Fridays with Franklin: Hot and Wet

fwf-logo-columnsizeFor an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

“Fridays with Franklin” is all about experimentation, but this latest project–this is way out on the edge for me. I’m going to be playing with “artfelt” (the lowercase is official), a felting process that–so I have been told–allows even a novice to make interesting and possibly even beautiful felted fabrics with a minimum of fuss and botheration.

I have never felted anything before–not even, though I may be tempting fate by saying this–not even by accident. But I have a project in mind.

Ages ago, I found this little footstool at vintage shop near my apartment.

fwf-79-footstool

It needs some love. There are minor joinery issues to address, which I can handle. Then there is the upholstery, which is neither original nor attractive nor well done.

I’d like to make this a piece of furniture I can use, and in fact I need it–I’m so short that when I sit back in my favorite knitting chair, my feet don’t touch the floor. I want to reupholster it with handmade fabric.

Knitting and crochet don’t make the right sort of fabric for upholstery. I could weave, but I’ve only just done some weaving and I want to try something new.  Karin Skacel (yup, THAT Skacel) has done an entire armchair and ottoman in artfelt…

f271c1f5def31561a72def675c03c2f4--upholstered-furniture-art-furniture
What an odd place to put an armchair.

…so I figure that even I, who have no clue about this stuff, should be able to do something about a tiny footstool.

We’ll see.

Testing, Testing

Now, I’m not going to give you a complete artfelt how-to tutorial here. First–have I mentioned this?–I’m a newbie. Second, Karin Skacel (yup, THAT Skacel) has a complete tutorial on video:

I am going to tell you, this week, what I did to test the process and begin to get a feel for it.

First, something about the tools. The artfelt process is all about wool, and I used Makers’ Mercantile’s own line of felter’s wool roving.

fwf-79-woolroving

It’s lovely stuff–equal in quality to any decent roving I’ve bought to spin with. In fact I was tempted to spin with it. But no, one must focus. One must not flit off to another craft.

fwf-79-bunny

No. NO.

The other tools you need for artfelt are these freaky looking needles with barbs on the shaft…
fwf-79-bunny02
I SAID THE OTHER TOOLS YOU NEED FOR ARTFELT ARE THESE FREAKY LOOKING NEEDLES WITH BARBS ON THE SHAFT…

fwf-79-feltingneedle

…and artfelt paper. The paper is the key to whole thing–it holds your fibers in place before the actual felting begins. You can buy it many sizes, and in fact you can buy it by the yard. I cut out two small (four by six inch) sheets for my test.

fwf-79-artfeltpaper
It was important for me to know the starting size of my pieces, because even I knew that the felting process means shrinkage. To make enough felt to cover the stool, I had to know how much paper at the beginning would give me sufficient yardage in the end.

In addition to the wool, the needle, and the paper, you also need a surface to support the work. Ideally, this ought to be an artfelt Tackboard, but I didn’t have one. What I did have was a piece of upholstery foam that’s intended to become a cushion for the back porch next summer. I decided to try it while waiting for my Tackboard to arrive.

I put the paper on the foam. I pulled off a bit of roving…

fwf-79-paperonfoam

…and put it on the paper…

fwf-79-felting-01

…then I stabbed the roving into the paper with repeated jabs of the needle. Jab jab jab. Stab stab stab! STAB! This was, I must admit, both fun and therapeutic.

The needle pushes the fiber through the paper, and the paper holds it in place. Here’s what it looks like on the reverse.

fwf-79-felting-02.jpg

I was surprised at how little stabbing it took to hold the wool in place. This wasn’t exhausting, nor did it take very long–a mere minute, maybe less.

I kept adding more wool. I was curious about things like blending colors, so I laid one over the other. I changed the direction of the fibers. I added a curlicue. In other words, I messed around.

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fwf-79-felting-04

fwf-79-felting-05.jpg
Here’s the reverse side.

fwf-79-felting-06
It’s nice to be able to mess around the first time you try something. In fact, I’d say it’s vital to be able to mess around. There were no stakes with this test fabric. It could be beautiful, it could be disgusting.

The point was to get a feel for the materials and the process. Until you know something about those–no matter what your craft–anything good you make will be a happy accident.

