Recently in Secret Pal 2 Category

Craftapalooza Pal

Awaiting me upon my return to blissfully foggy SF, was my final package from my secret pal 2.

This was a great package, and I think my pal should probably open a store. She made other things she sent me during the three months, but this final mailing was an amazing and inspiring display of creative talent and taste.



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She sent me...


  • A beautiful handmade tapestry notions bag. It's a semi-circle in shape (almost crescent-like), which makes it really unusual in and of itself. In addition, the tapestry fabric is great and carptetbag like, and the circular detailing on the bottom is a wonderful touch. All in all, it's a really cool sophisticated piece. A beautiful beaded zipper pull adds just the right balance of whimsy.
  • A great coordinating handmade cloth (refillable) journal lined in (I think) silk.
  • Handmade Coffee Caramel Vanilla soap that has to be smelled to be believed. It's awesome. (And she even made a label wrapper noting the name, ingredients, etc., for it. It all looks so professional!)
  • A pretty beaded necklace bookmark on a leather cord. (She does have a touch with beads, for sure! The bead drop on this is just lovely.) [When I opened the package, my brain saw necklace. A followup post from my pal said she uses hers as a bookmark. I had to laugh at myself. It is, indeed, bookmark and not neck length!]
  • And another postcard from Australia in which she, tada, reveals her identity!

My pal was Nicole of Craftapalooza.com. (Now the fact that her email address was secretpalapalooza seems like a Da Vinci-esque clue of sorts.)

She was just an awesome pal, and I was really lucky to have her! I spent some time this morning checking out her blog. You should, too!

(Her Sophie bag got stolen last week, which really sucks, so if you drop by, give her some cheer.)

Secret Pal 2 Draws to a Close

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I'm hoping to do a post on the knittng of the past few days, but in case I don't get to it, I wanted to be sure and follow the rules of the Secret Pal 2 reveal. Secret Pal 2 ends on Sunday (Oct. 31), but I'll be in transit, so I'm posting a bit early.

I was pal to Nicole at Knitty Knitty Bang Bang.

I've had fun being her pal and reading the tales - interlaced with good knitting, of course - of her transition to college.

Give her blog a visit!

As soon as my own wonderful Secret Pal 2 has been revealed, I'll let you know.

thanks secret pal2

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I got a special delivery yesterday from my Secret Pal 2 in Australia. I was excited to see the mailer tube when I came in from picking up Matthew from school last night. After a quick (and incomplete) Pilates workout, I was all set to find out what goodies were inside. Here's a photo of what came out of the tube...

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(Oops. I forgot to put the needles in the set-up when I snapped the photo.)

The yarn is Ozyarn's Loopy Lou in the Passion Purple colorway. It's a wonderful feeling mohair boucle, so soft and cushy to the touch, and the colorway is cool and fun. I can't wait to see how it works up. My pal sent three skeins of the yarn, a copy of Ozyarn's möbius cowl pattern (see their site), and the right size needles for the pattern. Isn't that just perfect!

My package also contained a beautiful set of tea, a handmade card, and two packets of "Vegemite" to round out the international flair with which my pal is taking care of me.

Thank you secret pal 2! You're the best, and I'm feeling very spoiled.

Mail from Down Under

Got another postcard in the mail the other day from my Secret Pal 2. I was working in the basement on the never-ending dollhouse project, so the mail carrier handed me the mail directly. As a result, I read it and laid it and the rest of the mail down in a stack next to where I was working and forgot to bring it all up until today. So, thanks SP2! In the note, she says she also has pink Birks. Talk about irony. I mean, tons of us wear Birks. But not tons of us have those cool limited issue pink suede ones!

postcard

Thank You Secret Pal 2

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The forces directing the mail carrier looked down on me today and smiled. For the last week, I've been awaiting a package of Koigu for my first Charlotte's Web. It didn't come, and it didn't come.

Today it came!

But, even better... a package came from my Secret Pal 2 in Australia.

