Buying yarn from overseas

22 Jul

Here’s something you might encounter if you order yarn from countries that charge in currencies other than the US dollar – should I pay via Paypal’s currency conversion (which give poor exchange rates) OR use my credit cards and let them handle the conversion? From all the blog posts that I read via a Google search, it seemed like Visa/Mastercards were the way to go. So I took the plunge and charged the transaction in Canadian dollars, hoping my credit cards would give me a better deal.

Well, oops!

I just did the math and I lost about $7 by doing it this way cuz credit card companies have a foreign transaction fee that runs around 2-3%, which wipes out any savings you get from their lower currency exchange rate. Lesson learned.

Conclusion: If you’re buying from overseas, just use Paypal’s currency conversion. It’s easier and cheaper. (kicking myself for doing something stupid. $7 could have bought me two more ball of yarn! gah!!!)

Summer Stashing

3 Jun

674d0805fe1cfe03eb5a03befb72dd7e

As we’re winding into summer, all those warm wooley yarns seem offputting, right? All those airy, lacey knits made with cellulose fibers like cotton are calling our name.

But nope, not gonna fall for that. I’m such a slow knitter than by the time I’m actually done knitting a summer top, it’ll be fall or winter. Sure I can save it and wear it next summer but the vicious cycle will continue. Do I really want to subject my poor hands to knitting with cotton yarn? Every time I’ve knit with cotton, I wonder if I’m asking for arthritis. Sure, I’m only in my 30s but there’s no sense in torturing my joints, right?

And besides, when it’s sweltering outside, who the hell wants to wear knits, anyway? I’ll be reaching for that el cheapo tank top I bought from Costco (or Old Navy), a bottle of sunblock, a big hat, and sunglasses. There’s no way I’m throwing on an extra layer (airy knits need to be layered, unless you’re REALLY comfortable with your bra showing through. And no bra? Well, I’d be flashing strangers too if I had perfect breasts!)

Back to my mountain of merino and cashmere…

Insane Stashing

1 May

Ok, so as you already may know, I have a tendency to overbuy certain yarns. While many knitters will buy a few skeins here and there, I sometimes see a good deal and just buy the whole damn lot. (my biggest “score” if you will was 85 pounds….but I’m planning to sell off 2/3 of it so I guess that doesn’t really count)

Well, time and time again I “run into” this person on Ebay or online yarn shops who swipes the yarn from right under my nose. On more than several occasions has this person outbid me in the last seconds of an auction or bought out a ton of sale yarn. And while the bidders names stay anonymous, the internet and Ravelry has allowed me to track down said person so I know who she is. And guess what? She’s got a stash even bigger than mine!

Now today, I was entering my newly purchased yarn from Little Knits onto my Ravelry stash page when I noticed that said person has purchased about 20-30 skeins of every single color that had been offered originally. (by the time I got to the Little Knits site there was only 1 color remaining. Yep, she had swiped most of the inventory)

It got me thinking….that’s a lot of friggin yarn! I mean, I know it was a really good deal but that’s about $900 she dropped in one fell swoop. (it’s no wonder she swiped all those auction bids from me – she’s got a warchest of funds!)

I’ve seen some odd Ravelry stashes where a person has 1000 skeins of the same yarn in every single color and it’s totally obvious it’s a storefront (which is frowned upon by Ravelry). But this chick just stashes them all. It’s so weird….but it got me thinking, “Do people see my stash and think the same?” (UPDATE 5/24/2016 – Just found an ebay store that looks to be hers. She’s flipping yarn for about 2.5x what she paid. Ugh, i hate people like this!)

Well, I’m about to tell you that all my yarn is going up for sale. Ok, almost all of it. (like 95% of them) I’ve been putting stuff up little by little and hope to eventually get it down to a more reasonable size, cuz honestly, it is getting pretty cramped in my house and my family doesn’t want to put up with it.

Getting cheap lace yarns from Chainette and Ruffle Yarns

11 Apr

Remember that awful ruffle scarf phase a few years back? Well, now that the flash-in-the-pan novelty yarn trend is over, many stores are closing out those ruffle yarns at low, low, prices. 390T390Some are going for 90% off, yet not a single taker. Yeah, I wouldn’t touch that stuff with a ten foot pole even if they gave it away.

