I just signed up to Secret Pal 8. Every time I’ve gone looking for the source of the Secret Pal thing so many bloggers wrote about, I found it well after the closing date. This time I found it a mere four days before closing.
I also finished my 100 Things About me list this morning. How’s that for a freaky coincidence? I started it weeks ago, but it was too time-consuming to do in one hit so I’ve been adding to it when I had inspiration and time. It’s long, I’m afraid. As the Concrete Blonde song “Little Conversations” goes: “I never could say anything in 20 words or less”.
1. I’m female, 36, and a ditzy brunette.
2. One of my three favourite activities is eating.
3. I love food. I have some kind of crazy metabolism where I can eat almost anything and don’t put on weight. The only time I ever put on weight was when my ex and I were splitting up, and we ate take-away pizza three nights a week.
4. The down side to this metabolism is I get tired easily. I suspect this is because my body isn’t good at extracting energy from food. I’m also a very cheap drunk.
5. My favourite food is chocolate. I collect chocolate facts and packaging. Lonely Planet once had me all primed to write a book on chocolate for them. They were going to send me around the world to all the chocolate hot spots. Then they had a cash flow crisis, and the book idea was dumped.
6. Celery and coriander are the only foods I really dislike. I don’t like coffee or beer (but I do drink tea and most other alcoholic drinks).
7. I’m allegic to avocados and bananas. I like avocados and bananas. I think that’s terribly unfair.
8. I like to cook, but I’m no chef
9. Sleeping used to be one of my three favourite activities. I used to be able to sleep anywhere. Then a few years ago I began to have bouts of unexplained tiredness (BUTs). If I napped I’d wake up hours later feeling like I’d been beaten up. Even if I slept my usual 9 hours, I’d wake up tired. When my doctor couldn’t find any reason for it, or the physician she sent me to, or anyone else, I concluded I must have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Though I don’t have BUTs as often as I used to, sleep is no longer one of my favourite activities.
10. I’ve worked as a book designer, promotional designer, freelance illustrator, cartographer and designer, and writer. I’ve also been a checkout chick, bike assembler, newsagent clerk, christmas tree decorator, and clothing factory sales staff.
11. I was art director of Aurealis, a magazine of fantasy and science fiction short stories, for nine years. For one of those nine years I read slush as well. I learned heaps but swore I would never do it again.
12. I’m a full time writer now, but I don’t like to talk about it on my knitting blog.
13. Between my mother, my aunt and myself, the list of crafts we’ve tried covers most of what had been popular in the last 40 years. My mother has tried cane basketry, rug hooking, hobbytex, leadlighting, folk art, mosaics. My aunt has won awards for her cake decorating and china painting and I think she does quilting, too. I’ve done pottery, macrame, string art, weaving, fimo, silk painting, origami and papercraft, jewellery making, screenprinting, linocut printing, woodcarving, carpentry and dyeing. We’ve all done plenty of knitting, crochet and sewing.
14. I also paint. Painting is more than just a hobby to me. It keeps me sane.
15. I used to sew a lot. I made my debutante dress. Later I did a pattern-making course and designed my own clothes. Then one day I realised that sewing put me in a bad mood and I no longer enjoyed it, so I stopped.
16. 1 out of 10 sewing projects turned out to my satisfaction. 1 in 10 knitting projects doesn’t turn out to my satisfaction. These statistics speak for themselves.
17. I have really narrow feet with high arches. They’re 21 cm around but 24 cm long. From what recall, those measurements are meant to be the same in well-proportioned feet. My ex used to call my feet ice skates. He said I’d blow over if the wind came from the side.
18. My shoulders are narrow, but my arms are long, so I always have to make a small size and lengthen the sleeves. Shop made jackets look silly on me, as they’re either too short at the arms or look like I’m wearing a size too big.
19. I was a 12A as a teen, a 12B as a twenty-something, and reached 12C in my thirties. I’m a bit worried what will happen when I reach 40.
20. I’m really contrary about fashion. I refuse to wear any fashion that doesn’t suit me, so I’ve never worn hipsters. But if I like a fashion, I’ll embrace it whole-heartedly. However, I get really annoyed if something I’ve been wearing for a while (sheepskin jacket, petticoat skirt) comes in fashion. It was my idea, dammit, and now everyone’s wearing it! And once that fashion has reached the fad stage (like feathers yarn did about three years ago) I won’t be seen dead in it.
