1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I pretty much like anything that feels nice to knit with, to be honest. I’ve knit with some lovely acrylics and some horrible pure wools, and vice versa. Particularly, I do love merino, and guh, cashmere. Cotton, too, and various blends of all the above. Rayon or Tencel blended in can be nice because it makes for the shiny! Silk… I do like, but it can be awkward. Huh, I’m really not very fussy, am I? I adore everything from Posh Yarn and The Yarn Yard, but I also like Regia and Opal sockyarn (although I’m a bit bored with the patterning now), for example. And as I said above, anything that knits up non-prickly, even better if it’s soft and smooshy!
That said, I’ve probably had a surfeit of mohair now. I’m not allergic to it or anything, but I just bought too much when I came across some bargains, and… oh dear. My stash overfloweth. I also wouldn’t buy myself any eyelash type yarn – I have some for gift knitting, but that’s all.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I felt like doing an illustrated answer for this. So:
The basket at the back has the huge straights that don’t fit anywhere else, and my circulars on the left, and my DPNs on the right (there are stitch holders and stuuuuff in the middle). Then the red box has most of my metal and plastic straights including the longer ones (35cm); the blue roll has various straights up to 30cm long (metal, plastic, and a pair of 8mm bamboos as well); and finally the tapestry roll has a set of bamboo straights. I do have a small collection of crochet hooks too – those are in a pot in my bedroom and I forgot to get them for the photo. Which isn’t surprising, since I hardly ever crochet.
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I learned at school or Brownies or somewhere when I was 6 or 7, but I wasn’t really interested and didn’t continue. And since I never considered myself to be a ‘crafty’ person at all, I never thought about trying until about 4 years ago when I was bemoaning to a friend that I was too broke to afford proper Christmas presents for my friends and family. Because of my problems with Bipolar disorder (and accompanying medication), you see, I haven’t worked full time for nearly 5 years now. So, my friend (the lovely Charlotte) came to visit me, bringing needles and yarn, and re-taught me how to knit. I picked it up pretty quickly, and I haven’t stopped since. :-)
I think I’d consider my skill level to be intermediate – I moved on from scarves to hats to designing my own, to bigger projects and then alllll the way down to wee ones like socks pretty fast. I tend to have a ‘no fear’ approach: if I need a new technique for something, or just want to learn it, then I just do it. Never mind whether it’s supposed to be “hard” or “advanced” or not. (This baffles my mother, who now comes to me for knitting advice. But since she can crochet for England and I can barely get my fingers round that whole ‘one hook + yarn’ thing, it all works out.)
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Um, yes. It’s split into two, and it’s kind of long because I consider it to be more of a bookmarking of things I’m planning to get than a “Buy Me All This Stuff!!!!” list. However, I guess it serves both purposes as long as wading through it doesn’t fry everyone else’s brain….
– Non-fiction (including knitting books, natch)
– General wishlist (fiction books, dvds, etc)
5. What’s your favorite scent?
I love fruity scents like mango, passionfruit, papaya, apple, apricot, peach, citrus and so on – I always go for that sort of shower gel and body spray.
(Because I’m awkward, purfumes generally make me sneeze, and aerosol can sprays make me wheeze. So does even walking past a Lush shop. *sigh* Awkward and slightly asthmatic, that’s me!)
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Oh dear, yes. However, and it pains me to say this, I’m on a healthy eating diet so I can’t have much. But I’m not forbidden sweets – phew! I love European chocolate (but not American, it’s got that weird waxy taste, ick), sherbert, shortbread, cookies, that sort of thing. Not too keen on toffees. Love fudge. Erm. Fruity sweets are also yummy. I like trying new and exotic things! But yeah, like I said… can’t have much at once :-/
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I’ve been known to make cards for friends and relations, but craft-wise, knitting is about it. The other creative things I do tend towards writing, music, and web design.
I don’t spin, but I do want to learn! I even have some roving… but no spindle as yet.
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Really, all sorts. Rock, metal, jazz, blues, funk, folk, pop, indie, ska, plus variations and branches of those. Fave artists include Skunk Anansie, Skin, Candie Payne, KT Tunstall, Meat Loaf, Guns n Roses, Metallica, Linkin Park, Christina Aguilera, Nina Simone, Damien Rice, Rammstein, Foo Fighters, Jools Holland and Queen. And then there’s the classical. I love early music (Gregorian chant and so on), oratorio, the Romantic piano works, opera, and of course lots of symphonies and concertos (partic. clarinet concertos, as that’s my instrument). Some of my favourite composers are JS Bach, Hadyn, Handel, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Shostakovitch, Stravinsky, Britten, Rutter, Greig and Tchaikovsky.
And now that I’ve blinded you with musicology, I’ll mention that I really do like pretty much anything, and I love finding new artists and music.
