Sunday, May 06, 2007

You Can't Get There from Here: A Rant

I sat down the other night to start knitting my scarf for the ISE -- the one on which I had already spent four and a half hours stringing 1,680 beads onto a skinny little piece of string. It's from a kit purchased at my LYS. The yarn and the beads were packaged together with a pattern pamphlet entitled "6 Scarves and a Shawl." It's put out by a Canadian company, so I was quite happy to find something with local flavour.

Before I bought it, I opened up the package to see what the patterns were like, etc. Most of them had fringe on the ends, which I thought looked kind of ratty, but one of them, the Charlotte, had beaded tassels instead. I thought that was a nice touch and would be something a little different, so that's the one that I planned on making.

According to the pattern, you first make a tassel for each end, and then you just knit away on the scarf until you run out of beads or yarn, attach the tassels to the ends and you're done. Very cool. After a bit of futzing around to figure out how to get the beads to lay nicely in the knitting, I was well on my way.

For each tassel, you knit a small band 10 stitches wide, with beads. You then make two loops in each stitch, with 70 beads in each loop. These loops then dangle and jangle and are generally very snazzy.

Knitting, beading, tasselling, looping -- much fun ensued. Until I finished stitch number 8, at which point I casually remarked to myself, "Hmm, this tassel feels kind of, well, heavy." I looked over at my remaining beads and, not so casually, commenced to curse. Let's see: 8 stitches with two loops each is 16 loops, each with 70 beads, means I've used 1120 beads, plus the ones in the band. Two more loops to go just on this tassel, which is another 280 beads, so over 1,400 beads in this one tassel. That leaves less than ... 280 ... beads for the other tassel and the entire scarf.

I must have done something wrong. I re-read the directions. Nope, I did it right. I look again at the remaining beads. Nope, they didn't magically reproduce while I was doing the math. I curse some more. I flip through the pamphlet looking for clues. And I found one. Page 6 of the pamphlet has a materials list. Most of the patterns call for 100 grams of #6 beads. My friend Charlotte? She needs 50 grams of #6 beads and 50 grams of #10 beads. Nowhere in the pattern directions does it mention different sizes of beads.

Arrrrgggh

and also

grrrrrrrr.


Memo to Swallow Hill Creations Ltd.: If you package up a kit entitled "6 Scarves and a Shawl," you should include in the kit a note such as, "This kit contains the material required to make pattern A, B or C. If you wish to make patterns D, E, F or G, you will have to buy additional materials; please refer to materials list." If you were to do so, a gullible knitter would not purchase your kit and blithely attempt to make Pattern D. Also, upon a further and more careful perusal of your patterns, the second pattern in the booklet is Exactly the Same as the first pattern, but six stitches narrower. I don't think you can legitimately call that a separate pattern.

I do not have for you a picture of one humongous and heavy -- and rather expensive -- tassel. I ripped it so fast even my head spun. I again poured over the information I had for my swap partner. Even though she is in what I would consider to be a warmer climate, she has a lot of Very Nice wooly-type yarns. No evidence of lace or froufrou. Perhaps my first inclination of cuddly cables was in order after all. Enter Plan B.



In the Other News Department: The Knitters Tea Swap 3 -- go sign up!!

A Question: I've been hoping that Blogger would remedy the lack of return address on comments. It was there before, but in the new Blogger it isn't. It takes way too long to click around trying to find an address to reply, so I kind of gave up, but I like replying to comments. Are those of you who use Haloscan able to easily respond?

43 people had something to say:

Judy said...

Kits with bad instruction and missing or not enough materials suck. Bah humbug.

I love your plan B. Looks great. Also the socks from your previous post. And glad to see you back amongst the living.

Carrie K said...

Oh, that's so annoying! Especially after stringing all those beads, for naught. Truth in advertising applies to knit kits especially.

The cables look lovely though.

Blogger is so annoying. Not only no email address but half the time it doesn't take its own password. I hear good things about Haloscan though.

CynCyn said...

i like responding to comments too, and get kinda frustrated when someone asks for help, but doesn't leave an email addy! ARGH!
So sorry about the mis-communique in the pattern. You could make the beads of the earth scarf from scarf style?

LaurieM said...

I love that red. It's very beautiful. Maybe the screwy kit was a blessing in disguise.

I'm using blogger and sometimes I get an e-mail address and sometimes I don't. I imagine that has something to do with if they register or not. Maybe? I always try to respond to comments from people I either know, or who have left an e-mail address.

Charity said...

Grrrrr indeed! Love the cables, though.

I've heard good things about Haloscan, too, although a friend who switched ended up losing all her previous comments. Could you live with that?

I'm so excited for the Knitters Tea Swap! :0)

Acornbud said...

