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…

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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!

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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…

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…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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Imperfect, but probably good enough to keep grandma from haunting my dreams.

Then I sewed on the buttons.

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I slid the form into the cover and buttoned it all up. Wow, that felt good.

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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.

Friday! Yeah

Today has been a funny day. I had to redo some of the tags so that we are able to present them in different alignments. As I made as mistake creating them in Adobe Illustrator, it didn’t work out well at the first time. As an Adobe Illustrator “Newbie” I somehow managed to create the text as a new layer which would then disappear if one clicks somewhere else. It’s kind of hard to describe. So the moral of this is that I had to redo everything, what took me some time to do.

IMG_0461After this, the fun part began! Do you remember that I cannot knit? Ha! Well, know I can and it took me 80 minutes to do the whole loop. How did I do that? I used a knitting machine, the addiExpress. Yes, I still cannot knit, to be honest. But it was fun creating this huge loop out of four wool balls. The purpose of this was to see how long it takes, as there will be a class at Makers’ Mercantile. The teacher planned how long the class will take but there were some insecurities if it won’t take longer than the foreseen time.

 

 

And I recognize having some “lasts” in this internship. Therefor, I guess today has been the last time for me going to Panera for lunch. I just love their salads and the tomato soup was great! Except that, the cookies at Panera are the best!

What a day!

It has been kind of relaxed today, as I put a lot of work on the blog, for which I can most likely work very independently. Besides, I did a little bit of research and browsed through several blogs online to see what they offer to their readers, how they design their blog and what exactly defines their writing style. Have you ever wondered what makes a good blog? It seems to be difficult catching the readers attention each day or each week, keeping them interested and curious. That’s why I put a lot of time and work into this blog. It doesn’t only defines through the texts but communicates through the pictures and the story it tells. That, in fact, makes it sometimes a little bit harder for me to connect my daily text with interesting and emotional communicating pictures. If the day has been full of office tasks or just some research and nothing too busy, it’s difficult to come up with appealing and interesting pictures. Except the aspect that the blog is supposed to give you an insight at Skacel and the daily business of a knitting company, as well as sharing my own personal experiences during this internship with you up to a certain degree. I always try to figure out how to generate the post personally and funny without publishing too much from my privacy. I really get decisive on which selfie I want to share with you or what I tell you about my adventures beyond work.

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Before I started the blog, I did a lot of research to collect theoretical knowledge about writing a blog. Not only in marketing related bases, but also on PR and creative aspects. So each time a coworker passes the office and I am sitting there with my headphones on, I’m actually doing some online learning to extend my knowledge about a certain topic.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog and feel free to comment below 🙂