Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Secret Pal 6 Questionnaire and Responses

Hello, Secret Pal also known as Pepe "the King" Prawn! As you know, I'm playing catch up after being away from email. Not to mention I haven't yet seen Muppets from Space, a regrettable deficiency I will soon correct.

Thank you for taking time from your, er, consuming work for LJS to send that super-fantastic e-card. Here's my updated SP6 questionnaire with responses augmented to address your additional questions.

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?
This question always makes me smile. I enjoy knitting with a wide range of fibers and cheerfully covet luxe yarns.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
All my spinning is done on bicycles. I crochet a little.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
Linden tree pollen, gardenia, tobacco, and rabbit angora.

4. How long have you been knitting?
Over 20 years, and I'm still learning.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No. Although online commerce is wonderfully convenient, whenever possible I intentionally and preferentially support bricks-and-mortar businesses, such as my LYS and LBS. But thanks to you, Pepe, I now know about Two Swans Yarns, a great new-to-me online resource.

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

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Yes (another question that makes me smile). I especially enjoy trying nostalgic and regional specialities. I love J-treats.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
My wise friend Pat keeps insisting that it's possible to eat local all year round, even in the climate roundabout Exit 151. This year I'm going to try to emulate her example and plant a winter vegetable garden before frost. We'll see what the hungry deer and rabbits leave me.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Music or spoken word mp3s would brighten my commute. I tend to prefer acoustic over amplified music.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
Anything that goes with black is fine, except neon brights.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Sorry, that's personal.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
A fire-new knitting ambition is to visit all the outstanding LYSs featured in Barbara Albright's Knitter's Stash – and have proof. I have a trip to Cleveland coming up; as I've already seen the Rock Hall and the art museum is undergoing renovation, a stop at Fine Points is a possibility, time permitting.

My cycling goals are incremental: to work up to a century ride (100 mi or 161 km), maybe the Seagull Century, then the City to Shore MS 150. I'd love to ride in RAGBRAI some day.

I started cycling when DH gave me a bicycle for my birthday a few years ago. I used it for quick trips to the library or grocery store. The trips gradually got longer and longer, the mileage adding up invisibly until I entered my first Five Boro Bike Tour – 30,000 riders, 40 miles (64 km), all 5 boros of NYC, with the mighty Verrazano Narrows Bridge at the end (the NYC marathon has it at the beginning). While the Five Boro was not a competitive challenge, it was a quantifiable accomplishment, and I was hooked!

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Wool or wool-cotton.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Some acrylic yarns have a disagreeably crunchy texture. Rabbit angora.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Doing the Alpha Female thing and showing variegated yarn who's boss. Or at least trying. So far, there's been lots of rebellious flashing, not much effective bossing, and very little of the desirable chinée effect.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Anything with cables or lace.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Besides a bunch of recalcitrant variegated swatches? Cindy Walker's lovely Leaf Socks from Socks, Socks, Socks, worked in Phildar Lambswool from my SP5 pal, Fannie.

18. What do you think about ponchos?
I like them, especially this time of year. They're fun for outdoorsy informal wear, although (of course) lacking the urbane dash of a ruana or the indoor allure of a fine lace shawl.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
I like both – it depends on the task at hand.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Bamboo for sport weight and heavier yarn; metal for fine yarn. I generally don't like plastic. [Gusty sigh.] I never do seem to have enough fine steel dpn knitting pins – I recently caught a few attempting to escape my totebag by poking their way right through the fabric! Elly's (sorry, no website) is my favorite local source for knitting pins; Lacis the only online source I know of for sizes 2 to 0000-0000.

21. Are you a sock knitter?
Yes. I usually work on five 0 dpns, but the Candle Tree gauge swatch was done on 0000s. I'm completely in awe of Betty Salpekar's A Lilliputian Christmas socks in Socks, Socks, Socks.

22. How did you learn to knit?
By making swatches from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns 1 & 2, something I still do. Kaffe Fassett's Glorious Knits has been another source of ongoing inspiration.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Some living fossils date back to when dinosaurs ruled the earth. There's no pattern that I can discern: one-skein wonders, chunky knits, glorious colorwork, fine lace – all have equal opportunity to become living fossils.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
Cookie Monster is an old favorite, all the more so after I saw this chart. While most of the U.S. is at Bert, NYC and environs continue to fluctuate between what some call dull Ernie and bright Ernie. Would that we were all at Cookie! [Sigh.] I hear these days Cookie encourages healthy snacks in moderation, which seems utterly silly. He's a monster from the id, fergoshsakes, which by definition embodies unfettered indulgence.

Miyazaki movies are another fave. I'm not into J-culture as much as some, but I did visit the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka a couple of years ago, which was a lot of fun, although perhaps best appreciated by younger fans. One can't mistake the shuttle that goes from the train station to the museum, which is decorated to look like – what else? – the Catbus! Improbably, parts of Mitaka look very like Baron's neighborhood in The Cat Returns; other parts have yielded magnificent examples of ancient Jomon pottery; and there are lots of crows.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
The Fourth of July. It's a wonderful community celebration in my township, with a parade, barbecues, and fireworks.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Yes, cookie recipes, paper bicycle maps (here's some examples of online maps), and 50 state quarters (I'm currently looking for the Kansas quarter).

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
None. I just buy the issues that interest me. This fall VK beat IK in my estimation.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
By some happy chance, I already have everything my book group is reading this fall. That leaves knitting books.

I've been watching GAAAA (!) – the Great American Aran Afghan-Along – with twitching fingers for a while. It might be fun to get the book and take the plunge.

There's Sally Melville's soon-to-be published The Knitting Experience Book 3: Color. If it's anything like Books 1 and 2, it will be brilliant.

Then there are the mysterious books that Wendy and Ann and Kay keep offering tantalizing hints about, due sometime next year. I may very well plotz from sheer happiness when I finally see them.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??
Fiddlesticks Flirty Ruffles Shawl, perfect for this year's birthday present from DH, a stash of JaggerSpun Zephyr yarn. Or Jenna's Eris Sweater.

[Added 10/06/05: I just noticed there's another question.

30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like?
Using Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' excellent system: circumference 8 in (20.3 cm), length 9.25 in (23.5 cm). I like thin, stretchy socks. Also Christmas stockings full of Christmas oranges.]

Whew! That's really quite enough for one post, even at the instigation of an inquiring prawn. OK?

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