Category Archives: secret pal

Thanks Secret Pal

I received my Secret Pal final reveal package yesterday, and my Secret Pal is Natalie of Strands of Me! The big box was stuffed full of great stuff: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Bulky in Mauve which will make great hats; Blue Sky Cotton in Chocolate Brown, one of my favorite colors right now; KnitPicks size 6 dpns, all wrapped up in a cooler bag that is just the right size for on the go.

Also included was package #2, Sweet Georgia Superwash Sock yarn in Flow. The color is a bit more purpley-periwinkley than in the picture. Simply Gorgeous! Thanks, Natalie, for all of the wonderful gifts! I really appreciate all of it.

SP 10 Questionnaire

For my Secret Pal 10:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love alpaca, merino, silk and am particularly interested in the new “alternative” fibers, like bamboo, corn, and chitin. Lately I have been drawn also to traditional or classic wool yarns, and am especially curious about Beaverslide. I really love almost anything by Blue Sky, Malabrigo, Blue Moon (no duh!), Blue Heron (but funny, I don’t especially like blue yarn!). I *really* despise acrylic and most novelty yarns. I am embarrassed to admit it, but it’s true. Hi. My name is Mary. I’m a yarn snob.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
KnitPicks Options are stored in their own case, and I just got this great new circular needle holder by Della Q at Stitches West. My rarely used straight needles are kept in a pretty ceramic vase. Don’t have anything to store DPNs, but then again, I don’t have many. I have been contemplating getting some KnitPicks or Susan Bates dpns in sizes 1, 4 and 5.

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 to knit about 4 1/2 years ago, but have been avidly knitting for about 2. I consider myself a confident intermediate, but there are still many things to learn and tackle.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

5. What’s your favorite scent?
Citrus, hands down! I also love almond, coconut, green apple and grapefruit. Unfortunately, fragrances and lotions don’t mix well for me, as I have eczema (sorry, TMI!) but I still love those scents in other forms.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I definitely have a sweet tooth, and love dark chocolate, any kind of baked dessert/good; I’m also partial towards fruity and coffee flavors too.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I have *way* too much yarn to be interested in other crafts. I’m afraid to start spinning or dyeing because I might abandon my lovely stash.

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 many different kinds of music but tend not to like rap as much. I love a great, smooth voice. Lately, I’ve been intensely curious about blues (good ol’ traditional blues), John Legend, Michael Buble, John Mayer and any other great voices, male or female. I also love alternative and flashbacks to my childhood ‘70s and ‘80s music, such as ABBA, E.L.O., disco, and 80’s “new wave.”

9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?I really love greens (almost anything except solid forest or hunter green or kelly green), reds, browns, burgundies, pinks, oranges and yellows in moderation. I tend not to be a blue person but not sure why or why not.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Married, 2 kids, no pets

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Since I live in sunny So Cal, I wear hats occasionally to early morning soccer games, and scarves when there’s a bit of a chill. Mittens… almost never, and as for ponchos, please kill me first.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Besides gifts for others, I love knitting socks, caps because they’re quick and easy, and wrist warmers.

13. What are you knitting right now?
I’m finishing up my Wicked sweater and Hedera socks. What will I cast on next? The choices are endless. Will it be the Central Park Hoodie? The scribble lace scarf? Perhaps a malabrigo reversible cable scarf? Cotton chenille washcloth? Fetchings?

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I almost always use metal circulars but have been thinking of getting a 16″ circular in sizes US 6 and 8 for hats.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
1 ½ years. Please don’t remind me.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
It used to be Christmas and then Thanksgiving. For the past 2 years, it has become any holiday where I haven’t had to cook a lot or host a gathering (takes up too much knitting time!), and they have been Easter and 4th of July.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn, knitting books, knitting needles, stitch markers, plastic tubs to hold my yarn, seems to be anything knitting related.

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 Vogue and Interweave. I’d love to have KnitPicks dpns (above), any Barbara Walker’s Treasury 1 or 2, future releases (Yarn Harlot’s upcoming, and Charlene Schurch’s upcoming More Sensational Knitted Socks), Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave, and Lace Style.

