Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sockret Pal Questionnaire!

Oh, how I do loves me a good swappin'...

The basics:
How long have you been knitting?Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep?

I've been knitting for just under a year now. My learning curve is pretty steep, though, so I'd say I'm intermediate. I've finished three pairs of socks, plus a few baby booties here & there (do they count?), and have three more pairs on the needles right now. It's probably my favorite thing to knit, though I'll knit darn near anything I can get my hands on. Oh, and I've got Christmas stockings on the needles, which have the same cuff-down, heel flap construction as a standard sock. I *want* to be good enough to knit in my sleep, though!

The measurements:
While your pal may ask for some additional info to ensure a great fit, please provide your shoe size, or any other fitting related info you think is pertinent.

I wear a 6 1/2 shoe or so, once in a while a size 7, depending on the manufacturer. The ball of my foot is about 8 1/2 inches around, and it's about 9 inches long, toe to heel. My feets are pretty narrow, and I have no arch whatsoever. Y'know how when you walk with wet feet on concrete, it leaves footprints? My footprints look like duck feets. That's how flat my arches are.

(fiber related) Favorites:
What colors do you love?

Ooooh, I love all kinds of colours!! There's previous questionnaires on this blog where I go bonkers describing all my favorite colours, so please feel free to refer back if you wanna. My favorites are olive greens (well, most any shade of green except lime is awesome), deep reds, and jewel-toned blues. I also love neutrals, chocolate browns & tans & creams look nice on me. Pretty much anything except neons...I really don't care for neons (hot pink, electric orange, bleah! I had enough of those in the 80s). Most shades of yellow don't flatter me...I've got yellow skin, so yellow on yellow makes me look sorta dead. In socks, however, I don't think yellow would be a's far enough away from my face, and next to blue jeans, so it could be doable.

Do you prefer solids or variegated?

Either one. For my own personal use, I like solids for complicated patterns, like lace or something, and variegateds for simpler patterns. I'm *really* fond of nearly solids...the kind that stick to one colour, but vary from lighter to darker shades of it. So pretty! And I'm SUPER weak for handpaints. My stash is full of 'em.

What fibers do you most love to knit with?

Natural fibers, to be sure. I'm a huge fan of wool, alpaca, silk, and the like. I also really like blends, like when a wool sock yarn has a bit of nylon or tencel or something in it...I hear it helps with durability. Softness is a main qualification, of course.

Who do you consider your favorite yarn vendors?

Oh my, this list could go on for days! I love Webs, KnitPicks, LittleKnits, The Loopy Ewe, my local yarn stores (the Fold, Wool & Co, & Yarn Exchange), Simply Socks Yarn Co, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, among others, and a buncha smaller outfits, like Fearless Fibers, Lisa Souza, that sort of thing. I like to support small businesses, of course, but I tend to go wherever I can get the best deal. I have very very few extra dollars to put towards my knitting habits, so I have to get the most out of them that I can.

What projects (other than socks, of course*S*) do you most enjoy knitting?

Socks!! Heh...well, I'm really enjoying a couple sweaters that I'm working on right now. I like lace a lot, though I don't have much time to work on it (I tend to knit in front of the tv, and I just can't pay attention to anything else while knitting lace. Once I'm done with the few shows on dvd that I'm into, I hope to get back into the lace more often). I like smallish projects, because lord knows the instant gratification thing is nice. I love anything with beloved is Irish, and I've been dying to make a beautiful cabled Aran for him. He'd look gorgeous in one! And, um, socks. Yes.

(fiber related) Dislikes:
What fibers can you not stand to knit with? To wear?

Not much, really. I'm pretty easy. I don't care for squeaky acrylics, though there are a few acrylics that are actually pretty decent (though they are few & far between...Plymouth Encore comes to mind as a good one). I really don't like novelty fur, laddered yarn, that sort of thing. I tend to lean towards smoother yarns, rather than hairier, though I'm not against mohair-y type things. Aside from novelty yarns & squeaky acrylics, I think I'd knit with pretty much anything!

What colors would you never wear?

