Goody! There's going to be lots of blog-reading and gift buying and all-round secret stuff coming up between now and November, and no, I am not doing my Xmas shopping early this year. (AAArgh, I've just broken my never mention you-know-what before November embargo.) I'm doing something MUCH better. I've signed up for the latest Secret Pal knitting exchange. And here are my answers to the SP11 questionnaire, as whilst I'm busy devising treats and surprises for an anonymous someone, somewhere a different anonymous someone, somewhere wll be doing the same for me!
1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love natural fibres, especially wool, bamboo, cashmere and blends of any of these with nylon. I find that mohair makes me sneeze (though I get round that by storing it in the freezer) and I don't often use cotton. As for "fibres you absolutely do not like" can there really be such a thing?
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I've got needle rolls, pencil pots, biscuit tins, carrier bags. My husband would probably sigh and point out that despite all these storage options there are still many hooks and needles strewn (apparently) randomly around the house.
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for almost 30 years, and crocheting for 2. I'd say I'm intermediate at both.
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
5. What's your favorite scent?
The scent of yarn! But I also love lemons, lemongrass, bergamot and woody smells, also lavender and geranium.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I love dried fruit (except prunes, yuk) and dark chocolate.
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I crochet, hand paint yarn and do a little bit of feltmaking. I've signed up for dayschools in felt and nuno felt during October and November. I'm not terribly good at drop spindling but a certain spouse has been dropping hints about spinning wheels...
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like world and folk music, early music (especially medieval dance tunes) and contemporary classical music (well, some of it anyway!). My computer refuses to play MP3s, sob.
9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I like most of the colours found in nature, especially grassy and citrussy greens and berry colours of any description. But I do not like bottle green (yes, my school uniform was bottle green; if you watch the Harry Potter films, think Slytherin!) When it comes to yarns, I adore multi-coloured yarns, especially Noro.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with the world's best man, his daughter (aged 27) and a 16-year old tortoisehell cat, who is the gentlest cat ever.
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
13. What are you knitting right now?
Nothing! But I'm about to cast on some bootees and I'm busily crocheting funky brooches out of cotton perle embroidery thread.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Is there anything better?
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
All of them, depending on how the mood takes me and how the implements and yarn get on. I have to say that I'm also influenced by looks (peace fleece needles and Britanny crochet hooks!) and colour. I do not like Pony brand crochet hooks as they make almost everything split.
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
I've a very ricketty metal skein holder that belonged to my grandma. Also my husband can be very useful for holding skeins. I'm the ball winder.
17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I dread to think, but take heart from the fact that my mother completed a short-sleeved jumper over 40 years after she started it.
18. What is your favorite holiday?
I love coast and countryside (in the UK and overseas) and enjoy exploring European cities. Yarn shopping is compulsory and steam trains should be prsent whenever possible.
edited to add: have just realised that I've based my answer on the British English definiton of "holiday" (vacation) rather than the American English one (something along the lines of festival/national holiday) for which I have no answer...!
19. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn! and I'm slowly building a collection of prints/postcards featuring people knitting.
20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I've reached the stage where technique-type books are more alluring than patterns but I still can't get enough vintage or regional/ethnic/folk-type knitting books and social history. I don't subscribe to any mags but regularly buy Interweave Knits, Knit 1 and Selvedge (a wonderful textiles mag published in the UK).
21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I flirt with sock knitting but suffer second sock syndrome. My feet are a UK size 6.5-7 (continental 40) and rather wide (as are my calves).
23. When is your birthday?
24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
I'm awaiting my invite (see q21).