February Color Swap

Here's my questionnaire for the February color swap:

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high-end natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I'm a yarn snob, but not a label snob. I avoid anything that looks cheap, feels scratchy and rough, or comes in ugly colors. When I knit for loved ones or myself, I use higher end yarns like Cashmerino, Noro, and Manos. When I knit for charity, I use yarns that are washable and can be thrown in the dryer, but even then, I don't like Lion's Brand and absolutely no Red Heart because it's so harsh.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I don't spin, but would like to when I have a lot more free time. I crocheted for years, but lost interest in it. I prefer knitting to crocheting now.

3. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Lately, all I want to do with my free time (what little I have) is knit, knit, knit! But I occasionally will make beaded jewelry, sew home decor items and make silk and dried flower wreaths and arrangements.

4. What is/are your favorite yarns to knit with?
Merino! Love it, want to marry it. I love how its soft and squishy and bouncy all at the same time. In worsted weight or bulkier so I don't have to use little needles.

5. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Anything that looks like a critter (furry, feathery, eyelashy) and anything that would feel at home in Vegas (shiny, sequiny, sparkly). Also, I do not like scratchy acrylics or wools. Or any kind of cotton that's not stretchy.

6. What is/are your current knitting obsessions?
I've been knitting 1 year this month and still consider myself inexperienced so I am obsessed with learning new stitches, patterns and techniques. Every time I make a new scarf or hat, I try to include something I haven't done before. Right now, I'm trying to understand how different stitches and stitch patterns affect the texture and "look" of the piece. My next goal is to learn how to knit cables.

7. What is/are your favorite items to knit?
So far, hats and scarves. I can experiment with different stitches, complete a project quickly, and there is a never-ending supply of people who need help staying warm.

8. What are you knitting right now?
I just finished a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. I also knitted 3 hats for the Love Fund (a local charity for children). And I just finished my sister-in-law's Christmas scarf (which shall now be a Valentine's Day scarf).
I'm casting on a new scarf tonight. This one will be for me!

9. Are you a sock knitter?
No. Maybe one day. For now, I am intimidated by the thought of using such little needles - I feel like it will take forever.

10. What's your favorite color? Or - do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Are there any colors you hate?
I love most colors but prefer darker, rich colors for fall and winter knitting. I also love brights, like turquoise, grape, cobalt and lime green. I dislike pastels and cannot abide tans and beiges.

11.Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No. But I wish for world peace.

12. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
Yes, I am allergic to smoke and certain perfumes. Thank God I'm not allergic to pets or wool!

13. Do you have any religious prohibitions or restrictions?
My beliefs prohibit me from eating sardines or doing unneccessary math.

14. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Vanilla and orange. And orange-vanilla. And lavender.

15. Do you burn candles?

16. Do you have a sweet or salt tooth?
Definitely sweet!

17. Do you drink coffee, tea or cocoa?
I don't just drink coffee, I inhale it! I also like tea, but don't drink cocoa.

18. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with a wonderful, exascerbating husband, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 3 foster puppies. And a zillion dust bunnies.

19. What are some of your favorite things?
My family and friends, my garden, anything to do with New Orleans, and of course, knitting.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Rabbits, even though I hate to see them in my garden.

21. What is your favorite holiday?
I love Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas because I love autumn and winter.

22. What is your birthday? (You don't have to tell the year)
November 8
In other news, guess what I came home to find last night? Hint: see the previous post minus one.
I'll try to post pictures tomorrow.


Surprise! It's 2 Boys!

(I originally tried to post this earlier this week, but for some mysterious Blogger-like reason, it wouldn't publish the entry. And then I was crazy-busy the rest of the week so here I am today trying once again to publish.)

This is what I found waiting for me when I got home Monday night:

"Grunt" is the runt in the back and "Squeek" is the big boy in front. These are just nicknames, because the babies' father (aka Mr. Criquette) wants something to call them but doesn't want them burdened by silly names when they reach their full dogly manhood. Or should that be manly doghood? here is a close-up of Grunt (Blogger is still being pissy and won't let me download anymore pix right now so I can't show you a close-up of the Squeeker. Trust me, he's a cutie!)

Okay, so I'm just pretending to be grumpy about our foster children. Some time ago Mr. Criquette (who is a 4-year board member of our local low-kill shelter) brought up the subject of fostering kittens. We decided it would be better to wait until everything with the house was finished and our own babies had settled back in to their routine. But, yesterday he got "the call" and "couldn't say no." Animal control had brought in an abandoned mom and her litter of 10 -count 'em- 10 little young 'uns. The director told Mr. C that she had been a great mom until this week when she just threw in the towel. Couldn't handle the crew anymore. (I can empathize after a busy day spent seeing all ADHD kids. Especially when they've been all cooped up for almost 2 weeks because of ice and snow and cold.) So my sweet animal-loving guy stepped up and took one of the pairs they were sending to foster homes. And he did an amazing job of figuring out where to put them and gathering all of the things tiny puppies need and being such a good puppy dad. He already had stories to tell me about how much they ate and pooped and other proud papa stuff. It's soooo cute!