Like I mentioned, yellow makes me look sorta deceased. Neons are just unpleasant on me...I've dark hair & dark eyes, with the yellow skin, and I feel like I'm supposed to glow in the dark in neons. I have a tendency to stick to earth tones, generally speaking.

The Tools:
Plastic or Metal? Bamboo or wood?

Metal, if they're the KnitPicks ones!! Ooooh, I luuuurves me some KP needles! I've got a buncha dpns, and one circ, and I'm just smitten with them. I'd like to get the Options set one of these days, but I'll probably wind up buying one or two bits at a time, & slowly building up a set that way. I like bamboo an awful lot too, and it's all I used before discovering the KP dpns. Wood is fine, and I'd really love to try some of those rosewood & ebony needles, the ones that were reclaimed from musical instruments. How cool is that?? I really can't stand plastic, though, and pretty much all the aluminum needles I've had (not counting KP) sucked. They were long, heavy & unwieldy...and now I can't get rid of 'em.

Circs or Straights?

Both! I like straights if they suit the project, and aren't too long. Anything longer than my arm (about 12-13 inches) is too long & awkward, though, so I love circs for those sorts of things. The big black cable-y sweater that I'm making for dh would kill me if it were on straights. And, I'm *really* fond of knitting in the day, I hope to be skilled enough to convert all my sweater patterns to in the round, rather than pieced together. Round is fun.

DPNs or Magic Loop?

Dpns, absolutely!! I've not tried magic loop or 2circs, and frankly, I don't have a huge amount of interest. I love dpns, and the KP ones make sock knitting very fast & fluid. Yeah!

Are there any knitting accessories you don't have in your collection but would like?

Not too many...I'd sure like some Smokey Joe kitty sock blockers & lace blocking wires. I have a sock bag by Trek that I really like, and it'd be nice to have a second since I like to have multiple pairs of socks on the needles at one time. A big pile o' time would sure be nice! That's the one thing I'm lacking most...time to knit.

The Extras:
Do you have a wish list? If so, please share the link!

Heck yeah! The Lust List, on the sidebar over there, and one on Amazon. The amazon one is about a mile long, but there's lots of good knitting books & things there.

Do you like sweet, sour or salty? (or all of the above? *S*)

I love sweet, almost to a fault, and I love salty. Sour, however, is NOT my friend.

Do you have any allergies your pal should know about? (Certain foods, smoke, pet hair, etc)

Nope, no allergies. I *hate* the smell of cigarette smoke, though, being an ex-smoker. Pet hair is not a problem...Crazy Kitty keeps me in good supply of it.

Favorite scents? Scents you can't stand?

I love fall/spicy scents! Yankee candle has a few fall fragrances that I just love...sadly, they discontinued the Brown Sugar & Cinnamon that I adored a few years back. Bastards. Anyway, fall scents are wonderful, and anything spicy/homey is nice. I like very light florals, but not heavy ones. I really can't stand heavy florals, or heavy sandalwood...I make soaps & toiletries, and one of my most popular scents (Vanilla Sandalwood) makes me gag. There's irony for ya, huh?

Do you collect anything (other than yarn and knitting toys of course)?

Mostly just yarn! Especially sock yarn...yum! I do collect books, though...mysteries, history books, and knitting books. Antique books as well, but those are hard to come by. I also cross stitch, and sampler patterns (especially antique samplers!) are really cool. I'm just getting into collecting antique maps, but again, they're hard to come by. I have a really cool map of England & Wales that was printed in 1903 that I just love. But I'm weird like that. But yeah, my sock yarn collection is my prized jewel.

When is your birthday? (month and day is fine!)

August 31st.

Do you spin? Dye your own yarn?

I've just barely started spinning. I've been given this stunningly beautiful drop spindle, and I have a bit of roving, but I'm not particularly good at it yet. Sadly, I've had to set it aside in favor of all the Christmas knitting I'm doing. I'm really looking forward to January, when I'll have time to pick it up again, and really figure out how to do it well. I don't dye my own, because frankly, I've got enough irons in the fire. I don't need another addiction! Maybe someday I will, though. In the meantime, I lust like crazy after other people's hand-dyed yarns...they're sooo pretty!

