Secret Pal 9 – Answers to the burning questions!

Um, oh yeah, did I mention I joined Secret Pal 9, too? I just can’t get enough of this swap stuff!
And so, with no further ado… The Answers:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love natural fibers, especially wool and wool blended with silk. I really do not like acrylic/synthetic fibers, except the requisite small quanities in sock yarn. I don’t use a lot of cotton, though I have nothing against it as a fiber.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
My straights are in an empty coffee can and a fishbowl with marbles in the bottom (I call it “Needles As Art.”) My dpns and circulars are in a set of plastic Tupperware drawers. I could definitely use a nice small needle case for the dpns. On that subject, I’m in desperate need of simple, cute knitting project bags; I need to sew myself some but don’t ever seem to get around to it…

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I learned to knit as a kid, but didn’t do much with it until about two years ago, and then suddenly it was like breathing; I knit almost constantly. I’d call myself an advanced-intermediate – I’m learning quickly, but I’m no master.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, it’s listed under my email address.

5. What’s your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
I love fresh and some “spicy” scents; tea and green tea, grass, sandalwood, cedar, lavender, patchouli, and Nag Champa. My absolute favorite smell in the whole world is fresh daffodils, but I’ve never found a substitute for the real thing. I’m not a big fan of department-store perfume type scents, cloying fruity or flowerly ones (though light “real” flower smells are great), and I don’t care for food scents, like vanilla cookie, or apple cinnimon (too many years working in bakeries and coffee shops, I suppose.)

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
My, yes! I love chocolate of all kinds, and I’m very fond of the Haribo gummy raspberries and blackberries a friend used to bring me from Spain. (I found some in an import section the other day and ate a whole bag in one afternoon.) I am a fiend for chocolate covered espresso beans. I promise to give any sweet that comes my way a fair chance.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I’m very fiber related. I spin a lot – it’s one of the few things that can tear me away from knitting. I will happily hoard any roving that comes my way… I also dye yarn and roving. And I sew, but not as much as I used to. I tend to be one of those people who will see someting cool in a store, and figure out a way to make it when I get home, so I dabble in all sorts of crafts.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Oh, geez, it’s tough to pin down my musical taste. I like most music, but no country, Brittney Spears, or gangster rap please… I like to listen to new-to-me things, and I like foreign (not american) music. Ani Difranco, Beth Orton, Mano Chau, and Billie Holiday have been popular on the Ipod lately. And yes, my computer plays MP3s, and I have an Ipod Nano.

9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?
I can find a place for most colors in my life, though I seem to gravitate towards dark brown, spring green, and all blues. Reds and oranges are also good, and I like yellow, though I don’t wear it well. (See, told you I like them all!) I don’t like neon colors, and I don’t wear much black.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I am married to the best man I’ve ever met, and his two daughters (5 and 6) live with us full-time (which makes me Mom.) I also live with a spoiled rotten dog-child (2 years old in November) and a feisty kung-fu kitten.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes to all of the above. I do live in Alaska, after all! I wear the first three daily half of the year, and ponchos less often, probably because the only one I have is best suited to summer.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks are my favorite knit, because of their portability and relatively quick knit-time. I also like knitting sweaters, hats, mittens, and lace shawls.

13. What are you knitting right now?
(Right now I’m using both hands to type…) I’m working on two pair of socks (Embossed Leaves and Plain Picot Cuff), a pair of handwarmers, a scarf, a sweater, and a lace shawl. But I’m usually more monogamous in my project relationships.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
They are the best kind.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Straight or circular depends on the project, but I try to knit in the round as often as possible. I use dpns for socks and other small objects. I don’t like plastic needles much. I haven’t tried the Knitpicks needles yet, I think I’d like to.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes, I have both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I started a lace shawl in June that I haven’t worked on in awhile. And I have a vest I will never finish, if that counts; it is headed to the frog pond (when I can stand to look at it again.)

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Probably Christmas, though I’m a hedonistic heathen; I love the Season of Giving attitude. And it’s a lot of fun with the kids. Thanksgiving gives me the warm-fuzzies, but usually a bellyache afterwards… Other than that, probably Fourth of July, but only because it’s my birthday!

19. Is there anything that you collect?
I have a collection of shells and stones from around the country, and I would love to add to it. I love buttons and blank journals (no lines), but since I use them I don’t know if that counts as a “collection.” Oh, and I (we) do a lot of puzzles in the winter, and the really nice ones get glued and hung on the wall.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I am absolutely dying to get my paws on some Hand Maiden Sea Silk (in Bronze colorway,) and I would really like one of these Nordic Mitten Kits (of course, neither of these items are particularly inexpensive, and are included here as much for Husband Hints as anything…)
I can always use more “blank” yarn to dye, and though my sock yarn stash is shamefully large, I welcome more with open arms. Same goes for spinning fiber.
I tend to buy books when I really need want them (the ones I haven’t been able to justify yet are languishing on my Amazon.com wishlist.) I have two-year subscriptions to both Interweave Knits and Spin Off magazine. I am nearing the end of my Vogue Knitting subscription and not planning to re-enlist. I have only one Rowan magazine (#38) and I drool over them whenever I see them. I also like the Dale of Norway ski sweater patterns.

21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?
I’m trying to gear up to do a fair-isle sweater, and I really want to start designing my own patterns.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Very much a sock knitter. European size 41 shoe fits me best, in US sizes I waver between 9.5 and 10. I make my socks 10″ from heel to toe (measuring on a flat sock.) Ankle is 8″ and Instep is 8.5″ (actual measurements.) I like a snug-fitting sock.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
July 4

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