My first piece of paper ended up like this.

fwf-79-piece01-prefelt
I trimmed the wispy edges. Not sure it was necessary, but it pleased my inner neatnik.

The layer of wool was on the thin side (about a sixteenth of an inch), and I wasn’t sure if it was enough to give a stable fabric. For the second piece…

fwf-79-piece02-prefelt
…I deliberately added about twice as much wool. It was about an eighth of an inch deep where I piled it on most heavily.

To this point, you’ll note that artfelt is a completely dry process. I appreciated that. One thing I disliked about wet felting when I’d seen it done was the slopping around with wet wool. A purely personal reaction–just not my cup of tea.

artfelt, by contrast, let me work on a dry table with dry hands. It was all very tidy. Nice. Pleasant.

After you’ve got the wool in place, a piece of artfelt is soaked thoroughly and then rolled in plastic. In her tutorial, Karin says something thicker than plastic cling wrap is advisable, so I cut up two old sandwich bags (having first washed out the crumbs) and secured the ends with rubber bands.

fwf-79-rolledfelt
Two rolls ready for the dryer.

I love Karin’s suggestion of using a nylon trouser sock to hold the rolled-up pieces; but in this house nylon stockings are not much in evidence. So for this test I popped them into a cotton project bag and tied it shut.

Then, into the dryer. I used a medium heat, and checked the progress every ten minutes. I haven’t got a shot of the first two checks because I got wildly overexcited and forgot to take pictures.

But here are the pieces after thirty minutes.

fwf-79-piece01-30mins
Piece One, still wet, after 30 minutes in the dryer.
fwf-79-piece02-30mins
Piece Two, still wet, after 30 minutes in the dryer.

At thirty minutes, I felt (ha ha) the fabric looked ready. The loose fuzz was gone from the surface. The fibers felt thoroughly melded. The paper was nearly dissolved.

So I completely removed what remained of the paper with boiling water (again, see Karin’s video demonstration) and left the pieces to dry.

Here’s what I got.

fwf-79-piece01-finished
I didn’t roll Piece One quite right, so that left edge flopped over and felted to itself. A good lesson to learn now, on a test scrap.

fwf-79-piece02-finished

Now, neither of these is going to win a beauty contest. To my eye, “blending” the fibers takes one rather in the direction of dryer lint. Not pretty. I’ll aim to keep colors separate in my next attempt to give a clearer, neater result.

The first piece, with the thinner layer of fiber, resulted in a fabric stout enough to be durable but flexible enough to be cut into a garment (it would make a decent scarf) or wrapped around a cushion.

The second, thicker piece would be better for something like a hat or felted bowl. Good to know.

As to shrinkage, both pieces ended up at about 3 inches by about 4 3/4 inches–a significant change from 4 inches by 6 inches. I’ll use that information in the future to estimate how much paper I need to cover in order to end up with a sufficiently large finished fabric.

Verdict so far: This artfelt stuff is fun. It’s (amazingly) quick. And it’s wonderfully easy to learn.

So…shall we try it for realsies?

See you in two weeks!

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Makers’ Mercantile Felter’s Wool Roving (50g hanks)
Bryson Felting Needle #38 gauge, 3 1/2 inch
artfelt Paper
artfelt Tackboard

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book was brought out by Soho Publishing in May 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue KnittingYarn Market News, Interweave KnitsInterweave CrochetPieceWorkTwist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site (franklinhabit.com) or his Facebook page.

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Fridays with Franklin: Wandering Star

fwf-logo-columnsizeFor an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

As I write this, I’m packing for the final leg of a marathon teaching travel that began in May. With less than 36 hours between getting home from an engagement in California (Stitches SoCal in Pasadena) and departing for an engagement in Minnesota (Vogue Knitting Live! in Minneapolis), I’ve been focusing on a small, light project that I can pick up and put down easily, and that fits neatly in a corner of a crowded shoulder bag.

Socks must be the most popular travel project in all of knitting, and my obsession with embroidered socks continues.

Not long ago I worked a pair of socks with duplicate stitch bees in Zitron Trekking XXL Sport

bee-sock

…and liked the effect so much that I immediately started knitting a second pair in the same yarn, this time in color 1496, on the same set of Addi FlexFlips.

I didn’t even know what I’d embroider on them, I just knew that I would embroider on them. These plain, solid socks just seem to be asking for it.

