Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I've moved to Wordpress

I have been evaluating my blogging needs and sadly blogger cannot support all my needs at this time. So I've decided to migrate this blog to WordPress. Check it out here: http://karako17.wordpress.com.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Oh Caryl (Carol)

Yesterday, the Creative Director, Joe, started singing this song called "Oh Carol" when he introduced me to Nicky Epstein. I asked him who sang that since I'd wanted a song with Caryl (Carol) in it forever. I bogarted Sweet Caroline as my song calling it Sweet Carol - ine. Today, when he introduced me to the photographer, he again started singing the song. This led to us wanting to know who sang it.

Here is my new theme song. By Neil Sedaka.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meeting Nicky

Today I worked (interned) at a Soho Publishing photo shoot. First thing I had to do was put all the clothes from a trunk on hangers onto a rack. Then I had to steam iron all of them. I got a few steam burns - steam hurts!

Then during breakfast, a woman showed up and I was introduced to her as Nicky, the designer. I was like "Hmmm... I only know one knit designer named Nicky." So I asked the assistant to the Creative Director what Nicky's last name was and as you can guess it was Epstein. I was a bit thrilled. We were shooting a Fall booklet of Nicky's latest designs.

Nicky was awesome. During some quiet times, I sat knitting so she came and talked to me about it. I told her I was trying to be a designer and happened to have my Paluk snood on me. She looked at it and I could tell she wasn't impressed. Then she was like, if I want to get noticed as a designer, I need my work to stand out. So when we would shoot a new sweater, she'd take me to the side and ask me what made that sweater stand out and give me advice on the kind of things I could do to get my work to pop. It was a great learning experience for me and I wrote down some notes of what she said.

The Creative Director was also really cool and genuinely chatted with me. I found his assistant less than cool. I'm finding (and I don't know if it's a NY thing) but people don't seem to really care much about you. When I first got back and saw my family at our first family get together, you'd think after years of not seeing me they might be interested in what I'd been up to. Nope, they were like hi, nice to see you again and just went on discussing hum drum life things. I'm finding the same interning at Vogue Knitting. Being the new person around, I thought people would be a bit curious about me and ask questions but they're not. I think most of them assume I'm a college student interning at the place and that's that. It's a bit annoying but what can you do. It's weird to be 30 years old, having had a fairly interesting life and no one caring at all. Overall I'm having a tough time finding my place in this city. I don't want to go around putting myself forward, that's just not my style, but it seems the only way to even get noticed.

Here are a few pics from my day. Lots more on Flickr. Sadly I only had my crappy point and shoot on me so the pics aren't amazing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What a day!

Today has been a harrowing day. It started out well. I'd been working on a sock design for a while. While I love knitting socks, I hadn't really thought of designing any. Then I saw information about this sock revived design contest and decided I had to enter the fray. I knew I wanted to design something using colorwork since I've been on a color kick lately. From my library I was able to get Vogue's Color Knitting Stitionary and found a stitch pattern I really loved. I was able to then visualize the pattern and needed yarn to make it happen. I had a trip to Madison, WI and at the Madison Knitter's Guild knit-in I found the two perfect skeins. It actually wasn't that difficult as most skeins of fingering weight yarn there were variegated and I wanted solid. Those two colors called to me and I liked the idea of knitting from a small, local Madison vendor.

My two skeins of yarn:

I then started knitting and taking notes as I went along. After the heel flap I knew I wouldn't want to attempt to try to decrease in that pattern so I thought, stripes! why not stripes?!? I kept going and the last couple of days I photographed my finished prototype and wrote up the pattern.

I named these socks: Electric Boogaloo because for some reason I thought disco. I discussed the naming with a friend and I've now decided the final name will be 'Circuitry' (friend's suggestion).

Then today, April Fool's, I decided to solicit test knitters. Knowing that socks aren't to everyone's tastes I decided to ask for test knitters on one of the sock forums on ravelry. I got lots of volunteers and lots of compliments and was feeling good.