21. One of the few times I was really tempted to do something illegal was when Chadstone Shopping Centre put up banners along the surrounding streets saying “Fashion: a force of nature”. I wanted to get a ladder and a paint spraycan and change the ‘o’ of ‘force’ to an ‘a’.
22. In the last few years I’ve started reaccessing my wardrobe once a year, between Christmas and New Year. I throw out or donate to charity anything looking worn, that doesn’t fit or simply was a mistake, then I go shopping and try to fill the ‘gaps’. It’s a good time of year because of there are always sales on.
23. As a painter all colours are my favourites. When it comes to clothes, however, blueish colours suit me better. I love red, but it’s got to be a good scarlet red, not an orangey one. I love blues, from vivid ultramarine to cerulean. I’m rather fond of purple and green, too, but the rule with green is the same for red – it must be bluish rather than yellowish. I don’t like pastels, but I love chocolate brown, black, navy and bluish grey. Creams, being yellowy, don’t suit me but bright white does.
24. Gold make me look deceased; silver is my favourite precious metal.
25. All the colours that I can’t wear I use to decorate my house. I had a bright yellow corridor in my previous house, and plan to paint a wall rusty orange in my current one. My previous kitchen was all apple green accents.
26. I love beautiful smells and have a very good sense of smell, but I’m allergic to most fragrant plants and nearly all perfumes. Lavender and rose are about the only floral scents I can tolerate. Otherwise, I like lemon, vanilla, amber and most woody scents.
27. I’m also higly allergic to smoke – be it woodsmoke or cigarette.
28. I also have very sensitive skin, so I use or make basic scentless cleaners, shampoo, etc. This actually saves me heaps of money. However, the price of hypo-allergic make-up makes up for it.
29. Which leads me to fibre allergies. I can wear wool on my feet and hands, but must wear something underneath jumpers and scarves. Despite this, I still prefer natural fibres over acrylic. Recently I’ve come to accept that I really do need to avoid mohair because it sheds and hairs get under protective underclothing. Cotton is fine, but I hate that it so often comes in wussy pastels.
30. I’ve done taste, smell, touch, and sight (colour), so now it’s time for hearing. Both my beau and I have ecclectic tastes in music. His tastes tend more toward 80s alternative, 70s metal and 90s electronic while mine include more singer-songwriters, soundtracks, pop and a bit of world music. We have a lot of crossover. We have a lot of cds.
31. We also have a lot of books. I used to read a LOT. Writing for a living and chronic fatigue changed that. Writing made reading feel like work, and chronic fatigue made me go to sleep five minutes after I started reading.
32. I like to do a bit of gardening, with an emphaisis on a ‘bit’. The first house I owned had a cottage garden. Never again. Years later I looked back in my diaries and saw I’d spent a day every weekend slaving away in it, which stopped it being enjoyable. Now I plant dought-tolerant natives, herbs and roses, which means I actually enjoy the day or so a month I spend gardening.
33. I like rain. I like the smell of it. I like the sound of it on a metal roof. When it rains I feel a happy feeling inside like I feel listening to a particularly lovely piece of classical music.
34. I don’t like being hot. My brain shuts down at 28°C. I know this because whenever I reach the point I can’t concentrate any more I check my themometor and sure enough, it’s 28°C. I also feel the cold. Just call me an oversensitive whinger. Autumn is my favourite time of year. Mild weather, less pollen, pretty leaves.
35. I prefer cats, but I don’t dislike dogs. At the moment I’m being owned by a ginger cat named Peri Peri.
36. Like most teenage girls, I had a love affair with horses at 14, but it was more like the sort of love one feels for a pop star – best kept to admiration from a distance. Close up, reality isn’t so great. Horses are contrary, smelly, expensive animals that stand on your feet for fun. For that matter, most pop stars probably
37. For most of my life I’ve loathed sport. I blame this on two things: my grandfather and the growth spurt I had in grade six. On visiting my grandparents, we used to find grandpa sitting in front of the tv watching football while listening to two radios tuned to the cricket and something else. Once all he said to me during a visit was to snarl “get out of the way of the tv!”. As for the growth spurt… I grew so fast in the last years of primary school I ended up taller than most of the boys. Most of the time I didn’t know where the ends of my legs and arms were, so most activities that required coordination were painful and humiliating experiences.
38. I was born in Melbourne, grew up in Melbourne and have lived here all my life. Occasionally I’ve thought about living in another state, or overseas, but never seriously.
