Thursday, October 08, 2009

Techniques Thursday: Buying the WM

You all know what I mean when I say "the WM" don't you?

If not, it's this:

The fabulous fabulous handdyed German yarn!

I thought I'd share some tips to help nab the elusive yarn - this is what works for me - hopefully it will for you too! Of course, things (like the way the online shop works) might change, so you'll need to keep on top of that stuff yourself!

1. Bookmark the shop site! And find the WMaholics Anonymous group on Rav. You don't have to join, but they have some pages showing most of the WM colours knitted up in stocking stitch socks, and have threads showing colour comparisons etc which are very handy. Most useful is the WM update - Time Watch thread, which tells you what time the shop has updated over the last few months and what colours and bases were available. The other very handy thread is the WM shop update chat thread. This is a HUGE thread, so don't try and read through it. It's stickied at the top of the group page so you can't miss it!

2. Familiarise yourself with the colours - there is a huge range and not all of them will be in any particular update. Personally, I prefer the semi solid colours but others adore the rainbow or highly variegated colours. Make a list of the ones you like. Try to stick to it if you manage to hit an update!

3. Online shop updates usually (but not always) happen weekly. Often on a Friday (but not always). The Friday updates over the last few months tend to happen around 9am German time (so that's around 6pm AEST - a most convenient time!). Check the Time Watch thread for patterns. Of course, an update can happen at any time (including weekends) so don't rely on the patterns absolutely!

4. Post stalk the WM herself on Ravelry. She sometimes posts indicating updates won't happen in the next X days, which saves you wasting time stalking! For example, when she is doing a market, it is highly unlikely that she will do an online update as well.

5. If there hasn't been an update for a while, then the chances of one occuring increase!! That's usually when I stalk.

6. When you are ready to stalk, open the shop site in one window or tab (and log yourself in). Open the Online Shop Update Chat thread in another window/tab, go to the last page, and just keep refreshing it. You can participate in the conversation (the members chat A LOT!) but I don't usually (I try and do at least some knitting while I'm stalking!!) but someone will always indicate when an update occurs. The shop site usually goes completely grey immediately before an update, but this might have changed recently. Of course, you can just keep refreshing the WM site without worrying about the chat thread - up to you!

7. As soon as someone on the chat thread says an update is happening, immediately start refreshing the shop site (F5 key on my computer!). When the page comes up, shop like the wind!

8. The popular colours will go first, and the whole update will often sell out within 5-10 minutes, so you need to be fast. Put whatever you want in your cart, and check out as soon as you can. Small shipping envelopes take 2 skeins of sock, larger ones take 5 skeins - so that's the most economical way to buy, if you can (for Australia at least).

9. Some people choose to buy whatever colours they can get, and then swap or sell them if the colour is not what they expected. That's not a bad option, but if you do buy some of the less popular colours (and there are some!) then you might find it more difficult to swap for a more popular colour - but you never know!

10. Sometimes yarn won't be listed on the "in stock" page, but will appear on the page for the yarn itself - these are called "Easter Eggs" (because you have to hunt for them!). Usually if someone finds an easter egg they'll say on the chat thread, but by the time you get there they'll be gone!! So if there's a particular colour you REALLY want, you can have that yarn colour page open in yet another window/tab if you want, and keep refreshing it too. I don't tend to do this, as I figure lots of windows open makes the shop site work slower.
11. The shop update will sometimes include grab bags - these are kind of like lucky dips - either 2 skeins of sock or 5 skeins, usually organised by colour but some are also random. These skeins are ones which the WM considers are not true to colour, but which in most cases are very similar. They are labeled "We're Different" but you can usually tell what colour they are meant to be (once you know your WM colours!).

12. Don't panic if the shop site seems to crash a lot - you won't lose your cart from that, just keep refreshing.

13. You can, however, lose items out of your cart during the checkout process. You are only safe once you get to the paypal screen! So be quick!
14. Once you've shopped, enjoy the adrenaline rush and have a nice calming cup of tea. Or whatever your beverage of choice is!
So, there hasn't been an update in a while ... tomorrow might be your lucky day, if you are in the market!!


Bells said...

wow. this is a fabulous run down of getting the good stuff. You have clearly participated in the hunt A LOT and have a fully comprehensive knowledge of what it takes.

We should all bookmark this post!

Nathalie said...

Geez - I'm not sure that I am quite up for such an adrenaline rush! Vut I agree with Bells, that is an awesome post and something I did wonder about how to do. Did you put in for the sock club? I wonder if anyone got in - there was a random draw I think

MadMad said...

Oh, my goodness! I am stressed out just reading this! Seriously - my heart is racing. Actually, maybe that was the third cup of coffee talking. But still. Too much anxiety!

Susanne said...


And again Wow, such a lot of work is involved. I don't know that I could stand the anticipation.

Well done for your stamina and clever stalking, it certainly must be worth it.

Hopefully I'll get to see some of this yarn for real one day to really understand what all the excitement is about. Meanwhile I'll live vicariously through you. Thanks for sharing.

2paw said...

Wow, you are a WM expert, it is really like a military operation and I'm glad you are on our side!! Thank you for the very detailed plan, I might try a step or two myself one day!!

Sarah said...

All your insider secrets - so generous - does this mean your own WM coffers are full and you can risk one of us beating you to some of the lovely stuff??

Donna Lee said...

I'm not sure any yarn is worth all that anxiety! I wonder if they keep it scarce so that it will keep the interest up?

I have trouble dealing with ebay auctions so this is way out of my league.

Geek Knitter said...

Yarn acquisition... not for the faint of heart!

michele said...

wow things have changed since i simply sent her an e-mail and said hey can you send some yarn to my friend in Australia. i'm glad she's doing so well. and it's really generous of you to share the shopping strategy.

Michelle said...

Having not hunted for Wollmeise for some time (not having a good income tends to have that effect on my online shopping!) I think I might be on the hunt in the next few weeks.

Great tips, but now everyone knows your tactics!! Ha ha!

LynS said...

'Red and yellow and pink and green,
Purple and orange and blue,
I can sing a rainbow...'

Photos of your Wollmeise ( and the Wollmeise in reality) have me singing this for hours. Everybody remarks on the intensity of the colours - and so they should.

TinkingBell said...

6pm is the worst time for me - kids and dinner and such - I like the random wones when you just get lucky!

Ann said...

Wow - that's a lot of work & stress & I don't think I am up to it. Plus 6pm is not a good time for me. Maybe I will just wait for you to destash & buy some off you.

dr k said...

you are very good to be sharing your strategy in this way. and you are also a dirty rotten enabler. oh look, its friday! and for those who are yet to be convinced, this yarn is sooo worth this effort!

claudine said...

I'm one of the uninitiated, so thank you for this 'orientation'! Hehe.. I don't think budget allows at the moment, but I could at least get some stalking experience :)

missfee said...

thanks for tips Rosered but how can you be bothered to blog and shop online, tongue firmly in cheek, when you could be knitting!!!!

Tigers said...

Thanks, by following your tips I was able to score a few skeins in tonight's update.
I think I'm hooked now.