As you can imagine, a great fall was to come. Someone pointed out these socks to me. I'd never seen them before and now I looked like I copied her design. I was pretty distraught because a lot of work had gone into my sock design and I couldn't believe that I'd have to scrap the whole thing. I sought advice from other rav friends and just kept thinking "this was all for nothing". I then decided I'd message the other designer and ask her thoughts on the matter. She was absolutely lovely and told me I should go ahead and publish my design. She also posted on the thread to let people know that we had discussed the situation privately and that she believed me to have designed mine independently and that she thought I should publish my socks as well. I was really happy for that. It just took a huge load off.

So now I'm going to go ahead with those socks. I do try to do some research before publishing a design but it's tough with so many patterns out there. And really, I don't know how I could have searched to find another sock with that similar stitch design.

What a day!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stop the Presses...

Well yesterday was a crazy day. Back on Feb 22 I applied for a job with World Teach, a volunteer organization, as the Summer Program Coordinator for their Ecuador program. After a few weeks had passed and I hadn't heard back from them I assumed that they weren't interested in me for the position. Anyhow, yesterday I heard from them. They said that due to the Chile earthquake and the program over there the job hiring process had been sidelined. So interviews were scheduled for today: one with the hiring person in Cambridge, Mass and another with the Field Director in Ecuador. Last night I was watching the Spanish-speaking station (the second interview was partly in Spanish) to try to get used to listening to Spanish and just trying to prep for it.

The interviews went well but they were phone interviews so you can't really be sure that it all went as you might interpret. So I was happily surprised when at 6pm I received the following in an email: "It is my pleasure to offer you the position of Ecuador Summer Program Coordinator." Then mid-reading the email my phone rang and it was them saying that I'd gotten the job. Yippee!!!

Now they'd like me to start (meaning fly to Ecuador) on April 19th. It's all so soon but so exciting as well.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Roku means six in Japanese. With the changing weather and my love for color, I've wanted to design items using colorwork. These mitts have been knocking around my mind for a while and they put me in mind of technology, futuristic, words like that. I kept trying to come up with a name for the design and then 'Roku' came to mind. These mitts will be my sixth pattern published since I began publishing patterns. It also has the right sound for what I'm hoping to achieve with this pattern.

It's interesting knitting what you have in your head. The colorwork bit came from a Vogue Colorwork Stitchionary. I saw that stitch pattern and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I was also happy that it used slip stitches rather than stranding colorwork. I call it color without the work. :-) But through the knitting process, I found that my vision didn't completely translate the way I'd seen it. I'd planned on having the colorwork cuff, then knit the body of the mitt in blue as is and then do a ribbed border for the top and the thumb using the contrast color. As I knit it, it was just terrible looking. And so instead I decided to incorporate the cuff design into the top border.
Then I was of two minds on the thumb and I'm still of two minds.

I thought stripes would be fierce (as Tyra Banks would say):

But then I thought it would be nice to incorporate the Tweed colorwork from the cuff.

So I did both and in the end decided to include the instructions on how to do each as part of the pattern. That way the knitter can decide which she prefers or like me, might do one of each.

Pattern: Roku
Yarn: Any DK weight yarn; in the photo Malabrigo Silky Merino MC: Teal Feather, CC: Topaz

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Madison Trip

Andrea and I casting on for Little Birds

This is way late for posting this but I spent the last half of last week in Madison, WI. It was a pretty great knitstravaganza time. Andrea (ravname: Selkie), co-Mod on the Anthropologie Knits group on ravelry, hosted me in Madison and she was definitely the hostess with the mostest. Her husband Jason was lovely and while Kaiser wasn't too happy with me, he was such a cutie that I didn't mind.

The lovely Kaiser [ganked from Andrea's flickr]


Andrea was lovely and took the day off on Friday for us to go yarn crawling. We started at Off the Beaten Path but it was not a happy place. It was a yarn shop caught in a time warp - like going back into the 80s. The yarn choices were sad and the colors were worse. It just wasn't a shop to inspire.

