Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why There Has Been Very Little Knitting

I can knit while doing a lot of things, but this
isn't one of them.   This, however, was my 40th birthday present from Andy's sister and her family, hereby dubbed our Adventure Family.  How entirely cool is that??

Friday, May 27, 2011

Why There Has Been No Knitting...No, Really

*  Theo took a break from digging up the vegetable garden long enough to eat my knitting

*  The planets were aligned in such a way that the magnetic pull on my metal needles was just too strong

*  I found that cleaning the house was actually more fun than knitting.

*  I've been struggling with the philosophical question, "Why spend all this time and money making a sweater, when everyone assures me they saw the exact same sweater at Walmart for $20

OR..............

There actually has been knitting, but Blogger continues to have issues every time I try to update, so you'll just have to take my word for it for a while.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm In Love!

So, not only does the new dealer think Holland's stabilizer-continually-slipping-at-the-exact-same-moment is totally stupid, they sell Bernina AND Husqvarna, and are right next door to a huge kitchen store.

If you don't hear from me again, I am camping on their doorstep.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Taking Jeeves To Twin Falls, Take Two

Today I'm driving 284 miles round-trip to take Jeeves in to be fixed by a dealer that isn't an ass.  At least it's a nice day for it.

Things have finally progressed since I complained to the BBB.  While Holland's Sew Shoppe continues to refuse to acknowledge that a single thing might be wrong with my machine and has now expanded their accusations of my incompetence to include my ability to work the software and hoop anything at all AND that I lied about them not ordering parts in a timely manner (3 months for a damn bobbin cover?), they refunded the $60 "repair" fee that I paid them in February to do absolutely nothing, and Husqvarna has finally stepped in (after 6 emails from me) and will be honoring the warranty because all of this started while it was under warranty, and will work with the new dealer to either find the problem or send it in to the service center.

So, it's good and bad.  While I am happy that at least I didn't have to pay for this lousy treatment from Holland's, it would be hard to find a more ungracious response than their two letters to the Better Business Bureau.  I think all of us have personal egos, but it must be very sad to be a person who would rather save face than save a customer.  Just a year ago, I was an advocate for Husqvarna and would have recommended them to anyone.  Now they're finally stepping in to make things right, but it will never be the same.  Even if everything works perfectly, I'll never be as happy as I was, nor can I ever recommend them to anyone.  And what would it have really taken for them to have behaved just a bit better and create a happy customer?  I actually suggested to them several months ago that they send out surveys to their customers to find out how they are being treated by their dealers.  On the Husqvarna Facebook page, customer after customer in totally unrelated areas are sharing horror stories of service at dealerships, and other dealers are jumping in to say that Husqvarna has "no control" over their dealers.  Hogwash (which is the only non-swear word I can think of that would be accurate here).  Manufacturers exert control over dealers all the time--just ask any car dealer or a McDonald's franchise owner.  Think McDonald's lets a few things slide here and there because they "have no control" over a dealer?  McDonald's food might be really revolting, but the corporate office makes sure that their revolting food is equally revolting worldwide.  They take more care of a 99 cent hamburger than Husqvarna does over machines that cost $3000 to $6000.  How did they not see the logical result?

In college I sold Cutco knives, as did many college students.  I still have them, and almost 20 years after I started selling them, I still sell them to friends occasionally because I can be absolutely positive that they won't regret it.  They are the best knives I have ever used, and the guarantees are absolute.  I recently sent back a couple pieces to be sharpened--including my sewing shears--and a piece with a melted handle to be replaced, and they came back quickly, no questions asked, and for unknown reasons they had replaced my 10-year-old sewing shears instead of just sharpening them.  Maybe that was easier, or maybe they found a flaw I had never seen.  It doesn't matter--I'm happy, have just about everything they make, and continue to give Cutco as gifts, as do many of my friends and relatives.  Pretty good return on investment for the occasional knife they replace for free.

When Andy and I got married, we used some of the wedding money to buy some great pans we found at a local cooking store made by an American company called Scanpan.  We didn't know much about the company, but the pans are titanium so that meant nonstick pans that could go in the dishwasher.  Score!  We ended up having two pans that had trouble after 3 years of pretty hard use, so I sent the company an email to ask what I needed to do to get them replaced, and I promptly received an email with an attached return form, and they replaced them without question--even though we hadn't realized they would send whole new pans with lids to replace the two we returned, so now we even have extra lids.  No questions asked, it probably didn't cost them a whole lot to replace them, and now I mention it to everyone I know.  Again, probably a pretty good investment.

