Sunday, January 5, 2014

Travels With Friends

Hey peeps, a bit under the weather here (and not entirely psyched to go back to the regular pace of life) but I thought I'd post a photo from a wonderful day yesterday:

Crazily, given that I don't tend to leave the central west urban core (unless I'm getting on a plane), I made my way to Kitchener on VIA with Sara and Andrea, to meet up with Gillian. (Unfortunately, our other partner in crime, Anne, was unwell and couldn't join.)

Regrettably, not that we let it wreck our good time, the return train was 90 minutes late so we didn't get home till the middle of the night. Oh, and the reason for the delay? The train waited 90 minutes, elsewhere, for connections. WTF?! Gotta say, VIA is going to be hearing from me about the stupidity of that decision. Apparently, they never do this and, in truth, I've never experienced a time delay on VIA of any sort. But that shit is not ok.

But back to the fun: It was a truly delightful day, the highlight of which was going to this superior knitting shop. Honestly, I've never seen such a place. I got a few skeins of novelty yarn (will discuss more in another post) but I could have bought the place. We all did pretty well there, even Gillian, who doesn't currently knit!

And, amazingly, this is one of 7 boutiques (and the only on in Canada) that supports Custom Fit onsite. I spent quite a while discussing the mechanism by which one creates a Custom Fit pattern for oneself, as that's the way the majority would do so, and I have to say, I'm not convinced that the system is adequately integrated at this time to make it functional for the wide variety of knitters who might otherwise be interested in it.

It's a complicated, convoluted process that yields a pattern and a recipe, via two different sites, for two separate charges, which one must view simultaneously in order to create the garment in question. Furthermore, there are practically no actual pre-designed patterns uploaded into the wizard at this time, so effectively, you must design your own sweater from a bunch of templates.

Seems to me that one has replaced the "math portion" of making the sweater of ones' choice with the "design portion" and I don't know that I'm interested in that trade-off.

Sure, if you've never been able to make a sweater that fits you, and you want a very simple sweater, then I think it's a good plan. The results do appear to fit the testers and early users very well. But if you want to make any of the zillions of cool sweaters that someone's designed, this isn't going to get you there easily - if at all.

Final word on this for now: I'm not slow on the uptake. It shouldn't require an email exchange with the Custom Fit people (very nice and helpful, fyi), a 20 minute conversation at a yarn store with an expert on the system, and rereading website/promo material in order to gain some firm understanding of the basic logistics of the process, never mind the hardcore specifics.

I think Custom Fit, at the moment, has a small core market (which doesn't bode particularly well for quick upgrades to a system with a ton of potential). I hope the people who can benefit from it are not put off by its relative unwieldiness and that they flock to the site so that the future incarnations will be supported.

I probably will design a simple sweater via Custom Fit, at some point this winter, because of my interest in fitting, and the potential of this format, which I'd like to support. But I sense, it's not going to be my new go-to platform anytime soon.


  1. I've been on the other end of the holding-a-train-for-connections story and man were we grateful. Our train from Vancouver to Toronto was late and we were going to be stranded late at night in Toronto when we wanted to be in Dundas (the town outside Hamilton, not the street). For those who haven't done the cross-country train ride it was 3 nights/ 4 days (or the reverse). I was a wee thing. My parents practically kissed the porter when they found out they held the train for us.
    I think they only do it for passengers connecting from a major trip and in our case I'm sure it was partly because it was the last train out of Toronto for the day.

  2. I completely hear you, and I'm happy for your family that you weren't stranded. But, effectively, in this instance, VIA stranded hundreds of people for 90 minutes (many of whom may have had places to be or who might have been travelling all day also). I don't see how the benefit of the few overwhelms that of the masses - and I say this as a woman who's travelled under miserable circumstances with a fussy baby. If nothing else, it's poor customer service. They should have come up with another work around.

  3. At least we had out knitting with us, as well as a lively chat!

    1. Oh, it could have been so much worse! The time veritably flew with the nice chat and knitting.

  4. Travel seems as if it should be so much more fun that it is! Sympathy on the long, long day. But the photo testifies to some fun -- and that wall behind you is drool-worthy.
    And you look too cute in that white fur! ;-)

    1. Why thank you! BTW, you CANNOT imagine that yarn store. That photo shows 1/50 of the yarn available. It was an entire house, 3 floors, and every room was full of yarn. I've never seen anything like it. All I could think was: Lord, this woman better have insurance.

  5. Gah! You all live too far away! It looks like the most fun...and you do look cute in the white fur.
    I hear you about the trains...I used to travel a lot when the husband and I were courting and was often stranded because of delays or cancellations without warning. It was awful.
    And I do agree with all you say about Custom Fit. It's such a great concept but still needs some big tweaks to make it completely brilliant. And I shall be trying it this year too. I can't resist...however clunky!
    Feel better.

    1. If I could take a train to your house, trust me I would!!

      I want Custom Fit to be a success, and realistically, I don't know how, without serious financing, there's any other way to roll it out. I just hope it doesn't fail for lack of readiness.

    2. How cool would that be? I'm convinced we'd have a blast.
      I agree about Custom Fit, it could be seriously amazing, but still has a way to go.