Sunday, May 07, 2006

Secret Pal Numero 8
I'd completely forgotten signing up for this - having had a tooth abcess, work being busy and NOW (as of yesterday) a sprained ankle! I'm a WRECK! But I've had a reminder from my hostess Alison about SP8 and I found this questionnaire for 'this round'. Ooooo, I'm such a newbie at this...

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love predominantly wool yarns or mixes which have a predominantly natural yarn component (wool or cotton) - but I like the new funky fur, or novelty yarns because they're such fun to knit scarves with and feel and see. I like soft yarns. I hate 100% acrylic as it lets the wind through and feels sweaty. I sound like a yarn snob :-(
One of the best guernsey sweaters I knit myself was in a very pearlised, french 4ply 100% acrylic yarn that lasted for YEARS and 100s of washes, so I guess there are ALWAYS exceptions. I'm knitting a sweater for my son at the moment that has a large acrylic component along with cotton and wool - (Sirdar denim aran) - it's soft, it'll wash and wear well - ideal.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I've a wooden sewing box with draws in the top that holds needles, and a denim wrap thing that has needles in too. I've also got a ceramic pot sitting next to the computer here which has mainly paintbrushes in, but occasionally sports a knitting needle. I'm a total slob, so some knitting needles lurk in other places like plastic bags with UFOs inside.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Intermediate, bordering on advanced I guess. I've been knitting a long time, though I've recently rediscovered it after a several year hiatus, what with all this stitch and bitch energy around lately.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, and a Cliff wish list on my bookcrossing shelf.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I like spicy scents, like cinnamon, and patchouli types. I like woody and citrussy smells too. mmmm. I'm not really a floral type.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Afraid so. I like chocolate. Dark chocolate. And nutty things. I should be on a diet but I've fallen off the wagon lately.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
No, don't spin, although one day, when I retire, who knows. I like painting, drawing, colouring. I've been known to embroider my own designs. And facepaint. I'm not at all good at crocheting. I'm mainly a knit.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Yes my computer can play CDs. I don't know about MP3s - what are they?
I like obscure bands from years ago that noone else has ever heard of like Bill Bruford, Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Air, Folky stuff, Catatonia, Sade (this list off the top of my head).

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I like autumn colours - all those burnished, coppery reds, greens and browns (but not bright orange). I love greens - but generally mossy, not bright, depending on my mood. I can go outrageously bright and primary when it's hot and sunny outside. I hate bubblegum pink - bleurgh!

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
My one and only son is 18years old and left home just before Christmas - but isn't too far away and visits regularly (usually to scrounge the rent money because he's overspent his budget!) - My DH and I are getting reaquainted in a much quieter house.
I have two chocolate labradors - Tilly and her son, Sydney. They are MY dogs as my DH is at great pains to tell me.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear all of those except the last.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I'll have a go at anything - I can knit plain stuff (stocking stitch, garter stitch) while reading, or at the back of classrooms, in meetings. I save the more complicated things for when I've got time to concentrate.
I like traditional British Knitting - guernseys, fishing ganseys, arans, fairisle. I'm a great one for not finishing stuff I start.

13. What are you knitting right now?
An Alice Starmore pattern for my son. I showed him a book of fishing jersey patterns and let him pick his favourite and the colours.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Oh yes please!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I actually like straight needles as I knit with one tucked under my arm - I'm positive I'd get on very well with one of those knitting belts you can stick the end of the needle in - but I've never tried. However I knit in the round a lot, so obviously circular needles are more practical even if they don't suit my style! I knit with any needle - but don't particular like some of the old plastic needles - too bendy. I've got bamboo and aluminium and some lovely french knitting needles which are plastic coated metal in bright primary colours.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Somewhere I've got a yarn winder from when I used to use a knitting machine a lot.

17. How did you learn to knit?
In school when I was about 8 years old - we had to knit two rectangles in brown yarn and garter stitch, and sew them together and stuff them. We then had to sew down the two top corners of the rectangle, attach a beak, eyes and feet and call it an OWL. Needless to say, I don't recall finishing it. My grandmother was a great knitter of arans. I used to watch her a lot. I really got knitting in my early teens. I knitted a bright green V neck sweater for a guide badge when I was twelve. By the time I was 15yrs old I remember knitting a cardigan with circular fairisle yoke that had such an even tension my gran thought I'd bought it.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
OOh, now that's telling. I have a jumper I was knitting for a friend from my own pattern which only needs the sleeves doing. I think it's 21 years old. oh dear. I'm not sure if there's enough yarn to even finish it, which is why it's been packed away in the attic for so long.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
An active holiday - adventuring of some kind. I've two holidays planned for this year - neither of them with dh (!)( he doesn't like travelling). I'm walking part of the South West Coastal Path, from St Ives to the Lizard, with my sis and Syd, the younger dog. We'll be camping out if it's nice, and youth hostelling if it isn't. In October I'm going to explore Thailand for a fortnight on my own (meeting up with friends in the middle for Interhash).

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Not really - I should be decluttering! I DO have too many books, knitting books, art materials etc etc.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I subscribe to an Art magazine called "Artists and Illustrators". I am dying to get my hands on the pattern for felted slippers on the site. Those peace needles are really cute, aren't they? And I've heard a lot about addy turbos but never tried them! I'm also saving to make a spurge on the yarns on the handpainted uraguayan site one of these days. And, and, and.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'm learning all the time. I've just learned how to cast off with a sewing needle to make an elastic edge for ribbing. And how to knit socks from the toe up.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, I've knitted socks - but only two pairs of adult size socks - lots of baby and children's socks. I'm size 7, 41. Will try to measure them properly tomorrow.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
Nov. 10th

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