The bee socks were worked in duplicate stitch (described in detail here). The result was extremely satisfactory. For this blue pair, it seemed a shame–what with this being a column about trying new things–to just repeat the technique.

Instead, I reached for waste canvas.

canvas-sheet
Ah! An uncut sheet of waste canvas! So many possibilities.

The last heyday for waste canvas, so far as I know, was in the 1980s. My mother used sheets and sheets of it to embroider sweatshirts. I remember ducks with gingham bandannas, teddy bears, hearts, daisies, and other exponents of le style country kitchen.

She used to wear these dainty, whimsical creations with an old pair of jeans while she was using her favorite chainsaw to prune the trees in the backyard. My mother was a complex woman.

Waste canvas is an evenweave fabric that allows you easily to work even cross stitch on any fabric you can embroider. Unlike duplicate stitch, cross stitch over waste canvas isn’t tied to the gauge of the knitted fabric–or even the grain of it. Nor do you have to use an embroidery yarn of the same weight as the yarn in the knitting.

That was an attractive idea, given the number of Edwardian cross stitch motifs I’d love to have swirling around my ankles. (Gryphons and cupids, anyone?)

You can see in this close-up how the stuff is structured.

canvas-close
Waste canvas close up. The warp (vertical) includes a blue thread in every fifth pair of threads. Stitches are taken at the intersections of warp and weft pairs.

The warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal) have the same number of threads per inch (therefore, evenweave). In the weft, every fifth pair of threads includes one blue thread, as an aid to your counting.

I decided to test a small cross stitch design on one of the blue socks. This motif came from a 1905 filet crochet book, in which it was a tiny part of a large and flamboyant border.

sock-star-02
The sock wasn’t a swatch, but this design was. I didn’t want to commit to anything large and fancy without a test.

I cut out a piece of waste canvas slightly larger than the motif and marked the horizontal vertical and center lines with sewing thread.

center-mark

I used more sewing thread to baste the canvas to the sock over the ankle.

basting
And when you’re embroidering on a tubular piece of work like a sock, it’s sound practice to put something inside the tube to prevent your stitching through the opposite side of the work. Had I been at home, I’d have used one of my mushroom-shaped darners. Since I wasn’t I reached for a convenient piece of cardboard provided by the hotel.

cardboard
Then I stitched.

first-half
The cross stitch here is no different than cross stitch on Aida cloth–the fabric most modern embroiderers use for the technique. You make your stitches over the intersections in the waste canvas, using a sharp needle. For a fingering weight yarn like the Zitron Trekking XXL Sport Sock, my favorite is a size 18 chenille needle. It has a large eye through which the yarn fits readily, and a sharp point that slices neatly through the knitting without abrading it unduly.

second-half
Of course, it was at this moment that I realized the stitches along the horizontal center of the motif are crossed in a direction different than that of all the other crosses. A major no-no in good cross stitch.

I keep telling myself, This is just a test. It’s just a test. It’s just a test.

When your cross stitch is finished, for good or ill, you pull the canvas out of the work. I usually start by removing the basting and marking threads, and clipping away some of the excess canvas.

trimmed

Then, with a tweezer, I begin to pull the canvas threads. It usually seems to work best if I start at the right or left edge and pull vertical (warp) threads first.

first-pull
Then the horizontal (weft) threads get pulled.

second-pull

Until at last your stitching stands on its own. This is very psychologically satisfying. I always get a shiver of delight. Even if you must admit that your stitches could be more even, and perhaps you should not do this ever again on a plane flying over mountains.

fwf-78-newsletter-photo

Working over waste canvas is a straightforward and pleasant process, one I highly recommend. By no means should you limit it to handknits. I often use it to fancy up (for example) store-bought or hand-me-down baby and children’s clothes that need that little extra something.

finished-starsock.jpg
I think this little star is just fine, but I’m encouraged to dream bigger. And weirder. The old pattern books are beckoning. There’s a cherub in a chariot. A peacock in a spray of acanthus leaves. A head of Pan in a Greek key border. These are not the sort of things you find in off-the-rack men’s socks, and that’s exactly what I want.

And so the experiment continues.

