Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tis the Season to be Jolly!

Also the season when the mail service grinds to a halt.

Please, please please, allow enough time for items ordered as gifts to arrive. We are in December already so if you absolutely need it in time for the holidays please use Priority Mail or our other premium mail services.

And have a happy holidays,

The technical support team at CYDJ Designs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ivy Brambles and Tonia Barry Original Designs

We are pleased to announce that we have added both Tonia Barry Original Designs (Knitting Patterns) and Ivy Brambles (Hand Dyed Yarns) to our managed websites. We are more than happy to provide web site services to other like minded local craft businesses!

Tonia Barry is an talented independent designer, building a portfolio of wonderful knitting patterns, currently for sale at "The Yarn and Fiber Company" as well as several other local yarn shops. Definitely a designer to watch!

Ivy Brambles is a small company producing luxury hand dyed yarns, patterns and other fiber related products. We are introducing their products as soon as they become available both at the Yarn and Fiber Company LYS, other partner stores and on-line.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Using PayPal - Please, please, return to our site to finish the order process!

The Yarn and Fiber Company website supports two primary payment methods, credit cards (through CyberSource and Bank of America) and PayPal. It is important to note the differences between the ways these two payment methods work.
  • Cybersource takes the customer and order details and credit card information from a form on our website, and processes it (the card is not charged). We get back an OK and the order is submitted. Your credit card information is held only at the bank. Your credit card is charged later when we ship your order.
  • PayPal is an entirely different process. PayPal takes the customer and order information and creates it's own copy of this. It then asks you (on the PayPal site) to make a payment to our account. After you do this you must then click the button to return to our site so that we know the payment was made, otherwise your order does not get submitted into our system (but is still fully recorded in PayPal).

The big difference is that it is possible, partly because of the long process, to fail to get your order into our system and have already made a payment [however your entire order is recorded in a PayPal shopping cart so we can still (and do) retrieve and process it].

Our PayPal integration does use the full capability of PayPal shopping carts (unlike many PayPal sites) so we do see your complete order in PayPal not just the total. So what is the problem if you do not return to our site after payment? Simply that your transaction is not recorded into our order processing system, so until our accounts department notices that your order is "missing" by checking our PayPal records it does not get submitted to our shipping department.

When paying with PayPal always check your order status by clicking the "My Account" link on the yarnandfiber website and review your orders.

If your order does not appear in your account, to avoid delays, simply forward a copy of your PayPal payment confirmation (you will receive it by e-mail directly from PayPal) with a cover note to and we will be happy to put your order into the system and get it out to you ASAP.

Other Differences

  • Unlike using Cybersource you pay immediately when using PayPal, Cybersource (Credit Card portal) just applies a authorization, PayPal does a credit transfer.
  • We never see any of your payment information when you use PayPal, and could not (even if we were unscupulous which we are not) record any of your credit card information.
  • PayPal guarantees the security of your transaction, we are not involved.
  • In either case it is not possible for us to charge you more than the amount authorised, although we can in both cases give refunds.

What are My Other Options?

Some people just feel uncomfortable shopping online and do not want to leave their credit card information anywhere (especially if using a shared public computer). We understand this. We offer the following options.

  • Place your order online and choose "Check/Money Order" for payment. In the comments section describe how you intend to pay. We will wait for your mailed payment or for you to call us with a credit card to place your order.
  • Call us and place your entire order over the phone. We prefer you not to do this as it is more likely that mistakes will be made.
  • Write to us and include a complete written order (please include our model numbers and product description and price) and payment. We will enter your order into our system and ship it as soon as possible.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mild Makeover for Fall

Good news. We completed the first round of a minor makeover to to improve the navigation of the site. Mostly cosmetic we hope this will make it easier to locate products without needing so many clicks.

Mainly effecting top level categories such as "Yarn" listings, there is now more details shown for each type of yarn so you can see easier what selections are available.

Please send any suggestions for further improvements to

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Where is my Order Confirmation E-Mail?

