all those folks who came to my garage sale. Big hugs all around.

That said, I didn’t see several people that I thought would show. And from a revenue perspective, this sale was kind of a bust. Don’t get me wrong, I sold a ton. $1000 is no chump change. But compared to the prior sale when the final tally was $1700, it’s a big difference.

So what was different from the last sale? What caused such a big decrease in sales?

Here’s what I can surmise:
1) The Craigslist ad went out too late. I should have posted about 2 weeks in advance so there would have been more exposure. I only posted the day before this time so hardly anyone saw that ad.

2) There was another local knitter destashing 2000 skeins of yarn the same time I was holding my sale. (NE Portland, so a good 20 miles away but still, it’s competition) Seeing as she basically copied my X000 skein destash and the Fri-Sat 10-4PM time, looks like we’ve got a copycat. It didn’t help that she was moving and getting rid of everything for a dollar/skein. Yeah, it could be hideous novelty yarn or scratchy acrylic but a dollar is still a dollar.

3) Timing. The last sale was held on June 25th. This time around it was August 23rd. Maybe people aren’t in the mood to buy wool yarn when it’s 90 degrees outside? Note to self: have the next sale in June

Oh well, that’s ok. Not like I was desperate to get rid of the yarn anyway. (get rid of yarn? gasp! Oh no, I’m simply letting others adopt them from me so they can give them more love. Get rid of…. blasphemy!)

As I mentioned before, my finances are just fine with or without the yarn (thank gawd!) so I don’t have to destash everything like a firesale and sell em for $1 to get quick cash or anything. Speaking of which, I don’t understand these people that are on Ravelry destashing all these expensive handdyed yarns to fix their car/repair their roof/pay for medical bills, etc. Seriously, people. You should not be spending your “rainy day fund” on yarn. Especially $25-30/skein yarn. If you can’t afford it, just don’t buy it. (Reminds of a story about Asian teenagers pimping themselves out to creepy middle aged guys so they could go buy Louis Vuitton bags. Ok, kind of a stretch but….)

Oh look at me, I’m ranting again! LOL

Inventory List Coming Soon…

20 Aug

Yeah, I know. The big inventory list. You have no idea how many people sent me messages asking how much I’m selling certain yarns for because I had all the garage sale yarns marked as “Will Trade or Sell” on Ravelry.

I now have a copy-paste blurb for anyone sending me destash related messages:

I’m only selling these locally for a garage sale I’m having next weekend. (didn’t want to hassle with the packaging/shipping and added cost) Thanks for your interest though!

So, the big question is, what am I selling and for how much? Oh, wouldn’t you like to know? (Me too!)
It’s a big time suck to try to come up with this spreadsheet because I have to make sure I actually have the yarn in my possession (yes, sometimes I can’t find certain yarns regardless of what my Rav stash info says) and adding to the spreadsheet is a pain in the ass because I keep finding more yarns I want to get rid of while digging out my yarn closet.

Man, I’ve got quite the work cut out for me, since I have to go clean my garage so it’s presentable. (I mean, it’s pretty clean, thank goodness, but I need to rearrange stuff so people can walk in and browse around. (I told you I practically have my own yarn shop, didn’t I?)

Oh, and did I mention I have three young children, including a very clingy 14 month old baby? Gah, what have I gotten myself into?!!

At any rate, I will post the spreadsheet soon. I promise!

My Annual Yarn Garage Sale 8/22-8/23/2014

12 Aug

Yeah, baby. It’s on again.

Having skipped last year due to my having a baby, I’ve once again accumulated waaay too much yarn (is there such a thing?)

So here it is, for the third time. My annual 1000+ skein destash. If you’ve been to my sales before, you know what it’s like.

Lots of good yarns at super low prices. I’m destashing all my duplicate magazines for a flat $1/issue so if you’ve been needing some hard copies of Interweave, Vogue Knitting, Knitscene and other big name publications from the last 7 years, drop on by! And I’ve finally accepted that I don’t like knitting with workhorse wools. Goodbye Cascade 220, German sock yarns and similar wool yarns! And of course, for the yarn snobs, I’ve got handdyed stuff set aside too. Madelinetosh, Sanguine Gryphon, Lorna’s Laces, and much more!  I’ve got some new Hiya Hiya and Knitter’s Pride needles in the mix as well. All at 40-75% off retail. (Oh, did I mention there’s no novelty yarns or half used stuff?Everything brand spanking new and all items kept in pristine condition. Non-smoking, no pets, no bugs, no hairs, nada.)

Here’s the knitty gritty ;)

 

Date:  8/22-8/23 Friday-Saturday
Time:  10AM-4PM
Place: edited for privacy
Payment: Cash or checks accepted

 

MIA Ravelers Who Mess Up Destashes

22 May

So I’ve been buying a lot of yarn from Ravelry destashes lately and noticed something odd. It’s that one Raveler who has a bunch of a coveted yarn in a gorgeous color marked “Will Trade or Sell” with a really great price and has been favorited by a ton of people.