Oh, duh. Yes, my computer does indeed play mp3s. So does my DVD player for that matter. And hey, my mp3 player too!
9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?
This is an interesting one – personally, I wear a lot of black, and dark greens, purples and reds. Actually, most reds from bright through to dark. But I do love those deep rich jewel colours – blues too. For knitting purposes, though, the only thing I’m really not into is pink. Unless it was to be a violent hot pink teamed with black or dark purple, or something. Think punk! Anyway, I really love all shades of greens and purples as well as red, but all sorts of colours call to me in yarn form. Except pretty pinks. So not me.
Wow, I really can’t just answer the damn question straight, can I?
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have a cat, and it’s just me and him living here. Mum and bro live the other side of town.
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves, hats, gloves, wristwarmers, yes. Mittens, no, though I wouldn’t rule them out for all time. Ponchos… no, and I don’t think I’m likely to. Though again, you never know! But not at the moment.
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks, wristwarmers / gloves and hats. Oh, beautiful circular gratification! Er, or something. I seem to knit a lot of scarves too, but that’s mindless telly knitting. I’m well hooked on the socks at the moment. But I like making larger items as well – jumpers (that’s sweaters, US people) and cardigans, both for adults and kids. Although obviously the kiddie ones are faster *g*. However, I’m terrible at finishing, which is why I think the socks and hats take the biscuit for me – hardly any ends to sew in! And they only take one or two skeins of yarn, so they’re a relatively cheap project… and I can get extra yarn gratification because you can have a variety of different sock yarn for the same number of balls that it would take to make one larger project. Whee!
13. What are you knitting right now?
Too many things? I have two cardigans and a jumper hibernating, two of which just need sewing up. Then for active knitting projects, I have a Harry Potter house scarf that I’m weaving in ends for, and on the needles are a mindless-knitting skinny scarf, Monkey socks, Fetching wristwarmers, and my Forest Canopy shawl.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
For sock knitting it’s DPNs, but I do want to learn Magic Loop. The 2 circs technique doesn’t appeal to me. But anyway, in general, I really tend to go with whichever seems best for the project and yarn that I’m doing. I use all of them quite happily. If I’m knitting a hat, say, I often start out on a 40cm circular, then change to DPNs when I’m decreasing. And for my Forest Canopy, I’ve started out on straights and when it gets too wide I’ll change to a circular.
Bamboos are lovely, of course, but aluminium or plastic suit some yarns better. I’ve not tried bamboo DPNs for my sock knitting yet, though. Or at all, come to that. But I’ve not had any problems with the aluminium ones so I’m quite happy with them.
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Got a slightly knackered ball winder, but sadly no swift. Yet! I’m going to save up.
17. How old is your oldest UFO?
*cough* About 3 years old. *cough*
18. What is your favorite holiday?
As in public holiday? I like May Bank Holiday when all the bikers come down here, and Bonfire Night for the awesome processions and fireworks. Hee!
19. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn, books and cat hair? Actually, I kind of collect (or at least, people are always buying me!) sheep themed things. This is from pre-knitting times – it all originated at a Scout and Guide camp when I was 13, and somehow kind of stuck. Ever since then my little doodle mascot has been Baa-naby the Sheep. One of these days I’ll photograph and post some of the weird and wonderful sheep-themed things I have, especially since Woolly Wormhead is/was doing a thingummy on her blog about sheep (not real live ones) turning up in odd places. Oh, and (wood)wind instruments. Send me ur bassoonz! Or, you know. Not. ;-)
20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Heh, just a few! I think all the books are on my wishlist, so I won’t list them again. Although the ones that pop to mind immediately are The Happy Hooker, and Ann Budd’s sock book (which I’ve forgotten the proper title of). Yarns… I’d love to get a chance to try some of the American sock yarns (or any non-UK yarn) like Socks That Rock, Lime and Violet or Lisa Souza. I’ve also been wanting to find a good cotton or summery sock yarn. I wonder if bamboo would be any good? As for patterns, I can’t think of anything particular, but I like socks and lace and cables (not necessarily all together).
I’ve just cancelled my subscription to Simply Knitting, and taken out one to Rowan. Of course I also like Knitty, Magknits and The AntiCraft.
21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?
Always – toe up socks, magic loop, and… hmm… I guess improving my intarsia / fairisle skills. Oh yes, and I must remember to look up the jogless jog and double check that excellent weaving-in-as-you-go tutorial.
22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Oh yes. I’m a UK size 4 / European 37. My foot length is 8.5″ / 22cm, my ankle circumference is 10″ / 26cm, and the circumference of the ball of my foot is 8.625″ / 22.5cm.
23. When is your birthday?
17th October. Urk, I’m nearly older again!
24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what’s your ID?
I am, and yes, I do spend half my life there. My ID is soulstar.