Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Secret Pal 10 Questionnaire

Well the answers are similar to SP9, but here is the questionnaire for SP10 with minor editions:

To My Secret Pal:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn(s) to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Well, I like pretty much anything. I find that certain kinds of wool, like Icelandic wool and such, are very itchy, so I'm not too keen on those. I like bulky yarns in particular. I sort of lost my taste for the fringey, eyelash, novelty yarns. I'm not vehemently opposed to acrylic, but I do prefer it when it's mixed with some other natural fiber (i.e., wool or cotton) to give it more flexibility/durability/softness. I love merino wool. I love cotton, too. Love silk and silk blends.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a couple of hand-made fabric needle cases that I got from e-bay. Love them. Then I splurged one day and bought this huge suitcase-ish rolling bag from JoAnn (I had a coupon). It's pretty cool. I keep a lot of stuff in there as well.

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 about 2 1/2 years. My friend Marsha taught me in the summer of 2004. It was always something that I wanted to do. My grandmother was a great knitter and an expert at crochet. I have a crochet tablecloth that she made. Incredible. Marsha's husband, Jan, taught me how to crochet. I just really like being creative and making usable things. I would consider my skill level in knitting to be advanced beginner/intermediate. I'm still just a novice at crochet. I very slowly build up my knowledge of stitches and techniques. I'd like to be able to master a particular skill first before piling on something else.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Ok, I finally made one: Here it is.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
Generally, I like natural, gentle scents. I like green tea and pears a lot. I absolutely cannot stand cinnamon or patchouli or anything overly floral. I wish someone would come up with a candle that smelled like bread baking. That would seriously rock.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Does the pope wear a funny hat? Chocolate, of course. I like dark better than milk. But hey, I'll eat anything of the chocolate variety. And I am a real sucker for a good chocolate-covered marshmallow. Oh! And those little thimble-sized truffles that are dusted with cocoa powder (I see them at Trader Joe's sometimes). OH MY DOG. I love those. They are like chocolate butter. Candy I will not eat: Twizzlers or any of its rubbery, stringy look-alikes. Yuck.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I don't spin. But I'd be interested in trying it. I also crochet. I like to cross-stitch and needlepoint. I can sew a bit (like curtains, pillow covers, etc.). Decoupage, paper quilling, oil-painting, pastel drawing, scrap-booking, silk-screening, photography, pottery/ceramics, origami, jewelery making, beaded fruit--- you name it and I've at least dabbled in it. Hell, I used to even make rosary beads. I'm a fairly artistic person and I like to draw and occasionally paint. I'm big on home improvement, so I do a lot of wallpapering, tile grouting, house painting, linoleum laying, etc. I love putting together Ikea furniture. How lame is that? :-P

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I love 80s music, particularly "Retro." I also love classic rock (who doesn't?); with my favorite bands being Queen, Led Zepplin, and Yes. I'm into Radiohead and I often like House/Techno music, especially when cleaning the house. Some of it is really kind of cool! I also like relaxation music with animal sounds and such. STOP LAUGHING RIGHT NOW. Anyway, I like a lot of stuff and would be interested in listening to new music. Except Rap and Country, which basically suck ass. I can handle MP3s. I have a 60GB iPod that's itching for MORE!

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
Well, I don't think it's really a question of me not liking colors, because I pretty much like ALL of them, except for teal. Teal should be obliterated from all human existence. Really, it's more like what colors don't like me! For instance, I love yellow and orange, but they look hideous on me. However, I will admit that I'm not a huge fan of pastels. I guess I like heathered, natural colors the best. I'm fond of plums, sagey greens, denim blues, gray, terracotta, browns and mocha. I like red, too. As my father-in-law once said, "I never met a red that I didn't like." I think maybe that's his favorite color. Either that or he was referring to wine. Or maybe Communists. Or maybe Red Skelton. Not sure. It was a while ago. :-P But he was standing in my living room looking at the wall that I had just painted RED.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Four cats, all mostly evil, and one new kitty, who is sweeter than you can imagine. So, yeah, FIVE cats. Hey, less time in purgatory.... I also have one husband, moderately evil.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves, yes. Hats, yes, and I actually wear a hat very well. Mittens...hmmm maybe; see I don't like not having use of my fingers, though. Ponchos, HELL NO.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I like to knit interesting, useful items that aren't fussy or overly complicated. To me, there is really something to be said for the soft, warm garter-stitch scarf. I love knitting baby items, particularly blankets, even though I have no children, nor do I plan on having any.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Right now, I am knitting a baby blanket for my sister, who discovered she is pregnant with a 13-year gap between children. Owie. I am also knitting socks! Can you believe it? ME? SOCKS?? Pictures will come later....

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Oh my, YES! I would LOVE a felted hat...HINT HINT. :-P

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Hmmm...well, I have all kinds of needles (wood, plastic, metal, resin, etc.) and I think I like resin the best. I like straight needles better than circular. My favorite needles are Bryspun. They are sometimes hard to come by. But use them once, and you'll love them, especially the circulars. No tangling/twisting, which is my biggest complaint about circular needles. I recently purchased some gently-used Denise needles from a friend and they are SUPER!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Nope! In fact, I don't even know what a swift is.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
That would have to be that gorram poncho, which will forever remain a UFO because
a) um... ponchos? and
b) Lion Brand discontinued the yarn I was using (Kool Wool) and I can't buy it anymore, and
c) refer to a.
It's a little over 2 years old.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
I don't really have one. I can tell you that I like Halloween the LEAST.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Well, I often get obsessed with things. I like stuff. So it's more like "what don't you collect?" For now, I seem to be accumulating Pirate cards, animal figurines (particularly carved wood or stone ones), anything Mystery Science Theater 3000 related, Cats By Nina items, anything cat-related, yarn, knitting books/patterns, seashells, rocks, fossils, raw gemstones, Sanrio items (like Hello Kitty, etc.), artwork by Kay McDonagh, stamps, magnets, yadda, yadda, yadda.... Oh, and cats. ^.^

