Saturday, August 11, 2007

Only a little bit late: My SP 11 profile

(Updated 9/1 with new book and fiber info, and a couple of tiny details.)

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I guess I can get the not-fun part out of the way: *allergic knitter warning.* I break out in rashes, itching, and sneezing when I handle anything that was once on a sheep, a rabbit, or a llama-type animal. (I specify because a lifetime of pets has drastically reduced my dog and cat allergies.)

Fortunately, silk and plant fibers are no problem whatsoever. :) The quality of synthetics has also improved drastically in the last few years. So nearly anything that falls in the "no sheep" category is OK by me.

My all-time favorite (of course it's a pricey one) is Sea Silk. It's OUTRAGEOUSLY great to work with and so beautiful! I'm also a big fan of Manos Cotton Stria, KnitPicks Shine, Patons Grace, and Patons Bohemian. Dishcloth cotton that ends in "'n' Cream" is always welcome.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I use mostly KnitPicks Options, and I have the set with the zippered binder. My few sets of DPNs are in there as well.

My hooks are now stored in a zippered pencil case. And my other tools are in a Clinique GWP cosmetic bag, plus a lovely little multi-compartment box from Container Store (less than $3!).

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 in December 2003, the first time I attended a Houston Stitch 'n' Bitch when I'd just moved back to town. Right now I'd call myself an intermediate knitter – I'm working on my first lace shawl & it's going very well. I technically know how to knit in the round; I'll learn socks when I need a break from lace (which could be a while).

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

I do have an Amazon wish list: click here to see it.

5. What's your favorite scent?

Ack, another touchy one. While I have scents that I love, I have to be careful with them; my sensitivities can leave me with headaches and nausea from the wrong thing.

Happily, I've discovered that a lot of what method home makes not only smells good, but is completely tolerable. I love their pink grapefruit, lavender, and mint scents. There was also a holiday offering of peppermint vanilla, which may be my favorite of all time.

Even as much as I love method, I have tested their lemongrass, green tea, and sweet water scents and have not been able to tolerate them.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Chocolate (with any combination of caramel, cookies, pretzel, almonds, cranberries, or toffee), whenever it's NOT summer in Texas...and when it is, any of those components without the chocolate. :) Also sour belts and other gummy sours, Pixy Sticks, almost anything sour apple, and butter candies (like Werther's).

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I love to cook and I'm CRAZY about baking. Cookies (especially oatmeal chocolate chip) and quick breads (especially pumpkin) are my favorites, but I love to try new things.

Trying to learn to sew properly; eventually VERY MUCH want to do mosaic and glass etching. I bead a little and make quite a few marble magnets; I've also been known to do glass painting, as well as decoupage, paper stuff, stamping, and assorted random small crafts.

I don't spin; I plan to learn down the road, but there's a lot of other things in front of it.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

As a child of the '80s, most any pop music from that era is still a lot of fun to me. I like a lot of Celtic stuff as well: Enya, Blackmoor's Night, drum-and-bagpipe. I admit a significant fandom for the works of Roy Orbison and Weird Al; I think Shakira completely rules; I cannot resist ABBA. 10,000 Maniacs (in the Natalie Merchant era) is my all-time favorite band. And finally, my two completely oddball genre loves: big band/swing and disco.

I have an iPod and my car can play MP3 CDs, as far as I know.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

Love: deep or fiery true reds (garnet, ruby, claret), a wide range of purples (plum, amethyst, aubergine), a variety of rich blues (sapphire, cobalt, cornflower, deep teal), greens (forest, emerald, sage), and anything that accents them well. I’m partial to silver over gold, but I like both.

Not so much: yellows, most shades (except as accents); super-bright/neon-type things; pea green; super-pastels and "baby" colors; 70s-type harvest colors.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married since October 2004 to the most with-it muggle ever (a sweetheart techie gamer geek with a big ol' dose of goofy); no kids; two cats (littermates, almost 10 years old, one male and one female – catnip-free).