See you in two weeks.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Zitron Trekking XXL Sport Sock Yarn (75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon. 459 yards per 100 gram skein.) Shown in Color 1476 (bee and star) and Color 1496 (sock).

Waste Canvas, 8.5 count from Charles Craft

Size 18 Chenille Needles

addi FlexiFlips flexible knitting needles (length 8 inches, shown in size US 0)

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book was brought out by Soho Publishing in May 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue KnittingYarn Market News, Interweave KnitsInterweave CrochetPieceWorkTwist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site (franklinhabit.com) or his Facebook page.

 

 

The Last Day

Wow, can you believe that? This Friday is my last day in the US, my last day at this company, my last day of this internship. I have been here for two months now and I can’t believe that I am about to fly back to Germany tomorrow morning.

This blog attended my journey through this whole experience. Therefor, this will be my last blog post as the not-knitting-knitter-intern…

IMG_0501

I learned a lot about the business, but even more about the American way of life and the people that surrounded me who became my friends during this internship. I also learned a lot about myself, as this has been the first time for me to be that far away from home for such a long time. I am thankful for this experience and all of the memories I made.

So this is a big thank you to all the great coworkers at Skacel and Makers’ Mercantile:

Thank you for all the memories we made, all the fun we had and all the things I have learned! Thank you for the jokes, the laughs and the adventures. Thank you for making this internship as special as it has been!

For all of you out there that may be interested in an internship at Skacel, go for it! You will meet great people and awesome coworkers. Great experience and lots of knowledge!

Fridays with Franklin: Butthurt No More

fwf-logo-columnsizeFor an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first part of this project, click here.

It’s been months since I used my Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom and a pile of HiKoo Llamor to weave this…

yardage-folded

…which was intended to cover a cushion to sit on the chair that stands by the desk that Jack built. I mean that I built. I mean that is in my workroom.

The delay would have been far more inconvenient had I not spent most of this time away from home, teaching. A chair you cannot sit in cannot make your butt ache.

When my butt and I returned home for a spell, I readdressed myself to the task at hand. At butt?

Which Button?

I like cushion covers to be removable so that they can be laundered easily. Some like zipper closures, I like buttons, in part because buttons are cute.

Makers’ Mercantile offers every one of the hundreds of styles of Skacel buttons. I chose these square sweeties from the Corozo line.

fwf-77-newsletter-photo

The turquoise calls to one of the minor colors in the fabric, and the square silhouette and holes echo the spare structure of the chair.

chair
You might well say that I put too much thought into choosing a button. I say that asking questions like, “What is the perfect button for this cushion?” keeps me from asking less pleasant questions like, “Hey, was that mole on the back of my arm there yesterday?” and “What is my purpose in life?”

What Size?

The seat of the chair is about 13 inches by 12 inches, and the fabric was 13 1/2 inches by 37 inches. That made the layout for cutting straightforward, since all I wanted was a dead simple cushion. I snipped 10 inches off the length of the fabric, and sewed up the cushion like this.

fwf-77-howtosew
Three steps. No rigmarole. Fold, fold, sew. The proportions in the drawing are off, I know. That’s not the point. But thanks all the same for pointing it out, you pedantic busybody.

That’s it.

fwf-77-sewing-finished
Sometimes, that’s enough.

Buttonholes

What I want to focus on today is buttonholes. I have a sewing machine, and the sewing machine makes perfectly good buttonholes. With an attachment. An attachment that is kept in a drawer. A drawer Over There, not Over Here where I am sitting.

I have used the buttonhole attachment. It works well. When I have a lot of buttonholes to make, the sewing machine’s buttonhole attachment is a jolly convenience. Before I use it, I have to fetch it from the drawer (Over There) and then dig out the sewing machine manual (which is Elsewhere) and refresh my memory as to how the attachment fits on the machine and how it works.

When I have a measly five buttonholes to sew, and I don’t want to get out of my chair and unveil the sewing machine, then go get the attachment and the manual, I’d rather do the dang things by hand.

I don’t know why, but buttonholes give some folks the heebie-jeebies–like they’re wildly complicated, or frightening, or prone to attain sentience and challenge you to a duel.

They’re not even slightly tricky. Try two or three on a small scrap of fabric and you’ll never again think twice about making a buttonhole by hand.

Here’s how you do it.

