secret pal questionaire
1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I am an absolute yarn snob, sadly. I say sadly because sometimes I think the fanciful yarns and threads in non-natural fabrics are fantastic, fun, colorful, inventive!… oh, the list goes on! I love looking at them, but all too often they Feel WRONG to me. It’s like nails on a chalkboard sometimes.
Sometimes I will use a man-made fiber yarn for accent (and I do admit to loving the visual effect of the holographic eyelash!)
Nylon is usually okay for a man-made, though…
Lion Brand’s Fisherman’s wool has been a lot of fun to dye, and it felts well for knit-then-felt projects.
Viscose Rayon, Cotton, Linen, Silk, Wool, Mohair, Angora, … quite nearly any natural fiber enthralls me. Cost doesn’t matter. Handspun is endearing, regardless of imprecision!
Fibers and fiber works are important to me because of the intrinsic value placed on human interaction, care, and inventiveness.
2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I spin (drop spindle and wheel), crochet, knit, weave, braid, dye, sew, quilt, embroider… pretty close to anything that can be done with fibers and textiles, I do. I don’t seem to like tatting (I love the end result, I don’t love the process), but that doesn’t stop me from trying it again every once in a while to see if I’ve changed my mind.
[photo of inkle loom, handspun fiber, etc.]
3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
I am allergic to cigarette smoke and to mildews. I had to get rid of some of my favorite books a while back because they had gotten wet and started to mildew.
I adore pets. Currently I have a dog, and he sheds like crazy! He’s golden colored, and his fur gets into all of my spinning! After the winter was over he blew his double coat and I spun some of the fiber on a drop spindle and knitted a little treasure-bag.
4. How long have you been knitting?
My grandmother tried to teach me to knit when I was about 5 (bless her heart!), but I preferred to crochet at the time. It wasn’t until she passed away in 2002 that I started trying to knit again, and this time it really grabbed hold of me. I now tend to prefer knitting over crochet when I am the one working the project.
5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Vanilla, Strawberry, and Lilac are some of my favorite scents, but I do prefer them to be subtle rather than overpowering.
7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Not as much as I used to. My roommate eats my chocolate before I get around to it.
8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I do admit I am trying to set up my lampworking (glass bead making) workstation and a jewelry bench. I also work with glass beads.
I am currently trying not to branch out too far from the textiles. If I had unlimited time, space, and money, I’d probably do everything from bookbinding to home canning to woodworking… I’m not sure there’s anything that doesn’t tempt me! …
I ice skate regularly, and I play the flute and the penny whistle.
[pictures of metal work, beadwork, figureskating…]
9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
celtic, folk songs, pop, musicals. MP3s are great.
10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I don’t tend to like the colors found in the 70’s palettes: olive green, mustard yellow, pumpkin orange.
I favor tropical brights (turquoise, magenta, lemon yellow) especially when accented against black so that the colors pop. But I don’t wear them well.
I tend to prefer the cool colors (purples, greens, blues) over the warm colors (yellows, oranges, reds). Naturals and neutrals (cream, tans, browns, greys) are fabulous, but if it’s a garment I have to choose carefully or I look too washed out.
For garments, almost any blue looks good on me. Bluish greens and Bluish purples also do pretty well. I can also wear black.
11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have one pet right now: a dog that sheds generously. It’s a good thing that my carpets are quite nearly the same color as his fur! (he is light cream with orange tips). I live in a house with my husband and my best friend (also a knitter and fiber fanatic).
[photo of Z puppyfishing] [photo of Z knitted bag]
[picture of z]
12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
When I was little I wanted to join the circus or be a stuntperson. (I kinda still do, except that I know that I’m too old to really get Good, and my bones don’t heal as fast as they used to!). … or to train Orcas at Sea World. (now I just teach my dog good manners.)
Then I wanted to be an olympic or professional ice skater. I didn’t really get enough time on the ice to get a good foothold on that dream, but I do still skate today, and I am starting to look almost graceful at times!
Lately, one of my biggest dreams is to find a way to make a living doing something that I love, like working with fibers. … and always being worthy of my dog’s affection.
13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I like so many of them! … handspuns can be particularly fun since each one is unique, and the fiber blend can vary so widely.