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 have a subscription to Interweave Knits (thanks, Marsha). I also have a whole bunch o' books and I'd also really like to acquire these:

100 Knitting Projects
24-Hour Knitting Projects
Big Needle Knitting
Not Your Mama's Knitting
Simply Fabulous Knitting

As for yarn & such: I'd love to try pure cashmere, but I know it's cost-prohibitive. I'd also like to try something hand-spun and hand-dyed, say a wool/alpaca in soft, variegated colors. Oh and I really want to get some recycled silk sari yarn! I think that yarn would make some really unique wraps/scarves. I would also like a Kacha-Kacha row counter clicky-thingie. Or the Mini Kacha Kacha. And this WPI tool from KnitPicks, which has been out of stock every time I've tried to order it.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Yes, I'd really like to learn cabling. In fact, I tried to teach myself and it was ok, but I need to sit down and do this when I'm not distracted by other projects. Also, eventually, I will attempt a grown-adult-sized sweater!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Well, thanks to Pat, the greatest teacher in the world, I have actually learned to knit socks! I am still working on my first pair ever. But I have a good deal of sock yarn now (thank you, Elizabeth!) so maybe there will be more socks in my future! I never have actually measured my feet in inches, but I can tell you that I wear a size 6 1/2 shoe.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
My birthday is May 9th.

Nora, The Piano-Playing Cat (www.ravenswingstudio.com)

OH MY DOG. This is one of the greatest things I have ever seen.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sigh...I Should Have Known

Ok so remember the kitty we picked up early last week? Efforts to find her a good home had failed for about a week. Then I went to my first-Tuesday-of-the-month knitting group this week. There is a woman who just starting attending the group named Shannon. Shannon is a vet! I posed my dilemma to her about the kitty (Luna). Shannon said, "Oh, bring her to me! That's what we do. We rescue animals and/or help rescued animals find good homes." I was so thrilled!

So I got home that night and I told Todd. He seemed ok with it; happy that Luna would definitely be placed in a safe, loving home. We decided that we'd take her there on Thursday after work.

Wednesday night rolls around. Todd starts making otter fists. What are otter fists? Well, just look at the picture in my profile. "Otter fists" is a humorous term that I came up with for something that is endearingly cute or for something that you want but think you might not be able to obtain, which also is probably endearingly cute. Why those definitions? Well, for one thing, otters' little paws are so freakin' cute. Second, I feel so bad for them with those little "arms" and paws. How do they function? How is it not impossible for them to eat, groom, and defend themselves with those stubby "arms?"

For a human to make otter fists:

1) make fists with both hands
2) bring arms up from your elbow to your chest, just under your chin
3) rock your fists back and forth

There you go.

Ok, where was I? ...Oh yes, Todd made otter fists on Wednesday.

Me: Ok, what's that all about?

Todd: I've grown too attached to the baby [Luna] to give her away. We've had her with us too long. I think we should keep her!

Me: What? It's only been like a week.

Todd: I know, but she's really cutie and FINALLY we have a lap-cat. She's getting along with the others too.

Me: Sigh...I don't know. Five cats? She'll be going to a very nice home, you know. A vet wouldn't give her to just anybody.

Todd: Look, we have four already. What's one more?

Me: Well, I can understand why you'd want to keep her. She is very sweet and pretty. But, well, it's just that sometimes I feel so totally overwhelmed by the cats.

Todd: How come?

Me: Well everything I do, every moment of my time at home, there is a cat there. Try to sit and eat lunch? Dinner? There's a cat or two or THREE lurking around me, climbing up me, or begging for food. Sleep? Cats, all hours of the night and morning. Shower? Cats in the bathroom sink. All my clothes have cat hair on them, even my bras. Scratches on the walls and the furniture. They pull on the rug. They eat my mail and break my things (mostly just Titus). It's just that they are all over everything all the time.

Todd: I know. But I just feel like I really got attached to this one and I want to see her grow-up. Look, let's say that we'll tentatively keep her and then in a few weeks if she gets nuts or fights with the others or whatever, we know that we'll have a place where we can bring her. How's that?


So, there it is. I caved in to the otter fists! But really, I see why Todd is so attached to her. Could you resist such a pretty, little thing?:

Friday, February 02, 2007

Early Spring! YAY!

So, it's official! Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring...for ONCE!

And you know what this means? I get to watch one of my most favorite movies of all time too! Sorry, Todd.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

And Then...

...there were five:

That's right, folks. Todd and I picked up a kitty off the street the other day. We couldn't bear the thought of this little thing braving another 20-degree (or colder) night outside on the streets. It even snowed the night we got her. When I saw her, she was trying to drink from a dirty, frozen puddle at the curb near a car. So sad!

We scooped her up, took her to the vet, got her some shots, and now she's home with our quartet right now. She's only about 5 months old. She weighed 4 pounds at the vet's office (underweight, because she was malnourished). She's totally healthy and super lovable.

We've tentatively named her Luna, Lu-Lu for a nickname.

I say tentatively because we are actively looking for someone to take her. We're giving it a couple of weeks. If it ends up that nobody's interested in her darling little face, well, that's ok too. We knew our responsibility once we stopped the car to get her. It's just that with our impending move to Delaware in a few weeks, it might be easier if we didn't have a new kitty around. And, let's face it, HOLY SHIT: FIVE CATS?!?

Todd took that picture up there with my cellphone this morning. Come on, people, just look at her. Could you leave that adorable, little, silver tabby outside in the ferocity of winter to her death?