Saturday, February 11, 2012

DBNY update 2.


"After carefully reviewing your case, we've determined that you'll be
eligible for a refund (including handling and shipping) once you've
returned the merchandise to the seller."

I actually wasn't expecting to win with PayPal. I never had a chance to submit the screenshots that prove DBNY never said "rug yarn" until after my claim was filed. I did submit them to my BBB claim, which I'll close as soon as I can, of course making note if possible that it's only being closed because PayPal has sided with me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

DBNY update.

DBNY has claimed on the PayPal and BBB reports that their website says the following.

"New Zealand Wool Rug Yarn for Knitting and Weaving"

"This is Rug Yarn, some of it is soft and some is rough."

This is true. Now. It did not when I placed my order, which means they added it AFTER the claim was filed, and are now falsifying that information on my reports. I did not think to take screenshots though of the website before they added. But, thanks to a friend reminding me, Google's cached versions of the website gave me the versions I needed.

This is before they added that information, from Google's cache on January 14th.

And this is after, the current version of the website.

It's not my "turn" to respond or submit anything for my PayPal and BBB claims, but hopefully I can do so once more to submit these before the claims are closed.

Before this, I thought DBNY were just ignorant douchebags who didn't know how to handle unhappy customers. Now I know they are lying con artists who will do anything to keep from having to admit they were wrong.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

DBNY - Well OTHER people were pleased with their order!

So let's discuss Discontinued Brand Name yarn, shall we? A fairly popular website that sells discontinued yarn at heavily reduced prices. I've heard good things about them. A few weeks ago, they were having this big special on "100% New Zealand cone yarn". 2+ pounds of yarn on a cone for $8! What a deal. I wavered for a bit and decided to purchase approximately $40 worth.

Now, let's get one thing straight. The website said that the yarn is "suitable for rugs, outwear, and felted items". I wasn't assuming it'd be cashmere soft here. I knew it'd probably be not great for next-to-skin items. Now let's see the product description.

So I ordered some. One bulky cone, one worsted cone, and five further discounted "slightly less than one pound" cones, on January 18th, 2012. I received my order on January 24th, 2012.

I was not happy.

First of all, the mini cones. They're described as "slightly less than one pound". Of the five I bought, one weighed 10oz. Okay, cool. Three weighted 5oz. Um, what? The final one weighed 3.5oz. So in total, what 90% of the world would interpret as about half to two thirds of a pound, I got less than half with 4 out of 5 of them and less than a THIRD with one of them. But whatever, the five cones cost like $10 total.

So what about the two big cones I bought?

First of all, the weight looked thin. It was NOT worsted weight. Not a chance in hell. So I whipped out my WPI tool. 15. What? That can't be right, that's like sport weight. Measured again. 15 wpi. Yup, they sold sport weight, light DK at best, as worsted. Then I looked at the bulky cone. It's just two strands of the "worsted weight" wound around the cone. Not plied together like a cable ply, not a true 4 ply. Two strands of sport weight, creating a yarn that's aran weight at best.

Oh and then there's the feel of the yarn. This isn't garment worthy. This isn't outwear worthy. Fuck, after knitting a SWATCH, it left a swollen sore red mark on my left index finger from how rough and scratchy it was. And this was AFTER I washed and soaked a small sample with conditioner. A second sample, soaked in Eucalan, came out the same.

So now I'm pissed. The only thing about the entire order that was accurate was the color. I can't even felt this crap because I can't work with it. So I contacted DBNY. My email was mostly what I've said here, and I asked for either the amount of yarn that the INCREDIBLY generously described small cones was short of to be sent to me, or store credit for my order. I had not desired a refund at this point. This was the first response.

"Please realize that you are buying yarn that even as a mill end sells for $12 per pound. Do you think that you got a half pound--that is worth $6 .. Some people got cones that were over a pound and of course we had no complaint from them."

So the disparity is even LARGER than I thought, and the description is even MORE inaccurate. It doesn't say anything about a varying amount to THAT degree. "These cones of 100% New Zealand Wool weigh slightly less than 1 lb. "

"Please do not gamble on discounted seconds if you need a certain yardage."

Well thank you for being condescending. I do not need a certain yardage, I expect to receive what was described.

"The yarn is so inexpensive anyway that you do not have to play games with cone sizes. Those cones are heavy and we give hundreds of them away free, for example today. Today and last week and tomorrow those cones are free. If you want them without paying for them, just wait for the free yarn mailers. We do at least one per week."

Fine, whatever, what generous souls you are. So why aren't you offering to send me cones to compensate for your inability to describe things properly?

"You are buying rug yarn and the plies are correct for rugs."

I'm sorry, WHAT? This is rug yarn? The website never said that.

"Two ply is considered the right weight for what we were advertising."