We buy everything we can through Costco because of their outstanding customer service.  I will not even consider another insurance company because of the outstanding customer service I have received time and time again from Farm Bureau insurance.  Our mechanic, Mountain View Service, doesn't have loyal customers so much as a customer cult.  I am truly sorry that neither Husqvarna nor Holland's Sew Shoppe can see the value of creating that kind of customer loyalty, and perhaps they'll even manage to stay in business because there will always be people like me who don't know that not all expensive sewing machines are going to be backed the same way by manufacturers.  But they have forever destroyed my customer relationship with them.  I hope that whatever sense of superiority or satisfaction Holland's gets out of believing customers to be liars and incompetents is worth it.  A 280-mile drive is certainly worth it to me to never see them again.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dang.

The only thing worse than having a math problem that you can't find on a sweater is FINDING the math problem on the sweater..........

Friday, May 20, 2011

Uh-Oh

So, it turns out I wasn't just being a lazy slob who didn't keep the sewing room clean.  Subconsciously I must have understood that there is a point where the sewing room is so clean that I don't want to sew because I might make a mess.  


Well, there will be no more of THAT sort of behavior in my future!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Brace Yourself

The sewing room is actually clean. 
Like really clean--you can actually see the tables because things are put away and everything. 
Combining spring cleaning with friends coming to visit was more motivating than I had dared hope.  Of course, all that cleaning did interfere with crafting time, but there has been some crafting since the last post.  There was some quilting
until I had "help,"
 and I have finished another Crest of the Waves scarf,
which is the last of the mohair blend in my stash-dash basket.  Andy's sweater is still waiting for me to redo the collar,
and I now have a 30-inch zipper, which is the largest size I can get without getting creative, so I hope it works.  There's a new chemo cap in progress,
with what I think is one of the last 4 skeins of the chemo cap yarn.  I made a change in the stash-dash basket, replacing the two skeins of pink baby cashmere left over from Fleur with two similar skeins left over from a baby sweater, and they are on their way to being a scarf,
using something called "elfin lace."  This yarn is so dark that it really only works with patterns that depend on the holes in the lace rather than any texture elements. 

Last but not least,
the pink sweater is progressing.  The big piece is the back, and somehow I have a math error on the waist shaping, and I know it's my error not the pattern's as their math works and mine does not.  BUT I still can't quite see where it went wrong, so I decided to start the front and see if I can either see where I went wrong or make the exact same mistake so they match.  Personally, my money is on making the same mistake twice, but you never know.  So my stash-dash pile has gone from this

to this
 with over one month left to go.  I'm not sure what I'll do if Andy's sweater doesn't use up all the yarn assigned to it, but I shall frog that bridge when I come to it. 

And in case you are wondering how the visit with our friends went,
 there was crafting AND white chocolate martinis.  Who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Service Interruption

Our regular knitting blog broadcast has been interrupted by housecleaning.  This mad obsession by the blog owner will certainly pass quickly and probably won't recur for at least a year or more.  Please stand by for our host to regain her sanity.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Best Laid Plans.....

So, I thought I would run a few errands around town, then drive Jeeves down to the repair guy 142 miles away.  I had even stopped to pick up an audio book to listen to during the 3+ hour round trip drive, and had even driven about 30 miles when I decided to stop for coffee.  About this time, the starter on my car also decided to stop, but not so much for coffee.  Luckily, this was at a truck stop, and after two attempts to jump start the car which ruled out a dead battery, two very nice men were able to give me enough of a push so I could start the car that way (thank heavens my car is a manual transmission, or my car and I would still be at the truck stop, but I would have probably have moved on from coffee to hard liquor or whatever one can get at truck stops).  Knowing that I would never get my car restarted unless I made a point of always parking on steep hills (which Twin Falls is spectacularly devoid of), I called my mechanic and said I was on my way back to Boise, and could I just drive it straight to them.  Then I called Andy to explain that I now had a broken sewing machine AND broken car, and would he please come pick me up from the mechanic's before I broke anything else.

