Peaches & Creme: CottonCloud’s High Prices

 I posted previously about how Pisgah Yarn Company was sold to the Canadian firm SpinRite. Now I am posting briefly about something strange I discovered. I have been researching many of the sites that still have some Peaches and Creme yarn still in stock. When I ran across CottonClouds.com, i almost had a heart attack over their prices. For example,  at their website, a cone of ombre worsted weight Peaches & Creme is..wait for it…

$19.99.

No, seriously. Here’s a link to prove it.  And here’s a link to the plain worsted weight yarn, priced at a staggering $17.95 per cone. These prices are double or more than double the normal prices.

At first I wondered if they were a non-US company and so their high prices reflected extra shipping costs. Nope. Their phone number is American. CottonClouds.com has either always had pricing that is more than double what is normally charged, or they are hoping that desperate crafters will pay their inflated prices. I checked a few of their other yarns to see if they always charged abnormally high prices and guess what? It seems like the only yarn that is priced so high is Peaches and Creme.

 Am I saying that a private company shouldn’t be able to charge what they please? Nope. I just think it is ridiculous and a little outrageous to decide to jack up the prices of a discontinued product so high because there is still a loyal customer-base. I probably wouldn’t have even cared if this money-grab hadn’t been so blatant and so greedy.

I have a bad taste in my mouth. I still hope that maybe they always had their prices this high..but I doubt it.

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May 22, 2011. Tags: , , . Snark Editorial. 3 comments.

Peaches and Creme: Spinrite, American Cotton & A Sad End

 Peaches and Creme has been an enduring part of my knitting life as long as I can remember. It’s one of the few natural fiber yarns that I could get at some place as big box as Walmart and it came in beautiful, bright colors. One of my many weaknesses is that I crave color. Buying fat little skeins of brightly-dyed cotton was the perfect, low-cost way to get this fix. The Mason-Dixon books gave P&C a big boost when they featured this great American yarn in many of their patterns. Who hasn’t knit at least one ballband dishcloth?

 Unfortunately, P&C has become another victim of our broken system here in America. I refuse to become political on my crafting. But I think this situation illustrates the kind of crap that happens when profit becomes the number 1 goal of so many people. Peaches and Creme has been bought out by another company and production in the US is being shut down. Before I jump into this, I’ll start a little earlier.

 Wal-Mart used to be a big customer of P&C yarns. My guess is that they were probably their largest account. Then, there was a sudden switch. Wal-Mart announced that they were switching some stores to Sugar and Cream yarn, which is produced by the Canadian company Spinrite. They would examine which product sold better and then stay with that product. I immediately knew something was wrong and I figured that this was more about corporate rhetoric than actually testing what product sold better. For whatever reason, probably price, Wal-Mart decided to switch to Sugar and Cream yarns instead. I was unhappy about this mainly because

1. Peaches and Creme is a superior product. It is made from long-staple American grown cotton, not the short staple odds and ends that S&C uses.
2. It comes in many different colors than S&C
3. Every other craft store in the area already carried S&C if I decided I desperately needed it.

Now it’s official. Peaches and Creme was bought by Spinrite, the Canadian company that produces Sugar and Cream. Technically, I should say Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing, which is the name of the now-defunct company.

Link to article about planting closing

Not only is the plant closing, but around 81 workers are out of luck because they have been denied funding from a fund that is supposedly aimed at helping American workers who have been hurt when their company is moved to other countries. Why have they been denied? Because technically, they only get this funding if the original company had moved to Canada. Since Spinrite purchased and moved the company (they are going to use the equipment), these poor unemployeed workers are SOL. Thanks a lot, government.

Link about out of work Pisgah employees

But here’s where it gets really interesting. None of this might have had to happen at all. Apparently, workers believe that the two men running the company chose to sell out so they could get the cash and run. What a charming move. One of the founder’s relatives who worked at the plant has some interesting things to add about this.

Pisgah Workers’ Perspectives

I just have to say that I am very sad. I went to the Peaches and Creme website, which is still functioning, and ordered around 20 balls of the very best, affordable cotton there was. A lot of the colors are out of stock, but there are still some available. Fabric.com also has limited available stock and free shipping once you hit $35. I made sure to get extra of my favorite color, Aqua Mist. It seems as if Spinrite just wanted the label and won’t be using any of the beautiful colorways from Pisgah, because here is the recent brochure some people were sent. In fact, it looks like they just slapped new labels onto the same old S&C colors.