And before I add it to my fave list or contact the Raveler, you have to wonder, ‘What gives? Why hasn’t this sold yet?’

Well, go click the person’s profile and check their last posting. Chances are they’re MIA. As in, they haven’t been on Ravelry for over 6 months or a whole year. So this person who sets up this impossible price, basically messes up the average selling price because often times, people who’re destashing use Ravelry destash prices as a reference point; not to mention the fact that they’ve wasted your time and disappointed you by giving you a brief, “OMG, I must buy that now!” thrill, just to let you down.

It’s been happening quite often and it’s kinda pissing me off. Why won’t you remove the yarn from the “For Sale or Trade” page even after the damn yarn’s been sold? Are you that lazy that you can’t do a few clicks of the mouse? I’ve seen something similar with folks who’re actually destashing. I’ve sent a PM just to get a reply that says “Oh, lots of people have been asking about that yarn but it’s been sold.” Really? Ok, so I offered a tip:

“Ah, ok. It might help if you marked it as PENDING or SOLD so you don’t get too many PMs asking about the same yarn.”

And their reply? “Well, sorry but I was really busy and didn’t have access to my computer.”

Don’t sound so annoyed, but what do you expect when you don’t change any of the status of the yarns you’re selling? And perhaps this isn’t the best time to be destashing on Ravelry if you’re gonna be busy and away from the computer? This same person left most of the yarn as is (yes, even those skeins that she specifically told me were sold), even after a whole week. Really. Not cool.

Now the other way around when you’re trying to destash. Those weird Ravelers who send you a single sentence PM that reads something like: “Do you still have X yarn?”

Ummm….yes? Do you want to buy it? Trade? Whaddaya want? Of course I send them a reply never to hear back from them again. What was that all about?

Or, how about that Raveler who wants to buy something but strings you along for over a week or two, just to tell you they don’t want it anymore? Gee, thanks.

Without further ado, my tips n tricks for buying from destashes:

  • State clearly what yarns you want to buy/trade (name, color, # of skeins and price)
  • Ask for their Paypal info so you don’t have to send another PM asking about it
  • Send it as Goods and Services so they can print out labels directly from Paypal (postage discount for the seller, which should basically cover the Paypal fee)
  • Send the money as soon as possible and make sure to send them a PM saying you’ve sent the money (sometimes the Paypal email gets buried under piles of junk mail and ads)
  • Make sure to type in what yarn’s you’re paying for and your Ravelry id in the Notes section of your Paypal invoice.
  • Leave a positive feedback in the feedback thread with a magic link to the seller’s id.

That’s it! Shop away! Grow your stash!

Cashmere city

10 Apr

As all lazy craft bloggers do, I slacked. Typical me…

So, what have I been up to lately? Well, I’m busy knitting away on a sample sweater for Shibui Knits (it’s a test knit for the brand) which is due in two weeks and as I hate hate hate deadline knitting, I did my best to get a head start by finishing a chunk of it in the first week. Glad to see I actually changed my procrastinating ways after 15 some years (why didn’t I do this back in high school or college?!) Can’t divulge any more than that so on to the next…

YARN!!!

Yep, your yarn hoarding queen is at it again, buying waaaay more than she can knit. What can I say, I’m a yarn hoarder. There’s no denying. And at this point, I can’t even hide the damn things since there’s so much of it.

Let me share my latest “haul” with you. It’s 100% Italian cashmere. And I only paid $45 bucks for 2 whole pounds of the stuff. And I bought 13 pounds of it. Technically 17 because I bought 4 pounds for $100 a piece (1kg) before it went on sale (awww, it hurts just thinking about it) but all in all, I think I came out ok in the end.

Now, you’re wondering ‘why so much?’ Well, they’re industrial knitting cone yarns that are super fine, as in gossamer/cobweb weight, so in order for me to use it as DK weight I needed to hold 8 strands of it together. And I have no patience to wind these things off the cone. 8 strands? Well, I guess I’ll just buy 8 cones. Simple as that. LOL

And now that I’m “stuck” with 8 kgs of cashmere, I best get rid of all those workhorse wools, I abhor. (heirloom knits my ass. I don’t want my knits to outlive me) Goodbye Cascade 220 and all those other “rustic” wools. Once you go cashmere, there’s no going back!

 

UPDATE 4/11/2014 – Just got a call from the place I bought the cones. Apparently, they oversold and only had 3 cones instead of the 6 I purchased. DAMMIT!!! I knew I should have kept my mouth shut. That’s what I get for blabbing to the world that these cashmere cones existed.

Little Things That Drive Me CRAZY

24 Feb

People, it’s fingering, NOT fingerLING. A knitter at my knitting guild was explaining what she made and she was keep repeating “fingerLING” yarn this and fingerLing” yarn that. I wanted to rip my hair out and shout, “It’s fingering! I-N-G! There’s no L!”

Yeah, just wanted to get that off my chest. (don’t even get me started on the “loose vs lose” misuse. I can go on for hours)

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