I tore open the package to find a cool special "Scarves" issue of Creative Knitting, an Australian knit magazine (perfect since I'm still in such a scarf craze and can't seem to find my way out) and a bunch of individually wrapped packages. Here's what the ensemble looked like:

secret pal gifts

(I am proud that I stopped long enough to get the picture. I wanted to open everything immediately, but I was so amazed that my pal took time to wrap and ribbon-tie everything that I had to get a blog-worthy shot of the package contents!)

After taking the photo, the unwrapping began. I felt like a child at Christmas as I opened up a beautiful set of handmade beaded markers (which I had just recently been blogging about), a gorgeous beaded shawl pin (again, perfect because I'm starting my first shawl - and I was recently given a Scottish wrap in my family's plaid, so the pin is perfect for that, too), chocolate biscuits called Tim Tam's (which I fully intend to try tonight while watching Olympic gymnastics), and a box of Eucalyptus incense cones that smell wonderful (and made the whole package smell great!).

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I feel really lucky to have such a super Secret Pal 2. Obviously, she's read my blog and taken into account the kinds of things I'm doing, liking, and contemplating. And, it's really special that she made the beaded markers and shawl pin herself. I love them. They are really beautiful!

Thank you Secret Pal 2!

Postcard from Australia!

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I got an email from my Secret Pal on Friday saying that a package was in the mail and would take x amount of days coming from Australia. Yes, Australia! Way cool. I was all excited just to learn my Pal is from such a beautiful place, and it was my first clue that she's not from the US. (We're so US-centric, it's awful.) THEN, in the mail that afternoon, I got a postcard from her. (And, yes, I'm assuming it's a her based on our exchanges so far, the "voice" of her email, handwriting, and so on.) She says the postcard is the first of a series of "cheesy tourist postcards" from Australia. Cheesy? No way. This is very cool.

Even the stamp is beautiful! (I'll add pics later.)

Thanks, SP2!

Secret Pal 3

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Wow. I am still trying to wrap my mind around what to give/send/buy for my Secret Pal 2 person (I really want to be a "good" pal), and I see reference to the fact that sign-up for Secret Pal 3 has already begun. Yikes! To think, I could have missed it if I hadn't stumbled over the info today while reading someone's blog and searching for Charlotte's Web tips/tricks/hints in anticipation/preparation for my Charlotte yarn and pattern arriving hopefully soon. (Date-wise, it looks like it will overlap Secret Pal 2.) More info here...

I think I should rename my blog the "parenthetical slash" - I use both a lot!

More threads of me...

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It seems I left out some things (could we ever write it all and really sum ourselves up in an entry or two?)…

I am a San Francisco transplant.

Before that, my post-grad work took me (and partner) from Kentucky to Louisiana to Maryland.

Before landing in SF and joining the then tech boom, I was a stone's throw from finishing my PhD in Feminist Theory and 20th Century Postmodern Women's Literature.

I'm in high-tech, but my cell phone is currently being held together with Scotch tape, and I've never sent a text message.

I read a lot, but probably more SF/fantasy and less highbrow fiction than I should.

I'm a member of 30-Something Knitters

I haven't traveled widely, but I'd love to visit Scotland, Ireland, Italy, France, and Greece for starters.

A friend of mine recommends 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and just got back from Iceland herself.

I like the idea of mountain (or rock wall climbing), but when it boils right down to it, I'm not really the "outdoorsy" type.

I don't camp. I don't do bugs. Bright sun makes me sneeze.

I like fog.

I love the ocean - especially Maine's rugged and rocky coast.

CD's currently in my car shuffler: Shrek soundtrack (boy's favorite), Joan Osborne's How Sweet It Is, an Eva Cassidy compilation, Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach, and the soundtrack from Mona Lisa Smile. Most frequently switched in: a favorite Celtic instrumental.

(I love Celtic things and can imagine myself wearing a plaid and wandering the moors.)

I love LEGOs and Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars.

I look at this staccato list (and the earlier one), and there is still much left out. But "about me" info adds a lot to our blogs. So often we read blogs and are not even able to determine the author's name.

I look forward to finding out more about the authors of the blogs I frequent as they blog for their Secret Pals. It benefits the whole knit blogging community.

By the way, I'm Amy.

