>yay for secret pal six! now that i’ve gotten my feet wet with the last secret exchange, i’ll do my part to be the best pal in the entire knit blogging universe. small task, no doubt.

here’s the questionnaire, for the benefit of my pal, plus some healthy navel-gazing along the way.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

admittedly, i am a huge yarn snob. once you start on fine merino wool and mohair blends, you cannot go back. i think it might also be a reaction to an enormous, bulky 100% acrylic cabled sweater my mommy lovingly knit for me by request (the pattern and the dark raspberry color, but i wasn’t old enough to know the difference between yarn qualities), and being completely roasted in the scratchy shell of a winter garment. novelty yarns tend too look too “middle-aged artsy mom” to me, and the only exception are the strings with sequins or paillettes attached (see adrienne vitadini fiora or berroco lazer FX ). i really aim to invest in high quality, non-scratchy, and resilient fibres.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

nope–knitting already keeps me busy!

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

i really detest the smell of smoke. happily, i’m not allergic or repulsed by much anything else.

4. How long have you been knitting?

i learned when i was quite young, maybe in elementary school or something, but i got back into it two years ago, when i realised i shouldn’t miss the opportunity to live across from a yarn store during my last couple years in college.

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

not yet!

6. What’s your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

my darling niknak got me my favorite scent last year for christmas, absinthe and black fig by slatkin. i tend to like more natural scents, like citrus or water, than floral or vanilla or fruit. however, my olfactorial (ol!) taste is pretty obscure… what i crave most are uncommon pairings, such as fleurs du chocolat, violet moss, or pomegranate anise.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

i tend to prefer savoury over sweet, but it’s hard for me to pass up some valrhona dark chocolate. also, anything that whole foods or trader joes might sell would do too, yum.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

i’m trying to learn how to do some basic sewing or garment construction skills, but i’m still in the process of saving up for a decent machine. on occasion, i love making cute, mod patterned papers and stationeries. i get into origami to a disturbing extent from time to time. if i had the time and space, i would love to learn how to make beautiful food.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

the best way to figure this out is to visit the website of the radio show i co-host, sigtronica on wmbr 88.1fm in cambridge. if you’re really hardy, you can listen to archived shows and hear me on-air! my music taste could extend from here to the golden gate bridge, but some styles i fancy are electronic, intelligent dance music, glitchpop, analog synth craziness, downtempo, trip hop, dub, drum + bass, trance, ambient, indie, icelandic artists, scandanavian artists, japanese artists, female singerwriter songwriters, and classical. apologies to the bazillion other genres i’ve left off. favorites extend from bjork to fourtet to cibo matto to bartok to flaming lips to dido. suffice to say, yes, i can play MP3s.

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 favorite color in general is chartreuse–that lovely shade between lime and lemon. however, finding the right kind of chartreuse for clothes can be tricky. i have an asian complexion–and i have no idea what ‘season’ i am. i tend to think dark reds and raspberries complement my skin, though i wear pretty much every color except 80’s style pastels. i prefer saturated colors over heathers, and fine tweeds have a soft spot in my heart. dark neutrals are cool, too, especially gunmetal grays and things with a hint of texture.

in general, no color is a bad color in my book, though you probably wouldn’t think so with all the black in my wardrobe! :) the only colors i sort of despise are those awful “jewel” tones, like bright turquoise, bright purple, bright orange. you know what i’m talking about. stylishly mod light palette (robin egg blue, buttercup yellow, delicate green), good. saturated and deep, good. sophisticated and neutral, good.