For commercial yarns I am enjoying alpaca laceweight, Mountain Colors’ Mountain Goat, merino-silk blends… I like to work with yarns that have a nice soft hand during the summer. As the weather turns cooler, I enjoy working with heftier, sturdier yarns.
14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Oh, there’s so many of them!
15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Lace patterns. Moebius strips. Brioche stitch. I’m fascinated by the way that different structures affect the look and feel of the yarn.
16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Fish. I picked up a pattern for felted fish once, and it came out really cute. Then one day I was going to knit another felted fish, and I left my pattern behind. So I improvised. I’m still improvising these days and have sent the original pattern on to a new home.
Little treasure bags. I do a historical re-enactment event about once or twice a year, and this year I’ve decided I would like to have a whole string of teeny little bags with who-knows-what kinds of cute little “treasures” in them… a thimble, a darning egg, a rope knot… the bags range in size from itsy-teeny-tiny (less than an inch long) to fairly sizeable (fist sized or larger)
Scarves. This summer it’s going to be a mystery lace pattern.
Socks. Some day I’m actually going to find the gauge and pattern finessements that will make the perfect sock for my feet. In the meantime, I’m enjoying them because so much of them are so basic that I can knit them in the dark (like at a movie theater) by feel.
17. What are you knitting right now?
I’ve just started a mystery lace shawl. I’ll be knitting each instruction without knowing what the end result is supposed to look like or whether or not I’ll even like it. It’s a huge risk and a huge adventure all at once.
18. What do you think about ponchos?
I had a wonderfully hideous yellow poncho from Mexico when I was a kid… and another one that was crocheted by my grandmother out of Red Heart’s rainbow-colored variegated acrylic yarn that I used to wear as a head shawl and pretend that it was my natural hair color. I was a bit ahead of the trends… (both poncho and rainbow-colored-hair trends)… I think I’d still love them, but I don’t think I’d get one finished before they went out of style again.
19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Most of my needles are double-point. I can put a point protector on one end and pretend it’s a straight (for anything that doesn’t need significant length), or use a set of them to make things round.
Next favorite would be circulars. I don’t have many of them, but I find myself using the ones that I have pretty regularly.
20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Bamboo. Wood. Plastic. In that order. Not aluminum if I can help it: the clicking noise of the metal on metal drives me nuts. I think that’s a good measure of why I didn’t like knitting as a kid.
21. Are you a sock knitter?
Definitely. I’m still working on “the perfect sock” … by which I mean I’m still trying to find the right needle size for gauge that is not too stiff and not too flimsy. The right pattern adjustments: where to start the heel and what kind of heel feels best and which type of toe feels best….
But I need to buy some shoes to show off my hand-knitted socks because the ones that I wear normally make my hand-knit socks bunch funny.
22. How did you learn to knit?
Grandmother tried to teach me (bless her heart).
But it was definitely a friend from college who got me to try again and got me hooked by suggesting the use of wooden needles instead of aluminum! … plus, my field of study was textile arts.
23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Un-finished-object? …mine or someone else’s? I have several of my mother’s unfinished projects, and a couple of unfinished projects from my grandmother…. And plenty of my own. .. most of those aren’t knitting, though. When I don’t finish a knitting piece, I rip it and reball the yarn to get the yarn and needles back.
24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
Peacock, jellyfish, zebra, platypus…
Not so much into animated characters…. Maybe Jessica Rabbit or Ariel the Little Mermaid?
25. What is your favorite holiday?
Halloween. I like the excuse for dress-up.
Valentine’s day. Hearts and roses and romance!
26. Is there anything that you collect?
Is there anything that I don’t?
Tools for fiber arts: knitting, embroidery, weaving….: especially antiques, or unique and elegant current products.
Books. Especially books on fiber arts, costuming, weaving, knitting, historical uses for fibers…
Skills. How to tat, net, make bobbin lace, weave, spin….. I feel like I want to know everything about all of it, even if I never really DO any of it.
Drop Spindles. Can’t have too many. Each one has a distinct character and proves ideal for a specific type of end result.
27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I’d like to get subs to Interweave Knits, Fiberarts, Knitters Magazine, Ornament, Quilting Arts.
28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
Lots. Amazon.com has a wishlist for me as sultry peacock.