How frustrating to run out of beads! That's a lot of beads to be stringing. It is frustrating not to have the email addresses. Sometimes I can't even find one after searching. Love the red cables.

pat said...

I like plan B!!
It is very simple to respond with Haloscan - the commenter's email is included. You can just click it from the comment or you can have Haloscan send you an email each time you get a comment - you then can respond from your email program. SIMPLE!

sko_G knits said...

i hear you, the no response to comments on the new blogger sucks. as much as that crappy kit instructions!! sorry you had to go through that.

Anna said...

This probably is no help right now but I have a bead stringing tip. If you buy you beads in "hanks" they come on string...then you can use a dental floss threader and get them onto the yarn about 20 beads at a time. Much quicker than fiddling around with loose beads!

goodkarma said...

I'm so sorry about your kit! How frustrating!

Blogger comments are also frustrating. I switched to Haloscan quite a while ago and I'm very pleased. It's very easy to see who the commenter is (email and www) and reply to him/her. I did manually repost my old comments, which wasn't too bad because my blog was still pretty young, but it would be a drag for you and all of your lovely comments.

Kathleen said...

When I read the comments I receive in my e-mail, rather than at my blog, sometimes there is a return e-mail address and sometimes there is not. I haven't quite figured out the difference.

I don't know anything about Haloscan.

So sorry about the beaded tassel hassle!

Tanya said...

Well, that wasn't very nice of them, was it?!? I like plan B, too!

I use wordpress so I can't comment on haloscan. However, I don't care for blogger.

schrodinger said...

That totally sucks - plan b is looking good though.

I love Haloscan. I'm able to respond easily to comments and it's pretty user friendly. Also, I don't get comment spam now either. At the user end, it's much less time consuming to leave a comment in haloscan, no need for the word verification (which can be a right PITA to read sometimes).

Marina said...

Ack! But those were so adorable!

I like Haloscan but when I first installed it, it got rid of all the comments on Blogger. I'm not good with HTML or whatever knowledge you need and so I did an automatic install. Perhaps if done manually, you can have both Blogger & Haloscan like I've seen on other blogs.

Nora said...

Apparently Haloscan is great. I installed it a while ago BUT it removed my previous comments - all those words GONE! I couldn't cope so quickly re-installed Blogger.

Re the kit: I would've thrown it out the window. The red cables are very beautiful and elegant.

flutter said...

oh bother on the scarf. :\ i was really looking forward to seeing what you were going to create. although, the new plan looks great.

fyi on haloscan..just switched over to it..since my blog is new i didn't care if comments might be lost...and they were.

HPNY Knits said...

I really dislike thing that are not what they say they are! on the other hand- plan B is lovely! love the red and love the classic pattern. your pal is bound to love it.

Dorene said...

Dave,
Your work continues to awe me and I was so patiently and anxiously awaiting to see your scarf in progress. What a bummer!
I love Plan B as the cables are looking fabulous. Anything that you make will WOW anyone. I know that it does me.

Kelly said...

gahhhh how friggin annoying! I think I would have taken the kit back! Your cables however do look lovely,I think your pal will love it!

limedragon :-: Harriet said...

I feel your pain!! That's such a bummer, I would think they'd package the kits accordingly, or describe them better. :/ I like the red scarf though, gorgeous! : )

turtlegirl76 said...

No but those of us on Wordpress can reply very easily. Heh.

I tried out Haloscan but either I was very confused or it just wasn't very user friendly to me. I'd rather reply right from my own e-mail. And the wordpress interface on my blog makes that very easy. (Just turtlegirl76.com now)

Teyani said...

arrgh is right. don't you hate it when that happens.
love the red scarf tho - it's gorgeous.
The lack of blogger-reply-ability is why I switched over to typepad (and I love it)

Debi said...

Nice to see ya Dave!The ill prepared kit sux - not to add insult to injury but as a kinda bead freak what exactly are #10 beads? Seed beads come in either 11/0 or 1/0 - 11/0 are really tiny, too tiny for anything but thread pretty much and 1/0 are quite large but nearly impossible to find - so in other words, that kit is for the birds no matter how you look at it :) The red cables are more than gorgeous anyway!

I've been thinking of switching to Haloscan too. I'll be interested to see what your commenters have to say.

Lavendersheep said...

I'm not sure if somebody posted this already or not. The reason why email addresses don't show up in blogger after the upgrade is that some of the settings are reset (including email address preferences) when people upgrade to the new version. Email addresses will show up as long as the setting is checked to allow them to be shown.

jessie said...

That is a sad, sad story with a happy ending, anyway. The red scarf is very pretty.