Your favorite author/band/vacation spot, anything you think will help your pal know you better...

Gracious, I dunno...My pal mentioned that she's already a reader of this blog (it blows my mind that I have readers at all, y'know!), so she probably knows plenty already. Feel free to ask questions, though! Oooh, here's something important for you to memory is crap, and I frequently *think* I've answered an email/post/comment/question, when really I've only thought about it in my head, and not actually typed it out. I never mean to ignore anybody, I just don't realize that I never actually spoke my answers out loud. I'm kind of a dolt that way. Feel free to remind me/holler/poke at me with knitting needles till I do cough up a response. I don't mean to be a twit, it's just a sorta natural default position for me. Oy!

I'm really looking forward to this swap, though...y'all know how I love swaps, and how I love socks, and honestly, what could be better than putting the two together? Throw in chocolate, and my head just might burst from the joy of it all. Yay!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Random Monday, yet again

Evidently, randomness works for me. First up, thanks for all the kind birthday wishes, y'all! I am now officially older & a wee bit more crotchety. And that's okay. My birthday was a quiet affair, which is just fine & dandy with me, that involved much lazing about in the sun at a park (while weasels played on the playground, and I knit, of course), and my beloved husband gifting me with this book. I've been eyeballing it for quite a while, and I'm really excited to have fifty billion different cast-ons available to me now.

Fall is a season of change, and just as the summer ends & autumn begins, so endeth & beginneth the summer & fall swaps. Over the summer, I was really pleased to be involved in the One Skein Secret Pal, the blogosphere Secret Pal 8, and the knittyboard CheapAss Secret Pal 2. I had an absolute blast in these, and met several really interesting people to boot. I absolutely adore my upstream SP8, Suzanne. She's brilliant, funny, and flipping psychic. She always knew *exactly* what to send, and she really made my summer special. And, check out her blog...she also has gorgeous daughters who knit as well! (And, there's a picture of that drop-dead gorgeous drop spindle she sent to blog somehow refuses to post pics of it here, which honks me off tremendously, but hers doesn't seem to be quite so snarky.) My One Skein upstream is also a wonderful, interesting person, not to mention a member of my much-loved knittyboard! Cindi is a regular contributor on the boards, and I've noticed that I'm also following her all over the knit swap world. Who knows, maybe next time I'll get to be her upstream! I really had a grand time in these swaps, but all good things must come to an end, and so I'm on to new, exciting swaps. And yeah, I'm a confirmed swap ho, and dang, but I love it that way! This fall, I'm involved in the Sockret Pal swap (a secret swap that involves knitting a pair of socks for your downstream...I'm *so* looking forward to this!! I'm dying to get my hands on socks someone else has knit...I really want to compare technique & styles & fit & such!), the Chocolate Swap (oh, be still my beating heart...yarn and chocolate...heavens...), the knittyboard October Knitted Thing swap, the knittyboard Spooky Swap, and the Favourite Colour Swap. Before y'all start to thinking about how insane I am, do realize that all but one of these swaps are one-month, one-package commitments, so it's not really all *that* much. And, the Sockret Pal swap goes bi-monthly for six months, thus stretching my time in which to knit the socks considerably, which is good, because pretty much all my knitting hours until December 24th are booked solid.

Speaking of the Favourite Colour Swap, I received my box the other day!! In retrospect, I don't suppose I was very nice when I filled out my questionnaire...the main point to the questionnaire was to state my favourite colour, but being the indecisive type I am, I more or less stated why I liked all the colors. Oy. I didn't even realize I did that until after I'd sent the thing in. Fortunately, my upstream is a doll who was patient enough to read through my ramblings, and she went with blues & greens, which are right up there with my all-time favorite shades (especially green...and the bonus is, it looks good on me, too!).

