Hi! I'm really excited to be participating in Secret Pal 7. This is my first time doing this and I'm sure it will be a blast. Here are my answers to the questionnaire.
1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?
Yes, I'd have to say I'm a yarn snob, with one major exception. I love now discontinued Cotton-Ease by Lion Brand. Other than that, I pretty much avoid the yarns sold at Michael's and Joann Fabrics. I like merino wool, cashmere (of course), alpaca, angora - pretty much any animal fiber. I use silk and cotton because I live in San Diego, but I don't really like to work with them all that much.
2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I do not spin and I only crochet when it enhances my knitting projects, i.e. edgings, etc.
3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a Lantern Moon needle case where I store my straights, dpn's and crochet hooks, although I'd like to find a better system for my dpn's since I have so many now. I have no system whatsoever for my circs. They have made a rat's nest on the bottom of my knitting bag.
4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I have been knitting for just over a year, although I've learned a lot in that time and have tried a lot of new things. I have done lace, made socks, all kinds of sweaters, added short row shaping, and done intarsia. I haven't done fair isle, steeking, or any techniques at that level. I guess I'd consider myself intermediate.
5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wishlist?
Not yet, although I will put something together and update this blog with the info.
6. What's your favorite scent ? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
I'm not very particular really. I can tell you what I don't like - musk. I'm also not particularly fond of vanilla or anything really sweet. I've found that I like jasmine, gardenia and other florals, although some fruity smells are nice, too.
7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Yes, unfortunately I do have wicked sweet tooth. I love all things chocolate, particularly milk chocolate, especially when it's covering toffee. I REALLY like Cary's toffee which is sold at some Whole Foods Markets.
8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I don't consider myself a crafty person at all. Knitting is really the only thing in that vein that I do.
9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3's? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
My taste in music is wide-ranging. I like everything from Green Day to Depeche Mode to Jesse Cook to Neil Diamond and everything in between. I'm a little hard to pin down. I might be the only person on earth with a homemade CD containing a track by Queen back to back with a track from Barry Manilow. My computer can play MP3's.
10. What is your favorite color? Or --do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
My favorite colors to wear are blue and purple because they look the best on me. For things I don't wear, I love autumn colors - greens, browns, orange, rust, etc. They don't look good on me but my entire condo is decorated with them. I really don't like tomato red or peach at all.
11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I am married and have been for two years (in fact my anniversary is today!). I have 3 hairball-spitting cats who basically run the house. Their names are Teacup, Princess and Giselle.
12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Well, the weather here doesn't really allow me to wear these things often, especially mittens and hats (I look like a water buffalo in a poncho). However, I love them and wear them anyway, particularly in the evenings or when I travel. Scarves are probably the items that I can wear most often.
13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
My all time favorite yarn is Rowan's Wool Cotton, followed closely by pretty anything made by Lorna's Laces. I also like Debbie Bliss' alpaca silk. I'm loving working with Noro Silk Garden, too. I'm dying to work with Koigu. Basically I love anything soft and luxurious with pretty colors. Oh, and I LOVE Blue Sky Alpacas yarns, too. Rowan's Cashcotton DK is a great yarn, too.
14. What fibers do you absolutely not like?
With the exception of acrylic, I'm open to most things, as long as they have a good hand. I am sensitive to scratchy yarns, particularly if they're going to be around my neck. I don't love cotton, but there are a lot of good cotton yarns out there. I'm working with Rowan Cork right now - not loving that one.Edited to add: I generally don't like unnatural fibers, such as rayon, etc.
15. What is/are your current knitting obsessions?
I enjoy knitting socks and sweaters the most. I wouldn't say I'm obsessed by any one thing except wanting to start a ton of new projects everyday and searching the earth for new patterns. I'm quite obsessive about these things. Oh, and I absolutely have to knit everyday. With the exception of when I had the stomach flu, I don't think I've gone a single day without doing at least a little knitting.
16. What is/are your favorite items to knit?
The answer is pretty much the same as above. I like a variety to keep me interested and usually have several projects going to appeal to all my moods. I also like doing lacework.
17. What are you knitting right now?
A better question is what am I NOT knitting right now. I'm working on a Clapotis in Noro Silk Garden, the Birch shawl, a cabled scarf in Polar, Picovoli, a sweater called Chill from an old Rowan mag and the Ombre Alpaca Blanket from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I'm chomping at the bit to start Louisa Harding's Big Wool sweater from the Fall Vogue Knitting, pattern #11, but I must exercise a little patience (ha!)
18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes, especially knitted gifts.
19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
It depends upon the project, but almost always circulars, Addi Turbos if possible, although Lantern Moon straights are lovely as well.
20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
See above. Addi Naturals are also fabulous needles as are Brittany birch straights and dpn's.
21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yeah, it's called my two hands and my chair. All kidding aside, I wish I did.
22. How did you learn to knit?
Jeanette, the other participant in this blog, taught me on one of her trips to San Diego.
23. What is your oldest UFO?
I'm embarassed to say that my oldest UFO has been around almost as long as I've known how to knit. I started a cabled afghan in Lamb's Pride Bulky about a year ago that I still haven't finished.
24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I love Looney Toones, Bugs, Pepe le Peu, the Tasmanian Devil and the rest of the gang. For live action, I love cats and dogs.
25. What is your favorite holiday?
I have always loved Christmas and Thanksgiving the best.
26. Is there anything that you collect?
Besides yarn? Well, no, that pretty much takes up all of my space and money.
27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I subscribe to Interweave Knits only at the moment. I don't subscribe to Vogue because it hits the newstands faster. I read Rebecca and Rowan, but don't have a subscription to either. I don't bother with the others, Knitters, Cast On, etc.
28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns that you are dying to get your hands on?
In addition to the yarns mentioned above, I want to try knitting socks with Vesper sock yarn from kpixie.com, and I would love to try handpainted yarn from a small mill that I've never tried before. I would also really like some Brittany dpn's size 1's (can't find them around here), the book Luxury Knits, Alterknits or Knitting Vintage Socks. I'd also like to get my hands on the discontinued pattern book Rowan Wool Cotton Concertina.
29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Knitting socks on circular needles, fair isle, steeking, continental knitting.
30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes I am a sock knitter. I am a size 8, my foot is 9 1/2 inches long and 9 1/2 inches in circumference.
31. When is your birthday?
Finally, I'd like to leave you with this photo of my sister-in-law, Pam, knitting while her baby sleeps. I think she's a true convert.