But wait! There’s still hope for some of these yarns! You can actually unravel these monstrosities and get usable laceweight or fingering yarns for cheap! It sure beats digging through the thrift store for secondhand sweaters that may or may not have been worn by not-so-clean individuals. Trying to remove someone else’s body odor from a sweater is the pits! (pun intended)

chainette1Chainette yarns, as you may recall, are yarns that mimic an i-cord. Some examples include Louisa Harding Kashmir, Berroco Flicker, Rowan Lima, Classic Elite Chalet, and Cascade Eco Duo. Nice yarns but I wouldn’t unravel these since you’ll end up with SUPER thin strands which would be more suited to weaving and machine knitting. Doable but it will take a very long time to manually wind them up.

What you want is the super bulky stuff, preferably with a lux fiber content and even better if it’s low priced. Here’s where it gets tricky. (because, why would anyone sell luxury fibers for cheap, right?) Well, they’ll be highly discounted if nobody wants them and that’s where the novelty yarn thing kicks in.

Yes, there were many acrylic, polyester, nylon blends but some of the bigger yarn names like Rowan and Sc60952Large_78e4hulana jumped on the novelty bandwagon too. And they didn’t use the synthetics but went for kidsilk mohair and silk. Kidsilk Creation and Kidsilk Aura from Rowan, Kid Setair from Schulana are all super bulky yarns that can be found in your local yarn shop’s clearance bins. All are 50g skeins and all of them are super kid mohair-silk blend chainette yarns. If you check the going rate of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, it is $15/25g. Considering I was able to buy all these chainette “kidsilk” yarns for approx $6/50g. Let’s do the math – that’s a savings of 80%!

glee_lg_medium2

Another famous-for-novelty-yarns is Berroco (They always seem to include a novelty yarn in their lineup for some odd reason) and they had an “interesting” mesh tape yarn called “Glee” made up of 70% wool and 30% nylon. At only 6 yds/80g, this thing was asking to be discontinued. I picked some up when it was sold for a whopping $1/skein. This one yielded fingering weight yarn when unraveled.

Now to take these bad boys apart. Take one end of the chainette and pull on the laceweight strand which will begin to unravel the loosely knit i-cord quite easily. Now, using your ball winder, crank away! After what will seem like an eternity (since you’re winding approximately 458yds), you’ll have a nice caked skein of laceweight all ready to go. Now, repeat the process til you have enough for your project and feel smug knowing you got this quality laceweight yarn for cheap!

 

Ravelry: R-A-V-E-L-R-Y

12 Mar

Can I get something off my chest? (the little mosquito bites that I have for a chest…sigh…)

It’s Ravelry, as in “unRAVEL” something. Not RAVERLY, which I see so often.

Raverly would be if I took some Ecstasy and danced to EDM in a warehouse with a bunch of other tweakers. Get it straight!

That is all.

Lost Yarn found on E-bay

22 Jan

Something weird turned up on Ebay today: a set of Wollmeise mini skeins that got lost in the mail by USPS. I had sent the package of 22 mini skeins via first class mail instead of Priority Mail because it was a small package (under 13oz) but that also meant I can’t file a claim for the lost package. I lost the said yarn, had to refund the buyer $65, and lost the postage I paid to ship the lost yarn. Well, lo and behold, this set of 22 skeins shows up on E-bay:

2016-01-22

 

Yep, it’s my lost yarn. It’s the exact same 22 colors and the label is unmistakeably mine.

I’m in Portland, OR and I had sent the package to someone in PA…so how did this ebay seller in Georgia end up with these? Is he a mail thief? Or has a postal worker friend who steals mail? (I checked out the sellers other items for sale. Smells extremely fishy. A bunch of random items that are brand new. All small.)

But most importantly, what’s my recourse? What can I do to get these back? Sure, I could report him to Ebay but what good would that do other than shut the listing down? I don’t care if this guy gets off easy –  I just want my yarn back! I’ll pay postage!

Odd Pricing for Hand Dyed Sock Yarns

15 Nov

2442407198_bfc97522d6_z

Having bought hundreds of hand dyed sock yarns in my knitting life, I slowly noticed something odd with the prices of these yarns. All of them are 100-115g skeins in either 100% superwash merino or a mostly merino-nylon blend, yet the price range is quite large. Some are overly expensive (Fiesta Baby Boom $31.95, Prism Saki $31.85) while others are totally cheap in comparison (small indie dyers on Etsy that charge $20/skein). GIven that the base yarn that they use are pretty much the same and the dyes that they use are the same (Jacquard, Dharma or Lanaset), what could account for this price discrepency?