21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?
I really need to improve my finishing skills, especially seaming.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I am a sock knitter, although I really need to work on learning some more heels techniques. I’m a US women’s size 8.

23. When is your birthday?
November 5th

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I almost missed this. Sign ups for Secret Pal 10 are open. I had such a great time with SP9. Annie, my up line Secret Pal, and Michelle, my down line Secret Pal, were so fun to get to know. If you haven’t done this before, you simply must. Go now. It’s a special way to make our world a little bit smaller.

Just in case you’re wonderin’, I have been knitting. I was “commissioned” (sounds fancy, like I know what I’m doing, doesn’t it?) to make some caps for a friend, and am just about to cast off the last. Show and tell in the next post.

Wishing you all a love-filled Valentine’s Day.

A Couple of Nice Surprises

Okay, so maybe nice isn’t the right word. Today has been an exhausting day, one in which I worked four hours on my feet at the LYS, and then went home to take my Mom on her errands. Hurray. When I sat down to read my blogs this evening, I got a couple of nice… make that great… surprises.

The first is my downline Secret Pal finally got her reveal package from me. I’ve been waiting for over a week to hear from her, and finally did this evening. She’s Aussie Michelle of The Knitting Muso, and I’ve had a blast spoiling her with knitting stuffs. She’s an accomplished pianist and instructor, and a knitting machine. I hope you enjoy reading about her knitting and not-so-knitting adventures, as I have these past few months.

The second nice surprise is hearing from my fellow Knitty Gritty Knitster Carolyn. She has committed to keeping her blogging going, so head on over to JollyEwe to read about her really great knits. Hopefully, we’ll be able to meet up at Stitches West for some reunion knitting on a sofa. Anybody else interested in meeting up?

The other really great surprise came from Chrissy, the Knittin’ Mom, who is the hostess of the Sock-a-month kals. I won a prize package for SAM 2, enough yarn for 6 more pairs of socks. Woo hoo! I joined SAM 2 to motivate me to keep knitting socks, and I knit at least 1 pair for each of the 6 months. I think my total was 8 pairs at the end of the kal. If this ain’t the best incentive to sign up for SAM 3, I don’t know what is. I’ve already convinced sknitty, annette, and seattle marie to join in on the fun for SAM 3. Won’t you join us?

Going Away Gifts
I finished up a couple of quick knits that are going away gifts. Sweetie Girl’s best friend is moving to Northern California because her Daddy got a kick@$$ job. They met in Kindergarten and have been inseparable since then. The scarf is her best friend and the wristwarmers are for best friend’s Mom.
Project: Mistake Rib Scarf from Weekend Knitting
Yarn: Valley Yarns Shelburne from WEBS, 1 ball of orange and 1 ball plus a little more of light blue
Needles: Options Size 13
Start/Finish: Can’t remember but it only took a day or so
Thoughts: This yarn was on close out, so it was a remarkably good deal. If there’s any left over, go get it! It’s really soft and squishy; easy to work with. It was a tiny bit itchy so I washed it with some Eucalan and a lot of green apple hair conditioner. I’m happy with how it turned out, and I think best friend will like it, especially since they’re in her favorite colors.
Project: Fetching wristwarmers
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, almost 1 ball exactly
Needles: Options Size 5, 2 wristwarmers on 2 circs method
Start: Jan 28
Finish: Jan 31
Thoughts: I continue to knit this pattern because I love it. It’s super easy but knits up like a million bucks. This is the first time I have used the yarn called for in the pattern, and it’s to die for. To. Die. For. It feels velvety soft when it is knit up. I had heard that many people run out of yarn, so I decreased the straight knitting part by one row. I must have knit this pair rather tight because I’ve got quite a bit of leftover yarn. They feel a bit short, but I think they’re still fine.
I’m delinquent in my Secret Pal responsibilities. I only just got the last of the items in the mail today, so I wrapped them up and they’re ready to go. My Secret Pal lives in Australia, so I’ve got to get these out ASAP for their overseas flight. Wish them a safe flight!
I cast on today for Wicked, which is the kal for SKC. I’m using burgundy colored Durango by Colorado Yarns. It’s tweedy and made from wool and acrylic. I’m working on reforming my yarn snob self. Wish me luck.