Being in no way at all like Holland's, when I arrived, they didn't try to tell me that the car simply wasn't starting because I was probably daft enough to be using the wrong key, or assume I was lying about my car not starting, or claim that I was using the wrong type of fuel.  Instead, they listened nicely, asked some clarifying questions, and had even called to tell me that it was indeed the starter and that they could have it fixed--and warrantied--by tomorrow morning before we had even reached our house.  (Mountain View Service for anyone in the Boise area--there just simply isn't a better mechanic anywhere)  Now, I realize this mechanic's shop is perhaps one of those rare places that just deliver excellence over and over again and perhaps raise the bar for everyone else, but in the last year--in those 4 trips to Holland's to try to get Jeeves fixed--Holland's has not once asked me a single question.  When they haven't recreated the problem, they have never called to ask any details to see if there was something else they might try to get it to happen--nope, they just assume I am a total idiot who can manage to do such a poor job hooping my embroidery that I can get 3 of the same design to shift in exactly the same place every single time because I am using the wrong freakin' stabilizer.  They didn't ask where I got the design that I told them was a Husqvarna design--they just accused me of lying about it.  What a total difference in how I'm being treated.  And yet the sewing repair people have more to lose because there are accessories and upgrades that I could buy, whereas my mechanic just has to wait until something breaks, which doesn't happen very often as I have a Toyota Corolla and the thing will run forever.  You know, like I had hoped Jeeves would.

So, the Twin Falls dealer and I have worked out that I will try again when he is back from his daughter's graduation and I have both time for a not-very-scenic-drive AND a working car, and we'll see if all of this is just incompetence on Holland's part.  Considering the new dealer has already asked lots of questions, I'd say there are some really good odds there.

And in the meantime, Andy has asked that I not touch anything else mechanical in the next 24 hours, just in case................

Progress!

I'd like to say that I got lots of things done on Finishing Friday, but I was too angry with Holland's Sew Shoppe to really focus on anything.  I'll be taking Jeeves to the other dealer this afternoon, and when HE finds the problem, I'll be reporting that to the BBB.  I don't know what--if anything--the Better Business Bureau will really do to them.  I've always sort of believed in the back of my mind that they are the champions of the consumer, but I've also known that one of the most unethical businesses I have ever encountered (and I can say this because I worked for them for a few months) has been a member for years and has an excellent rating.  So, I guess we'll find out.  BUT, no one I know will ever do business with that company again, and that's a fair number of people.

I thought it best to avoid sewing in any form, so I dug out my Stash Dash basket,
and have now (as of last night) finally finished that monster 880-yard skein on the shawl:
Whoo hoo!  As much as I love really big hanks of yarn for lace so there are fewer ends to have to splice, they do get a bit demoralizing after a while.  Interestingly, while I included this IN the stash-dash basket, I did not include the second skein, so I've decided to follow my own rules and have moved on to the other projects.  That feels sort of odd, but it wasn't hard to talk myself into making another 100-yard chemo cap over jumping into another 880-yard hank of laceweight.  Call me crazy.

There's not likely to be a lot of crafting happening here in the next week and a half, as we have company coming this weekend and there's going to be some mad cleaning/organizing going on around here--which probably also means that I'll be "tidying" myself into my own private little on-going scavenger hunt for the next year and a half........

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wow.

I received a response from Hollands through the Better Business Bureau, and they are claiming

1. There's nothing wrong with my machine
2.  The designs I used for example are NOT Husqvarna designs, and since I specifically said they were, they're obviously then implying I lied about it.
and 3. THAT I'M STABILIZING IT WRONG.  Yep, after I used the exact same piece of embroidery that they used as their stupid example.

It's official.  I really hate them.  Can you believe this?  Oh, and remember when Jeeves came back from the first repair with more problems than when he went in AND without the back cover?  Holland's is claiming that they didn't charge me for that repair "as a courtesy."  Well, thank you for not charging me to break my machine.  That's big of you.

I have asked them to transfer the warranties to the dealer 142 miles away, refund the $60 "repair fee" and have sent pictures to the BBB.  I never want to see these bastards again.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Random Updates

*  I actually had the sense to have Andy try his sweater on before finishing the edging and attaching the zipper, and the collar--which looks huge when he's not wearing the sweater--looks rather short and silly when he IS wearing it.  So, back to Joanns to get a 30" and 32" zipper to see if I can finally get this right.

*  No word on Jeeves, but that's no real surprise as they never have bothered to call me to give me updates, tell me my machine is ready, tell me a part is on back order, or anything remotely useful.  There's an off chance they might notify the BBB instead, as part of the complaint procedure is that the company gets a chance to respond.  God help me, they're probably going to tell the BBB it's a stabilizer issue or some other such nonsense.