12057824876_b9412271f6_z

And honestly, I don’t care how beautiful your colors are: if you price your yarns above $25/skein, I simply won’t be buying your yarns. Seeing that you have to account for inflation in the future, you really shouldn’t price your yarns that high. (I have Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply sock yarn with price tags that read, $21, 22, 24, and now $26. Can you imagine she had set her prices at $30 to begin with? No one will pay $36 for a 400yd/100g skein of 100% superwash merino (unless some Hollywood celebrity or someone really famous made it)

I’m pretty sure places like Fiesta intentionally price it high so they can give big discounts. (they have 40-50% sales ALL the time) Other smaller dyers who charge $30/skein for their regular merino yarns comes off to me as……cocky. I mean, it’s one thing to have pride in ones work but to set your prices so high as to ignore market rate seems like hubris.

I’m not a huge fan of Madelinetosh but the one good thing they did was price their yarns relatively low for the yarn lines they sell on their own site. Their 80/10/10 merino-cashmere nylon is $22/skein, which is extremely well priced for that fiber content. (yarn lines sold in yarn shops are priced higher).

Another thing I don’t understand: why price your merino-silk blends the same as your regular merino? This makes no sense to me. I know the the silk blend base costs more money and silk blends conjure a more luxurious image, so why price it the same or nearly the same as your regular merino blend?

Sitting here surrounded by beautiful hand dyed yarns that retail for $24 or less, I really wonder how some of these dyers come up with their crazy prices. Oh well, whatever floats your boat. (Good luck making the big bucks!)

Mini Skein Mania

10 Nov

Whoa, it’s been how long since my last post?!

Sorry about that folks. I’ve been busy amassing a ridiculous amount of sock yarns (fingering weight) to turn into mini skeins.

I know I’ve often poo-pooed at high priced hand dyed yarns but currently, that’s all I’ve been buying. And honestly, it is so much freakin’ fun! (Ah, the shop-a-holic in me is coming out)

First order of business: Yes, it’s costing a lot of money – money that I don’t have. Does this mean I have massive debt? Hells no. I do what I normally do when I need yarn money; sell some yarn! (When you’ve got a crazy stash as large as mine, yarn is my currency)

And in order to fund this shopping extravaganza, I have been selling a ton of yarns I have managed to buy on sales from online vendors. Good thing I bought them on deep discount! With Paypal fees and exorbitant USPS postage, I would’ve lost money if I’d bought it for near retail.

Many items I would have normally never thought to sell, I am destashing. Actually, I’m thinking I’ll put EVERYTHING up for sale and whatever doesn’t sell, I’ll keep and knit with. Well, ok, ALMOST everything (ain’t nobody touching my baby camel-cashmere or bison down skeins)

So far, I’ve managed to collect a good 150 skeins of merino/merino-nylon fingering, 50 skeins of merino-cashmere fingering, 35 Wollmeise Pure Merino skeins, and 20 Bugga skeins (Sanguine Gryphon/Verdant Gryphon/Cephalopod sport weight MCN).

Are you doing quick math in your head? Lemme help you with that: approx. $5000

Go big or go home, right? And some teaser pics for your eyes…

some of the Wollmeise Pure Merino skeins in my collection…

Bugga! so friggin soft….well the 20% cashmere doesn’t hurt….

Misspelling that drives me crazy

13 Sep

Fingering, not fingerLing

Dyeing yarn, not Dying yarn (are you killing the thing?)

If you’ve dropped stitches, you’re losing stitches not loosing stitches.

That is all,

For that kind of money, that thing better wind the yarn by itself….

4 Sep

….is what I had said after seeing the prices for a NKK (Nancy’s Knit Knacks) heavy duty ball winder. $250?!! And that’s not including postage.

So, guess what I did? Yep, I bought an electric winder that self-winds. No more achy shoulders and wrists!

I know there’s a cheap Boye winder that’s available at your big box stores but those things are evil contraptions that do a poor job of winding balls. No wonder they’re so cheap! And that thing can’t wind larger put-ups like this baby I got. (Bought for a cool $142 from E-bay, of course. That site is like a treasure hunt sometimes. I saw this listing and man, I was determined to buy it since something like this doesn’t show up often. And tah-dah! In my hands. Muahahahahaha!)

It’s supposedly vintage/rare because they don’t make these anymore but the one I received looks and feels almost new. This definitely sat in someone’s attic/garage for a long time. Hey, I’m not complaining!

After a bit of a hiccup in the very beginning (the wooden core wasn’t spinning the first time I wound a ball due to not having been used in a long time. By the second ball, it was just fine. Perfect little center pull balls that look like those crochet thread balls. Check out the Youtube video of the winder in action.

As much as I love my Royal winders (both the small and the long discontinued jumbo winder), this is infinitely easier to wind from my cones. I have not tried winding off of a swift yet so we’ll see how that goes.

My new score of the week - an electric ball winder!

My new score of the week – an electric ball winder!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers