up close and personal with miss eweIn a recent interview for Secret Pal 8, miss ewe revealed the following juicy tidbits about her knitting life.
SP8: What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
ewe: Hmm... I've developed a real taste for merino, but I like lots of things. Natural fibres -- soft wools, alpaca. Blends with mohair and silk are great. I have decided I don't like knitting with "fun" yarns -- eyelash, fun fur, or those slippery polyester chunky types. Knitting is all about the tactile sensation for me, and I just don't like how they feel. I'm not crazy about ribbon knitting because of the way you have to keep untwisting it, but I love the way it looks. And I'd really like to try knitting with bamboo, but I'm waiting for inspiration to strike with the perfect project.
SP8: What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
ewe: Ungh. Where aren't there needles? I have a plastic crafting drawer thing that my "notions" are supposed to be organized in, but they never are. There are two baskets next to my couch, and then assorted random bits in a knitting bag. The dpns always go back in the sleeve they came in and most of my straights came in a set together and (usually) end up back there after a project. But the worst are circulars, because how ARE you supposed to store them?
SP8: How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
ewe: I'm an intermediate adventurer and have been knitting for about 3 1/2 years. I'm in the try-out-everything stage. I've knit several each of scarves, hats, mittens, blankets and kids sweaters in all different gauges, fibres and styles, but I'm interested in new techniques right now. I've recently acquired stash for lace and some really nice stuff for my upcoming "summer of socks".
SP8: Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
ewe: Unfortunately not. But I do tend to covet things out loud or online.
SP8: What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
ewe: I love sandalwood, vanilla, cinnamon, bergamot. As a general rule, I'm not into floral or fruity, but I do love citrus scents. Nothing sticky sweet, and mostly more earthy.
SP8: Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
ewe: Indeed. I'm a sucker for a good brownie. I love chocolate... the darker the better. Rogers Cremes are possibly the nicest indulgence. Truffles. Mmm, truffles.
SP8: What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
ewe: I'm pretty obsessed with knitting right now, but I've dabbled in all sorts of crafts in the past. At the moment I've been making some beaded stitch markers, and generally I'll craft if I need or want something that I think I can make. Then I'm willing to try anything.
I love the idea of spinning, and someday that would be lovely to try, but I just don't have space at the moment, and time is so limited these days that it would only take more time away from knitting.
SP8: What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
ewe: I'm a professional violinist, so I love Classical music (obviously), but I'm open to lots of different types. Actually, I love getting recommendations based on music I already like. I'm pretty into Sting, Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, Blue Rodeo, Sarah McLachlan, Sarah Harmer. I also really like jazz, and Cuban music has really been growing on me.
My computer is sick right now, and I'm doing this interview from a borrowed computer, but it never much "liked" MP3s, and crashed when I tried to play them. Neither my car nor my stereo read MP3s either...
SP8: What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
ewe: I love everything in the green family, especially sage, and deep greens. I'm also pretty partial to pinks (everything from girly pink to fuschia), and I love orange and purple. I like things bright, although I'm not a big fan of yellow. Proximity to yellows and beiges makes me look jaundiced, so I tend to steer clear of them in general. Black is always good (although it's sooo hard to knit with!), and grey always makes me feel cozy.
SP8: What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
ewe: I live alone (but I have a boyfriend around the corner), and have a very cool black kitty named Fritz (you can see Fritz causing trouble a few posts back). My Mom lives a few hours away and is also a devoted crafter (although rug-hooking is her poison), and my brother lives in the Northwest Territories.
SP8: Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
ewe: This is Canada. Big giant YES on scarves, hats, mittens. But a big giant NO on ponchos. Ponchos make me look like an ugly doily-covered box. Shame on ponchos.
SP8: What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
ewe: I'm not sure about that. Up to this point I've mostly knit gifts, so I guess I'm usually considering the recipient and occasion rather than what I want to make. I'm still experimenting, but so far I think kids' sweaters have been my favorite... they're small and manageable to complete, but the satisfaction of creating a three dimensional garment out of a ball of string has been hard to beat. I suspect socks will hold a similar thrill this summer.
SP8: What are you knitting right now?
ewe: My primary project is the Turtleneck Shrug from Scarf Style. I've got improv arm-warmers going, and a few scarves, including a cabled project begun too long ago to contemplate. I'm also about to start a cute hooded baby sweater for my boyfriend's upcoming niece!
SP8: Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
ewe: Yes!!! 'nuff said.
SP8: Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
ewe: Depends on the project. I love Addi Turbos, and would choose circular needles over dpns most of the time, but it really just depends. I've only ever used metal and plastic needles -- oh and once I was convinced to buy those squishy wobbly flexible needles... never again! -- but I've recently picked up a pair of bamboos to try them out. I'm afraid to break them! Also, I've got a needle in my mouth perpetually as I work, so I think those casein ones are out for me. I'd love to try rosewood or something a little different like that!