‘New’ Peaches and Creme Brochure

I wanted to write this partly because I know a lot of people will be confused about what really happened. I also wanted to write this to express my own sadness about losing a genuinely American yarn company that produced a great product. The Peaches and Creme group on Ravelry is still a wonderful place to visit, so stop by to post your support and love for the original ballband yarn.

May 21, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Snark Editorial. 17 comments.

…Or Death

Well, we’ve just run out. We only had the three bits and we didn’t expect such a rush”

“So my choices are ‘or Death?”

You know, I’ve heard quite a few crafters talk about their negative experiences at yarn stores. I knitted long before I ever worked at my LYS so I was sensitive to the issue. Even now, with roughly 7 months under my belt, I try to remember to be thoughtful. I leave the browsers alone because they just want some peace and quiet. I chat with the people that need their hands held. I treat everyone as a potential crafter, even though male customers are rare and any men in the store usually are, indeed, the spouse of a female customer.

When threads about bad yarn stores surface, people with tattoos talk about being followed, men are ignored, and young people are treated as a nuisance. Although I first visited my LYS-now my place of work-when I was 16, I never felt that way. Maybe my first purchase established me as slightly different. It was two skeins of Shepherd Sock and a set of size 1 DPNs. Not exactly “Super Fun Crafty Bulky Knitz for Hawt Teens” material. Anyway, I was lucky to never felt put down because of my age.

But now, on the other side of the counter?

Most customers I deal with are amazing. And most of them seem pretty satisfied with the help that I give them. Unfortunately, I have a huge, huge disability that prevents me from helping a select few customers.

I’m young. Too young, apparently. Some customers, usually older, distinguished and conservative, just don’t feel comfortable being waited on by someone my age. I didn’t realize at first that it was my age. I  offered my help. They politely declined and I assumed they wanted to browse in peace. However, the moment that my boss appeared or spoke to them, they lit up like a Christmas tree and they had a nice chat while I stood there and felt like a schmuck. I’m using generic terms because it’s happened multiple times by now. And it wasn’t because they knew my boss. Often they are out of town visitors that have never been in the shop before.

What’s frustrating about all of this is that all of their questions were basic ones that I could easily answer. They ranged from gauge to if we had more of a certain color of yarn but none of them were that baffling. When I described them as conservative, I didn’t just mean dress. Usually they’ve knitted a very small range of patterns with a limited range of yarn. They found a niche and they don’t stray from it. Waiting on this kind of customer takes patience because they usually have very specific and exacting demands but it’s simply because they know what they want. This can be frustrating for me if I can’t find the exact shade of fingering weight unicorn yarn that they want but the pay-off comes at the register. They usually spend well.

So what continues to baffle me is why on earth being young is such a bad thing. I’m young so I can run (well, not literally) all over the shop and fetch and carry and find what they need. Still, they remain visibly uncomfortable with my youthful appearance.

I certainly don’t understand this. Maybe some of you do?

August 5, 2010. Snark Editorial, Teen Crafters. 6 comments.

Vanilla Sock. Literally.

 I just felt the need to add another stab to the collective pysche of good writers everywhere by misusing the word ‘literally’ again.

 After pondering what I should knit, I grabbed my double-points and cast on a plain ‘vanilla’ sock-it’s knit in a cream color, hence the misuse of the word literally. I’m in a slightly tiffy mood because I have a loudmouthed moron in one of my classes. He’s like a hopelessly tangled ball of yarn-when he speaks, it’s just such a big ball of stupid that you don’t know where to start untangling it. So imagine a giant tangle of yarn with a big mouth that spouts stupidity as you try to fix it. You’d probably end up like me (or maybe not) dramatically declaring to your friend that you ‘want to stab him in the eye’.

 But back to the sock. It’s simple, it’s soothing-absolutely basic. This weekend was really good for me. It helped me to rest after getting adjusted to a brandnew schedule and it also let me take up my knitting again. I felt like I was melding together the scattered bits of my life. I’m someone that needs touchstones like knitting; just something that helps to glue it all together.