I'm a Typepad girl just because it's the one I randomly picked when I started blogging. You get the email address for replies, and Typepad is extremely responsive customer-service-wise. Maybe too basic or beginner-level for the more technically minded blogger?

anne said...

i have been very very happy using wordpress, which allows easy return mail features. and i am a total internet dork, so that will tell you how easy it is to get started with it . . .
love the cabled scarf; the beaded one sounded heavy and fragile even BEFORE you told how many beads it takes!

KnitNana said...

A pox on distributors/kit makers who don't read their own instructions! I do not blame you for being frustrated!

BUT...I LOVE the cabled scarf. That red is scrumptious!

And I have no clue on haloscan, am just as frustrated with blogger as you are on trying to email comments. And I do NOT want to lose all the comments folks have made on my blog, so will undoubtedly stay with things as they are...
:(
(((hugs)))

KellyD said...

Dave, I hear you about inadaquate instructions. BUT the plan B scarf is amazing!! I'm certain your pal will love it!!

Kristen said...

I love the red cables. They look so soft and cozy. I'm all into soft and cozy right now, trying to eek as much as I can from these last few days of spring. It does warm up soon, right? I mean, I don't want it to, but I'm used to the trees being green by now.

GET HALOSCAN NOW! I love it so much. Your commenters get to choose whether they want to leave their email address. The field is there. Some of my readers don't feel like leaving an address. When you receive notification of a comment, you can copy the email address from the information and paste it into a reply email.

Kristen said...

I forgot to add that I get no spam (if someone does spam me, they have to go to my blog and leave a comment; it's nothing a bot can do) and there's no stupid word verification to type in.

Stacey said...

I just uploaded haloscan today, and so far I like it - it bunches the comments into one email, but you can actually see addresses!

you don't loose your comments, you just can't see them - they re-appear if you uninstall haloscan or go in through the edit posts page.

nova said...

That is quite a bit of drama surrounding a scarf! You are more determined than I. I would have shifted to the cables before stringing the 25th bead.

angelarae said...

Sorry to hear about the pattern troubles. That does sound like a gross lack of forethought. I'd ask for my money back. Those red cables are lovely and cuddly:)

Ang

lexa said...

I'd be severely ticked, too, if I were you! But Plan B does look great, me being a sucker for cables and all. Plus the color is gorgeous!

tiennie said...

Oh no! All that work. The cables are very nice though. I'd be very happy to receive that.

Terby said...

That's infuriating. I've never knit with beads because I didn't think I was patient enough to do the initial stringing - I can't imagine how frustrating that must have been. On the other hand, the red cables look fantastic.

I use Blogger comments. I rarely reply to people because of the e-mail address issue.

Helen said...

It's a real shame about the beaded scarf but the cable one looks gorgeous too and the colour of that one is very yummy as well.

Dave said...

So pursuant to the comment left by Lavendersheep, I went back into Blogger and changed my email settings back to what they were before the conversion to the new Blogger. My email addy should now show up when I leave this comment. This is a test.

Dave said...

And it works! But somehow I've not lost comment moderation. (sigh) Unless I can't moderate comments from myself, because presumably I wouldn't spam myself.

Ted said...

Eons ago, I offered my services as a copy editor/proof reader/etc to a couple of Canadian yarn companies and pattern designers, and they were really surprised that I wanted payment -- preferably money -- to do it. They just didn't have any money to pay for that kind of service: they depended on feedback from customers to let them know when there was a problem with the design instructions. I could see their point -- they don't have much money, low budget operations, and so on -- but honestly, there would have been far fewer frustrated knitters working with those kits and instructions. Small companies don't seem to realize the importance of not annoying customers, and these days there is so much competition for the shoppers' dollars and people will go elsewhere --easily-- with a few mouse clicks and key strokes.

Rachel said...

Oh man, that's inexcusable. Fortunately Plan B is so gorgeous that it's hard to feel furious for too long, though, right?

Kathy said...

So this is what I learned from you:

I will buy yarn with beads prestrung. It doesn't sound worth the frustration for me. Actually cant you just knit the bead into what you are working? Ive done that before with a crochet hook. However, I might have more fun with it all just set up for me.......

thanks for making me think this through.

Twinsanity said...

Hmmm. Since you seem to have familiarized yourself with beads (lol), perhaps you can help me?

I want to knit Cambio (knitty.com) and it calls for 3105 size 6 beads. So I go to Hobby Lobby and find slender tubes of size 6 beads ($2.49 each). Their labels tell me there are approximately 17 grams of size 6 beads per tube. No actual bead count. Any guess at how many freaking size 6 beads are in 17 grams???

This (deep red sweater with shiny black beaded gores that I won't really be able to wear much because it looks a little much for the grocery store and school drop off lane) is going to cost me a bundle, isn't it?