*  Busy weeks REALLY interfere with knitting, but today we're going to see a matinĂ©e of Wicked, and that involves a shuttle service, so I'm thinking there will be some prime knitting time in transit.

*   Instead of a May Project of the Month bag, I decided to pull out some material Andy bought for a summer shirt, on the off chance that we might soon be getting weather warm enough for him to wear it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Have Yarn Lust

Obviously now that you have all seen the size of the stash, this comes as no great surprise.  Probably more along the lines of "stating the completely freakin' obvious" such as "I like to buy yarn."  But this time really is different.

I am lusting after yarn I already own.

Basically, I want to knit anything that isn't one of these lovely yarns:
I know, I know, the Stash Dash was my own idea, and I've even been doing really well on it.  I believe I've used up 7 or 8 of those skeins already and am rapidly closing in on that big 880-yard monster skein that I've been working on forever since February.  But I apparently have the emotional maturity of a three-year-old, and as soon as I can't have something, BAM!  It's all I can think of.  Today's object of lust is socks, but I'd settle for pretty much anything so long as it's forbidden.  

Perhaps after the Stash Dash is over, I should take away all my WIPS and forbid myself to work on them, just to see what my childish self would do.......A WIP marathon perhaps?

Monday, May 2, 2011

I Think We Need A Pool....

Guess who's going somewhere today?
That's right--I'm having Andy drop Jeeves off at the dealership today, as even the thought of having to go near those bastards has kept me up for two nights now.  BUT, remember how they said it was skipping in mid embroidery because of the amount of stabilizer I was using?  Here we are with one layer:

three layers:

and the one layer that was okay because it was done by THEM and not by little lowly ME:
So, not that it isn't possible that the bastards at Hollands will still try to claim that it's a stabilizer problem, but I'm sort of betting they'll have a new solution this time.  And, I thought it might be fun to take a bit of a survey to see what we think they might come up this time.  Possible things they will blame it on:

*  Somehow I have surge protected it wrong
*  Global warming
*  I'm a girl
*  I'm using the wrong material
*  Martians
*  I own cats instead of dogs
*  That it might really be a defective circuit board after all since the customer has insisted over and over and over that this is the exact problem that started all of this last JUNE.

Now, before you pick one, I should tell you that this morning--before I could put it off because women are ingrained to not make waves or complain--I filed a complaint against them with the Better Business Bureau, and on the accompanying documentation that will go with Jeeves to the shop, I have told them about the complaint.  I'd like to say I'm sure that it will have an effect, but I think by now that I would never make an assumption about Holland's Sew Shoppe and the pig-headedness of their "repair" guy.

And, I have finally found another repair person!  He's 142 miles away, but luckily I have a small car and frankly, I'd drive twice that distance to never deal with Holland's ever again.  So...there may be a light at the end of the Husqvarna/Hollands/Hell tunnel after all...............

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Stash In All Its Glory

I have been cleaning.  (And this might be a good time to point out that there are brighter things to do after one has strained one's back, but in my defense, there are probably worse ones.)  There is still a great deal to be done, but I did at least get to the point of being able to take pictures of The Stash.

First, the closet:
which is getting closer to door-dom all the time.  Or, as I should say, is getting closer ever since I stopped buying fabric like a demented human pack-rat.  The yarn is a bit harder to see as so much of it is at the top, but those bags are almost all full of yarn:
Not too bad, right?  Of course not--because that's not the entire stash!  On either side of the closet are:
starting from the top, laceweight, fingering weight, and nice sport/dk weight.  Then a bin containing some fleece for jackets.  On the other side:
 The grey contains dishcloth cotton odds & ends, then worsted weight, not-so-nice sport/dk weight, and on the very bottom, chunky/bulky.  The fabric is there because there is a sheet of plywood on top of the bins to give my little stereo something flat and stable to sit on and it was constantly snagging everything it could reach.  Spreading scrap fabric takes a LOT less time than sanding!

Across the room, there are wire shelves mostly holding books and tools and stuff, but the top shelves and the very top are:
Which gets to be above the desk where I sew for two reasons:  One, I have nowhere else to put it, and two, fabric is a lot less prone to fall down and bonk me on top of the head than bags of yarn are.  Always a consideration for a stash this size.  There's also a similar (though smaller) pile of felt at the top of the shelves on the other side of the room, but I don't seem to have a picture of that.  I'll have to add that one later.  There's also a large Rubbermade tub of quilting fabrics underneath the sewing table, but we all know what a tub looks like. 

Whew!  I think I need to go lay down.............