First, you need to mark your buttonhole’s location and length. On more typical piece of fabric–say, a woven cotton I’m making into a shirt–I’d either a pencil or tailor’s chalk to do this. Or, if I need to carry the project around for a while, I might mark them with thread so there’s no worry about the marks rubbing off.

This fabric, though, is very thick and fuzzy and none of those would work. So I marked each buttonhole with a pair of pins each, like so.

fwf-77-pinmarks
Okay, so you’ve got your buttonhole-to-be marked.

fwf-77-step-01
The pins mark the left and right end of the buttonhole-to-be.

Next, you’re going to make some tack stitches (simple, straight stitches–don’t worry) around the boundaries of the buttonhole. Long ones at the top and bottom, short ones at the right and left.

Check this out:

fwf-77-step-02
The numbers give you the order of the stitches. Bring your threaded needle up from the wrong side of the fabric at Point 1, then down at Point 2. Then up at 3, and down at 4. Up at 5, down at 6. Up at 7, down at 8. Up again at 1. Your tacks are complete, and you’ll have matching rectangles on the right and wrong sides of the fabric. Don’t cut your thread–you’re going to use it to finish sewing the buttonhole.

Stage two is working buttonhole stitch over the tacks, all the way around. You’ll be using the same thread, of course, but in the drawing I used purple so you can see how the buttonhole stitches sit over the tack stitches.

fwf-77-step-03

Don’t know how to work buttonhole stitch? Not a problem. It’s really easy. One step. I used it, decoratively, on the crazy quilt pillow. There’s a diagram with instructions here.

Now, a word on proportions. To make this drawing easy to understand, I’ve set the top and bottom lines pretty far apart. In a perfect buttonhole–the sort my grandmother expected me to make–inside edges of those lines of stitching would be about a thread apart.

fwf-77-buttonhole=closeup

Grandma was very particular about this. Grandma was very particular about most things. My buttonholes had to straddle one thread in the muslin (her practice fabric of choice) or they had to be ripped out and done over. Oh, what larks we had!

But you know what? The idea that a buttonhole must be made perfect, or not be made at all, keeps a lot of otherwise fine people from experiencing the joy of buttonholes.

So you know what? Forget perfect. Just try it. Make it the best you can, with those lines as close as you can comfortably get them. Then move on to this next step: cutting.

Get a sharp, small pair of scissors–embroidery scissors like these or these work well–cut in the space between the top and bottom lines of buttonhole stitches. Cut all the way across. Just don’t cut the buttonhole stitches.

fwf-77-step-04
That’s it. If you do that, you get a buttonhole. It’s a rush, let me tell you. So do it. Get a scrap of fabric and try a couple. Don’t worry about making them perfect. Never mind what my grandma said.

Because making a cruddy buttonhole teaches you more about making buttonholes than reading about making buttonholes. And the more you make, the better you’ll get.

So I had buttonholes. Here is one.

fwf-77-buttonhole
Imperfect, but probably good enough to keep grandma from haunting my dreams.

Then I sewed on the buttons.

fwf-77-buttons-sewn
I slid the form into the cover and buttoned it all up. Wow, that felt good.

fwf-77-cushiondone

I might put ties on it, using leftover fabric. Honestly, though, I’m quite pleased.

And then I had to leave home again before I could photograph the !$%*@ cushion on the !$%*@ chair.

See you, with a new project, in two weeks. Wherever my butt and I may happen to be.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

HiKoo Llamor Yarn (100% Baby Llama, 109 yards per 50g ball)
Square Corozo Buttons from Skacel Buttons
Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom, 15-Inch

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book was brought out by Soho Publishing in May 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue KnittingYarn Market News, Interweave KnitsInterweave CrochetPieceWorkTwist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site (franklinhabit.com) or his Facebook page.

Number of the Day: 10,000

Well, what should I tell you?

I spent the whole day packing the kits for the #10000newknitters project, on November 10th. Nothing too busy and it is nice to sit in the back of the office with so many great woman, having a little chat, making jokes and packing the knitting kits.

If you take part of this, do remember that each of the 1,.000 kits went though someones hands, all put together with love and passion for this project!