 And, on the plus side, I got a good score on my first math quiz!

September 8, 2009. Snark Editorial. 4 comments.

Yarn Stalking: The New Olympic Sport

 F5. F5. F5.

It was a dark and stormy night.

Somewhere, far away in Germany, a dyer uploaded her inventory.

And all hell broke loose.

That’s the essence of a Wollmeise yarn update. Since Claudia has gone to unannounced updates, her dedicated fans spend most of their weekend stalking her website and hoping for an update. I’m not sure how unannounced updates are supposed to help with the drama. It’s taking disappointed customers and adding a side of sleep deprivation to the mix. However, I want to try this myself sometime, just because I think it would be a novel experience to buy yarn from the single most hyped yarn dyer right now.

 I did, however, a little yarn stalking myself, but it wasn’t Wollmeise. It was the Sanguine Gryphon.

 I’ve been reading her blog for a long time now. Her posts are usually crammed with pictures of freshly dyed yarn which she sells on her website. I never bought from her–and then I heard about Bugga. It’s a  70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon sock yarn and all the colorways are inspired by..bugs! I heard all this hype about it, and so I determined that I would try it. I managed to get my hands on a skein of bright tomato red and it was everything that I dreamed about it. Soft, intensely vibrant colors-it was amazing.

 However, the updates were already feverish. I didn’t want to assume that I could get this yarn anytime, so I marked down the next update on my list. She posted the colorways that she was updating on her blog, and a few new ones.

 I fell in love with the color and the name of one of the new ones–Blue Arsed Fly. Yes, that is an actual bug.

Behold:

bluearsedfly by you.

 The update time was 8:00. A Ravelry friend, craftinginsanity, commented on my red Bugga socks. We messaged back and forth and voila! She revealed that she had some yarn money burning a hole in her pocket, so she marked down the time, too. She fell in love with the Blue Arsed Fly as well.

 When the update happened, it was all reflex. I hit the ‘add to cart’ button. I refreshed my way through the numerous error 500 screens. And finally, finally-I got to Paypal and I got my yarn.

IMG_0804 by you.

IMG_0803 by you.

My pictures do terrible justice to a stunning skein of yarn. Deep blue that treads that fine line between blue and purple–turquoise, silver-blue–all melded into one fat, squishy skein of yarn.

 I almost hesitate to blog about this because since that last update, Sanguine Gryphon is temporarily switching her methods until she can get a sturdier website. She’s using a lottery method. She posts the list of available colorways that week. You can choose up to two skeins in any of the colorways, and you post in the specific thread in the Ravelry group. After 24 hours, she closed it, and randomly picked 50 winners. I thought it worked very well, and it’s a great temporary measure until the new website.

 This skein, along with another (shhh) that I traded my soul to get, is going to become part of my new, highly ambitious sock project—but that will come later!

April 13, 2009. Tags: , , , . Snark Editorial. 12 comments.

Top 10 Knitting Questions Briefly Answered

1. Acrylic: It melts

2. Stockinette stitch: It curls

3. Alice Starmore books: THEY WILL NEVER BE IN PRINT AGAIN

4. Crochet versus knitting:

Someday, we will hammer our knitting needles into crochet hooks, and beat crochet hooks into knitting needles and cashmere will flow freely throughout the land. Until then? DIE, CROCHET! (1)

5. Socks: Yes, they are fun to knit

6. Ads: Stop linking your Etsy shop in every post

7. The next Knitty issue: It will come out as soon as Amy knows that everyone has given up hope and gone to pick up a gallon of milk. She has powers, people. Mind powers.

8. Copyright: No one really knows what’s copyright is, but you can bet that there’s going to be a lot of links to girlfromauntie’s blog.

9. Wollmeise

It does not actually exist. The money is being funneled into a secret operation that is testing the effects of fads and the herd mentality as it relates to online shopping. It’s a tale so twisted, so bizarre…that it MUST be true!

10. “Is (insert technique here) really hard?”

This question is framed badly. No knitter or crocheter will ever tell you that any aspect of their craft is hard, because they want to suck you into the black hole that is their latest multi-color lace argyle body suit designed by Kaffe Fasset. Warning signs that knitters are lying to you include: ‘don’t do this while talking,’ or, ‘let your family know that you may not be available for the next three years,’ or, ‘It’s REALLY easy, I’ve made 37 pairs in two days!”

