Who says customer service is dead?

There’s a lot of product placement on this blog—I like to give credit where credit is due—but I don’t give too many shout-outs, posts dedicated to a single artisan or supplier. Today, though, I have to give a big, huge, honking shout out to Dyak Craft, formerly known as Grafton Fibers.

Last October, I bought a set of then-Grafton Darn Pretty double-point needles, size US 1, in the “Hazlenut Slant” colorway from a little yarn shop in Vermont while on a wedding weekend with my now-ex’s family.

I love them. I usually don’t like wood needles—I’m a metal girl—but I really love these. They’re smooth and sharp and really a joy to knit with.

So imagine my horror when, while working on a new and particularly angsty project, one of my beloved needles snapped in half right in the middle of a round.

Oh, the humanity!!

It was traumatic.

I’m not particularly hard on my needles. My Susan Bates US 1 metal dpns have a bow to them, but they’ve been in use for half a decade and have knit more than a dozen pairs of socks. Some bowing is to be expected.

In my entire knitting career, I’ve only ever broken one needle. It was a plastic, US 10 Lion Brand straight needle that Madori, as a little puppy, had decided to chomp on. The needle split in half right on a tooth-mark. I consider that extenuating circumstances…and, at five and a half, Madori no longer chews on things she’s not supposed to.

My Darn Pretties were only on their third-ever project…not too much wear and tear, and definitely no doggie teeth marks.

So, while lamenting the loss of my beloved needle—and with Allison talking me off the ledge—I sent Dyak Craft an e-mail, looking into either their replacement policy or whether I could purchase a single replacement needle.

Within the hour, I had heard back from Tom at Dyak Craft, who was ridiculously nice in his response and offered to replace the needle for free. Well, I was overjoyed! I would get to put my favorite needles back into action.

But I was completely overwhelmed when, just a couple days later, this landed in my mailbox:

Now *that’s* what I call customer service!

A handwritten note and not one, but THREE new needles, all in matching Hazlenut Slant. All for no charge. Completely blew me away!

So, if you were thinking about investing in some Dyak products, here’s my testimonial: Not only are the products wonderful, but the service is just fantastic. I can totally see more Dyak needles in my future.

My set of seven Darn Pretty dpns

And really, they are some very, very pretty needles…

Birthdays and Burgers and Sheepies, Oh My!

This past weekend marked three major events: My birthday (which was Thursday), Allison’s birthday (which was Sunday) and the Connecticut Sheep & Wool Festival (which was Saturday).

My pretty birthday tulips, a gift from Manny who has the greenest green thumb ever!

Holy crazy busy four days, Batman!

The main event, though, was Saturday. Jenni met me at my place in the morning, then we picked up Tracy and headed off to Sheep & Wool. I’d never been before, and it was a really nice little festival.

We saw bobbin lace being made…

This stuff is really amazing.

…and sheepies, of course…

Jenni, Tracy and some nekkid sheepies

 …and a fluffy llama…

Dude, it’s a llama…

…and a couple alpacas.

Awww….pretty pacas…

And, of course, there was shopping!

Tracy discovers the awesome that is handpainted merino/tencel…you’ll also notice the batt and the twist of top in her other bag 🙂

So many pretty fibers and yarn!

Jenni debates a cashmere purchase…and 10 seconds later sees the red skein…and takes it home with her!

And look who bought her first spindle!

An Emily spindle for Tracy, from Janet at The Wheel Thing

After shopping for a few hours, meeting up with friends and grabbing lunch (Note to self: You really just don’t like lamb. Stop eating it. You’re not going to like it. Ever.) we went and watched some sheepdog trials…

These puppies are intense

…checked out the pretty border collies…

Such a nice puppy!

…and gave Tracy her first spinning lesson…

Tracy makes her first yarn

…while Jenni gave her brand-new Kundert a trial run.

Jenni gives her new spindle a whirl

It was a great day, such a nice little festival! And I did manage to find a few new things for the stash, like this amazing merino batt from Spin-a-Bit

This is, litterally, the biggest batt I’ve ever encountered…

…and this electric green and purple Tencel top from A Touch of Twist

Should make for a very interesting spin…

…and this skein of Dye Dreams merino/cashmere/nylon Classy Sox yarn…

In the “Red Red Wine” colorway

…and two hanks of pretty, pretty merino/tencel from the Sheepshed at Mountain View Farm in the “Berry” colorway.

Got some of this at Rhinebeck in 2008. LOVED it. Very happy to have more.

I also decided that I’m going to try to work from stash from now until Rhinebeck in October because, damn, my stash has gotten HUGE lately.

Saturday night, a whole crew of us went out to Max Burger for delicious food and a Birthday Extravaganza. A fantastic time—full of Fatty Melts, grown-up milkshakes and other tasty burgers—was had by all!

Yay for our birthdays!

And, my awesome friends gave me awesome gifts, including pretty handmade jewelry from Tracy I’ve been coveting (and happen to be wearing today, funny enough), chocolate wine from Jenni, chocolate from Kristin & Jeff, a copy of 60 Quick Knits and this amazing Corgi Hill fiber from Allison…

50/50 Baby Camel/Tussah…so amazingly soft…

…and this gorgeous alpaca/merino/silk from Kris that I might have been coveting as well!