I am still not used to the feeling of going home on Saturday. It is just weird thinking that I will not go to work on Monday as usual, that I will not cuddle Hank in the morning or drive to work with Karin as usual. And the most important thing is that I will miss my coworkers! Some of them became my friends during that time. They helped me to organize myself in the US but also offered me a lot of great experiences and even more fun!

It will be a bittersweet goodbye as I am gonna miss my coworkers and my friends, but I am also looking forward to going home to my family.

I can simply say thank you for all the great memories that I made with you guys!

Cheesecake!

IMG_0496.JPGMy task this morning is to do some research on different sketching styles. We are designing a new logo for a new yarn and decided to keep the logo in a very sketchy style. So, I did some research and even came up with a little doodle on a piece of paper as a cute idea for the logo myself. I am excited to see which logo will be taken and how it is gonna look at the end. Sadly I will see it when I have already arrived back in Germany, but its gonna be a cool thing to see anyway.

I spent the rest of the day preparing 10,000 New Knitters kits. Just imagine 10,000 knitting kits all filled by hand. Yes, there is a lot of work connected to the project. But it’s going to be worth it if we can create such a unique and one-of-a-kind event for all the knitters and newbies out there 🙂

IMG_0493I had a really great evening today as Katie took me to the Cheesecake Factory. I love cheesecake and I ate this awesome Oreo cheesecake that has just been great! It was such a great idea having a nice dinner on one of my last evenings in the US. I will miss all my coworkers, for sure. They made my internship and this whole experience as special as it is. I am so very thankful.

Don’t Kill the Intern!

Don’t worry about the title. No one wants to do harm to the intern! It is just a title Rob, a coworker of mine, and I came up with when he opened the window and nearly hit me with the pole to open the window. It is always a good thing when your coworkers deliver you with some new inspiration, even for a new and creative headline 😀

Sadly, my departure becomes foreseeable in two days. That is why I started organizing all my blog posts and all the pictures so that Katie is able to keep publishing the text each day. I put every text in the right order and added all the pictures. That way it’s all clear and easy to publish 🙂

That’s what kept me busy this morning.

Afterwards, I did some online learning about creating an infographic and also about creating a sales poster. I already told you that I am glad to improve my “graphic designing” skills and to learn new things. So getting some more information about creating infographics and sales posters has really been an interesting thing, especially for continuing to work in the marketing business. 

I have to admit that I really like learning and all that theoretical stuff. I don’t have a problem working with dry text or listening to extending presentations, as long as the topic interests me. That is why I really enjoy doing some online courses as I get to choose the topic, what I want to learn and what I may need to learn.

PHOTO-2018-09-27-08-34-34I have to show you guys my super cute new button. Karin gave it to me during our trip in San Francisco because we weren’t able to see the Golden Gate Bridge on our bus tour. I put it on my backpack so I am carrying this memory with me.

I am pretty sure that one day I’m gonna come back, to Seattle and to San Francisco 🙂

The Weekend: Hello San Francisco!

Well, what should I say. First of all, I get the award for the worst timing of catching a cold! Two days before our departure to San Francisco I was not able to go to work. I did not feel good at all on Wednesday and Thursday, especially on Wednesday the cold really caught me. Anyhow, I did not want to miss San Francisco for any circumstances: I really wanted to see the city and I didn’t want Karin and Kyle having to handle the show on their own. There has been a lot of organization behind the show so there has been a lot of effort in preparing everything. Keeping that in mind, I really tried to get as much rest as possible on Wednesday and Thursday to be able to withstand the stress for the whole weekend. That is why I was not able to write new blog entries for these days…

So, starting off with Friday morning: Our flight left at 6 o’clock so the day started at about 4 o’clock when we left the house. Knowing the weekend would get tough, I prepped myself with enough medication for the cold and bonbons for my throat. I wanted to help Karin and Kyle as much as possible so I prepped myself for any kind of indisposition.

IMG_0475After we arrived in San Francisco, we took a taxi to the Hilton hotel in downtown, where the show took place. Luckily, we had our rooms for the night in the same hotel, that way we could just fall into our beds after a long day at the show. However, we immediately started setting up the booth when we arrived at the hotel. It took us some hours to set up everything and the show did not start until 5 pm, that way we had time to build everything from 10 am up to 3 pm and having a little “lunch” break afterwards. We met at the booth at 4:30 to do a final preparation for all the visitors. My task during the whole show was to sell the legions that are available at Makers’ Mercantile.