Merry generic holidays, dear readers.

1. Yes, merry holidays, even to the crocheters. I was teasing you. Mostly.

December 21, 2008. Snark Editorial. 15 comments.

Knit Two By Kate Jacobs Book Review: Stab My Eyeballs Out Bad

I’ve reviewed the first book that Kate Jacobs wrote about knitting, the Friday Night Knitting Club. Here’s the post, but be warned that it gets kinda goopy and it’s as much of a review as it is about me and an old friend.

 However, THIS is a straight-up review of her sequel, Knit Two, and oh, boy, am I ready to review this book. I want to review it right down the road. If you want to buy it, here’s an Amazon link, but stick around for the review and maybe go to the library instead.

 The first book covers the life of Georgia Walker, a single mom with a daughter, a woman dumped by her boyfriend and struggled through life to open up her own yarn shop on NY. The sweetness and angst is about as subtle as someone ripping out your heartstrings with a sledgehammer, but I digress.

 The plot revolves around Georgia gradually reuniting with her husband and learning to trust an old friend that betrayed her. Along the way, she is always admired and gathers a group of friends around her that attend the Friday Night Knitting club. Anita, an older woman, Petri, who works at the shop, KC, a sterotypical NY person ( I have no other way to put it, KC sounds like all the cliches of a single older woman in NY slapped together) Darwin, a grad student with a secret, oh, and Cat, her traitor friend.  There’s also Luci, the woman that gets pregnant by an unsuspecting dude because she wants someone to love. After all, the best reason to have a child is to fulfill your own emotional needs.  Fear my sarcasm, ladies. 

 I’m not going to go into the entire plot of the first book. Suffice it to say that after everyone is happy, Georgia dies of cancer. Wah, wah, wah, Hallmark movie moment. Pass me a box of hankies.

 Knit Too picks up 5 years after Georgia kicks the bucket with one perfect, cowboy-booted foot.

 About 5 pages in, the author lost me.

The plot is, to be the kindest that my grumpy, love-starved soul can possibly be, NON-EXISTENT.

 Yep, you heard it. No plot.

 James, one of the most compelling characters in the book, has faded into obscurity. Darwin is pregnant with twins, hurrah. But, no plot. Anita and her BF decide to get married, RAH! But, no plot. Cat is sleeping around and having fun! But no plot.  Petri is pissed and making handbags. Rah! But no plot. The closest that the book comes to a plot is hinting that there might be something between James and Anita and then snatching it away.

 Dakota, Georgia’s daughter, has completed her first semester at NYU and acts like a spoiled brat whenever Petri tries to change anything. She is the Angst Princess. Sure, her mom died. But that gives her no right to act like the sterotypical ‘owner’s daughter’ and pull some guilting BS on Petri, who actually runs the shop. When Petri tries to call her on acting like a kid, Dakota breaks into sobs and pulls the “my mommy died, UR mean card,” and I am NOT kidding when I tell you that she actually said, “My pain trumps yours.”

 Yes, that’s right. Because when you’re a brat, it’s all about how you’re not responsible for it because your pain trumps that of the woman that has kept your mom’s shop together for the past five years.

 But, there’s STILL no plot. The characters wander aimlessly through the pages. Oh, and the knitting content? Pretty much ZERO.  Yeah, everyone knits and talks about it once in awhile, but don’t kid yourself, this book is as much about how sad women are without a man and bebehs as it is about knitting.  I kept reading, hoping that a plot would emerge SOMEWHERE. Somehow, a plot would come to the fore and I would chuckle at the cleverness of the author.

 Unfortunately, no such thing happened. I already wasn’t a fan of the first book, but the second was so much worse that it made me positively angry. It is NOT worth the money to someone that wants a knitting novel, it is NOT worth the money to someone that wants a cozy romance, and, to be blunt, really shouldn’t have been published. Jacob’s publishers should not have accepted this book. At least the first book had a plot, sacchraine as it may have been. Knit Two doesn’t even try.