“Merlot” colorway from The Painted Sheep…so beautiful…

Sunday was brunch at The Adam’s Mill with the fam….their Sunday brunch is fabulous, BTW, highly recommend it. Even my grandparents made it up from Rhode Island, and we had a really nice morning full of mimosas and coffee and bacon and eggs benedict and mini-cheesecakes.

Overall, the best part of the whole weekend was all the people who came out to celebrate with us. It really meant so much, and thank you to everyone for making this year such a wonderful birthday!

FO: Belmondo

Thanks, everyone, for the nice comments about my Spazz. Leroy and Miranda seem to be doing ok. They’re a pretty closely bonded pair—best buddies—so they’re keeping each other good company as they adjust to just being a pair.

Now for less depressing, much more happy, regularly scheduled yarny stuff, I give you my finished Belmondo:

Ta-da!

The yarn is, of course, Malabrigo Worsted, in the fabulous shade of “Rojo Vivo,” and I used an entire full hank, plus the quarter-skein that was left over from my Grove mittens. I could wax on about all the virtues of Mal Worsted—and this shade of red, for that matter—but I think we’ve covered that ground pretty well already.

So squishy and snuggly!

Simple, but effective—that’s how I’d describe this pattern. It’s about as easy as lace can get, just a yo-k2tog four-row repeat. But the effect looks complicated and textured. It’s like a sassy fishnet for your neck and shoulders, and I think the fringe gives it a spicy little flare. It’s really a great look for minimal effort and minimal yardage. The pattern is very clear and easy-peasy to follow; it would look great in a transitional colorway. I knit mine on US 10’s, but you could totally go for bigger needles and a lacier look, too. If you’re looking for a mostly mindless stashbuster or a quick gift, I’d highly recommend it.

This past Saturday, Lillian, Allison, Emilee, Kris, Tracy, Jenni and I took a trip up to WEBS for some stashbuilding and general shenangians in Northampton. Allison has a great little write up over here; I’ll only add that the moment where I was picking up balls and skeins as they fell out of Tracy’s basket and finally said, “I think you might need a cart,” was—in fact—awesome. I did more than a little stashbuilding myself; however, only two skeins don’t have a purpose at this very moment. Which, to me, is a minor victory: 95 percent of what I purchased already is destined to be knit into something fabulous.

And really, when you see bags of Cascade 220—10 skeins total—for all of $50…

This is actually more golden and less yellow than this photo would suggest.

…can you really say no?

This is going to make a simply fabulous Girasole for my living room, BTW.

Two

Had an unexpected start to my day today.

Well, I guess it wasn’t completely unexpected. My kiddos are old and getting older every day. I just didn’t think Spazz would be next.

Leroy and Miranda, on a much happier day

I don’t have a good digital solo pic of Spazz, only prints. He was always one of my big boys, a total love who would give kisses when he wasn’t too busy running around.

Spazz and Buddha were “The Brothers.” They weren’t related by blood, but they came to me as a pair when they were  only a few months old. They were both overgrown babies: huge for their age and unwanted because of their big size. Buddha had a big ole belly and would cuddle up for a few minutes of neck scratches. Spazz was a different story. He totally lived up to his name.

He was my brother’s ferret. On the night I brought him home, I let all the other kids out to play and put him down on the floor to say his hellos. He literally did laps around the room—running and running and hissing and talking and running and running—for an entire hour until he passed out cold. Spazz fit him perfectly.

The Three Amigos, on a much happier day

Like Miranda and Leroy, Spazz hadn’t been in perfect health, but he’d been holding his own. At eight years old, he was a complete senior citizen. I let the kiddos out to play last night, and I had a bad feeling about Spazz; he had no interest in playing in the water bowl with the other two, which is usually the first place all three of them head to. I found him this morning.

So, now there are two. It’s sad, but inevitable. Ferrets don’t live more than a decade. Leroy is nine now, Miranda is seven; both have their health problems. Our days numbered and despite the sad, I’m prepared for this. I knew it’s been coming.

Will I still be The Weaselmomma when there are no more weasels? I’ll have to think about that one. But, thankfully, we’re not there yet…

One down…

…one to go!

Digging the vintage feel

The white ribbon probably isn’t permenant—especially since that’s the only piece I have; not nearly enough for two stockings—but I wanted to see how it would fit. Turns out the ribbon is essential; no way this would stay up without it.

So damn pretty

Of course, I didn’t swatch for these. So couple what’s probably a row-gauge issue with the fact that I’m tall—and have ridiculously, I mean *ridiculously,* long limbs—and that means I’ve had to do many, many more pattern repeats than what’s called for. I also did some extra calf shaping because, even though I don’t have big calves at all (I can’t even usually buy a pair of knee-high boots off the shelf—they tend to be baggy at the tops), I don’t think these would have fit without more shaping.

More deets to come once I knock out the second of the pair!