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Review: Sonny & Shear April 15, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in Reviews.
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Sonny and Shear

Who: Kris, Dana, and Anna Grace Haukoos
Online: Sonny & Shear
Tagline: The I Got Ewe, Babe Yarn Shop
URL: http://www.sonnyandshear.com

There are some really gorgeous indie yarns out there that I have been drooling over forever and a day. I peek into other peoples’ ravelry stashes and think, “Where do they get their wonderful toys?”

I had heard a lot of talk about the greatness of Dream In Color Smooshy, so one day when I saw an ad for Smooshy being offered by Sonny and Shear, I decided to go for it. I visited their site and it took a couple of minutes to get oriented with where things were, mostly because I wasn’t familiar with all the different names for the different yarns I was looking at (the “lingo”, I suppose). After some surfing around and gazing at many lovely photos of yarn I found what I was looking for and a little more.

I selected a skein of Dream In Color Smooshy in the color Giant Peach, a skein of Lime & Violet Sasquatch Sock in Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves (most apropos), and a skein of Zen Yarn Garden Merino/Tencel in Pretty in Pink. The website has great photos including really big closeups, which I like as it makes it easy to really see what you’re paying for.

My order was over $50 so shipping was free, a major selling point in my opinion when it comes to online shopping. I placed my order after 10pm on February 5th and on February 7th I got an email that my order had shipped. On February 11th my package arrived, and there was much rejoicing! Here’s what I found when I opened up the Priority Mail box:

Sonny and Shear

(Please excuse my awful tablecloth.)

Lovely packages all tied up with ribbon! I could hardly wait to tear them open, however, and this is the swag unveiled:

Sonny and Shear

It did not at all escape me that the tea bags sent along with my order matched my yarn perfectly. It’s little touches like this that make my heart go pitter-pat.

Just because the situation screams for it, some yarn pr0n.

Sonny and Shear
Lime & Violet Sasquatch Sock: Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves

Sonny and Shear
Dream in Color Smooshy Sock: Giant Peach

Sonny and Shear
Zen Yarn Garden Merino/Tencel: Pretty in Pink

Everything was so perfect and arrived in pristine condition, there was even a card from Kris thanking me for my order. Lots of nice little touches that made me feel special and definitely made me decide that the next time I’m looking for indie yarn, this will be my first stop.

Now, about the website itself – they have a number of great promotions available that make shopping with them even more enticing. First, you can sign up for their monthly newsletter. In addition to a special coupon code the e-newsletter also contains shop news, new product raves, contest details, information on their buyer’s rewards programs, and other tidbits and links of interest. It’s worth reading all the way through!

They also offer the aforementioned buyer’s rewards programs, which are all fantastic incentives. Sonny Money lets you earn points every time you place an order so every time you buy something you’re working your way to free merchandise. Can’t beat that! ShearLinks offer blogs (like this one!) the opportunity to link to their website and earn points toward merchandise credit. Last but not least and possibly my favorite, Bust Your Stash encourages you to use the yarn you’ve been hoarding, send the ball bands to Sonny & Shear to earn 10% off your next purchase – it doesn’t even have to be yarn originally purchased from Sonny & Shear, which I think is awesome.

Most importantly the yarn is gorgeous and abundant at Sonny & Shear. Things do sell out, but when I shopped I still found plenty to mull over and I found myself humming the tune to “If I Had a Million Dollars.” The shipping was quick, the customer service courteous and efficient, and now I have some lovely, lovely yarn to drool over. Maybe I’ll even use it to, you know, knit something someday!

All logo images ©2007-2008 Kris Haukoos and Sonny & Shear

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Review: Spindle Cat Studio February 12, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in Reviews.
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3 comments

Spindle Cat Studio

Who: S.Kate Hutchison
Online: Spindle Cat Studio
Tagline: Artisan Stitch Markers, Yarn, Spindles & More!
URL: http://spindlecatstudio.etsy.com

I’ve given shout-outs to S.Kate on more than one occasion in my blog but she definitely deserves her Very Own Review. She’s a fellow Etsian whom I’ve known for a while now who deals in things fiber-related and does it very well.

For xmas this year I decided to treat myself to a set of her stitch markers after being convinced by my friend Sarah that lace knitting is really unwise without them. Until this point I had never really used stitch markers at all, and all I had on-hand were those huge ugly plastic donuts I found in the back of a drawer somewhere. I had always figured stitch markers were a pretty simplistic thing – jump rings with perhaps a pretty bead attached, right? Wrong!

In browsing I discovered that Spindle Cat stitch markers have a marked advantage above many to be found. S.Kate forms each one by hand out of various types of metal wire and most importantly works the end into the twist so it will never catch on your yarn. There are no sharp edges to snag on anything. This attention to detail made all the difference to me, not to mention everything she offers is just so darned pretty. She has a great eye for color and balance, essentially creating little works of art in each one that make them a delight to use.

The set that first caught my eye was a limited edition for the holidays called Copper Holly Days. I loved the vivid colors of this set as well as the variation between the red fossil stone markers and the five lobed copper marker (handy for marking the beginning of a row when working in the round). From a utilitarian standpoint the beaded markers have two functional ends, one fitting up to US6 and the other up to US3 so that of course appealed to my Virgo sensibilities.

