Saturday, March 10, 2007

SP10 Questionnaire Here we go again!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I’m not a yarn snob, but I do prefer soft natural fibers or good blends. I adore cushy merino for socks, wool-silk blends for pullovers/cardis/wraps, soft cottons for summery stuff. Last fall I fell passionately for worsted Misti Alpaca, winter shifted into cushier merinos for cabling and marvelous Manos. I’m enjoying some of the new merino-tencel and bamboo blends for socks. My SP9 recently sent me some sinfully soft Karabella Chameleon (merino with silk and cashmere!) and I am seriously considering reversing my previous opinion on knitted underwear!

While I love a good FO, the tactile and meditative qualities of the knitting process are 99% of the experience for me, so I don’t enjoy knitting with scratchy yarns even if I know they’ll soften up after a wash. Acrylic leftovers from the 80’s live on in my stash, but I won’t buy them anymore. (Well, to be perfectly honest, there is some purpley/magenta worsted mystery-fibre stuff from a more recent sale bin – it’s got a pretty sheen and it’s nice and soft but a little squeaky on some needles so I suspect there’s a rayon or silky component combined with some acrylic). But it really all depends on the project.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Good question. Let’s see: I have a large plastic tube needle case with about half of my straight needles, the narrower ones. The larger ones are in their packages in an old Pingouin heavy duty plastic shopping bag I keep for nostalgia. My circulars and sock needles are in a separate smaller plastic Ziploc bag, along with my point protectors, stitch holders and stitch markers. I’m contemplating moving it all into a new and better storage system, perhaps by repurposing a picnic basket or a retro valise, but I haven’t found the right one yet. Oh, yeah - my cable needles, a crochet hook and Chibis are all in my purse just in case I get a mad urge to cable, fix a dropped stitch or do my seaming while in transit.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I consider myself a clever intermediate knitter with advanced aspirations. I am congenitally incapable of following a pattern without altering or tweaking it. I can be rather capricious so almost all of my projects go off on a different tangent than originally intended. But I love the process as they evolve.

I learned to kit in childhood from my grandmother - continental style with a long tail cast on which is still my favourite. But I REALLY got hooked on knitting twenty years ago (and was fatally attracted to the long departed Pingouin yarn shop in the great big downtown mall, hence the nostalgic shopping bag). However, after a very bad experience resulting in the furious wanton disposal of lots of perfectly lovely navy blue cotton that took the fall for betraying my naïve gaugeless efforts, I dropped knitting for a while. About five years ago I got an itch to knit again and it’s been a consuming passion for about four years now.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes - see the link on my sidebar to

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
I don’t like very flowery or heavy spicy scents, and though I adore vanilla as a flavour, it makes me gag in scented ambience or body products. I adore Sandalwood, Bergamot, Citrus, and Tropical cents. My current bath soaps are Coconut from the Body Shop and a Sandalwood soap found in little Chinese stores; my shower gel is Life Brand Coconut-Lime body wash.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
If it’s made of/with or wrapped in chocolate, I will probably eat anything. I love dark chocolate truffles and alpine milk chocolate. Caramel/toffee, nuts and coconut go over well. Other candies just don’t do it for me. I usually share with the DH, but when I discovered Toblerone in a dark chocolate, I seriously considered hiding the bar.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Though I haven’t done it yet, I have lately been more and more attracted to felting and hope to do some this year – maybe a gorgeous carpet bag and some slippers for the DH. I am also very keen to dye some yarn, and I recently got some dyes and bare sock weight merino from Knitpicks. And I plan to over-dye some yarns in my stash whose colours are making me less than happy at the moment (what was I thinking?).