SP8: Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
ewe: I have an old winder (recovered from someone's basement) but no swift. Feet can make a surprisingly good skein holder. (Necessity is the mother of invention. And inventiveness.)
SP8: How did you learn to knit?
ewe: When I was a little kid, we always had crafty things going. Remember spool knitting??? I must have created miles of that stuff. I have a vague recollection of being taught actual knitting by my mom, and a distinct recollection of the yarn: soft, variegated purpley-pink. I was going to knit Barbie a bedspread. I think I enjoyed it so much that one of my teddy bears got a scarf and Barbie's bed was cold. Then it was over, and I don't know why I didn't do anything else with it.
A few years ago I got a hankering for it, I have no idea why. I think some part of me really wanted to knit my at-the-time-boyfriend a scarf or something. (He eventually moved to Texas and had no further use for either me or the scarf. Oh, the irony.) When I mentioned it to my mom in passing, she leapt into action. I got Debbie Bliss's How To Knit and a set of several pairs of straight needles for Christmas. I signed up for a class, then had such a bad experience with the rude woman at the store that I quit the class 10 minutes in, got a refund, and went home to teach myself. And have been ever since. Every so often I'll go to a drop-in class in town to get some help if something in a pattern doesn't make sense to me, but I'm a pretty independent sort, and I've figured it all out, trial and error, with the help of Debbie Bliss.
SP8: How old is your oldest UFO?
ewe: I was just talking about this a few posts ago. 3 years. Cabled scarf in sock yarn. First time knitting cables, first time knitting such "small" yarn. Way too new a knitter at the time to do that for 6 feet.
SP8: What is your favorite holiday?
ewe: Christmas, undoubtedly. Holiday baking, perfect cold season for knitted things, and you're supposed to give presents to the people you love. It's ideal!
SP8: Is there anything that you collect?
ewe: Stash would indicate I collect yarn that may or may not ever get knitted. Book shelf would display that knitting mags and books are also collecting at an alarming rate. (Inspiration). I also seem to have an inordinate number of cookie cutters in interesting shapes, but (and maybe this is a bad sign...) I wouldn't consider that a "collection". Other than that, NO. I'm trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to have less "stuff" around. I'm a bookworm (fiction too) and a knitter, but I don't like nick-nacks.
SP8: Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
ewe: This is a tough question to answer. There are always new things I'd love to have, but I tend to obsess over them for a while, save up a bit, then just go for it (since I know the only person who's really going to treat me is usually me!). I keep hearing people talk about Opal painted sock yarn, but I've not been able to find it anywhere yet. I'd also like to get my hands on some of that beautiful Trekking that the Harlot has been using. And I think those Go-Knit pouches are pretty fab too, especially if I ever get back to a city with a subway!
As for knitting magazines, I "manually" subscribe to Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits, which means I buy every issue the moment it's on the shelf. I have thought about getting an actual subscription, but in Canada it's not much cheaper to do that, and the mailman has a bad habit of crushing my magazines! (I don't mind that with Macleans, but VK/IK??? No way!)
SP8: Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
ewe: YES! Every new technique! I am poised on the edge of my first lace project, and of course there's the sock thing, so Kitchener stitch is on deck. I'm thinking of trying out Entrelac sometime soon, but it doesn't seem complicated so I'm not worried. Actually, what I'd like to get a handle on are a zillion different cast-on methods, and what they're best for. I just got an old Montse Stanley guide out of the library, so that's been a good reference for everything! At the moment (I'm embarrassed to say!) I'm a one-trick pony with the cast-on. I'd like to get better at colorwork too, but I tend to prefer less fussy knitting... I'll do anything with one strand, but dragging something else along the back always feels like a pain. That said, this two-handed knitting that people talk about sounds interesting, but I'm not convinced I'm that co-ordinated! I can't even conceptualize it at the moment.
SP8: Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
ewe: I'm soon to be a sock knitter! They're my planned-portable-projects for the summer. No heavy wool sitting on your lap! I have a pretty average size 7 foot.
SP8: When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
ewe: (Ed: a tech-savvy friend who is obviously more intelligent than me pointed out that given how many password type things are reset or tested based on your birthday, perhaps I shouldn't have put my date AND age here for all the world... I'm a Virgo; that's late August to mid-September . If for some reason you want to know exactly when, e-mail me and I can tell you. The world is a wacky place. Sigh.)
SP8: Thanks, miss ewe. We've all learned a lot about you today!
ewe: My pleasure, Secret Pal. I can't wait to get started!