Thursday, 9 August 2007

Of rants and mumbles and such things (or, just a general update)


(I need to stop starting my posts with so. But I like the word 'so.' Such a wealth of meaning behind said word. So.).

I love Fall (or Autumn for the British) where layers of clothing are encouraged, and designers reach for colours that one tends to miss in spring. Fall brings colours like chocolate, cranberries, nutmeg and pine. Colours which swirl together in a blend of light and dark, of red/rose gold on punget earth.

Colours which speak of warmth, life and Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Not many yarn companies do 'fall' colours that I'm enamoured with.

I think it's because I live in the UK, and most women here think of fall/winter with colours like slate, fog, ice, biscuit and tundra (think I'm lying?Look at the Sublime colours). I think it's tied to tradition here, and the lanscape because in the winter, the UK can be extremely grey.

Which is why I have a love/hate problem with Debbie Bliss.

As my friend Pat will tell you, I've been heard to hiss (yes, hiss with silibants) at people when they try and angle Debbie Bliss in my way, I tell them that she is dead to me.


I hate Debbie Bliss' yarns. Their expense with so little yardage in comparison to other yarns. They pill easily, are prone to breakage and that Bliss makes her gauge so wonky that you can only use her yarns for a spot on gauge.

Boo, Bliss. Just boo.

That's sneaky.

On the other hand, I love her colours. Debbie Bliss knows colours and has an exisquite colour sense that is unmatched by other UK yarns. Yes, even Rowan. Rowan's new yarns tend to be the traditional British winter colours - leached of intensity and warmth - for the first season. Bliss always brings the colour for her first season of new yarns.

Another thing about Debbie Bliss is the fact that her patterns tend not to correspond with reality. I did a pattern of hers once, for a 34" size, and it came out at 38". Her earlier patterns did not have a schematic either, and I refuse to knit without a schematic - that's like buying flat pack furniture without visual instructions. Just as how I expect spending money should make my version of the product comparable to the prototype with flatpack, the same should be for my knitting.

Also, with Debbie Bliss, I tend to find that I only like one pattern in her pattern books, and dismiss the others. Like this one. Love the cover slipover Catriona - Debbie Bliss shines when it comes to cable patterns for women and babies - although the cynic in me thinks she uses cables so that we can by more yarn - on the other hand, when she goes for simple, it tends to fall flat.

So I haven't looked seriously at Debbie Bliss' designs (not even to buy her book) until now. I like Patrica, Frances, Lily and Romy. I especially like Romy - a simple shape of a cardigan (like a child's smock) yet the cables and moss stitch add interest and is just a good design. Then too boot, the book has schematic diagrams. I'm so sunk.

Even though I've done The Unthinkable, the undesirable, the unspeakable, I am not mad.

I have bought Maggie Righetti's book Sweater Design in Plain English.

I will read through this book before I cast on a Debbie Bliss design.

Nay, I will read this book before I cast on for any other knit pattern. I'm not skilled or clever enough to design my own stuff, but I want to be knowledgable enough to avoid the mistakes of the designer and her tech writer.

So. What of my knitting, you ask?

I have not been knitting per se. It's been too hot to knit, too bright. I have been going out more, doing cross country rambling on Sundays, baking on Saturdays. Mondays to Fridays I've been looking for employment.

Of course, I should probably let you know a bit about my background.

I am a migrant to the EU. Have been here for six years, taught for one. Worked in other jobs for the other five.

After teaching in an English high school, I decided I did not want to teach anymore, and tried to find alternative employment. Unfortunately, since my degree isn't from a First World University, and I didn't know the system/interview culture, I was hard pressed to find employment that suited my strenghts, to be honest.

In addition, since I'm a migrant (but not an asylum seeker) I could not ask the state for job advice. To add insult to injury, even though I was working and paying emergency taxes, I had to wait three years in order to qualify for local student rates for my education.

Long story short, my professional life has been deferred for five years.

True, I have spent those five years working where I could: teaching on the weekends, doing bar work, and the odd student jobs here and there while I got my (other, First World) Higher Education, because well my first one wasn't doing me any favours.

So, while looking for professional jobs, I've been reading books and blogs (I'm not picky) in terms of trying to sure up my resume, and coming up with new ways of selling me, the product.

In this light, Penelope Trunk isn't a bad blog.

Her advice may sound quirky and is totally different from the attitudes my parents instilled in me, but it makes me think. Not that one will follow the advice without tweaking it, but she makes me think.

Some of her nuggets of wisdom are:

In interviews, it's more important to work on being liked than appearing competent - you can be trained for competence, but if people don't like you, you're screwed.

Gaps in resumes can be explained away, and it's actually A Good Thing to have a gap in a resume, because it shows some sort of restraint in applying for jobs.

People will rather work with someone they like despite their chronic incompetence, rather than someone who's super competent, but disliked.

A resume is a selling tool not a summary of work experience.

Never eat alone. Network, network, network. Only befriend people that can be useful to you, because your social contacts is only strong as your weekest link.

The thing is, I did myself a disservice with doing odd jobs it seems, because once you work 'down' it's harder to work up. My brother-in-law's son-in-law actually waited (didn't work) six months (he used to work in The City as an accountant) before the job of his dreams came on his radar he and got it (working with National Parks).

My actually working 'down' just to get food on the table, some sanity and routine in my life (because staying home is the suxors people, I'm saying that now) will actually count against me in interviews. The fact that I worked in the summers just to finance my way through school for the rest of the year might strike against me.

The hell.

I'm applying for Admin/logistics jobs right now, because they demand a good grasp of written and spoken English, computer literacy and typing skills (they'll train you for everything else), and I'm unsure of myself. I can do the work, and I do want to do something that engages the brain, and isn't dependent on hourly rates - where if there are no people there I gotta go home- and my payslip is screwed.

I cannot do it through Nottingham agencies, because they demand experience for temps. Whereas in London agencies, they tend to test you then send the information on to the potential employer, who (more times than not ) accepts you as a temp, giving you invaluable experience.


So, I need to tweak my resume, and tailor it to this job. I also need to write a killer covering letter.

I have an interview at the jobcentre next week, and here's hoping I'll be in full time employment which engages the brain because I don't want to be home beyond September not earning money.

Wish me luck.


Tamara said...

If you want that Romy pattern for free, you can download it at They seem to have renamed it Silver Belle.

JayJay said...

Good luck with your interviews/job hunting! Can't you just leave off the odd jobs from your resume? I know my hubby just doesn't list those jobs (like working retail for extra money for our wedding) when applying for a "career" type job.

I hear you on Debbie Bliss, and yet her cable patterns always look so cute that I get sucked in!

lillysmuul said...

Good luck! hopefully you got the job already!!!