Monday, January 17, 2011

Third time's a charm.

I have been knitting for the baby. Just at a snail's pace. I have a queue a mile long of things I'd like to get done in various sizes and colors, but I've had a project hanging over my head.

In the early days of being pregnant, I was feeling like crap but felt like I HAD to start knitting something. I was compelled. I am a knitter, afterall. But I knew I didn't have the energy for antyhing too complicated. And it had to be gender neutral. Between waves of nausea I went to Michaels and bought a bunch of balls of Lion Brand Baby's First in a lovely turquoisey blue. It was bulky. I thought that would be a plus.

Next, I chose a pattern. I considered doing some kind of log cabin square blanket, but the picking up of stitches or seaming scared me away. Ultimately, I chose the pattern. I already owned it, and well, I was close to the right gauge. So I started knitting a fairly large garter stitch square. While there is something incredibly comforting about garter stitch, there's also something incredibly boring about it. So my mind wandered, and I lost my will to knit. I went weeks without touching it. I would then pick it up, knit a row, and set it aside for weeks while I played Tetris on the Ipad or fell asleep on the couch at an unreasonably early time.

Bulky Garter Stitch

But last week I finally picked it up. And I sat down and finished that garter stitch. Of course, then I had to pick up lots of stitches around the border. But it went smoother than I anticipated. I started knitting the feather & fan border, and was beginning to feel like the end was actually in sight. I even bought yarn for my next baby sweater project believing that I would be finished with this godforsaken blanket any day.

But then while knitting away in front of a roaring fire, disaster struck. The cable on my Knitpicks Option needles broke. Completely broke, at the join, and there was no fixing it. Stitches flew. I panicked, and for a moment considered that this was an omen and that I should just throw the whole mess away. But instead, I showed quiet restraint (at least that's my story since there were no witnesses), found a new cable, and set out to pick up all of those stitches. It wasn't easy. It took forever. I took a warm bath first to prepare myself. I got everything (all 300+ stitches) back on the needles, tinked back a few rows to fix some dropped yarnovers, and knit a few more rounds.

Broken Cable 01

Now, I should say here that this is not the first time this has happened. I received the set of needles as a gift a few years back right after they became available, and I've used them quite a bit. I have had a cable break on the Knitpicks needles in the exact same place in the past. But the needles (and extra cables) are priced so incredibly low (a new set of just the cables is about $5) that I don't have any expectation that they should last forever. And so two isolated incidents years apart didn't seem like a big deal. And yes, perhaps it could be "fixed" with a dab of glue, but it would still be unreliable and/or create an unsmooth join. However...

As I picked the blanket back up and started to really speed my way through the growing rows, it happened again. The. Very. Next. Night. Seriously.

Broken Cable03

At this point, I sent an email to Knitpicks Customer Service*, and decided that I should put the entire project aside until I could go pick up a new size 11 circular needle. Which came at a price...

New Needles

I have the stitches back on the needles, and am ready to get back to it.

*I've read online rave reviews of Knitpicks Customer Service, and in the interest of fairness, I feel like I should say the following: Knitpicks got back to me on the same business day and offered to send me replacement cables. I further asked them if this was an on-going quality problem with their product (I've read similar accounts on forums). In response, the Knitpicks Customer Service indicated that from once in a while they do seem to get a "bad batch," and that it helps if customers don't "let their project hang from the cables." I'm confused on the second point, because I'm not sure how you use the product without letting the project hang. I do think that Knitpicks is trying to do the right thing. But at this point, I'm not sure if I'm interested in continuing to use these needles. Perhaps you get what you pay for, and it's time to move on.

4 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

janna said...

I've had that happen, too, and they replaced the cable right away. By "hang from the cables," I think they mean the project hanging, not resting on your lap while you knit. I like my KnitPicks a lot (and I hate Addis -- I know - how weird is that? But they're not pointy enough) so I'll put up with the risk, I guess!

Liz said...

I have had numerous problems with Knit Picks needles. I don't use them anymore other than the size 1 metal circ for magic looping socks.

I have never once had a problem with Addi turbos. Here's my thing -- regardless of how great customer service is, it's a crappy product and I spend way too much time and effort on my knitting to use crappy needles, ya know?

~RaenWa~ said...

Luckily I haven't had anything happen to my KP circs I love these things but I will have to keep an eye on them since I know this has happen to alot of people.

I hope the Addi's work for you so you can finally get your project done.

princessquiltandknitalot said...

I have had the same problem, live knit picks and think it is a great beginner needle set but I am ready to move on even if it means more $. I cant wait to see the blanket when done!

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