 The conclusion of the book? Well, huh. Since there was no compelling plot or conflict, there is really no resolution. Sure, Dakota decides to be a pastry chef, in spite of her father’s objections. Sure, Cat hooks up with some dude. Sure, Anita reunites with some long-lost sister. But, you really didn’t care about most of these ‘problems’ in the first place, so the end is about as muddled and unrewarding as the rest of the book.

PS. Did I mention that I also feel like crap today? I think that’s partly the reason that I have no patience for more crap in the written form. Sorry if you liked it despite the flaws, I can’t bring myself to really care about this book.

December 13, 2008. Tags: , , . Snark Editorial. 14 comments.

Knitting Moods

 My knitting mood swings wildly.

 I have some beautiful gray wool in my stash and I fully intend to buy enough to knit a sweater. However, right now? I don’t want to knit a beautiful gray sweater from lightweight yarn. I want to knit an intricately cabled Aran sweater, preferably the pattern found in both Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitters Almanac and Knitting Around. In cream, probably.

 I think that I would chose Knitting Around simply because there is a very lovely picture of Meg Swansen’s husband Cullen; in which he is wearing an intricate Norweigan sweater and his hair is Shiny and Pretty.

 Not that that has anything to do with knitting. Er.

 Moving on. Knitting moods. Ah, yes. Aran sweaters.

 Periodically, the mood strikes me and I want to harken back to Ye Olde Days of Knitting. Natural wools. Traditional patterns with no shaping that look like intricate and finely detailed wool sacks. (I’m looking at you, Starmore!) Pullovers that, while beautifully executed with the requisite stripes, look like you fell out of bed and walked into the world wearing your nightclothes. Warm and useful and usually not very attractive, but heck, when it’s under twenty degrees outside, you just want something that will keep the wind from taking the skin off the back of your neck. Which, in Ye Olde Days, was probably a pretty good trick, considering that not dying was a remarkable feat.

 Unfortunately, just before I commit my precious spending money to some foolish venture, I remember why I don’t knit shapeless sacks, no matter how traditional. I think they look darn ugly. So I put my money back and buy beautiful subtle gray colors and plan for a lovely cardigan that I will be able to wear for years and years, probably.

 The urge has been stronger lately. I know that I must buy Christmas presents for my dear family and I will. I know that I will buy the rest of the gray wool that my kindly LYS owner is holding back for me, and I will. But I will be eyeing the Cascade Ecological wool she has on the shelves. It’s aran weight and comes in a lovely cream color.

 I sense my resistance fading. I sense that my knitting mood will eventually overcome my rational brain and…AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

(slaps self repeatedly)

 Much better.

 But, then again..

 In Knitting Around, there’s Shiny, Pretty Hair.

 Shiny.

 This reminds me of why I try not to shop when it’s below twenty degrees. Weak resistance, you understand. At least, that’s what I think I’m planning to blame it on.

December 4, 2008. Snark Editorial. 6 comments.

Holiday Knitting: A Polemic

  I am a selfish knitter and not in the way that it has been defined by anxious knitters trying to explain why they’re selfish (but not actually) because they don’t knit for other people.

 I’m just selfish.

 I knit a pair of handwarmers for my older sister and she’s demanding a reknit because she says they’re too baggy. (They are, but I think they stretched a bit in washing. They can wait.) Other than that, I studiously avoid knitting for other people.

 One part does have to do with a limited stash. By limited, I don’t mean that I don’t have enough yarn, it’s just that I can’t go out and buy yarn for a project whenever I feel like it. But the other part has to do with the fact that I refuse to knit for another human being that will take it and say, in a carefully-modulated voice,

 “That’s nice.”

 I like people to enjoy gifts and so I don’t want to knit for someone that won’t like it. But for some odd reason, Christmas (which, let’s face it, is THE holiday that’s been pimped by the retailers) always spurs dozens of anxious forum posts from knitters.

 They want to know what they should knit for their fashion concious son, or if their mother-in-law deserves a 9 foot by 9 foot Orenburg lace shawl knit entirely from yarn whose fibers have been combed from the disgestive tract of the rare cashmere-and-silk devouring Yarnimal and hand dyed by holy priests dedicated to the art of color and the harmonies of craft.

 And this is after their mother-in-law took their last knitted gift (an classic aran cardigan blessed by the hands of Norah Gaughan herself) and used it to mop up her spilled coffee.

