It’s a PARTY!!!

Marie, from Permission to Unwind, is hosting a blog party to celebrate her birthday. Other bloggers have joined in the fun. So head on over and look for giveaways, recipes, and fiber-y fun!

I’m hosting my own giveaway as part of the celebration, but first I want you to meet Marie. I only know Marie through her blog and she is someone who just exudes energy. How does she do that? I’m not sure if it’s her exuberant smile, her enthusiasm, her witty writing style, or her passion for knitting and life….but you can just feel it when you read her blog. I thought it would be fun to learn a little about what makes this mother of three boys tick and she agreed to participate in my blog interview.

How long have you been knitting? blogging?
I’ve been knitting for 24 years. It’s amazing to see the changes that have taken place in the realm of knitting in the last 10 years, though… it’s an entirely different ball game now than it was when I first started.

I started blogging about 5 years ago and dabbled in several different genres, trying to find the right creative outlet. At one point I had as many as 6 blogs, but I couldn’t give enough attention to any of them and ultimately narrowed my efforts down to one: Permission to Unwind. Although I do contribute to a couple of other blogs on a part-time basis, PTU is my baby,

Who taught you to knit?
My maternal grandmother. She was (and still is) an earthy, eclectic woman (like me!) who believed in living off the land and being self-reliant. When I was young she told me that she was afraid the art form would die out in my generation. Because of that, I made it a point to teach as many people to knit as possible throughout the years. Clearly it’s not a dying art anymore, but I still love to teach. It’s something I’m truly passionate about in life.

What’s your favorite thing to knit?
It really depends on the day, the week, the month… I love lace work and texture, and that tends to be what draws my eye more than the type of project it is. I like knitting sweaters and hats more than anything else, but depending on my mood I can fall in love with just about any fiber project. I sort-of enjoy knitting socks; I love the first sock, but then need a hiatus for a month or two before I feel like knitting the second one.

What knitted item are you most proud of making?
Gosh, I don’t know. My time is so limited that I tend to stick with projects that provide a bit of instant gratification, as opposed to ones that take months to finish. I have a feeling my proudest moment is yet to come; perhaps with my newly acquired love for knitting in the Bohus tradition. I’m knitting a gorgeous Bohus-inspired hat for the Ravelympics, and that may be my crowning moment thus far in terms of challenging myself.

Where’s the strangest place you have ever knitted?
I took my knitting with me while my husband had his vasectomy. I sat in a chair next to him and worked on a scarf, I think. Honestly, at the time it didn’t seem strange. I take my knitting absolutely everywhere with me, and it seemed like a natural thing to do. It didn’t occur to me how funny (and perhaps insane?) that was until I mentioned it to a friend and saw her eyebrows raise an inch. But seriously… that is such a Marie thing to do.

Why do you blog?
I’m passionate about connecting with people and inspiring others. Blogging is also a great creative outlet, a place to gather outside opinions, rally support, and share common experiences and interests. I’ve met some of my dearest friends through blogging.

Marie’s Pressed Flowers Carry-All Pattern

Do you enjoy other hobbies?
I used to be an avid quilter, and still love to sew when the mood strikes (but I don’t sew clothing… ever). I also love paper crafts, cooking/baking, reading and writing. I decided to learn French about two years ago just because I’d always wanted to, and that has become something of a hobby for me, as well.

Tell us about French Picnic.
French Picnic was born as an outlet for creative synergy between my dear friend Gabrielle, and myself. We’re both passionate about inspiring creative people to think outside the box, use recycled or found objects in their art, and find a practical and/or beautiful use for everyday items. Creative gurus in past years insisted that you had to buy a host of expensive and/or complicated materials in order to create something wonderful. We’re not those people. We believe in finding a creative balance and learning to use what you have. We’re by no means purists who shun the craft stores, but our goal is to get people out of the box. We have big plans for where French Picnic will someday be headed, but we’re allowing it to be an organic process. We both have a lot on our plates, and so it makes sense to take our time and let it evolve naturally.

Do you work and/or study outside the home?
I do. I work as a wellness counselor and aromatherapist part time, and am also a student at Kaplan University. I have a few other business concepts in the works, as well.

Are you a small town or big city girl?
I’m actually both, if that’s possible. Urban areas have always appealed to me because I can walk or bike to the places I love to go. I love the culture, access and diversity of a big city. However, I have also lived in little villages in the middle of absolutely nowhere, and I love that too. The slow, quiet pace of the country really soothes me. My challenge in life is finding a place where I can have both! 

Favorite vacation spot.
My favorite place to vacation with my husband is Kauai. I grew up with a special family connection to that island, so being there feels like my second home. But I also LOVE Europe (especially France), and would visit again in a heartbeat. As a family, we love camping and try to take
at least one or two camping vacations every summer.

Fondest childhood memory.
I don’t know if I have one particular favorite, but I remember bottle-feeding baby goats when I was about nine years old while wearing a floor-length green dress with big orange and yellow flowers (and off-the-shoulder puffy sleeves). Good times!

Who would you like to be for a day?
Either Miss Marple or a rock star. I secretly (or not-so secretly now) want to learn to play the drums before I turn 40.

Best advice on raising boys.
A little dirt never killed anybody. Laugh a lot. Listen. And always remember that boys are never too old for hugs.

What’s your favorite chain type restaurant?
I love Mexican food (but not one particular chain), and the big salad at Olive Garden.

What things are unique to where you live? As in special customs, favorite restaurants, slang, etc. (I love to find the unique things of an area when I travel. So much of the US is homogenized – Anywhere USA).
We are transplants to this part of the U.S.. and the first thing we noticed was that the world here revolves around Cabela’s (the hunter’s mega-store). The company was born here and it’s the backbone of the community. It’s rather ironic considering that we are vegetarians who don’t hunt!

Favorite candy.
I’m more of a salty chips girl, but now and then I will treat myself to Toffifay (a caramely-hazelnut candy).

Your scariest moment?
I can’t recall off the top of my head.

What helps you when you are in a bad mood?
Knitting and a hot bath (but not at the same time).

Use one word that best describes yourself.

Passionate she is!  Which is why we are celebrating!  I will host a giveaway open to US and Canadian readers. You have a choice of two prizes:

Two skeins of Berroco Touche in red, each 89 yards, 50% cotton/50% viscose, 20st /24 row gauge:

Nine skeins of Lang Golf, each 125 m, 100% combed, mercerized cotton, 25st/ 30 row gauge:

With each prize I will include one pattern magnet (color, my choice.)

Simply visit Marie’s Permission to Unwind and/or any of the other partying blogs listed on her site and leave me a comment below saying what you liked.  Also, let me know which yarn you are interested in winning and a way to contact you.   The contest will remain open until the end of February 10th.  Have fun at the party!

(If you are reading this post on the 9th, you can still enter my other giveaway.)