Monday, April 23, 2007

Coffee Swap Questionnaire

1. Whole bean or ground? Either is fine.

2. Fully-loaded or decaf? I go both ways. I try to use mostly decaf, but I find that the flavors of coffee I like are often only available in caffenated.

3. Regular or flavored? I tend to like flavored, particularly anything chocolate or hazelnut. Maple, cinnamon and other spices. I can't imagine a fruity flavored coffee, but I'm game to try something different. I don't like very dark, strong coffees. I like medium to light blends.

4. How do you drink your coffee? With splenda and cream. Lots of cream. Boatloads of cream. Sometimes I add some flavored syrups (need to be sugar-free).

5. Favorite coffee ever? I'm currently addicted to the Cinnamon Dulce Latte at Starbucks. I also really liked the pumpkin latte they had around Thanksgiving. Didn't expect to, but they gave me a free sample and I was hooked.

6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do? Not too fussy.

7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee? My absolute favorite thing to have with coffee is a donut. But, since I really try NOT to do the donut thing, I like biscotti, or shortbread. I have these amazing maple flavored sandwich cookies that come from Canada that are really good with coffee.

8. Anything else about your coffee preferences? I think the above covers it all.

9. Yarn/fiber you love? Wow, I love all kinds of natural fibers. Pretty much anything hand painted, hand-dyed is good. I especially love alpaca, merino, anything soft. Feel free to send cashmere.

10. Yarn/fiber you hate? Acrylic, pastels.

11. What's on your needles? A sock, the last sleeve of a sweater and a *&^+$$@ lace scarf that I keep ripping out.

12. Favorite colors? I like rich, strong colors. I really don't like pastels and I don't much see the point of white or cream colors (except maybe to dye them). I like blue, purple, green combinations. I also like rust, green, gold, brown combinations. I like jewel tones (not pastel). I like reds, oranges and yellows as accent colors.

13. Allergies? Nope. At least nothing fiber related.

14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest? I really don't like pastels, but I think that's been covered. Someday, I WILL knit lace and it WILL be good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Out of Hibernation...

Ok, I'm back. I think I'm back. Spring has sprung (and I think it's going to stay that way this time -- don't even ask about that early April snowstorm) and I don't have the hibernation excuse any more.

Seriously, winter is tough for me. I deal with depression (long family history, not pretty stuff) and winter really saps my energy.

Ok, enough with the negative stuff! I've been knitting and spinning in an attempt to stay sane so I have lots to catch up on. Unfortunately, I can't find the cable thingy to upload the pictures, so those will have to wait. When will someone introduce a camera that uploads wirelessly? I really hate having to use the cable thingy.

My big project this winter has been the "Perfect Sweater" from the Mason-Dixon website. This is my first ever sweater and I wanted to get a good sense of how to assemble a sweater. This seemed like a good pattern for that. It's very clear, with instructions even a complete novice can figure out. It suggests an affordable yarn and it's even free! Can't beat that. I am on the homestretch, about 2/3 of the way through the second sleeve. Then comes the whole seaming thing, which I have to admit is the most intimidating part. I don't have a good track record when it comes to seaming (see earlier post on the Christmas Gnome), but this pattern calls for a three-needle bind-off for at least part of the seaming and I've had good luck with that. I have to say that it is a sea of stockinette, so if you're looking for mindless knitting, this is your pattern! I'm using Cascade 220 in the blue heather. So far I'm very pleased with it.

In other knitting news, I was one of 400 knitters who was able to hear Stephanie, aka the Yarn Harlot, speak here back in March. If you click here, scroll down to the Minneapolis-St. Paul photo. Look at the first photo, just off center. There's a very bright yellow patch? That's me. I'll tell you, it's hard to figure out what to wear to a Harlot event. I've never seen so many gorgeous sweaters, vests, shrugs, shawls, etc. And here I was, without a wearable piece of knitting to my name. Hence, the incentive to knit the Perfect Sweater. I have to say, after hearing Stephanie's many horror stories of some of her other book signings, The Yarnery did an absolutely superb job -- they even gave us a knitting bag! Very cool.

I saw a couple of other bloggers there, but of course, didn't work up the gumption to say hello (see six weird things about me). Stephanie was great, she is a gifted speaker and had us all laughing for an entire hour. I didn't stay for the book signing, the lines were beyond real. I felt sorry for her, she must have been exhausted by the time the evening was over. I heard that she didn't finish until after midnight.

Tonight is a Knitter's Guild meeting that I'm going to try to get to. This weekend is Yarn Over and I'm signed up for a couple of workshops. One is on getting the "perfect" fit on sweaters (good timing) and the other is an Intarsia workshop with Annie Modesitt. I've not done any intarsia yet, so I'm looking forward to that one. To both, actually.

In a couple of weeks is Shepherd's Harvest, a festival devoted to all things wooly. In particular, there are always tons of fiber vendors there and there's a great selection of roving. I'm going to take a workshop on natural dyes and do lots of shopping. All in all, I'm looking forward to spending lots of time of spinning and knitting time over the next few weeks.