We then headed to The Knitting Tree which was a huge improvement on Off the Beaten Path. I was hoping to buy some Malabrigo there but they had about four skeins in the store. They were waiting for a new shipment. They had tons of pattern booklets, magazines and books there. I bought Made in Brooklyn which I'd really wanted but couldn't get at any of the yarn stores I frequent in NYC. Ironic, I know.

After that was Lakeside Fibers. That store was just sad. They had so little stock and the shop just seemed like it was weeks away from closing. The cafe was great and busy. The baristas engaged us in some convo about zodiac signs. I mentioned I was Scorpio and the guy working there stared me deeply in the eyes and asked if we scorpions had piercing? seductive? eyes. That's the problem with waiting too late to post, you forget the exact words. I also met up with my ex. He lives about a 5 min walk from Lakeside Fibers. Had plans gone accordingly, I too would have been living around 5 min from Lakeside Fibers but plans changed.

Our final stop was The Sow's Ear in Verona. That was a much better stop. The Sows Ear was friendly and warm and I enjoyed my Chicken Salad sandwich. I also got the yarn for my Little Birds cardigan. I got Jamieson Shetland Spindrift in maroon as the main color. Then a lovely aqua blue for the birds and for the leaves, Isager yarn in gold.
That evening we went to Tex Tubbs which was yummy. I haven't found any good Mexican food in NYC so it was nice to have some good food (even if it may be deemed TexMex). The wet burrito was delish and the Frito pie was strange but tasty. It was an open bag of Fritos covered in cheese, beans and other yummy nacho toppings.

After that we headed to the movies to see Alice in Wonderland. It was good fun. It was especially great when Andrea burst out laughing during the scene between the red queen and the frogs. No one else was laughing and she was losing it. It was great. It got quite a lot of people in the theater laughing to (including me) just because she couldn't stop the laughter.

Later on that evening, I was not feeling well. I'm allergic to dogs and my breathing was really, really bad. I was starting to panic a bit because I felt like something was very wrong. Jason drove me to Walgreens where the surly pharmacist suggested that I go to the ER for an epinephrine shot and some prednizone. Due to my recent return to the US and being unemployed, I'm also without insurance so I wasn't too thrilled at that prospect. Jason and Andrea called their friend Carla who we'd run into at the restaurant earlier to see if she'd let me use her inhaler. Thank goodness for that. Ventolin was my savior.


Me admiring this rug knit by Ann. She just happened to be signing some books next to me and was roped into taking a photo with me. Also, I'm wearing my Ulmus which was a huge hit with the Madison knitters.

On Saturday we went to the Madison Knitter's Guild Knit-in. There we listened to a presentation by the two women of Mason-Dixon knitting. They were very folksy and funny. I especially loved their clip "Grey Garments". It's hilarious!

Here's Andrea checking out some of Ann's and Kay's knitted blankets:

We then hit the vendors. I bought some yarn from Sun Valley Fibers, a local Madison vendor, for a sock design that I'm hoping to enter in the Sock Revived contest. I also got a gorgeous shawl pin seen here in my Elysium photo. I finished knitting this cardigan while in Madison. It was my traveling project.

I also got a lovely project bag and some lovely, soft Peruvian Tweed from Ewetopian Fibers.

After fun at the knit-in, we headed to the UW Memorial Union to wait for my bus to Chicago. Jason showed up. During breakfast I bragged about what a great scrabble player I was and Jay, a competitive spirit, wanted to show me. :-) Andrea is also very competitive and we got to playing. I'm going to sound a bit conceited but I schooled them both. (I'm super competitive and pretty much only watch competitive TV - sports, game shows and reality shows like Project Runway and America's Next Top Model). Andrea and I also managed to cast on our Little Birds cardigans.

It was an awesome trip and Andrea and Jason were awesome hosts and I def want to visit again.