Shipping and Customer Service Nightmare
Initially, I ordered four skeins of the Mystical Creation Yarns Wool Silk in the Breeze colorway, a beautiful turquoise and brown combination. Since I wasn’t sure if the four skeins that I ordered would be enough for the intended project, I added a question to the “comments” part of the order to see whether more yarn of the same colorway would be available in the future. The seller ignored my question, supposedly shipped my order, and listed a whole new lot of the exact same yarn the next day.
I was annoyed. I expected her to tell me if more yarn was available and, if it was, add it on to the order that I just placed. Now I was faced with having to pay for more shipping. I’m contrary enough to have such a situation convince me not to do business with the seller again, but I decided that maybe the seller deserved the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Etsy was having a problem and not relaying the messages on orders. It wouldn’t be fair to blame the problem on the seller. So I decided to go ahead and order from the second batch of the same yarn two days later.
I waited. I was bummed when the order didn’t arrive within the time indicated on her listings (priority mail.. 3-5 days), but decided to be patient. Finally the second order arrived. Confused, I sent her a message to ask about the first order. The status still looked like the shipping label had been printed but the order not picked up. The next day, she sent me a rather glib response, saying that she was sure that it would show up if I’d just wait and to let her know if it didn’t show up in a week. A few days later, the first order finally showed up, nearly two weeks after I placed the order.
Sadly, the wool silk yarn wasn’t what I expected. (I expected something more like Manos or perhaps like the Brooks Farms Four Play. I received something that was more like banana silk or recycled silk.) I thought about returning the yarn but really felt bad about doing so. I respect the work that artists do, and I wasn’t totally sure that the wrong choice of yarn wasn’t as much my ignorance about yarns as it was the lack of a good description of the yarn. I also hated the idea of taking the money back from her when her work was, indeed, beautiful. So I decided to keep the yarn but leave what I felt was fair feedback about my purchasing experience.
Whenever I bother to review a product or service, I always try to be as honest as possible. I hate feeling that my lack of honest feedback might lead someone else to have a bad purchasing experience. So I decided to leave two positive ratings and one neutral rating. (I bought three items on the two orders. and Etsy allows separate feedback for each.) I felt that was more than fair, especially given that the yarn wasn’t what I expected it to be at all.
She responded by giving me neutral ratings for each of the three items that I’d purchased from her and by sending me a message to complain about how terribly unfair I was to give her a neutral rating.
Afterward, she posted a message stating that she was overwhelmed with orders so that shipping might be delayed. I also found out that she had sent a mass email to previous customers, asking for feedback. (Oddly enough, some of the customers has already given her favorable reviews.) Now, I see that my one lonely neutral rating has been buried under pages and pages of ratings, many from purchases placed before (some even months before) I made mine. I sent her a message to explain why I thought my rating was fair, but (not too surprisingly) have not received a response. It amazes me that, given the number of problems that people have had with shipped orders and yarn that wasn’t what they expected, there aren’t more neutral ratings (or any negative ones). Her yarn is, indeed, beautiful, but her organization seems to be a little lacking. Certainly such a seller deserves a lower rating than a seller that always ships promptly, has her act together, etc.
Since then, I’ve heard one story after another on Knittyboard.com about similar shipping problems and even one report from someone who was refused a refund or replacement when she ordered one colorway and received a different one. Many complained that their questions and complaints were met with snippy answers. Still, despite the numerous problems, Mystical Creation Yarns retains a 100% rating on Etsy and a similar glowing rating on the eBay shop.
Such is the nature of Etsy (and eBay) feedback. Lesson learned. I’ll do my homework next time, and I’ll do it without feedback where people fear retaliation.
OK… But How is the Yarn?
Once I decided to keep the yarn, I really wanted to use it. I couldn’t use it for the project for which I’d ordered it. So I found another project instead. I’ve now been knitting with the yarn for about a week. I’ve used almost three skeins and am sure that I’ll tap into the fourth before I’m done.
The first thing to note is that the colors are gorgeous. I’ve rarely seen this kind of color anywhere. We’re talking intense! I was pleased to see that the colors were exactly as depicted.
The yarn arrived heavily perfumed. It wasn’t obnoxious (much like Fabreeze or fabric softener), but those with a low tolerance for perfumes will need to air the yarn out before it can be used. Fortunately, I don’t have a problem with that and found the fragrance nice after the yarn had aired out for a day or so.
I was not so happy to find that the yarn was severely thick and thin. In many places, it is very loosely spun. In others, it is so tightly spun that the yarn actually kinks under the tension. With the big changes, it’s very hard to get a good gauge reading on the yarn. In some places, I got 3 stitches per inch. In others, I could get 5 stitches per inch. As such, it’s likely not a good choice for a pattern where a predictable size or gauge is desired.
The yarn is also extremly fuzzy in places, with huge pills of fluff hanging off the strands of yarn. In other places where the brown was plied with the turquoise, it was loose enough that I needed to pull the loosest part off in order to not have a really awful looking stitch. The picture on the right shows the amount of fluff that I pulled off one skein (and, out of the three skeins that I’ve knit so far, that’s the least from one skein).
I also found out that the yarn contains quite a bit of excess dye that will wash out at some point. I stupidly attempted a spit splice and ended up with blue-green dye all over my hand! (And bummer deal… despite the fact that the yarn is listed as 65% wool, the spit splice didn’t work.)
Apart from the colors, I’m not really impressed with Mystical Creation Yarns Wool Silk. The yarn pills easily, even before knitting, and the thick-thin variation will drive some people nuts. If you’re looking for a substitute for recycled silk or banana silk (which shares many of the same characteristics), this yarn may be a good choice.
Notice that I said, “may”. I’m not going to be totally convinced that this yarn is worth purchasing until after I wash and block the shawl that I’m knitting with it now. Even then, I’ll need to see how it wears. I suspect that it will pill and stretch like crazy. Stay tuned.