Then the show started!

It went pretty smooth and kept us busy most of the time. Attendance was a good amount, not to be overwhelmed for that day. I had a lot of fun selling some of the leggings and also some wool, even if my knowledge about all the different wools and the information  needed for knitting and crocheting leave a little to be desired. 

The day ended at 9 pm, after the show had ended at 7 pm. We literally fell into our beds, tired and exhausted by the long day. Luckily, I had a very good sleep that night, knowing my alarm would not start until 8:30, as the show started at 10 am.

Saying Friday went off pretty smoothly, Saturday continued being busy but not too exhausting. I had a lot of fun meeting all the different people, knitters from all around San Francisco. Besides selling our products, I was able to have a little chit chat with some of the visitors which was a lot of fun and an enrichment for meeting that amount of new people. I started being curious about the last names of some of the visitors and vendors, as some of them wore a little name tag. Therefor, I recognized a lot of people having a German, or at least something that I would consider as a German surname. So I started asking people about their surname and there were a lot of stories about people having grand parents that once immigrated from Germany to the US.

There were so many different kinds of people on the show and it was great being able to interact with them. Of course, I never forgot to promote our products as well 😉

I also had the chance to see a little bit of the city as we took one of the bus tours around the town in the evening. It had already been a cold night but sitting on the open roof of the bus made us freezing. Thus, I was able to take some good pictures of the skyline. But afterwards we decided to take a seat in the lower level of the bus, not to make my cold any worse than it has been. Sadly, I wasn’t able to see the golden gate bridge or browse around in the streets of San Francisco, but at least I saw a little bit from the city. And of course I was able to capture the skyline by night, which was one of my goals for this trip!

Sunday, again, didn’t start until 8:30 am. The show was open until 3 pm and that was when we started dismantling everything. It took us about 3 hours to detach everything and to put everything back into boxes to be shipped back to Seattle. Afterwards, the three of us had a great dinner at a restaurant, talking about the show, relaxing a little bit and just enjoying the evening until we took our flight back to Seattle. 

We arrived at home about 12:30 am and I fell into my bed immediately, knowing that I had Monday off to get some rest and regenerate after the weekend.

So, that’s how I got here, sitting at my desk in the office on this beautiful Tuesday morning, writing my blog entry about the weekend, knowing that this is gonna be the last week in the US until I go back to Germany on Saturday morning…

I love my new posters!

I already told you that I designed two posters for the booth at the Vogue Knitting Show in San Francisco this weekend. I really enjoyed designing them and it turned out that they look pretty cute. Long story short: They will decorate our both at the show!

Today’s task, except some work on social media, was to prepare two more posters. The first one, about the Edition 3 yarn by Schoppel, has been quite easy. The second one, that is about a sheep bowl brought me to a bigger challenge than I expected. But I made it! And actually, I think they look very cute, too…

I already recognized that it takes me less time to work with the tools, Photoshop as well as Adobe Illustrator, so that I actually recognize progress in my skills. That is so exciting! I mean, I am still far away from being  a pro, but slowly I get to handle things and know how they work. That is what makes me proud about learning new things! Isn’t that exciting?

I am so excited!

Today has been another day creating posters. And wow, the more I work with Adobe Illustrator and the more tricks I learn, the more fun I have playing around with it. My task was to create two posters, which will be part of our both in San Francisco and they are supposed to refer to show specials for some of our products.

Doing the first poster still was kind of hard as I am still not that into the program and I was kind of missing some inspiration. With the help of Candice, I have been able to create the posters which will proudly be presented on the Makers’ booth. If one of you came to visit us at the Vogue knitting show, you might recognize these two posters! I never had the possibility to work with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop before, even though a lot of job advertisements in marketing expect these skills. Every place that I have worked before had their own graphic designers, so there was just never a need for me to learn it or to try it myself.

Here, at Skacel, I get the possibility not only to try it but to learn it. I get real tasks for creative working and experimenting with all the tools that are offered through this programs. That is so great, I love doing that! Thanks to Candice, I always had someone to help me. I won’t be a professional in using Photoshop and Illustrator after this internship but I can proudly say that I know the basics and I am able to connect the content with basic marketing intentions.