39. Within Australia, I’ve holidayed in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and a little bit north and south, Tasmania, the Witsunday Islands, Flinders Island, and lots of places around Victoria.
40. Within Australia, I’d love to do an outback trip, perhaps including a train journey.
41. Outside Australia, I’ve holidayed in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, USA, UK and Paris.
42. Outside Australia, I’d love to visit Alaska, New York, Canada, Egypt, Turkey and more of Europe. And I’d love to return to New Zealand and the Cook Islands
43. My first job was at Lonely Planet. I got the travel bug and was desperate to don a backpack and roam the world, but my ex was not just uninterested, but dead against it. When a group of our friends were asked where in the world they’d like to travel to, he said “Bayswater”, the highly unglamourous, bogon suburb he grew up in. Now he travels the globe teaching IT and my back is too stuffed to carry a daypack, let lone a backpack.
44. I love looking at friends holiday snaps. I think it’s because for a while there I thought it was the only way I’d see the world.
45. While on holiday in the Witsundays, I was stung by a jellyfish and ended up in hospital. I thought I was going to die.
46. When I was a child I nearly drowned. I had no idea I was about to die and can still remember being surprised by all the water rushing out of my mouth as I was carried out of the pool. I nearly gave my mother a heart attack.
47. My mother has a lot of phobias. The only phobia I inherited was a fear of driving. It took ten years of determinedly making myself drive before I could do it without my heart pounding and hands shaking. I still avoid driving in cities.
48. I would love to try car racing.
49. I have a really good sense of direction and I’m a good navigator… except in the UK where the signage appears to have been made as illogical as possible – perhaps they did it to confuse possible Nazi invaders and they still haven’t got around to fixing it.
50. I love people-watching.
51. I love airports. What better place for people-watching?
52. I love air travel. I love take-offs. I love the little meals and I’m always impressed by the improvements in entertainment facilities. I just wish I didn’t have to put up with rude people spoiling the experience.
53. I love going to see films. I love buying lollies from the lolly bar and giving myself a sugar high during action scenes. I love watching the previews. I love the big screen and big sound. I just wish I didn’t have to put up with rude people spoiling the experience.
54. Clearly a private jet and home cinema would be the answers to those problems. One day…
55. Only a few years ago, due to the illustration market drying up and breaking up with my ex, I was so broke all I had was a 30 year old tv and no video recorder. For six months I didn’t have a car, until friends took pity on me and gave me their old station wagon in exchange for a painting. The only yarn I could afford was op shop yarn.
56. The only thing I really hated about this situation was how socially limiting it was. I lived too far away from friends for them to just drop in, and even when I did have a car I couldn’t afford to go out with them.
57. All the time I was aware that a lot of people were worse off than me. At least I had some belongings I’d bought when I wasn’t broke. At least I didn’t have a gambling/drinking/drug habit/abusive husband/mental illness/inablility to handle money keeping me there. At least I had skills I could use to get myself out of the situation.
58. I recovered, financially. I’m not filthy rich, but I’m doing okay.
59. It look a long time before spending $10 in an op shop didn’t feel like an extravagance.
60. And the longest lasting effect those years of brokeness had on me
is that I can’t stand hearing people who have a job and nice car and widescreen tv whingeing about how broke they are.
61. The internet was a lifeline during the broke years. I relied on email, chat rooms, message boards and blogs for social interaction.
62. I longed to start a knitting blog. Unfortunately, my dial-up connection and internet account was so slow and unreliable that I couldn’t upload images. Instead, I wrote knitting blog-like entries in my writing diary.
63. Those early entires are hilarious, as I learned about knitting by trial and a lot of error. One of these days I’m going to post those entries as a kind of “what I was doing three years ago” thread.
64. My first knitting-related blog entries were part of my LiveJournal at http://chocolatetrudi.livejournal.com/. I soon realised I needed a knitting-only site and that led me to Blogger.
65. My favourite knitting blogs are those with the right balance of knitting (not too technical) and personal anecdotes, which are updated at least every two or three days.
66. One of my pet hates is endless posts and photos of other people’s children. That tells me the blog isn’t intended for the knitting public to enjoy, but for the blogger’s family. I take the hint and remove them from my bookmarked site list.
67. Maybe I find this boring because I don’t have any children of my own, and don’t intend to have any. Still, I’ve checked with blog-visiting friends I know who have children, and they do tend to feel the same way.