All orders placed on our websites are confirmed by sending an e-mail to the address listed on the account placing the order, please do not use temporary or incorrect e-mail addresses, we will never send you spam or unwanted e-mails or share your information with any other company. Whenever an order status changes another e-mail is sent to this same address (if you change the e-mail address on your account after the order is placed we still use the one you had when you placed the order).

If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail then one of the following may have occurred:
  • Your e-mail address may have been incorrectly entered, check your account by clicking on the "My Account" link. If wrong correct it and send an e-mail from the correct account to quoting your account name.
  • If your e-mail is correct your ISP or spam filter may be sending our e-mails to your junk or bulk e-mail folders, check these next.
  • Your order may not have been completely processed. For the order to be logged into the system the payment gateway must report back to our website. Occasionally this process fails due to internet connection failures or user error (closing the browser during payment). In this case we WILL spot the problem as the order is logged completely into the payment portal, however it will cause delays. In these cases we will recover the order and place it again for you.

The absolute best way to check the status of your order is to check your account on our web site. All of your orders and their states, and any other messages can be retrieved here. For this reason it is important to rememeber your account login. If you forget your login it can be automatically e-mailed to you by clicking on the "Password forgotton? Click here." link.

If you do not see your order in the list please e-mail and report your name and when you placed your order and we will find it for you. If you cannot get into your account your e-mail address was most likely incorrectly entered, in this case again e-mail us from the account you wish to use and quote your account name and order date and we will correct your account for you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

New Lookup Capabilities

Since the outset we have always wanted to have the ability to lookup items, such as yarn, by one or more attribute. For example the ability to look at all DK weight yarns, or just superwash yarns, etc. The big question was how to do it so it is easy to use for our customers, and easy to keep up-to-date and correct, it is no good if half the yarns are missing!

On we have just added a new top level catalog entry "YARN BY WEIGHT" which lists the yarn weight descriptions as defined by the Yarn Council of America, see the standards at

You can click on the new yarn category weight names and list out all the yarns we carry that fall under that yarn category. Of course these are guidelines and may not reflect the limitations or full capabilities of a yarn, knitter or crocheter.

Look soon for more "YARN BY" indexes such as by yarn content or type.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Checkout payment tips

Our eCommerce web sites including have three payment methods available, credit card (Amex, discover, Visa and Mastercard), PayPal (you can use your credit card here too) and "Purchase Order or Check".

Credit card processing is performed by CyberSource and cleared through Bank of America, we do not record any of your credit card details on the eCommerce site for security reasons. Occasionaly CyberSource experiences technical problems and is not available. When this happen you can either call the store (during normal business hours), use PayPal (they will take credit card payments) or simply use the Check/Purchase order option and write a note for us to call for payment or that you will call us and when (please do not leave your credit card info in the note). Any order using this method will be held until payment is received, or a purchase order from a business or institution has been received and authorized.

Before calling please go through this simple check list:

1) Did you enter the correct card type? You must select Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover correctly.

2) Did you enter the correct expiry date and credit card number?

3) Did you remember to enter the CVV number (on the back of most cards, or the front of an AMEX card)?

It is very unlikely your card be declined due to a change in address, if in any doubt be sure to put the billing address as that on the card and use the shipping address fields for where you want your order delivered to.

In the event that you cannot check out your order is not lost. Just remember to create an account and the cart will be saved until you are able to checkout at a later time.

Final note: Always use a valid e-mail address. This is where we will send you your order status and any other information regarding your order. You may also check the status of your order by visiting your account profile on our website.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Maintaining our Service Levels

It is very important to us to maintain our generally high levels of service at as we begin the move into the busy season. With many new products and increased order levels we have made a few changes to our process to improve our efficiency and allow us to maintain great customer service. Free shipping remains available to all, as does our standard web site discount on just about every product we carry.

Our normal "free shipping" service is next business day to the post office for first class or parcel post delivery. Priority mail is available for an additional charge, although we occasionally use Priority for free shipping at our discretion.