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Not really – and even if I did, Houston doesn't provide much opportunity to wear, I'm quite warm-natured. Though I would (see next two questions) wear a light shawl even in spring and autumn.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Blankets, shawls, and dishcloths. (Yes, I realize that these are all flat...)

I completely adore working lace! Very addictive and so satisfying. Cozy blankets are a lot of work, but I feel so accomplished when I finish them. And dishcloths are a) my go-to shove-in-the-purse project, since I don't yet do socks, and b) the perfect way to practice stitch patterns.

13. What are you knitting right now?

I’m trying desperately to finish my Forest Canopy Shawl in Amethyst Sea Silk (LOVE!). I have determined that I am two repeats, the edging, and the blocking away from completion.

The other, which has moved somewhat to the back burner, is a design I call the Red Shawl Dammit (a rectangle with zigzag eyelets) in Manos Cotton Stria. Both are making me very happy.

This is something of a rarity for me; I'm normally working on between 4-5 things at a time, not to mention the 2 or 3 additional UFOs in the closet. My mind is a bit too Short Attention Span Theatre* to think I'll ever achieve project monogamy, but I'm going to try this two-at-a-time thing for a while to see how it goes.

(As above, my corollary is: Dishcloths Don't Count.)

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Of course! What kind of a crafter would I be if I couldn't accept someone else's loving handwork? :)

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Circs, circs, circs. 24” cords minimum. I have big hands and find straights uncomfortable. And metal – I adored Addis before the KnitPicks came out; now the Options are my Holy Grail needle – they bring with them a cute little secret that makes setting lifelines a hell of a lot easier. (I've handled the Addi Lace needles and didn't care for them.)

I will most likely use DPNs instead of circs when I get to socks. So far, of the couple I've tried, I actually like the Boye Balene II.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Neither. I prefer to hand-wind and work from the outside of round balls, so I probably won't get a winder – but I find swifts very helpful. I tried a portable (Japanese-made?) metal umbrella swift at SnB once and loved it.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

When my best friend was in labor with her son – whose birth I attended – I started a blanket for him. I have now handily missed the most recent deadline: his third birthday was August 31.

Though as I wrote this, I realized that I have a UFO that pre-dates that: a cosmetic bag in Lion Brand Microspun, which I started about two months after I began knitting. It is on the last pair of single-point straight needles I own.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

New Year's...because every year that passes is another chance to get it right.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Mostly motifs: dragonflies (big time) and other members of the Cute Bug 4 (ladybugs, bees, butterflies); cherry or citrus prints; cats; pop-art florals.

I used to collect Tarot decks and am still fascinated by the artwork. Religious icons intrigue me as well.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Oh, this is getting dangerous. My current obsession: Knitting Lace Triangles by Evelyn Clark, not available on Amazon and desired over all other knitting books. I would love to get my hands on Victorian Lace Today and A Gathering of Lace; I'd also like to have No Sheep For You (no, I haven't bought it yet! :) ) and Big Girl Knits. (All but the first are on my Amazon wish list.) I very much want to knit the Diamond Fantasy Shawl by Sivia Harding.

I'm DYING to try Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Candy (but don't like the kit colors) and Silk Thread (I love Covelite, Tanzanite, Lunasea, and Tide Pool) , as well as Claudia Handpaints lace silk (UPDATE: just bought my first skein of Claudia in Last Night's Wine!). And I'm curious to try KnitPicks CotLin; HandMaiden Silken or Flaxen; and most anything nice made with alternative/innovative critter-free** materials.

I don't subscribe to any knitting magazines because I rarely see more than one pattern I want to make; I usually borrow them or pick up single copies.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I need to start learning charted lace, and how to modify cardi/shrug patterns to size up.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I don't yet knit socks, but it's on the agenda because I have giftees who'd like to receive some. I almost never wear them myself...which is probably a good thing, since my foot is wide and over 10" long.

23. When is your birthday?

June 15. I’m 34!

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

Yes indeedy. I'm plumtexan there as well.

* Big, big points if you recognize this reference.
** In this particular Texanese usage, a "critter" is a four-legged mammal.

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