Meanwhile, Criquette has definitely figured out something's cooking, but isn't sure what. She kept acting out all last night. Bitsy has gone into hiding but it could have been because the workers were there yesterday. Abbie and Chloe so far seem rather blissfully ignorant of the impending chaos, and haven't figured out that *something* is lurking behind the guest bedroom door!

Of course, almost as soon as I met them I was planning what I could knit for them. I hope I have enough time to knit them each a chew toy and a little blankie. I think I will recruit their Auntie C, the premie hat knitter extrordinaire. Maybe she'll adopt one. See how I'm already scheming to find ways to keep them in our lives? I have some neighbors who are dogless, or in a 1-dog family who could surely share their homes with a cute little black furball. Hmmmmm, who else do I know?

We'll see how this experiment in fostering turns out. I am only worried about 2 things. First, will this disrupt the harmony in which our little animal family lives? And second, will it break our hearts when we send our charges on to their own new families? Stay tuned and share the adventure...


Iced In

First of all, I haven't been posting because I was having a smack-down with a "recurring virus" which launched it's first attack 2 days before Christmas and, just when I think I'm bouncing back, attacks me again. It's something that seems to be traveling the Northern Hemisphere of knitting, as I have read about many other fellow knitter-bloggers who have been sidelined with respiratory crud, voice loss, fatigue (but not too much to stop knitting!) and general feelings of ickiness. However, after I got a round of antibiotics to tag-team with me, I started feeling perky again yesterday. Just in time for an Arctic blast that has plunged our unseasonably warm temps down to highs in the low 20's and a generous coating of ice and sleet and, tomorrow, snow. So I made the smart choice to snuggle in this weekend rather than going out into the frigid air and risking the Return of the Mutant Virus. There's so much to catch up on!

As far as Christmas - which is rapidly becoming a distant memory - we enjoyed Christmas on the prairie with my in-laws, and then a week in New Orleans with my own near-and-dears. We had a great time (despite a raw, runny nose, intense coughing and a blimp-sized sinus-pressure headache) and of course I ate way too much artery-clogging goodness and spent gobs of time with my wonderful family and friends (who even love me when I am potentially contagious). But the best part of all involved knitting, specifically the knitted gifts I bestowed on almost everyone.

This year, my first as a knitter, I made scads of scarves to give as gifts - 12 to be precise (although I hate to admit that 4 of them are still UFO's). many of the scarves were made when I was still very new to knitting and involved much synthetic fluffiness, large needles and garter stitch. The later ones reflected my evolving taste in yarns (bouncy merinos, self-stripes, and lovely textures) and, for me, some more challenging patterns. But regardless of the yarn or workwomanship, with only one exception (and I won't name the BIL who was underwhelmed), the scarves were met with joy and enthusiasm! It felt wonderful to have made something for my loved ones and to see them stroking and squeezing and wearing their goodies and appreciating that I MADE THESE!

The appreciation is what truly made my Christmas. My very favorite response came from my darling niece, Miss V. When I was knitting my very first scarf last February, she was fascinated and said she hoped I would make her one someday. She didn't know it, but I made her a fun fluffy scarf for Xmas. She was helping me wrap one of the other scarves for a SIL and said "Auntie K, this is so beautiful! Do you think you would ever make me one?" To which I replied "Sure. And one day, when I do, what colors would you like?" "Pink, blue, purple and light green" were the answers.

But Mom, we don't want to give these away!

See the one on Abbie (she's on the right)? That's Miss V's scarf, knit back in the fall. Notice the colors? Did Auntie K guess well or what? So when it was time to open gifts, Miss V squealed and immediately put on her first handknitted creation and gave me a giant hug and wore the scarf all night. And the next day. And had to be dissuaded from sleeping in it. Now that's just downright satisfying. I can't wait to start knitting for Xmas 2007!

But first, I need to finish the scarves for 2006. Which I have been working on almost all iced-in day. And am headed off to do now. While watching one of my favorite movies, Napoleon Dynamite. With ligers and wolverines and tots and LaFawnduh and cakes and even an ALPACA! Who can resist???

Tomorrow I am posting about what I saw and experienced in New Orleans, with lots of pictures!


Welcome, 2007

Wishing everyone a healthy, joyous, prosperous and emotionally satisfying 2007!