This comes up again later. What the fuck is the point of this? You never said it was rug yarn on the website, and it's STILL INACCURATE TO THE PRODUCT DESCRIPTION.

"Have you considered paying retail for yarn? We sell well below wholesale to hundreds of people per day and if you need something specific, please never buy grab bags, cones, mill ends or seconds from us. It might be better for you to pay the long dollar and get exactly what you want, but you will not get a half pound of New Zealand wool for $2.25 from anyone else.

If you would rather pay full retail than take a "chance" on $2.25 for a $6-$12 cone, we would be happy to direct you to our competition. Do you realize that you are complaining about getting a great deal, even though it wasn't an awesome deal? Some customers did get awesome deals, and it's just luck of the draw. We have 8000 cones of yarn that we are selling at 75% off plus today you get one free with every order. Would you have complained if you got 4 pounds of yarn plus a 2 pound cone free? Some customers do ... we don't single them out, it just happens."

Two full paragraphs of condescending, hostile bullshit. So I responded.

"My complaint is NOT with the product or the pricing. It is the
advertising. You advertised the yarns as "slightly less than one
pound". They are HALF, or LESS, than a pound. That is not what your
description says.

"Two ply is considered the right weight for what we were advertising."

That is NOT what you advertised.

This page says "4 Ply" and "Knitting Weight: Bulky". This is not 4
ply, it is 2 ply. This is not bulky weight, it is sport weight, double
stranded across the cone. And this yarn is not suitable in any way for
knitting, which is displayed all over the advertisements for these
cones as "knitting" yarns; nowhere on your website does this say this
is rug yarn, yet after feeling the yarn and knitting a swatch, it's
obvious that it is.

I am not the only person that feels that this is highly unprofessional
and that my order was not what I received. I've spoken with a dozen
other people who have all agreed that the product is not as
advertised, the yarn is absolutely in no way suitable for knitting and
should be explicitly labelled as rug yarn WITHOUT the word 'knitting'
in any of the descriptions, and that they will not be purchasing from

The pricing may be a great deal. But what I received is NOT what was
advertised. This product should be advertised with the correct weight
and number of plies, a more appropriate wording of the $2 cones
("cones are not weighed individually and will be between one third to
one full pound"). I have purchased dozens of yarns that were mill
ends, yarns from grab bags, or seconds. I am perfectly willing to
accept less yardage than I was anticipating, or yarn that is not up to
normal standards. However, the yarns I've purchased are blatantly
mislabeled and falsely advertised. I wish to return this product for a
full refund. If you aren't willing to do so, then I will be filing a
dispute with PayPal."

The response was:

"What you got was less than a pound. Some people got as much as two pounds."

Well that was helpful. So I waited about two days after this, three days total after my first request for compensation of some kind. I sent through my PayPal and BBB reports and informed them of such. About a day later, they responded to my PayPal dispute.

"The ply we advertise is correct for rug yarn. In addition, we are prepared to offer the customer some free rug yarn cones as our way to address his disappointment in his order. Thank you."

AGAIN with claiming that the number of plies is correct for rug yarn. And NOW they offer to at least send me more yarn to compensate, which at this point I'm not willing to accept. I had to file a PayPal dispute to get them to do that, and my emails were ignored for two days in the meantime.

Oh, and by the way? They've since changed the website in at least two places to say "rug yarn". So they know they fucked up, but they're not willing to fix my order. I didn't think to take screenshots of the website before they changed it, but there's this post on the DBNY Ravelry group that corroborates that the only mention of the word "rug" was that tiny paragraph, and nowhere else (and by the way, yes, I had to go to the Ravelry group to get any real info on the yarn, such as it was bought from an out of business rug company and that it most definitely is NOT suitable in any way for anything that will touch you).

Oh, by the way, this is my second order with DBNY. My first order was botched too. I ordered two balls of yarn in two colors, but about two hours after I get the email of shipment notification, they say that the website was wrong and they only had one ball of one of the colors. And since it was already shipped I couldn't cancel the order. And for that whole situation, I was never offered anything except "sorry, you didn't ask to cancel fast enough", even though I didn't know there was anything wrong with my order until AFTER it shipped.

I've since escalated the PayPal dispute for them to review and decide what happens. All I want is my money back. If I get it I'll even ship back all the yarns to them. I've even offered a reduced refund for just the price of the yarn without the tax or shipping.