During the comming holiday season please place your orders early enough to avoid the usual postal delays in December. If your order is urgent we recommend using Priority Mail during this period.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Web Site Browser and OS Compatibility

Always striving to provide our customers with the highest levels of service we have again looked to make sure our web sites run on all popular browsers. However we can't possibly test all of them! (especially older versions)

Most of our visitors use a Windows PC and Internet Explorer (about 67%), we have tested with the newer versions of IE (6 and 7) extensively and believe there to be no problems. Windows and Firefox is the next most popular and again this is regularly tested and there are no known issues. We also test on a Mac with Safari and I.E 5.5 and again experience no issues. This covers about 97% of our users.

We have yet to test Netscape although we do have customers using this. Are there any issues with this browser? We also do not have access to a Linus system, again we would like to hear from you.

We also have an older Mac (OS8.6 and I.E. 5.0) which has a problem decoding the web sites security certificate. I am uncertain of the reason for this but is also happens on any other eCommerce site I visit and it cannot even display the website properly. I have also been unable to run NetScape on this system. The machine runs Mac OS8.6 and as yet I cannot find a browser that works properly on this computer.

You should not experience any web site warning or error messages when using our web site, and the site is designed for a 1024x768 monitor but to be usable on a 800x600. If you experience any issues please contact us.

Recommended tested browser/OS combinations are Windows (98/2000/XP/Vista) & IE 6 or IE 7, Mac OSX and Safari. Firefox on any platform (we test it on Windows Vista). For general web browsing problems try to get your browser updated to the latest version supported by your operating system, earlier browsers were plagued with security issues.

If anyone has experiences on other platforms or browsers they would like to share with us please feel free to contact us at, thank you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Website update

We can't really say "The long awaited update" because I don't think anyone was waiting, anyway the website got a minor facelift this week, with the aim to provide easier navigation to important features.

We also removed a couple of minor features. Please let us know if your experience any difficulties with the changes as we can't test every browser and screen configuration.

We would also like to apologiese to anyone who tried to use our credit card payment method and has a two-letter last name. For some reason the default on the credit card module was a minimum of three letters, but for an account was two letters. We have fixed this so two letters is the minimum for both.

Again please contact us if you experience any technical difficulties with the site you may contact us at either or

Friday, June 22, 2007

Free Worldwide Shipping

Ok we changed the International free shipping rules again to get even more orders to qualify. The minimum qualifying order is now just $10, which is good for one 50g (2oz) skein of yarn. Any yarn over about $7.50 per 50g, or $15 per 100g skein should qualify. At a total order value of $50 and above any yarn over $3.75 per 50g, or $7.50 per 100g should qualify. Single patterns, needles and light notions also normally qualify. Books usually do not, but may if included in a larger order with many light items, especially if the order exceeds $50.

I am sure that a few people will want free shipping on every order, so do we, unfortunately we can't do this as our margins are not sufficient to cover the expense on heavier items. At our free shipping limits, International and domestic, we do not cover our expenses. Please use our web site to determine if your order qualifies for free shipping rather than e-mail us or call the store. Simply begin the checkout process and enter your account information, you will be given a shipping estimate before any payment or credit card details are requested.

We will continue to try to improve our service and shipping policy. International shipments should now be faster and most will be free!

Shipping estimates are based on item weights in our database. We are currently checking all items for accuracy but it may be a week or two before all items have been checked.

Changes in International shipping rates mean that books and magazines can no longer be sent media mail. This has significantly increased our shipping costs on these items, in many cases the shipping costs exceed the product retail price. There is also no International surface mail, meaning large packages need to be sent by a more expensive (but faster) route. Shipping calculations are performed by a live connection to the USPS web site. We do not add a packaging or handling charge. If the calculated postage is significantly high it is our policy to issue a refund. If you have any questions regarding international shipping charges please contact us at

Free shipping is still available on all US and Canada orders, including Hawaii and Alaska for all purchases made from

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Checkout Confirmation Confusion

Seems like a lot of time has gone by since we first opened the Yarn and Fiber on-line store and yet we still hear of new problems, specifically difficulty during the checkout process. It is the last button press "Confirm Order" that seems to cause confusion.