Spindle Cat Studio
Copper Holly Days Stitch Markers – Limited Edition

I was only intending to get the one set to start, but as I was looking through her shop I spied another set that was just too sweet and cute to pass up, a set of four Czech Glass stitch markers that fit up to US4.

Spindle Cat Studio
Czech Glass Stitch Markers on Handmade Copper Headpins

I really liked the smaller size, thinking that they would be good for things like socks and baby items knitted in the round on US0-3 dpns. I placed my order and waited anxiously.

I didn’t need to wait long – my order arrived quickly and I wish I could say that I took photos of the package when it arrived but I was so excited that I just opened it before I could stop myself. Inside a sturdy box were my goodies, along with a few sweet treats and a handwritten note from S.Kate thanking me for my order. She had punched out holly leaves from green paper and sprinkled them amongst the bounty, all very nice touches. She even included a sample of her rustic Hand Formed Copper Ring stitch markers (which I had also been eyeing). It was great to be able to see one in person and admire the craftsmanship of the soldering and hand finishing. A definite add to my wish list.

Spindle Cat Studio
Hand Formed Copper Ring Stitch Markers

All the stitch markers were even better in person than I had imagined. I immediately fell in love with the way they looked and even more the way they felt – not bulky or weighty, but substantial enough to do the job. Something that didn’t register with me while ordering but became probably my favorite thing was the stitch marker holder that came with the Holly Days set – indispensible for keeping everything together.

As far as packaging is concerned, each set comes on their own folded card, hung on a punched design with all the details on sizing and materials written on the inside and tied together with a bit of embroidery thread. It’s a very simple yet ingenious design, making it easy to store markers in the original packaging if you so desire. I could even see having a file box to hold sets of markers in this fashion.

I was so pleased with my first stitch markers that I ordered two more sets – I liked the textured look of the Sterling Ring stitch markers and they fit up to US9. I thought it would be nice to try something without any danglies and I love silver.

Spindle Cat Studio
Sterling Ring Stitch Markers

The second set I ordered were the Elegant Copper Swirls with White Howlite. I really like the free-form cloverleaf design and particularly liked this larger set (fits up to US10) that had both beads and the fancy swirl.

Spindle Cat Studio
Elegant Copper Swirls with White Howlite Stitch Markers

By this point S.Kate and I had started a dialogue about her offerings (more like me gushing over how much I loved everything and squeeing like a fangirl) and I expressed how handy I found the marker holder that came with my Holly Days set. She has started routinely offering them with her sets which of course I think is a brilliant idea and well worth it.

My next order arrived – again, packaged in an attractive manner and chock full of goodies. I was just as excited about this parcel and again opened it without taking pictures. I really need to work on that. In any case, the new stitch markers were just as perfect and pleasing as my previous order and I realized that I had become a Spindle Cat collector and convert.

Like any good and useful tool my stitch markers ride around in my backpack where I keep my traveling WIPs, the ones that I work on in the car, at lunch hour or while sitting in waiting rooms. I’ve been really into baby hats and socks lately so they’ve come in very handy and I use them daily. I don’t even know where my ugly plastic donuts have gotten off to, but good riddance.

Since my ordering from her, S.Kate has added a number of new and exciting offerings that all have me drooling. If I could get away with buying all of these things I certainly would.

Spindle Cat Studio
ON THE VINE – Heart Stitch Markers on Handmade Copper Headpins

Spindle Cat Studio
GRAPE LOVE – Copper Stitch Marker Set with Rustic Vine-Inspired Copper Marker Keeper

Spindle Cat Studio
Pearl Elegance – Stitch Markers – Freshwater Pearl and Copper

Though I could go on all day about them, in addition to her fabulous stitch markers Spindle Cat Studio also offers a variety of hand-painted yarns which positively fly out of her shop. Savvy shoppers need to check in often (or get an RSS feed) and be ready to jump!

Here are some examples of a few of my favorite colorways that S.Kate reproduces regularly, or if you have a need for something and don’t want to take a chance of missing it she takes special orders.

Spindle Cat Studio
TABBIOCA – SW Handpainted Superwash Yarn

Spindle Cat Studio
HOSTA DEEP- SW Handpainted Superwash Yarn

Spindle Cat Studio
COCOA PINK – SW Handpainted Superwash Yarn

There is also one skein of handspun, hand-painted yarn that I visit from time to time in her shop and moon over. The thing is (and I’m sure many people can identify with this) I don’t *need* yarn, but this is definitely at the top of my want-list along with the aforementioned hand-painted sock yarns.

Spindle Cat Studio
BIG BLUE – Handspun Yarn – Wool – 200 yds – Bulky

Perhaps someday it will “accidentally” find itself in my Etsy shopping cart and I won’t rationalize myself out of buying it…I’ll just have to come up with a creative excuse to tell the husband. Or perhaps it won’t, someone else will buy it and end my torture. Here’s hoping!

In addition to all of the awesomeness that is S.Kate’s Etsy shop, her items are soon to be featured in the brand-new online fiber destination Yarny-Goodness.com which will be opening on February 16, 2008. I for one am really looking forward to checking it out!

All product photos ©2007-2008 S.Kate Hutchison and Spindle Cat Studio