Ok, I survived the last week of working insanely hard and am now seriously vegetating and self-medicating with fiber. In the interest of catching up with my obligations, here are the answers to the Secret Pal 9 questionnaire:
1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? So far, I like to knit with just about anything. I love yarn that has a lot of color. I use primarily wool, wool/silk blends, alpaca. I want to try some of the bamboo or soy yarns, they look like they would be fun. I don't like acrylic, although I have been known to use a wool/acrylic blend from time to time. I don't like scratchy or itchy yarn and I don't tend to wear mohair or angora much, but I do sometimes use it with something else to make it a bit fuzzy or softer. Mostly I respond more to the colors in yarn/fiber rather than the content or texture.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? A plastic pencil box from my son's elementary school days. I'm outgrowing it and it's falling apart.
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 about 3 years. I'd wanted to learn to knit for years, tried teaching myself from books and had one person try to teach me. None of those really worked. About 3 years ago I decided to take a class at a LYS and was fortunate enough to get a teacher who taught continental (picking) style. That method clicked for me and I've been happily knitting ever since. I guess I'd say I'm in the intermediate range. I can do basic stuff in my sleep, I'm pretty good at intricate fair isle, I'm learning lace and I can do socks. I haven't learned how to cable (just haven't wanted to try anything yet) and I don't know how to do intarsia yet (do want to try that, soon). I can read a pattern pretty well, but sometimes still have to ask other folks to "translate."
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yep. Do a search on the email address firstname.lastname@example.org at Amazon and you'll find it.
5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.) I tend to like spicy scents like patchouli, sandalwood, etc. I don't like flowery scents too well and I don't like fruity/food scented things, usually.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Oh yeah. Let's see, anything chocolate. I like all kinds of chocolate, dark, milk, anything in between. I like it plain or with stuff in it. I like things covered in chocolate, especially chocolate covered cranberries. Other than chocolate I like nutty things, like snickers, nut rolls, Trader Joe trail mixes (my favorite is the one with sour cherries). Things that combine caramel, nuts and chocolate are right with the universe. I don't however, particularly like peanuts or peanut-butter flavored things. I don't mind it when there are peanuts are in things, if they're not the main flavor (for instance, I love Snickers bars). I have to say though, that I try to control the sweets, I am diabetic so I have to be pretty careful. Doesn't mean I never eat chocolate, or sweets, but I have to do it in small bits. Please don't send the sugar-free stuff though, it's pretty disgusting. I'd rather have small amounts of the good stuff!
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? Yes, I do spin, thanks for asking! I also weave, but I find I weave less and less these days. I do some gardening (perennials) and I do a little beading, mostly just to make stitch markers and sometimes earrings. Mostly I just knit and spin!
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD). I listen to mostly rock and classical. Rock tends to be along the lines of U2, Indigo Girls, Coldplay, Green Day, Mindy Smith, Seal, Sarah McLaughlin, etc. Classical tends to be choral (I'm a classically-trained singer) so I listen to a lot of masses and other choral works. One of my all-time favorite pieces is Berlioz's Te Deum. I like opera. I listen to my son's CD's (he sings in the Minnesota Boychoir). I also like world music, particularly middle-eastern, and african. My favorite world music group right now is Niyaz. Yes, I have a way to play MP3s.
9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I love color. There are very few I can't stand, at least in small doses. I don't particularly like pastels, or anything that looks washed out. My favorite colors are "fall" colors, rusts, forest greens, oranges, browns, golds. I also like blues, sea colors, purples, black. I like rich, deep colors.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? My partner and I have been together for 22 years, we have a 13 year old son. We live with an eight year old standard poodle and two cats. I also have a goldfish and two corydoras catfish at work!
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Are you kidding? I live in Minnesota! Yes, I wear all of the above, usually all at the same time.
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I knit a lot of socks, mostly because they're quick and portable. I have a hard time with long, epic, projects, I guess I lose interest. I like making things for other people, so I make a lot of socks, scarves, dishcloths. I love fair isle and I'm trying to figure out a fair isle sock pattern I have (I have to substitute the yarn). I like small, intricate projects.
13. What are you knitting right now? Right now, I am working on some fingerless mitts, a sweater, the Lizard Ridge afghan from the current Knitty issue, an earflap andean style hat for my son (I still need to spin the fiber for this). I also have a few log cabin squares done for an eventual blanket.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? You bet.
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I use them all, depending on the project. I like sharp points though, and I have an unfortunate tendency to break wooden needles (in teeny sizes). I use the Susan Bates aluminum sock needles now (see above mentioned "tendency to break wooden needles"), but I just ordered some new ones from Knit Picks. I lust after their new Options needles and will probably break down and order a set someday. While I don't usually like plastic, I have used Bryspun needles and like them. I currently own two sets of straights and one set of dp's from them and I appreciate their nice, sharp points. I also like Inox needles.
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes, I own both a yarn winder and a swift.
17. How old is your oldest UFO? It's the above mentioned sweater. It's been sitting on needles for about a year and a half. Not likely to see daylight anytime soon.
18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas, although Halloween is a strong second.
19. Is there anything that you collect? Yes, I collect water buffalo figures. Yes, I said water buffalos. Yes, that IS a weird thing to collect. When I traveled to southeast asia in 2000, I fell in love with the water buffalos and brought home several water buffalo thingies/figures. They have to be the asian kind, not the african kind. My collection currently consists of about 25 little water buffalos, or little things with water buffalos on them. Ebay is your only hope.
20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Let's see, I subscribe to Spin Off and I always use the Michael's coupon to buy the latest issue of Interweave Knits. As far as books go, I don't have that many so there are lots of books I want. I have really enjoyed playing with dyes and color and would love more info on how to dye yarn and roving more effectively. If you visit my Amazon wishlist you'll pretty much see them listed there. I can always use new needles and gadgets.
21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Intarsia. Get better at lace. I'm dying to knit a lace shawl, but my first attempts at a lace scarf didn't go so well. Right now I'm practicing lace techniques but with a heavier yarn, which I find much easier. Hopefully, I'll be able to "graduate" down to a laceweight yarn at some point. I'd also like to learn Nordic knitting and would love to try a pair of mittens.
22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Yes, I knit a lot of socks. My foot measures 10" long and I usually wear either a size 9.5 or 10, depending on the shoe. European size is usually a 41 but one of my feet is actually smaller so I have a hard time wearing shoes like Birkenstocks, much to my dismay. I like a sock that comes up about 9-10" but I don't wear knee-highs.
23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) March 1.