I do not spin, although I admire those who do and I occasionally purchase some beautiful handspun. I don’t really need to acquire one more fiber addiction at the present, however spinning and weaving are both on my learning-to-do list... Of course, with wicked enabling intentions, my SP9 pal recently sent me a lovely hand spindle and some soft undyed blue-faced Leicester roving. So at least I have someone to blame.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s?
I like ALL genres of music, but I’m not much into contemporary rap unless it is non-violent, non-misogynistic and it has a strong poetic message. I can play CDs and MP3s.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
That’s a trick question. My favourite colours vary with my mood and the season. Mostly, I love the way different shades, tones and colours play off each other more than I do any particular individual colour. Right now I am passionate about the variegated effects of some Fleece Artist Kidsilk in a colourway called Cosmic Dawn, which flows through shades of charcoal, smoky purple, magenta, turquoise, teal, smoky green, and gold.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I am married, and we have no kids or pets – just one overly-anthropomorphized teddy bear (custody issues regarding the bear have prevented marital dissolution more than once). Actually, I am very much in love with this wonderful man who has shown the courage in recent years to manifest and become my soul mate, the inner being I recognized in him 23.5 years ago despite all of our mutual baggage.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear scarves, hats, mittens. I also wear capes, but not ponchos. I’m rather zaftig (size 22-24) and only 5’3, so ponchos are not a flattering shape. But capes work well.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I’m a SOCKAHOLIC. I used to suffer from single sock syndrome, but Socktoberfest and recent experiments in design motivated me to make up the pairs and cured that disorder. I enjoy knitting tunics, tank-tops, cardigans, wraps, scarves, armwarmers. I’m considering a skirt or two this year. I haven’t been into purses, but lately I’m craving a nice large felted gag with some intarsia (which I also avoid). I’m also hoping to do a lace shawl, which I haven’t done yet.

13. What are you knitting right now?
I am knitting a few different socks, some armwarmers, a couple of scarves/wraps. Body-fitting garment projects are on temporary hiatus pending further progress with current fitness-and-weightloss endeavours.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Well, Duh! YEAH. Yep. Yes. Uh huh... Seriously, does anyone really NOT like to receive handmade gifts? Okay, perhaps an unfortunate handmade gift experience in childhood has scarred some people, but that should be easy to remedy.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I usually gravitate to circular needles, though I use all of the above except for plastic which irritates me. It depends on the project, the fiber and my mood. Whatever works best for the present needs.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
A ball winder followed me home last fall. No swift yet – just the human (me or DH) kind.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
What decade is this?

18. What is your favorite holiday?
My birthday, but any holiday that results in gifts and cake makes me happy.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
These days it's all about yarn, needles and patterns. I am trying to avoid going overboard, but not very successfully. Knitting has become my drug of choice. I suppose there are worse addictions.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? See my wishlist (it's linked on the sidebar).

I used to subscribe to Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting, but now I just buy them at Knitomatic – the owner is terrific and so I want to support her business as much as I can.

I am pining for Anna Zilboorg’s sock patterns. Unfortunately, my library has none of her sock books. Socks for Sandals and Clogs is not hard to find, but what I really want is a copy of either Fancy Feet: Traditional Knitting Patterns of Turkey or the reprint of that which is called Simply Socks: 45 traditional Turkish patterns to knit.

I'm intrigued by the new Addi lace circulars with the red cord and clear-coated bronze tips. I have some of the size 2.5mm in 32" length, and will try using them for magic loop socks. Then, if I like them, I will probably get some of the other sizes in longer lengths for fair-isle and lace projects.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I am a stranded-knitting neophyte just starting my first stranded project – a headband ear-warmer. I previously avoided multi-colour knitting unless it was conveniently printed or painted onto a single continuous string for me. Determined to lose my fair-isle virginity, I joined the Fair Isle February KAL and though I did no actual stranded knitting in February, I embarked on full immersion fair-isle studies. There are more than a dozen books I am pouring over, with several still in transit from the library.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
See answer to #12. And did you notice my blog url? it’s “sockit-tome”. My feet are size 8.5 and I have rather wide ankles due to several bad sprains in previous years. I don’t have more specific measurements: I knit my socks toe-up so I just try then on as I go and adjust accordingly.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
I am a true Leo, born on the first day of August in the Chinese year of the Dragon, among the last of the post-WW2 baby-boomers.
I was born on the day the final Looney Tune, "Senorella and the Glass Huarache", was released (before Warner Brothers cartoon division was shut down by Jack Warner). Coincidence? I think not.

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