me, Mavis

I knit. I garden. I co-manage an eclectic shop. I sometimes work in real estate. I sometimes swing a hammer. I always volunteer in my community. I live in an old house with my nice family of one husband and three beastly cats. I have great friends. These are the things that matter to me, Mavis.

Monday, January 09, 2006

SECRET PAL 7 QUESTIONNAIRE

Today I picked up the Official Questionnaire for the Secret Pal 7 Group. We are supposed to receive notification of our Pals by this Friday, so I'd best get right to answering the questions:

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?

I might be called such, but not for the typical reasons given. That is, I go "the other way" and choose not to use animal fibers because 1) I am an ethical vegetarian, and (2) when I did wear wool many, many moons ago, it itched like crazy (I scratch just from the memory!). I prefer cotton or rayon or some-such blend for an item that I would wear next to my skin. However, I wholeheartedly support the use of durable man-made fibers including Red Heart and Lion Brand for something that will take alot of use (the afghans my Mom made for instance that have been machine washed and dried 10 gazillion times), or for an outer layer garment that can be removed if too toasty. I have two works in progress using 100% acrylic and one of them is Red Heart.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

No spinning yet ... but I am mildly interested in spinning fur from my cats! My crochet skills have been used mostly used as a finishing technique since I learned to knit well. The process of knitting versus crocheting is superior in my view -- something about the 2 hands seeming to work in better harmony -- but maybe I'm just wacky like that.

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

Straights go in this can:I think I picked it up at a yardsale, and I think it once held potato chips! Circulars and dpns go in a plastic Sterlite shoebox under the desk.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

As a child, my Mom taught me the basic knit stitch and I worked a garter stitch scarf that she cast on and off. That was the sum total. Many moons later, my pal Betsy gave me more substantial beginner's lessons, and I have supplemented that with book learnin' and internet videos, etc. So, counting from the second entry to the field with Betsy, I have been knitting for approximately 10 years or so.

I have done a fair amount of shaping work in sweater parts, as well as various pattern stitches, like open work, cables, etc., but almost no multi-color work beyond basic stripes. Based on the patterns I have worked successfully, I think I would be classified as a strong intermediate.

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

Heck yes! ... and I'm more than happy to share the link -- click here! As a matter of fact, I'm going to head there soon and do some updating!

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

Lilac, carnation or lavender -- or a light sandalwood or bergamot-- or any other light florals or herbals . I generally don't like anything too heavy or complicated, and particularly not patchouli! This is a sad thing because a wonderful guy I know and adore almost always wear patchouli -- it often makes me headachy, sneezy and/or nauseous if I get a strong whiff! I rode the subway to work for probably 15+ years. When I had the choice of sitting near the folks that insisted on bathing in cheap perfume, or the unwashed homeless guy, Homie won every time.

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

Oh yea ... but since I went into orthodontic treatment last Fall, the braces make some of my favorites off limits. Basically, anything sticky or with hard nuts has to wait for another 22 months or so! Luckily, chocolate -- particularly rich, European chocolate ... melts like a dream and I don't have to worry about stuff stuck in the wires. See what I do for my teeth?

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I have dabbled in tons of stuff and have a supply of materials to prove it. For the moment, knitting is my only true craft obsession.

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

I like lots of different music, except rap -- which I don't understand, but feel confident that my opinion would remain the same or worse if I could make out the words! At home while I'm working I generally listen to National Public Radio talk, but also tune in to a classical station too. When I'm wantin' to sing along in the car, it goes to Classic Rock of the 70s and 80s. My ear was recently tweaked by a Celtic tune in a gift shop. Sadly, I have no idea if my computer plays MP3s, but I can play CDs on it (does that help?) I know I don't have any recent gadgets (iPod thingys) designed for such stuff.

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 love to look at most colors, but for wearing myself, I think I tend to go for spring colors: muted pinks/mauves/peach/lavender/sage green. Though I find them very pleasing, I don't think I look very good in fall colors of yellows or oranges.

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

I have a Darling Husband (Bob the Builder) and three spoiled cats - Beau, Wally, and Isabella. There are also several neighborhood semi-feral cats that we have been feeding; 15+ goldfish in our outdoor pond (babies emerged last Spring!), and we also fill feeders for songbirds and squirrels in our yard.

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

Yes to all of the above.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

Bernat Satin was delightful ... Rowan Calmer is dreamy (though I've only swatched it so far) ... Manos del Uruguay Cotton Stria ... Wool in the Woods "Shaggy" ... I'm interested in trying some of the new exotics like banana, soy, or hemp fibers.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

No animal fibers for me please. I would consider using them if I could be assured they were gathered peacefully and by a cruelty-free, loving human.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

I have been doing lots of research on traditional folk patterns with lots of color changes (think Latvian mittens), though I haven't started anything yet. I'm also quite interested in beads. I have enjoyed working cables from the get-go, and that remains strong.

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

I don't think I can specify one thing. It's important to me to have a choice of projects going at the same time in order to match one to my daily mood (dang that makes me sound psychotic, or bitchy at best!)

17. What are you knitting right now?

Aran pattern sweater for me (easy pattern, but tons of k1 p1 switching that is very slow going -- 20% completed); afghan in 2 different pattern panels for my nephew (fairly mindless work for TV watching -- 15% completed); baby sweater for my niece's first babe (knitting done; just need to sew up and find buttons).

I will soon start "Audrey" pullover from Rowan 25 as well as some folk mittens and socks (patterns not yet selected from the books I pulled from the Library!)

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

YES! YES! YES! These are the very best gifts, in my opinion!

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Can't say ... they both have their place. I'll stick to "both" for now ... BUT, I just bought Addi Turbos which have a huge following, so my attitude may change!

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Same as above! It depends on the slickness of the fiber I think. Again, I'll stick to "all of the above."

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

Nope .

22. How did you learn to knit?

See answer to number 4 above.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

I'm assuming it will suffice to answer as to the oldest that I can remember clearly and/or put my hands on within a few hours? That would be a baby afghan in a crappy pattern with crappy yarn that I'm hoping will suddenly self-combust so I won't feel guilty about trashing it. I started the project at least 5 years ago. (Truly, my knitting UFOs are relatively few and far between -- the other craft projects, however ....)

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

Clifford the Big Red Dog, Hello Kitty; Giraffes, Llamas.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

Winter Solistice.

26. Is there anything that you collect?

Yes, too many things and I don't want anymore ... I mean it! I really do want to pare down! Seriously! (Stop laughing DH!)

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Vogue Knitting, and Interweave Knits magazines. (The latter is a gift from DH but I've not yet received the first issue!)

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?

Folk patterns from Lithuania! Or any folk books, particularly one that explains why/what the pattern meant to the culture.

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

I'm open to learning anything ... I'd also really like to become a better "finisher" -- I hate doing it, and it shows.

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

I'd like to be a sock knitter! I successfully finished one pair and pretty much hated it ... but I don't think I ever got comfortable with the dpns. However, my friend Stazi recently gave me an instruction book for using 2 circulars and I'm poised to try it again soon. I have a wide foot with stubby toes. My rotten brother once gave me the nickname, "Fred Flintstone Feet" -- attractive, no? -- but it is spot on! My shoe size is 9W; my foot measures 9 3/4 inches from heel to toe, and 4 inches across at the widest point.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

12/18 -- one week before Christmas -- and I just turned 47!

DONE!


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