And I just need to say: if the only problem was the yarn being rougher than I hoped and the mini cones being lighter than I hoped, I'd still be disappointed, but I'd just suck it up and maybe try and destash everything. But because they described the yarns in blatantly false ways, it becomes false advertising, and that's when it becomes bullshit. They're so willing to give away free cones to people, yet not willing to offer any to ME as a peace offering for an order I'm not happy with (at least, until PayPal and the BBB gets involved, and then "oh we're willing to offer free yarn"), or to refund my order after they know they fucked up. Couple this with the INCREDIBLY condescending attitude of the responses to my emails, and yeah, I'm going to fucking go to war with you. This is not how you treat customers. Even if every other custom you've ever had has been pleased as punch with their orders, when you get that one customer who's completely pissed off at you for misrepresenting your product and manipulating your customers to sell more than they otherwise would, you better fucking make it right.

So hey everyone, shop at DBNY! You might get what you ordered! Maybe! If not, it's your fault because you're stupid.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hipster yarn - 100% fiber you've probably never heard of.

I think there's a major problem in the world of knitting - yes, something to be taken a bit more seriously than a set of knitted dicks and vaginas - specifically, that pattern designers, especially in this ecomony full of unemployment and living paycheck to paycheck, don't seem to understand the stretched budgets of their fans and of knitters in general.

I picked up two books at a used book store this weekend, Knits for Men: 20 sweaters, vests, and accessories by Margaret Hubert, and Men's Knits: 20 new classics by Erika Knight. Men's Knits is what caught my eye first as it has six or seven patterns I would knit and wear, some cardigans, a couple of pullovers, and a vest. But as I flip through the book and look at the recommended yarns, almost all of them are either discontinued outright or prohibitively expensive.

The least expensive pattern in this book is a simple vest, mostly stockinette with some rib and knit and purl patterns around the neck and armholes. It's knit in Rowan Summer Tweed, using between 6 and 10 hanks, and would cost between $65 and $110, with the size I need costing $98, and this doesn't even account for having an extra skein to make sure you have enough yarn.

Another example in this book is a pullover knit from Blue sky Alpaca hand dyed bulky alpaca, which is discontinued. However, the same yarn is available in natural colors and solid dyes. These cost $12.80 a piece, and this pattern calls for between 15 and 17 hanks, totaling $192 to $217. Again, without the extra skein.

There's another pullover using Lanaknits Hemp Allhemp6, this costs between $99 and $120. A cardigan uses Debbie Bliss Cashmerino super chunky, which is discontinued. Another pullover uses Rowan Cocoon - yes there's a whole fucking lot of Rowan in this book - which would cost between $159 and $191. A pullover in Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky Tweed, a discontinued yarn, would have cost between $134 and $164.

I'm trying not to rag on this book very much, but when I looked through Knits For Men by Margaret Hubert, one of the first patterns to really catch my eye is knit in WOOL-EASE, and I certainly don't think any less of the pattern or the author or the book because of it. One of my favorite patterns in this book and I can knit it for $30.

I'm not asking that all books only use yarn from Lion Brand or Red Heart. But there are so many, cheaper alternatives to very luxurious yarns like Knit Picks or the Webs house brand. While Men's Knits has some less expensive options, and yarn substituting is obviously a very common technique, it's disheartening when a vast majority of the patterns in a book are prohibitively expensive and would require that you use another yarn, and not have the same thing in the book, having a different color, texture, or material.

And this is most egregiously displayed in a pattern from earlier this year in Knitty. I won't say which or who designed it. It was a very nice men's pullover with a half zipper and some cables. It's a pretty nice pattern that I may knit for myself. But when you look at the recommended yarn, it's a yarn made by the designer. That right there is a red flag for me, like the pattern is an advertisement for their yarn. Which isn't a bad thing in and of itself. But I check her website, and sweet dangly balls, the yarn is $42 a skein. And you'd need between 10 and 14 for the sweater, costing up to $560.

I don't know about you, but if I had six hundred dollars to spend on yarn and other crafting materials, I could buy an entire year's worth of very good quality yarn for many different projects. Spending it all on ONE sweater is not the first thing that comes to mind.

I don't really mind using a pattern as an advertisement for your yarn. People design patterns for yarn companies all the time, using their yarns. But when you look at the price, and the introduction/mini story for the pattern, it all reeks of pretentiousness.

And I think that's one of the problems with yarn today; pretentiousness. That people think that you are a lesser knitter because you use Red Heart, as displayed and reinforced by constant degradation of Red Heart and the projects made from it. I've seen plenty of ugly as a babboon's glowing ballsack patterns from plenty of quote unquote luxury yarns. Or yarns that are so ridiculous in their design and construction as to make you wonder what amazing drugs the creators were on. Yet somehow, someone's Aunt or Grandmother making a project out of pure acrylic, filled with love and without pretense, is something to be mocked and derided. Meanwhile the aforementioned Knitty pattern goes by relatively unscathed, because it's "real" knitting with "real" fibers, albeit fibers that will look at your bank account and say "YEW HAVE A PURDY MOUTH".