“jewel”, bad.

actually, i really like the new fall collection at anthropologie and the feeling of west elm. colorwise, take that as you will.

oh yes, perhaps unrelated, i am obsessed with pantone.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

right now i’m a youngster that shares an apartment with three twentysomething roommates. such is life as a grad student. no room for pets at the moment, although those who know me recognise my general adoration for kitty cats, koala bears, and doggies. i have parents and two older sisters who live in all corners of the country.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

okay, so “what are your life dreams” is sitting right next to “favorite yarns”. hmm, this one’s not so easy. all i can put for this one is that i want to do something that’s creatively-based, not money-worshipping, void of politics, helping others, and with a smashingly good wardrobe. i would also love to be traveling around the world and seeing beauty in everything.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

i haven’t had that much opportunity to try a humongous array of yarns, but i do enjoy european brands like rowan, debbie bliss, and filatura di crosa. i also love original fibers… i’ve been lucky to visit the habu textiles store in nyc, where i found stuff made from stainless steel, persimmon extract, and pineapple ramie. i was in heaven. i’ve been tempted by malabrigo, artyarns, and cherry tree hill. as long as it’s soft and pure and lovingly spun or manufactured with care, it will do. actually, i would have to say one of my favorite yarns i’ve worked with so far is jo sharp silkroad. cashmere, silk, wool. sooo delicious. working with cashmere is just like eating a pink frosted cupcake.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

i haven’t yet worked with alpaca, so i don’t know how that will work, but i like creating more fitted garments, so i like how wool has a little more structure to ‘cling’ to the body. however, baby alpaca has always intrigued me, though i’ve never tried. i tend not to like things that are excessively mohair (really fuzzy), but wool and mohair blends with subtle halos are fine. microfiber, nylon, is fine, but most i try to minimize most cheaper synthetics. and i hate hate hate ribbon yarns. i tried it, and it was just gross. disaster.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

designs teva durham’s loop-d-loop, handpainted sock yarn, and sexy vintage designs.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

i haven’t knit too many things, but i’ll tentatively say shrugs, sweaters, and socks. i say no to shawls, but yes to scarves and capelets and hoodies.

17. What are you knitting right now?

let’s see if i can remember everything! a 20″x20″ pillow covering with the rib motif from the tree bark tunic in loop-d-loop in knitpicks merino, the ballet pullover from IK summer 2004 in debbie bliss cashmerino aran, rib and cable socks from IK fall 2005 in mountain colors bearfoot, the theresa cardigan from debbie bliss junior knits in knitpicks shine, corkscrew scarf from loop-d-loop in berroco quest. i’m sure there are more lurking here and there in my apartment, as projects are wont to do.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

ponchos are bad news. capelets are much better and a lot more classy.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

circular. somehow the weight distribution works for me.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

bamboo, so lovely in the hands. aluminum, i’ve never tried addis but they seem like a dream. plastic, i use my denise set like crazy, but mostly because of convenience and lightweight. the only needles i despise are the heavy metal ones because they hurt my wrists.

21. Are you a sock knitter?

yes, and a recent one, too!

22. How did you learn to knit?

first from my mother, and then most recently on my own from the original stitch ‘n’ bitch book and countless online resources.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

not too embarassingly old. maybe half a year.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

i love supercute japanese-school-girl-loving cartoons. see sanrio, meomi, or happy tree friends. :) among some of my many favorite animals are koalas, jellyfish, kitty cats, penguins, and polar bears.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

arbor day, because everyone can love a tree!

26. Is there anything that you collect?

i started a mini-collection of cute japanese collectables from just be in portland. not much else i cant think of… i’m not really a ‘collector’ type of person, honestly. when i was younger i used to be obsessed with keroppi. i still have the mini aluminum lunchbox to prove it. i also was really into patterned tights. ah, high school.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

none, though i am contemplating subscriptions to rowan, vogue knitting, and/or interweave knits.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

the latest rowan book, issue 38. adrienne vittadini fall 2004. noro knits fall 2004 by jane ellison. perhaps scarf style by interweave. i have a very distinctive taste in patterns… they have to be chic and different and daring.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven’t bought for one reason or another?

the astrid sweater off of glampyre knits! i am so in love with that, though i’m not sure when stefanie will have that available, but search for it in her blog for cute photos of it from every angle. orangina is also lovely. and can you believe i haven’t purchased one-skein-wonder yet? i know, crazy.

so, there you have it, folks. if you need any clarification, or if you have any other questions for me, i’ll be happy to answer. especially if you’re wondering what you should order from a restaurant… i’m really good at that.

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