A few things have happened around here in the past couple of weeks that have made me fussy. You'd think I was a two-year-old with all the fussy. Instead of subjecting you to a series of woe-is-me posts, I decided to just get it all off my chest in one sitting. I'd really like to hear your feedback, but completely understand if you'd rather not listen to me whine and just skip today's rant.
Awhile back, I got a note from a woman asking me about our superwash yarns. She told me she had been reading online about the process and wanted more information.
Dyeing yarn is a magic mix of art and chemistry and I was happy to oblige. I like teaching people about what I do and how it works.
I explained what I know about superwash yarn. I'm not a chemist but over the years I have learned a little about how the wool is treated so you can throw it into the washer and dryer without disastrous results.
In a nutshell, wool fiber has scales on it. When wool gets wet and rubs against itself those scales lock together and you get felt. Superwash fibers are treated so those scales are smoothed out and can't lock together. There are a couple of ways to do the smoothing. One is to have an acid soften the edges of the scales. The other way is to coat them with a polymer. All superwash yarns use one process or the other, sometimes both.
As it turns about, the woman who contacted me is an environmental activist and intended to quote me and publish my remarks. And it was in a less than flattering light. I don't really mind so much that it was less than flattering. What bothered me was that she didn't tell me she was an author and that she was getting information for the record. Had I known I was going to be quoted, I would have combed my hair and put on a clean sweater.
Actually, I wouldn't have changed a single word of what I told her. That's not the point. The point is that it is common courtesy to tell someone that they are speaking on the record. It is also best journalistic practices. Everyone who is writing should follow them. From the New York Times all the way down the line. Even if the only person who reads your blog is your mother.
I got an email from a woman the other day didn't like the way her yarn was behaving. It was twisting and kinking up on itself while she was knitting.
I told her I'd be happy to replace it and asked her to send it back to us. Part of the reason I asked her to do that was so that I could send it to the mill and have it tested. Quality control is a huge priority around here and if I need to bust the mill's chops, I need to show them samples, not just pictures.
To make a very long story short, she didn't think it was reasonable for Lorna's Laces to ask that she return the yarn. She wanted to keep the yarn and have us just send her more. Have her cake and eat it too.
When did it become OK to demand a company send you free stuff without returning the original goods you purchased? Do people call Nike or Levi's or Mr. Coffee and tell them that something is wrong and have them send out more without returning the original? And why wouldn’t you handle this through your retailer first?
We work very hard here at Lorna's Laces to make sure that the product that goes out the door is first rate. We have a giant box of millends in the corner to attest to that. But I won't deny that sometimes something slips past us. I'm just not sure that buying a skein of that slippery yarn should entitle you to a two-for-one.
A note came across my desk from a woman who had picked up a copy of Lorna Miser's Faith, Hope, Love, Knitting. I still get two or three email a year for Lorna.
Anyway, the woman said that she had purchased the book intending to copy a few of the patterns and then return it the next day. I couldn't believe my eyes. Fan mail and copyright infringement all wrapped up in the same package.
I sent her a nice email thanking her for keeping the book and did my best to encourage her to buy patterns in the future. I explained that designers like Lorna have to make a living from the royalties they derive from the sales of their books and patterns and that every sale makes a big difference to them. I hope she understands.
Sometimes I get the feeling people are just trying to take advantage and it doesn’t seem right. Or maybe I just need a vacation.
Please return to your regularly scheduled programming.