What has knitting come to, something that is defined by the making of stitches with two sticks, where we are valued in our craft by the deepness of our pockets or the rarity of our fibers? This kind of shit makes me want to save up for a few years, buy as much qiviut yarn as I can, dye it that exact shade of pea soup green and kind of orange pee yellow that you know what I'm talking about, and knit a granny square blanket with sleeves. Take that, douchebags.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Super easy garter tab for lace shawls.

While trying and failing repeatedly to do the garter tab for a Haruni shawl, and giving up and doing my own thing, I figured out a way to do one that is way easier than picking up stitches on the side of garter stitch (of course after I had made it through about 100 rows of the shawl). It needs some prep work but the results are very neat and even and it's difficult to mess up.

You need to start with a provisional cast on. I chose the crochet method, seen here. You also need to thread a tapestry needle with yarn the same thickness as your project yarn, or as close as you have to it, and move the needle to the center of the yarn, so it's doubled up. Like this.

Once you have the needle threaded and your provisional cast on done, attach your project yarn and knit the first row normally, EXCEPT THE LAST STITCH. With the last stitch, you need to knit both front and back loops. You will have four stitches, like this.

Now, take your threaded tapestry needle and thread it into that fourth stitch, from left to right, like this.

This stitch is being held as a 'waste stitch' and will be used later. Don't do anything to it now. Simply turn the work and knit across the other way. Two things; pull the working yarn so the waste stitch isn't huge. Don't pull too tight or it will be hard to work later on. The double stranded yarn helps keep this stitch the same size as your normal stitches. Also, do NOT slip the first stitch when you turn and knit across after making a waste stitch. You are already technically 'slipping' a stitch, the waste stitch. Slipping the first stitch still on your knitting needle will cause you to skip one and will distort the fabric and leave a large strand going across. Knit all stitches on the wrong side.

On the right side again, you can slip the first stitch. The right edge on the front side doesn't have waste stitches, so you can slip that first stitch if you so desire. I personally do it because I think it looks neater. Increase in the final stitch again, thread that stitch onto your needle, turn, tug the yarn gently, knit across. Keep doing this until you have three stitches on your tapestry needle.

Knit across the row, slipping the first stitch if desired. Do not increase this time. You will now transfer the held stitches onto your left hand needle (I picked them up directly from the tapestry needle with my right hand needle, dropped the tapestry needle, and moved those 3 unworked stitches to the left hand neeedle). Knit across those stitches.

The three stitches on the right were the original three we cast on. The three on the left were the three held stitches we got from increasing and then held on the waste yarn. Now just unravel your provisional cast on, pick up and knit those stitches, and proceed with your pattern like normal.

It might seem like a lot of steps but it's very easy once you know how it works. This cast on looks very neat and all stitches look almost exactly the same, unlike a standard garter tab which can leave your knitting distorted, you may accidentally pick up different strands of yarn, and is very fiddly and awkward to do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Me, 0. Basic knife skills, 1.

Well I was going to film a small video of myself doing lever knitting (partly to show off to friends, partly to ask for help from people smarter than I on how to refine my technique). Before that though I went to get some lunch. I grabbed an avocado to cut up, picked up a large butcher's knife, and went to slice it open.

Suffice to say that the knife made contact with my left index finger. It didn't bleed very much but it hurts like shit to do anything with that finger. Surprise, surprise, I can't knit lever style with a bandage on that finger with any sort of speed unless I like the needle getting stuck in the adhesive and then getting the yarn all sticky while I yell obscenities out of pain.. So it looks like my little video will have to wait until my finger recovers. I can knit still but it's very slow and not very interesting looking.

Purling and ribbing can both still blow me but we've managed to work out a bit of an agreement. They suck less and I stop ignoring patterns because I hate them.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It was like really awful porn.

Did some vacuuming today and the vacuum cleaner wasn't working very well. Didn't have much suction power and I could smell something burning in it. We flipped it over and nothing was smoking but we could smell it; it was like dust was getting hot and singing a bit. So we open the intake and find the hose entirely clogged (not surprising considering Dad's wealthy, spoiled brat of a boss threw the thing away and we snapped it up for free). We tried to shake it loose but only a few puffs of dust would come out. Not even water, poured into one end over a sink, would flow through the mass. So for the next ten minutes, me and Dad had to "massage" it out.

We stood over a large plastic garbage bag in the kitchen, Dad holding one end of the hose as high as he could, the both of us vigorously jerking off the huge black rubber dick of a vacuum hose, yelling such things as "Find the lump and rub it!" or "There, some just came out!". Dad even tried using his mouth at one point to blow some of it out. And then several huge clumps of hair and dust and debris shot out of the end and into the bag in two or three spurts like the world's biggest money shot short of Animal Planet's elephant, whale, and rhinocerous mating habit special.

I'm not sure I can look Dad in the eye for a while.