Sunday, July 01, 2007

Yarn pr0n and shameless promotion

It took me a while to catch on to the Sea Silk craze. I started out as a blanket knitter and got used to thinking of sportweight as "ridiculously thin" yarn. Sure, I quickly tired of Boye circulars and moved on to Addi Turbos...and then to KnitPicks Options, but at one point you would have had to pry my Lion Brand Homespun from my cold, dead fingers.

I still believe that Homespun (not to mention Sugar 'n' Cream) has its place. But at some point in my three-ish-year career of knitting large, flat objects – when I'd decided that maybe my skills *were* enough to manage it, and was in desperate want of a garment that I could actually wear in Houston – I decided I wanted to try lace knitting.

So after several false starts, including purchasing Folk Shawls, failing at the Knitting Olympics, and developing a serious infatuation with Sea Silk at Yarntopia, I thoroughly mined all of HandMaiden's online stockists and settled on It's a clean, easy-on-the-eyes site with great navigation, not to mention specials and information everywhere. Owner Evelyn has an impressive list of brands from mid-range to luxury, and impressive stock to boot. Best of all, she takes fantastic product shots and makes thumbnails of every colorway; click, and you get a much larger picture; double-click, and a new window with a *still larger* picture opens.

Amy the Yarn Enabler was over at my place New Year's Eve, and helped me choose (after a loooooong decision process) the Amethyst colorway (as seen in the previous post for the IP Forest Canopy). This was just before midnight on December 31...and by 10 am on January 1, Evelyn had personally e-mailed me to let me know she'd send it out the next day. And lo, on January 5, I came home to the trifecta of Excellent Online Retailing:

- A lovely, sturdy package, neither too large or too small for the...
- Perfectly packed purchase, wrapped gently in plastic and nestled in tissue paper, and...
- Shipped by inexpensive, efficient Priority Mail.

Even more, there was a personal, handwritten note from Evelyn, a touch that will put any purchase over the top for me. I e-mailed my thanks and undying loyalty, and she replied warmly. An unbelievably great experience all small thing when you're spending more than $30 a skein on *any* yarn.

I soon discovered that the expense was more than worth it. Just one repeat of the Forest Canopy, and I was head over heels in love – both with lace and with the Sea Silk. I acquired the two skeins of Berry at the lovely Yarntopia, but even this left me wanting more.

Then, on April 1, Evelyn announced HandMaiden's happy error of the 150g skeins (previously mentioned here). I wondered if it was an April Fool's joke, but she kindly disabused me of the notion. This made it impossible to resist, so I didn't: that's when the Ocean, Vintage, and Sea Storm (below) found new homes (i.e. mine). Evelyn showed incredible patience with my selection process, and gave me the same lovely, speedy service she had before.

What's more, we exchanged several e-mails, which included some discussion of my fiber sensitivities and, ergo, why Sea Silk was practically the perfect product for me. Evelyn mentioned that she'd requested a second shipment, which finally came through in mid-May.

Once again, I failed to resist the Sea Siren...hence, the Sangria. A special-edition Storm Water Stole, reworked from the original scarf pattern, came along for only $1.50. And yet a third time, Evelyn came through with the best service around. What more could you ask for? (Aside from more cash for more yarn, of course.)

Here's what, for all you HandMaiden/Fleece Artist fans and sheep-free types like me. In addition to the Sea Silk, there's the new Flaxen, plus Silken, Lace Silk, and much more. Colorways you don't see just everywhere. The ability to special order *any* HM/FA yarn in nearly *any* colorway on the cards.

For the sheepless and sheep-full, also carries woolly Fleece Artist stuff, Claudia Handpaints, Lantern Moon, Fiber Trends, Interweave, and tons of other yarn, accessories, and patterns...all this, plus the distinct advantage of personal service from a small business owner who really knows her stuff - and her customers.

In short, stop by the next time you want handpainted yarn wonderment. Evelyn – who completely deserves your business – is an absolute yarn wonder her darned self. And when you're buying even a single skein this fancy, you deserve a wondrous experience.


Further to the Forest Canopy shawl, I have completed yet another repeat, plus two rows. This brings me within 4 rows of the original body pattern. Much as I'd love to tack on the edging and call it a day, the shawl is still a bit wee. In the next couple of days, I'm going to pin it out for measuring and determine how much further I want/need to go. And still my enthusiasm has not waned!

Three posts in seven days...has the world gone mad?!

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