Friday, January 27, 2006

Knitting Plans

The best part about having my parents do my taxes is that I get my tax return that much sooner. I'm saving money to go see my younger sister over Easter vacation (she's in Ireland for the semester -- and is currently regaling me with stories of thousands of "walking yarn stores" all over the place!), but between my tax return and my financial aid refund check, I actually have money with which to buy yarn!

My resolution, however, was not to buy any yarn for the month of January. My lovely Secret Pal sent me a gift certificate to a lovely eBay store, Yarnbow, so I don't feel guilty using that to buy my yarn for one of my future projects -- the infamous Clapotis.

Now, my sister being abroad has had some unexpected benefits! Not only is she within walking distance of stores filled with affordable Rowan and Debbie Bliss yarns, she's now my excuse for stash-enhancing! My plan is to send her at least one hand-knitted item a month (at least) while she's abroad. The present for January? A Branching Out scarf in the yarn of her choice. I refuse to analyze her decision to use acrylic yarn over Frog Tree Alpaca Sport, but at least the acrylic is working up nicely. The pattern is crisply defined, so the impossibility of blocking the scarf won't hurt the quality of the work.

Now that Christmas knitting is over, I'm starting to plan what I'm going to knit this year. These plans are subject to change, and probably will about seven or eight times as the months go by, but as of this moment, here are the first of my 2006 knitting plans.

1.The Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics: My choice of projects was Interweave Knits' Union Square Market Pullover. I haven't made a sweater since I knit the Lace Leaf Pullover for my mother, but I knit that in stages over, oh, about four months. The challenge in knitting the USMP will be doing so in sixteen days, while being in school full-time. It's destined to join my sister in Ireland.
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2. Marnie MacLean's Halley's Comet Hat: I found the pattern for this hat through Grumperina's blog. I plan on making this for my good friend Mack, who is fleeing the country for a year abroad in Australia.

3. Eunny's absolutely gorgeous Deep V Vest: The more I read Eunny's blog, the more impressed I become with her work. She just had the most amazing series of entries on steeking, and I'm eager to try this pattern so I can cut my steek teeth.

4. Grumperina's Jaywalker Socks: Enough said.

5. Norwegian Knee Socks from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush: Personally, I think these are just about the cutest socks of all time. My mom bought me the book for my birthday and is mailing it to me today -- I'll get started on these as soon as the Knitting Olympics are over.

A non-project-specific goal for 2006 is to get one of my designs published in one of the many knitting publications out there. I've been designing and swatching my rear end off -- hopefully, something will come of it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

SP 7!

The Secret Pal Seven hostesses have posted the questionnaire for this round! I should be getting my spoilee this weekend sometime, so to tide me over, here's my questionnaire:

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? I use some Lion Brand yarns (like the Wool-Ease line) for projects that need to be washed, like hats/scarves for little kids, but I don't use them for myself because they don't keep me warm enough. I love my natural fibers, especially wool.

2. Do you spin? Crochet? I'm learning how to use a drop spindle, and while I can crochet, my knowledge of that craft is functional at best. I'm improving every day, however!

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? My mother made me a beautiful knitting needle case last Christmas for my straights, and I have a small fabric wallet in which I keep my DPNs and circulars.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting for almost two years, but only seriously for about a year. I'm probably just an intermediate knitter.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I have a wishlist on Amazon, under the email address "paintmehaunted@hotmail.com"

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) My favorite perfume scent is Clinique Happy, or Clinique Happy Heart. I don't burn candles, but I really like candy-scented soaps like the ones you can get at My My Distro.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I have an embarrassingly sweet tooth, so much that I can never decide on my favorite candy! I usually just stick with ice cream to satiate my cravings.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I do some cross stitch, paper-making, and I'm learning how to machine sew. I used to write a zine in high school called Eye Beacon that I want to resurrect.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) My computer can play CDs and MP3s...and as for my music taste, I'll give anything a try. As of right now, I'm listening to a lot of Face to Face, Death From Above 1979, Coheed and Cambria, Sunny Day Real Estate, Celtic folk, and overly earnest pop-punk.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? My all-time favorite color combination is hot pink and black, but right now, I'm wearing lots of warm browns with jewel tones, especially turquoise.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? At my parents' house, I share space with them, my younger brother and sister, a cranky, knitted-item-killing cat, and an incredibly lazy golden retriever. As for right now, I live in Amherst with my boyfriend and our two mice, with our absolutely amazing landlords right above us.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I wear scarves even if it's 100 degrees out, I'm growing out an awkward haircut so hats are mandatory, but I wear gloves more than mittens and ponchos make me look like a hobbit. No, I'm dead serious!

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Noro Kureyon, Malabrigo, Brown Sheep yarns (seriously, I love them all!), Frog Tree Alpaca Sport (heaven does come in skeins!).

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I'm not a fan of pure acrylic yarns if I'm knitting for myself; I have a very low natural body temperature (93-94 degrees Fahrenheit), so I need fibers that hold in warmth at all times. Acrylic is out for that reason.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? Right now? Noro Kureyon. I'm using it for a current project, and I hope I have enough left over for a hat when I'm finished.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Right now, I love knitting socks and hats because there's such endless room for experimentation in both items once one has learned the basics. Also, they're portable and I can knit them while I'm at work.

17. What are you knitting right now? I'm knitting a pair of socks for myself with Knitpick's Essential sock yarn, Knitty's Branching Out scarf in Frog Tree Alpaca Sport, and Stitch n' Bitch Nation's Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers, in Noro Kureyon, color #127 (I should have these done tonight!).

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Frankly, I love it! I love to see what other people are up to.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Circulars, actually -- if I drop a project, I won't lose a needle and nothing is going to roll away!

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? My bamboo needles are so precious, but right now I'm doing lots of sock knitting and my aluminum DPNs work best with most sock yarns. Plastic needles tend to turn into crescent-shaped former needles around here -- my boyfriend doesn't look where he's sitting.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? I have a yarn winder...when I first bought it, I wound literally every skein of yarn I owned. Then, I bought more yarn so I could wind more!

22. How did you learn to knit? I learned how to knit during Spring Break of my sophomore year of college. It had snown heavily, ruining all my plans, so my mom taught me to knit to shut me up. I promptly made the world's worst scarf and never looked back.

23. How old is your oldest UFO? Ugh, almost a year old at this point! It's the Go-Everywhere, Go-With-Everything Cardigan from the first Stitch n' Bitch book.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? My favorite animated characters are Optimus Prime, the cast of Dinosaucers, and Danger Mouse. Tigers top my list of favorite animals.

25. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas, or Halloween. It depends on what holiday I'm enjoying!

26. Is there anything that you collect? Horror movies, Clive Barker books, and zombie-related items.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Just Interweave Knits.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? I really want Nancy Bush's Folk Socks and the yarn to do the Norwegian stocking pattern. At least my birthday is soon, right?

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I would love to get my hands on a project that would let me experiment using entrelac, actually. I've seen some beautiful entrelac designs lately in blog land and all I need to do is find a pattern that appeals to me!

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I love knitting socks because they're so portable, and because once you've knit a pair or two for yourself, you can make them from memory! My shoe size is US 8.5, and my foot circumference is 9".

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) My birthday is January 14th.


Are any of you taking part in SP7?