01 October 2006

Secret Pal 9 Questionnaire

In some ways, I hate filling these things out for fear of sounding too picky. I'm generally not, I promise. On the other hand, I have a hard time picking things out for someone I've never met and would rather they give me lots of hints and clues about likes and dislikes so I have some guidance. So, I try to balance the two. Hopefully it works.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

It depends on the day and the project. I tend to prefer natural fibers - wool, cotton, alpaca, llama - but I also like the look of ribbon yarns. I don't like novelty / fun fur / ladder-type yarns and I think at this point the only of the mainstream acrylics that I would use routinely would be Caron Simply Soft - which I really am fond of for easy-care stuff or folks who are allergic to animal fibers. I'd be interested in trying soy or bamboo or linen, blended or straight up. I'm not allergic to any yarn that I know of. I like hand-dyed yarns, but am not terribly fond of the self-patterning "fair-isle" yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

The packages they come in, usually. I prefer bamboo and usually get Clover needles, so the sleeves work well for storing needles. They're also portable, so if I finish a project in the car (I have an hour long daily round trip commute and usually carpool with my husband who prefers to drive), I can just slide the needles back in the sleeve and not worry about breaking or losing them in transit.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I've been knitting for 7 or 8 years, I think. I learned from a good friend initially and have been self-taught for the most part since then. In case it matters, I knit continental. I think I'd consider myself an advanced intermediate - I've done most techniques except for entrelac I think, but haven't done *a lot* of stuff like Fair Isle.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yup. Both. Links are on the sidebar. With the holiday season approaching, I try to keep them updated as my family uses Wishlist.com wishlists pretty extensively in holiday gift shopping.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)

That's sort of a tough one. I like lots of scents as long as they aren't cloyingly sweet or way too overpowering (patchouli in most things is too overpowering for me, for instance). Most anything (well.. maybe not *anything* - some of them are a bit too much) from Lush is okay, as are most things from places like Bath & Body Works or whatever that other one is that I can't remember the name of right now. I like citrusy shower stuff, but calmer smells for things like bubble bath/bath bombs. I have long, very fine hair, so I don't use heavy shampoos or conditioners (in fact, most of the time I'll skip conditioner unless my hair is really staticky or snarled). I don't wear scents usually, but some scented lotion is okay; for me, though, the lotion is the main part, and the scent is secondary - I dislike lotions that feel greasy or leave a film on your skin.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I guess so. I'm not a huge chocolate fan - I like chocolate in things, but not usually a lot of chocolate all on it's own. Chocolate bars and the like are good - I can eat them in pieces and savor them - but things like chocolate chocolate truffles tend to be too overwhelming. I'm also not a huge fan of raw honey or maple. I *love* caramel and English toffee, though. And chocolate with mint.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

Lots. *grin* For fiber crafts, I am a beginning spinner (drop spindle; no wheel (yet?)), and I do tablet weaving, bobbin lace, lucet cording and a handful of other crafts from time to time. Mostly, though, I knit and spin if I'm working with fiber. I also dabble in brewing and vintning, book binding and, when I have studio space, pottery. I do NOT crochet - I've never really been able to get into the flow of it, but I know how to do it well enough to do edgings and the like on knit garments, or to start a provisional cast-on.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I tend to like more acoustic, folk-y sort of stuff, but that can vary. Common artists that come up in my iTunes (yes, I can play MP3s) include the Indigo Girls, Cowboy Junkies, KT Tunstall, Billy Joel, Loreena McKennit, etc. I also like some of the "jam bands" - the Dead, Blues Traveller, some Phish, etc. Oh, and jazz and blues standards - Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Chet Baker, etc. Feel free to surprise me, though; I like finding new good music, too.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I tend toward earth tones and jewel tones - deep, rich colors. I don't usually wear oranges or yellows except in socks - anything goes for socks! I'm not a big pastel person.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I'm married to my male partner and we have one dog, Jali, who is about 13 years old. I don't knit for Jali - she doesn't wear doggie clothes and would eat any sort of toy that I might make for her.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Sometimes? I wear scarves in winter, and a hat if my husband bugs me enough. I have a hard time finding hats that I think look good on me, but have toyed on occassion with the idea of making a fulled bucket hat or cloche hat. Mittens and gloves are pretty much a necessity in the upper Midwest in winter. Not big on ponchos, but I have a couple of lace wraps/shawls/stoles that I wear and a couple of wool cloaks for autumn/spring wear.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Depends on the day. I'm a project knitter - I buy yarn to make specific things. I have a hard time buying yarn if I don't have a project for it in mind; I'm afraid to buy too little of something and then not be able to use it, I guess. I like socks for smaller projects, especially with luscious yarns that are too spendy for larger projects. I don't really have a stash, per se - more just the bits and pieces of yarns left over from previous projects and the yarn I need and know I'll use for several planned projects. That said, I'm not opposed to the idea of a stash, I just have a hard time buying yarn without knowing what it will be used for (or, in some cases, who - my husband, mom, and father-in-law are allergic to animal fibers).

Hrm.. that didn't really answer the question, but I guess I'm not sure how else to answer it.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Holiday gifts. *smile* I'm working on the Breezy Cables cardigan out of Knit Picks Swish Superwash and have plans to make the Tied-Up tee (pattern from White Lies Designs) with some Rowan River Tape, and another top in Knit Picks Shine Worsted. I've got plans for some socks - some out of my own handspun and some out of pr'bly Reynolds Whiskey, but I'm haven't decided that for sure. I've also started a cardigan kit from Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mills that my sister got me for the holidays last year, but it's on hold while I work on the holiday gift knitting for now. I recently finished Rogue - which I love.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yup. Stuff that hangs on the wall is usually better than stuff that needs shelf space in terms of artistic pieces. Otherwise, soaps, candles, baked goods, cocoa mixes, music mixes, socks, homespun yarn, whatever, are all good.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Circs or DPNs. Bamboo. Metal straights or DPNs tend to make my hands hurt, but are okay in circs. I really don't knit anything on straights anymore, though; Circs are usually more portable and easier on my wrists even for flat knitting.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I have a yarn winder, but not a swift. I've found that one of the folding chairs my dad made some time back works really well in place of a swift for most skeined yarn.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Uh.. not very? See above - project knitter. *smile* At this point, my oldest UFO is pr'bly the Blackberry Ridge sweater, which I started over Labor Day. Before that, Rogue would have been the oldest, but even that was just started this spring and I finished it in September.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Pr'bly Thanksgiving. It's usually less stressful than Christmas, but we still get to see all our family. Autumn is my favorite season, so that helps, too.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Nothing that paricularly comes to mind. Fun little toys, maybe. I have a small collection sitting on my desk at work - things like a little Lego(tm) trebuchet.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Hrm.. if there are, they'll be on my Wishlist. Small size DPNS (like the multiple 0 sizes) are about the only thing that come to mind, and those I'm not really *dying* for, but am interested to try. I subscribe to Interweave Knits.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Mmm.. not really. I'd like to do more Fair Isle with finer yarns, or maybe some small gauge stockings in silk or finely spun wool.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yup. I wear a women's 8.5 or 9 shoe, wide, and usually socks knit to a pattern's medium or large will fit well enough. I prefer taller socks (I wear them under calf-height boots in the winter). I'd give you more precise measurements, but I managed to lose my sewing tape measure sometime in early September and haven't had a chance to replace it.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)


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