Monday, 21 November 2011

More knitting projects: frilly knitted scarves

I saw the fun and very soft "Frill Seeker" and this "how to video" or this one for crochet. This yarn is essentially the same as Bernat "Twist & Twirl" and its video.  I made one for myself, and knitted it closed into a loop so that it would not slip off my neck (or the coat hook at work) and get lost. It is loose enough to be looped twice around my neck to keep it warm.

I have a couple others made for some cuties that I know. These will be gifts so watch and wait.
The trick to using this yarn is to work along the outside edge, placing the needle tip about 1/4" in from the edge, and about an inch apart; ignoring the rest of the "fishnet-like" yarn. When all is done, a bit of fluffing, shaking and ruffling makes it all look pretty.

There are lots of great colour combo's too.

The scarf can be knitted up in 2 evenings of TV watching, or one evening if you are not being very distracted.  It is a fast and fun knitting project, and pretty easy once you get used to working along the edge.

P.S.The shawl is being saved as my vacation project so watch this space  for more photos soon.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Lady of the Lake Knitted Shawl, part 3 (and some good customer service stories)

I had previously wrote about my Shawl project, update 2 a few weeks ago. I was happily knitting away until I hit a snag, literally. At the point of dividing the shawl I decided to switch to the second ball of yarn. It was not a good surprise to see that ball #2 was much finer than ball #1. It was like comparing sports weight to fingering yarn. I had little faith that my knitting project will work out, but I tried. I knitted up about 8" and I was not happy at all. There is no way that this was going to work out.

Yes, I purchased 2 balls of the same yarn, even if they were not the same colour-way that should have worked in the same project. Here I was, nearly $70 into a project that was not going to be beautiful.

After a few days I decided to contact the shop, The Loop in Halifax. I used their webform, twice. I had not heard anything so a few weeks later I called the shop to let them know how disappointed I am.

They actually had read my email, tried to reach me to follow up but there was an error in my email address in one of the contact forms. They were ready to fix it!! Yay for me. Mimi was confident that the issue was a defective ball of yarn since they only sell one weight. They were quite happy to send me a replacement ball, and I to send them a sample of the defective yarn weight ball.

Here we are, Nov 8 and the new ball is here, I am ready to start into it, but I have this much of the shawl completed:

That was good customer service story #1; I have 2 more good experiences to share. It is probably because the whole financial world is stretched so thin that it really matters that companies provide real value for the money that is spent on their goods. I appreciate that the store is standing up and meeting the expectations I have for the money that was spent there.  We have only so much money and when it is spent we deserve true value for it.

Good customer service story #2 (maybe, the jury is still out on this one): my TomTom 630 go GPS. I bought it last year with my bonus. I spent time choosing this model, after purchasing and returning a Magellen and a Garmin. I thought that I made a good choice. After 14 months it went crazy, the screens kept switching rapidly, I was unable to see any routing information. I could not enter any info either because it was locked into "P".  The TomTom only wanted to go the closest Police station, Puerto Rico or Pittsburgh. This was not really useful at all and a big waste of nearly $200.

I contacted TomTom Support, followed the online tips, joined the forum, followed the tips. called the customer support line, followed all the tips. No matter what we tried the GPS was insane. I was not a happy camper. I could see that there was a large group of owners of these units (630 and 730) that were all having the same issues. There was speculations that is was overheating, too much pressure from the screws, dirt under the bezel, software issues etc. Hundreds of owners with exactly the same problem should tell the company that their device is defective, whether it is just past warranty time or not.

So, finally the customer service technician relented, provided the coveted RMA# and agreed to send a replacement. Happily I posted to the forum that I was getting a new device. Quickly there were posts that I would have the same problem with the new device --- and yes. The new device that I received in the beginning of October was stuck on the "P" and still  only wanted to go the closest Police station, Puerto Rico or Pittsburgh. So eventually, another call to TomTom customer service, and another RMA#. Mercedes promised that they would send a device that worked. I hope so. Really, TomTom should be sending me a different model, one that really works. This model is a "lemon". We'll see.

Good customer service story #3: The saga of the diamond bracelet. In 2010 DH wanted to buy me a beautiful bracelet for my birthday. We looked at all the jewellery stores in all the malls in town, every weekend for a month. Finally I found a beautiful twisty, feminine, beautiful and reasonably priced diamond bracelet. It was so pretty. At the time, the sales agent also sold us a "lifetime warranty". I wondered why in the world I would need such a thing but.....

It was a very good thing to have purchased, the warranty that is. After a few weeks of wearing the bracelet I noticed that a stone had fallen out, no worries, there is a lifetime warranty, the stone was replaced. Six weeks later I pick it up from the store. I wear it for a while and... a stone falls out. I take it back again and the stone will be replaced. Another 6 weeks in the shop. I pick it up; I wear it for a few weeks and... another stone falls out. Back again it goes for a repair. Now it has spent more time in the repair shop than on my wrist.

The store replaces it with another from the counter. .... I am wearing it and ... yes, another stone falls out again. I take it into another location, hoping that a different jewelry repair person works on it. I pick it up after a couple of months. By this time I am whining a bit to the sales agent who tells me that I am lucky that we bought the "lifetime warranty" as they will keep repairing it. THIS IS NOT THE POINT. If I have a beautiful bracelet that someone bought as a gift to make me happy, I should be able to wear it, not have it spend most of its time in repair.

I put the bracelet on at the store and drove home. Guess what, by the time I arrived home another stone has fallen out. REALLY. This must be a design flaw. All I have done is drive home and that should not have caused any stones to fall out. Sadly, I place it in my jewelry box and just look at it for a few months, wishing that I could wear it.

People's Jewelers sends out marketing emails, just like many other businesses. One day when I was being particularly sad about not wanting to wear this "lemon"of a bracelet, I responded to their sales flash with an email noting that I wished our last purchase made us happy. A few emails back and forth, and a few weeks later, I receive a call from Shayna at the People's store where this was originally purchased. She offered to exchange my bracelet, in view of the many times it had been returned, repaired and then disappointing me. I met with her at the store. I saw a very similar style bracelet, nearly the same design but slightly altered.  Shayna was so helpful, positive and sincere.

We both hoped that the design change really fixed the problem because it is such a pretty bracelet. She sent me off with the bracelet that hopefully would make me happy, no fussing, no "red tape", just a smile and good wishes.

I am very impressed, THANK YOU People's Jewelers .  We will be back, the next time though should be for another pretty piece of bling, I think that you mean it when you want to make your customer happy.