Check it out...Patons Classic Wool in a lovely shade of green (dh says I need to fish up some chocolate brown to match it, and make a stripey sweater...that could actually look really cool!), a pretty green photo album (it's hiding, because it was hard to squish everything into the photo), green point protectors in just the right size for all my sock knitting (thank you! It sucks getting stabbed!), green tic-tacs & Mentos sours (you can't tell, but the Mentos things are half gone already...dh stole them straight outta the box), some gorgeous merino sock yarn that she dyed herself (omg, I'm SO saving this for those awful grey days in February!! It's so bright & happy, and really just beautiful...perfect for the colourless days of mid-winter), and an absolute treasure--Interlacements Toasty Toes in Irish. 'Scuse me whilst I pass out from the stunning colors. I mean dayum, I could sit here & gaze at the subtle gradations in the greens, blues & purples for hours, I kid you not. And, I've been coveting Interlacements for ages! Truly, this was a fabulous box. Thank you so much, Nicole!!!

Elsewhere in my little knittyworld, I've actually finished something... Half finished something else...

And started some other things too...Yes indeedy, it's the WIP Parade! Clockwise from top left, we have the Noro Booga Bag, body of bag completed, nine miles of i-cord begun; the first of four Christmas stockings for my family in Lopi Fire Tweed & Spruce Tweed, pattern compliments of this book; the fluffy green scarf for my friend Brandie (that I must admit I set down over the summer & didn't work on's a warm scarf, and it's not much fun to knit warm stuff in warm weather, but I've recently picked it up again & hope to finish it before our next meeting); the beginnings of the pretty camel-colored alpaca sweater for my Ma, not yet cast on, but ready to go now that my kickass KnitPicks circs are in; two sock cuffs (cursed 1x1 ribbing!) in Lorna's Laces Camouflage, using a basketweave pattern from this book; the second of two adorable little baby hats in KP Crayon for my friend who is going to cough up twins in the next couple months; the lace scarf I started a coon's age ago in Misti Alpaca (I adore lace, but I really need to be able to focus on just that while I'm doing it, lest I lose my place in the chart, and quiet time has been hard to come by around here lately); and finally, the giant cabley sweater for my beloved, which is actually really cute, even though it's enormous & black & hard to see. So yeah, I've got a lot of knitting to do. It doesn't help that I keep coming up with more cool ideas for Christmas presents for my Ma, either...

Remember I mentioned a visit from my cool pal Shanelle? Did I happen to mention the incredibly awesome needle case set she gave me??? I kid you not, this is one of my most favorite knitting items ever (all three of 'em!). See, we'd made a swap of some yarn for some needle cases, and LORDY, did I get the good end of the bargain!! There's a notions bag (big enough for all my goofy bits & bobs), a dpn case that's longer than my arm & holds every darn dpn I have, which is no small feat, and a kickass circ case that not only holds every circular needle I own, but has plenty of room for many more (that I will undoubtedly collect in the next year or two)!! Check 'em out... The fabric is beautiful, the braided ties have little wooden beads at the end, and the sewing is perfectly professional (which is amazing, because if I remember correctly, she didn't even use a pattern!!). The circ case has sixteen pockets, very generously sized, and I can even keep 'em in there in their little envelopes if I want (helps to keep tabs on what size they all are, especially if the darn needles aren't marked--the only downside to the new KP needles, imo). This is a close-up of the interior of the dpn case. I'd show you the whole thing, but I couldn't fit it all in the shot. That's how long it is. Not cumbersome-long, by any means, just perfect. There's about a million pockets, and they're just a touch wider than usual dpn case pockets, which is great because I can again fit the envelope/sleeves in them (oh, how I wish KP would brand their needles with the sizes!). Freaking awesome, I tell you. Y'all, you too can get your hands on kickass cases like these...Shanelle is working on opening an Etsy store!!! Please be patient, though, she's a busy girl with a demanding job, so I'm not sure exactly when it'll be open for business, but feel free to drop her a comment on her blog & encourage her to cough up some cases! They're really wonderful, and I fully plan on sending some as secret pal presents this winter! (And thanks again for the incredible trade, Shanelle!!)