68. My other pet hate is political ranting.
69. My third pet hate is too many memes and quizzes, particularly ones that don’t relate to knitting. After the third in a row I think “if you’ve got nothing to say, just don’t blog for a day or two”.
70. I reckon the ratio is something like 5 knitting entries for every personal one, depending on how engaging the blogger’s writing style is.
71. I love it when bloggers include photos of their pets.
72. I love it when they post a few holiday snaps. (see previous entry on holiday photos)
73. I hate it when someone I know blogs about a friend who insulted them, but won’t say who or how. It’s got to be one of the fastest ways to alienate all your friends, making them paranoid and, ultimately, very annoyed with you.
74. I love how you can search for a knitting pattern and nearly always find a blogger somewhere who has tried it.
75. It’s sad and pathetic, but I get excited every time someone leaves a comment.
76. I wish I could knit faster, so I could put more photos up. Uploading a photo of a project with three rows added seems a little… well… silly.
77. I suppose I should comment on knitting tools. I don’t like metal needles as I find them cold. The only metal needles I use are sock dpns, and that’s because I couldn’t find any plastic or bamboo ones in 2mm. I have a bad habit of breaking straight plastic needles, but haven’t broken a bamboo one yet.
78. I prefer circular needles for large projects. I love my Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles above all others.
79. But I prefer dpns for sleeves, socks, and anything small done in the round. I’ve tried the 2 circular method, but kept getting the needles and yarn tangled. I’ll do magic loop only as a last resort.
80. Since learning Wendy’s method of cabling, I haven’t used a cable needle.
81. I don’t tend to use counters, instead using safety pins to mark increase or cable rows.
82. I love stitch markers. They’re like jewellery for knitters. I have a small collection of home-made decorated ones.
83. I have a small collection of knitting books. I don’t like buying knitting books unless I’ve seen at least some of the contents, and since most Australian bookshops have a woefully small collection I tend to only buy what other knitters have shown me, or the ones on Amazon you can see internal pages of. And most of the good books are only available outside Australia anyway.
84. I’ve tried a range of knitting magazines, including Australian, UK and US ones. I’ve settled on Interweave Knits and the occasional Vogue or Yarn magazine.
85. I don’t subcribe to magazines. I have the subscriber curse. Whenever I subscribe to any magazine it goes rapidly downhill. I may be the reason Creative Knitting, the Australian magazine that started so well, went so very, very bad.
86. I love the Yarn Harlot and Wendy Knit blogs. I have all of both knitter’s books – or I will have as soon as my Amazon order arrives!
87. I prefer shaped, figure-hugging garments to boxy ones.
88. Because of a certain incident involving my mother and a really, really awful teddy bear pattern made to look (unconvincingly) like a cat, I have vowed never to knit toys or children’s clothing.
89. I’d rather give money to charity than knitting, for two reasons: my preferred charities don’t usually have any use for knitted items, and I’ve heard too many cases of charities getting too many knitted items to use. They usually need the money more.
90. I dislike nearly all novelty yarns.
91. Once I could afford to buy natural yarn, I soon learned to dislike all but the occasional, exceptionally soft acrylic yarn.
92. I’m not overly keen on Varigated yarn. I don’t mind tweedy yarns. I don’t mind yarn that changes slowly from one colour to the next, like Noro. I love self-striping sock yarn (the stripey stuff, not fair isle). But yarn dyed with short sections of colours… yuk. Even without flashing and striping… yuk.
93. The though of knitting an entire garment (apart from socks or gloves) from 4ply (fingering) horrifies me. It takes me long enough to knit a jumper out of 8ply (dk)!
94. My stash is modest, but it has ambitions. I would like to try alpaca, plant fibres like soy or hemp, and high-end cottons.
95. In 2005 I travelled to the UK, where I bought a ball of dk in most of the places we stayed, and knit up a long garter-stitch souvenir scarf. As a result, I visited a whole lot of wonderful wool stores. I even joined a knitting group in Edinburgh – a great way to meet locals.
96. I bought some Rowan to add to the scarf, and I was surprised to find that I didn’t like it. The dk was more like fingering weight, and it broke easily.
97. I’d like to try this souvenir scarf idea again, but in New Zealand or North America. Maybe next time I’ll knit a whole lot of squares and make a blanket.
98. My ultimate knitting challenge would be to knit a full-length jacket.
99. And I’d like to knit a skirt, but I haven’t found a pattern I like yet.
100. I can’t believe how long it took me to write this list!