On reflection the wording on the page may have confused some shoppers into believing their order had already been placed, and they happily navigated away from the page without even submitting the order.

If this happened to you, accept our apologies. If you are wondering where your misplaced order is, it is still in your shopping cart, simply revisit our site and log in to your account, you can then complete your order.

To prevent this in the future we have added a second button to the top of the page where it is more visible and added more appropriate wording.

Our checkout process, like all eCommerce sites, has a two step order process, one handled by us and the other (the payment gateway) by the bank or PayPal. We always match up orders received on our system with those reported by the payment gateway. We do not record any details of the payment itself in our system, instead we track the order by using our unique order number that is also reported, along with the transaction details, to the payment gateway, thus elminating the possibilty of losing an order. We believe this makes our checkout process very secure.

Customer satisfaction is our top priority. Rest assured that we will never double ship or double process an order. If you make a mistake in the order process (it happens to all of us from time to time) or the system fails due to connection or server problems, we will always be happy to correct it.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Do I pay Shipping on Leclerc Orders?

Leclerc recently have been clamping down on retailers who advertise Leclerc products as "discounted". They recently extended this to include an inferred discount by offering "free shipping". While we have never offered on-line discounts on Leclerc products (much as we would have liked to) we do advertise and offer "Free shipping on all products" to the US and Canada, which is a store policy and not an attempt to undersell or discount Leclerc products.

For most Leclerc products (any order over about $350 except some of the very large looms) the price DOES include free shipping (drop shipped from Leclerc). This new policy therefore effects only a few products.

Note that because Leclerc products are "drop shipped" direct from Canada we cannot automatically calculate shipping on our website.

So do we pass the shipping charge on to you? In almost all cases (continental US and Canada) there is no charge, in all other instances we will call you with an updated total to include accurate shipping charges before processing your order.

Check our web site or call 603.898.5059 for more details.

Customer Feedback

Much anticipated and awaited? Perhaps not, but to many on-line shoppers customer feedback is the only way to assess the experiences of other shoppers. We are pleased to announce that we have added customer feedback to

EBay is famous for ranking buyers and sellers by feedback from others, this is possible because EBay acts as an independent mediator. Because we are an independent web site it is not possible to integrate with one of these services without using surveys and other inconveniences.

Feedback posted to our feedback forum is posted by our staff, but the content is not edited in any way (except to remove personal or order information) and is taken directly from customer order comments and e-mails.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Browser Compatibility, JavaScript and Cookies

As many of you know there are a number of browsers and computer types used for web access. The most popular is Windows (XP, 2000 and Vista) and Microsoft Internet Explorer (6 and 7).

To ensure best performance and the most secure shopping experience we recommend updating your browser to the most recent version supported by you operating system.

Please note that like most shopping sites requires JavaScript and cookies to be enabled for correct operation of the site during checkout. JavaScript allows for local (browser) processing and two way communication between your browser and a web server. This is used for forms validation, shipping calculations and secure processing of credit cards and other information. Temporary cookies are used to allow web pages to be securely linked together, such as during a checkout process. This ensures we do not loose track of you during the checkout process.

For Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and 2000 we recommend:

Internet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer 7
Mozilla Firefox 2.03 or later
Netscape 8 (some of the security features can be annoying)

For Apple Macintosh we recommend:

Mozilla Firefox
Please do not use Internet Explorer 5.0 on the Mac

Users of earlier versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer may experience some problems as JavaScript, cookies and HTML 4.0 compatibility are required for correct site operation. If you are using a platform unsupported by Microsoft (such as Windows 95 or Windows 98) we recommend trying Firefox instead of Internet Explorer 5.0 which has serious limitations.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New features at

A few improvements have been made to the website to improve your shopping experience. Apart from some cosmetic changes, like updated banner and background and a minor template change to increase available screen size we have added some important features.