 My question is NOT what you think it will be. It is not, “Does Norah Gaughan bless sweaters and if so, can I arrange an emergency exorcism for that Orange Thing under my bed?”

 No, no, my question is nothing like that. It’s a lot less sensible, a little more plaintive and lot more cosmic.

 Why?

 If you can buy your surly teenager son an iTunes gift card and call it a day, why would you spend 8 hours combing through patterns to find a beanie pattern that he won’t wear anyway? Why do you finally settle on coffee colored Aran slippers to accompany the disdained cardigan and hope that this year, your mother-in-law will refrain from laughing as she opens her gift?

 After all, most people do know someone that appreciates handknit gifts. Why not cross mother-in-law and surly son from your list and concentrate on the striped socks for your grateful aunt?

 It’s gotta be the symptoms of a disease, you know? Unreasoning grace and blessings in the face of ingratitude and bad treatment. Merino wool in return for malice, silk lace for spite? It’s like living with someone that can’t be pleased: people simply try to come up with better and better offerings in an attempt to make them happy.

 Maybe it’s cruel to call out people for being too kind and too generous. After all, if everyone did something good, regardless of what they received, we might get something good flowing here. The holiday spirit would descend on all and love and harmony would fill the air as you peacefully knit that beanie for your loving son that puts it on and says, “Gee, Ma, just what I wanted,” and skips off with his friend to make snowballs.

 And Norah Gaughan would come down every knitters’ chimney and bless every cardigan and pullover…

 even if it’s coffee-stained.

 

December 1, 2008. Snark Editorial. 22 comments.

Tweedy Yarn Goodness and Porn Spammers

 First, thanks to the enlightening spammer who let me know what “Mark didn’t usually let people do that to him, but he did this time,” and left a great link to a porn website. Thank GOD I’ve got a good spam catcher.

 Secondly, knitting!

 Remember my friend, Matt? I’m knitting the Morgan hat for him out of some beautiful tweedy yarn. Kathmunda Aran is a wool-cashmere-nylon blend and since Matt wears all black, all the time, I picked this color.

Morgan Hat by you.

 I love the way that the flecks of turqoise and gray stand out against the dignified black yarn. Also, it was 20% off at my local yarn store. Pat, the owner, comes up with monthly specials. In October, ANY yarn that was made in Italy was 20% off. Do you have any idea how yarns are made in Italy? That chick is crazy and I adore her.

 And, yes, this is an aran-weight yarn and the pattern calls for DK. I am knitting this hat in fear and trembling because it must fit Matt’s 25 inch head, but I keep thinking, “Dang! This hat is BIG!”

Morgan Hat by you.

 See what I mean? That’s just the top layer of the hat. Forgive the terrible picture quality. My camera is possessed and hopefully, Christmas will remedy this. I’m thinking of calling an emergency fitting with Matt at our local coffeshop. He will have to keep his eyes closed, however, since this will be his Christmas present.

  Which reminds me, why hasn’t Starbucks come into my neighborhood? I’m pretty sure that there’s a Starbucks inside the Oval Office itself, why not my little town?

 Back to the hat. Matt is so excited about it, it scares me. He talks about it to other people and when I sent him a quick update on the hat’s status, he repeated, “I’m so excited about this, hehehehehe.”

 Yes, a 21 year old man wrote, ‘hehehehehehe,’ because he is excited about a hat that I am knitting for him. Can you understand the pressure that puts on me to make this perfect? I’ve never had anyone be so confident in my knitting skills before and I think I’m starting to crack. I’ve got over a month to finish this hat or reknit this hat, and I’m terrified.

 It’s the opposite of the ungrateful recipient: the person who is so grateful before you even FINISH the object that you feel like a small fluffy animal will die if you screw this up. It’s like, the anti-end to a Christmas flick.

 (The scene is Christmas morning and a nervous young knitter hands a carefully wrapped package to Matt. He opens it and pulls out a shapeless tweedy mass.)

Me: Uh, it needs some blocking

Matt: AGHHH! It’s attacking my face!

Me: Maybe I shouldn’t have sold my soul to the devil in those last few hours so I could finish in time…

November 28, 2008. Tags: , , . Snark Editorial, works-in-progress. 2 comments.

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