When you log into your account you can now opt to choose "remember me". This saves a secure cookie on your computer that allows you to return to the site any time without having to log in. It is very secure in that we never remember customers credit cards or other financial information, in fact we never see this information and it is not stored in our reports or databases. Credit card and paypal information are sent directly to the respective banks clearing houses without us ever seeing it.

The main reason for using "remember me" is to securely save your shopping cart. Although we save annonymous carts (those for customers who have not logged in) these can become lost if you do not have a fixed IP address (most of us) and you exit your browser. Logging in to your account and having it "remembered" will allow you to take your time and do comparison shopping without needing to refil your cart each visit.

We have also added two new blogs, you are reading one, the other is a featured on our homepage and in the navigator on the right of the screen. We decided to use blogs and RSS feeds to help keep you up to date with what is happening at The Yarn and Fiber Company because they are so easy to maintain and keep curent. Installing our Google Toolbar button will provide quick access to the Yarn and Fiber Happening Blog right on your desktop.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Where is my shipment, it has been 5 days?

We ship next business day on most orders by USPS. Depending on where you live this can arrive in the next three days. If you live on the west coast, Canada, Alaska or Hawaii you are not going to receive a package with a few days unless you specify the more expensive Priority Mail option. Unlike some retailers we do not delay shipping, we get all orders out ASAP, even with free shipping!

Magazines, books and patterns are shipped media mail to keep the price of shipping low. Books and Magazines are quite heavy relative to their price and expensive to send regular mail. Media mail is very low priority and can easily take a week to arrive.

All holidays impact USPS delivery times. Christmas has a major impact, expect at least one additonal week unless you specify Priority Mail. Last Christmas we had shipments that took 3-4 weeks to arrive, causing us to double ship using priority mail to avoid disappointed customers. Expect some revisions to our sevice at Christmas this year to help avoid this problem.

Why was my Credit Card declined?

Apart from the obvious this may be dues to one of the following issues.

We use Cybersource for credit card processing. Recently Cybersource has had a few technical difficulties. If Cybersource is down it appears as a Credit Card Declined even though there is nothing wrong with your credit card.

We have experienced a recent trend with some credit card companies. If they believe that your credit card is being used in a manner inconsistent with you normal purchasing history, they will decline your card until they verify it with you. In this case you can call the number on the back of your card.

Please always feel free to call our retail store to have your credit card processed over-the-phone, then place your order on-line using the "purchase order" method. Alternatively you can use PayPal to make a credit card purchase as well as to use an existing PayPal account.

This does not make our site less secure. We will not double charge or double ship any orders because of typing errors or website problems. If you want to cancel, change or re-enter an order within a few minutes of placing the original order go ahead with confidence, we will notice it and contact you before the order is charged or shipped.

Also please note. We do not automatically process any credit card orders, all credit card payments are done manually and verified against our orders. Unlike retail stores we prefer payment by Credit Card to any other method as these are much easier for us to handle.

What aren't we a five star retailer on Google/Yahoo?

Much as we would love to have those five stars on Yahoo or Google Shopping there are a few roadblocks which have implications for you the customer as well as us the retailer.

To earn a five star rating it is true that you need good customer feedback. However to get the customer feedback you need to be a Google or Yahoo store respectively, and you need to have been one for 12 months.

It would be unfair to say you need to buy these stars but in reality you do, and the cost is quite substantial, and we do not want to pass this cost on to our customers. There are also many technical issues with using third party checkouts.

What is more annoying that buying a product on line and discovering a few days later that it is out of stock?

I doubt that many retailers do this deliberately but if your on-line website does not have inventory control it is unavoidable.

At CYDJ Designs we have developed a unique inventory control system that provides a warning to the customer when they select a low or out of stock product. This is done in real time and with a high degree of accuracy using a database co-ordinated with our retail store. BUT it only works if you are using our on-line checkout procedure.

Feeds supplied to Google or Yahoo shopping are at least 24 hours and up to 30 days out of date. If we were to allow 3rd party checkout we would have to manually reconcile purchases back to our inventory system, inconveniencing both ourselves and our customers, reducing service levels and increasing costs. Until we come up with a solution to this problem we will not be offering any third party checkout processes.

Credit Card Security and Shipping

Leaving credit card information when making any online purchase is for many a very daunting prospect. There are several things to watch out for.
  • Do you trust the vendor you are purchasing from, and how do you decide this?
  • Is the site protected by a trusted authority?
  • How secure is my information?
  • Will I really get the product I think I ordered?
  • What if I need to return it, how much is that going to cost me?

First off NEVER enter credit card details on a page that is not protected. The browser address bar should be showing https://thewebsitename and not http://thewebsitename and somewhere on the page should be an icon showing the trusted authority (if the page shows errors when you load it it is safe to assume it is not properly protected).

Carefully read the returns policy for the site. If in any doubt call the company by phone, all good web companies will take orders over the phone for nervous customers. Many times it is impossible to tell if a web site represents a real retailer or a part time clearance business run out of someone's basement.

If in any doubt use PayPal. It costs a little more for the retailer, which is why many do not accept it, but payment is done on PayPal's secure web server. Just remember to return to the site after payment and finish the checkout process. Many retailers will loose your order if you do not do this, thankfully CYDJ Designs has technology to recover the details of these sales and it will never be an issue when using one of our sites.

Whatever anyone says unless you know the product you are buying it might not meet your expectations when you order it on-line or from mail order. New products at cheap prices can be shop soiled or returns. Many stores will accept returns but deduct the cost of shipping in both directions, and shipping prices can easily be hiked to cover any apparent discounts, very common with many e-bay retailers.

Our websites are real 9-5 businesses. We do not charge for shipping (US and Canada) and offer a reasonable discount on list prices. We also accept returns on most products with no restocking or other fees (see website for details). How can we do this?

Firstly it really does not cost $9.95 to ship a few skeins of yarn. Many on-line retailers will disagree stating the costs of packaging and staff, however retail stores have considerably more overhead per sale than an on-line store. The overhead is already built into the retail price.

Secondly we created and manage our own websites. This saves us tens of thousands of dollars every year which we pass on to you the customer.

If you have any concerns about using our "Yarn and Fiber" site please contact us directly during business hours 10-5 EST Monday-Friday 603.898.5059 or email

  • We use the Thawte seal of trust to secure our sites
  • Credit card processing is by Cybersource
  • We accept paypal and also purchase orders from approved organizations
  • We ship most orders next business day using USPS in secure weatherproof envelopes

If you do experience any problems using our site please let us know at


We decided to start this blog to help inform our customers, and potential customers, of what was happening with the CYDJ websites (currently Over the past 9 months we have had a few issues with our ISP and with our Credit Card processing portal. Right now everything seems to be working OK but this blog will let you know if we are anticipating any problems, or if we experienced any problems.

Our websites are maintained exclusively by CYDJ Designs, we do not use any outside resources as our staff comprises experienced software personel as well as experienced retail and craft industry personel. We currently have on staff 6 full and part time employees and a host of teachers for our Weaving, Spinning, Knitting and Crochet classes.

This blog will try to address any of our customers concerns and provide valuable information about the status of the websites and their use.

Our ever growing relationship with Google

Ever since we started the Yarn and Fiber website last year we have been great fans of Google. You will find our products listed on Froogle (now Google Shopping) and we make great efforts to keep up to date with the latest Google trends, keeping our sites search engine friendly. Expect to see us soon popping up in Google Earth, a wonderful program if you have not tried it yet, and in the local Google listings.

We have recently added a google toolbar button to the website. If you use Google toolbar this button allows you to search for products directly from the toolbar, and to view the latest Yarn and Fiber Happenings Blog.