Secret Pal 2 Shopping...

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After a relatively frenzied day working on a firestorm project (one of those that everyone knows about for weeks in advance but two days before it's got to be live no one has sent me anything and then it all comes in last second), having my SMTP server down so I could get but not send mail, and juggling the boys, we escaped for some light shopping, errand-running, and fast food.

I needed to return buttons to Jo-Ann's that I bought as "possibles" for finishing the Cascade Skye cardigan a few weeks back. I bought the same button in two sizes because when I stopped in to pick out buttons, I couldn't decide what size I actually needed. So, I've been carrying the too-big ones around in my diaper bag to return. (I do still need to take pictures of the finished cardigan. But, ummm, first I do need to actually get the buttons sewn on! It's boiled down to a blocking issue. I just haven't found the right amount of hands-free time and gung-ho ironing energy to get the cardigan blocked so I can put the buttons on and call it really finished.)

So, I returned the buttons and then did a bit of poking around for my Secret Pal 2 person. She hasn't given me a lot of info to go on, and I'm feeling the "age divide" keenly, but I still have lots of ideas about what I'm going to be mailing her way in small packages. So, I picked up a few things.

In my quick browsing (boys asleep with M in the car), I ran into these:

children's needles

They're "children's" knitting needles, size 10 US, from Lion Brand. Do I have children of an age to learn to knit? No. Do I think I'll ever use these myself? No. Do I like plastic straights? No. Did I have to have them? Yes. Are they just too cute? Yes.

I just couldn't resist. I think they are so darn cute that I couldn't imagine not having them at least poking out of a pencil holder on my desk. And, just maybe, one of the boys will find them fun to learn to knit with one of these days. (Although it seems to me that brightly colored wood with a fun topper would be a better choice than plastic? But maybe the plastic really is lighter. I haven't taken them out of the packaging yet.)

After picking up odds and ends, we grabbed a bite to eat. Then, on impulse, and despite it being late, we headed to another favorite has-everything store. My Secret Pal 2 person racked up! I found lots and lots of goodies and had a great time.

Help for my Secret Pal…

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Secret Pal 2 is in full swing, and it's funny all of us out there trying to find out a little more about our pals as we figure out what they might like and what makes them tick. It can feel like a giant fishing expedition, for sure!

One of the best approaches to "helping" this situation was a post I saw at Mindful Moderation. Lynn did a wonderful "about me" blog which gives her secret pal (and her blog readers) a well-rounded glimpse of her. It's great.

I don't know that I'll be as prosaic or witty, but I did promise my pal that I'd do an "about me" entry to try and help fill in the gaps.

This isn't an "I want" list. Instead, it's more an attempt to put on paper some of the things I like when it comes to knitting so that my pal has a sense of who I am.

It's interesting that there are so many gaps. Even though we blog regularly about our projects, and our lives, likes, and interests slip in, it often seems that our blogs don't reveal as much as we might think they do. Something I'll have to ponder and analyze more later. (The ex-academic and postmodern theorist side of me is into "meta-blogging" - or blogging about blogging.)

So, me (in no particular order)…

Partly, I'm analytical and orderly. Those traits play into my work as a web developer and technical writer. I'm among those rare people that find beauty in a page of code.

Mostly, I'm a creative type. Creative threads are woven throughout everything I do, even those things that seem analytical. I'm a knitter, a writer, a designer, a wanna-be watercolorist, a needlepointer, and more.

With my last pregnancy came an unexplainable love of the color pink. Right now, I'm also loving lime, olive, reds, oranges, and purples and lavenders. Here are a few colorway snaps I saved when considering Charlotte's Web combos. They give a sense of the kinds of colors that really capture my interest these days.

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I can't resist the colors of Koigu. They are just so beautiful. The only thing I've actually made in Koigu, however, is a baby hat that I started while in the hospital with the baby in February.

I knit all kinds of things… hats, scarves, cardigans, vests, sweaters, socks.

I made my first felted bag last winter (a Fiber Trends design) and love it. I've got yarns to make another bag in grays and pinks with a cool gray/pink novelty yarn around the top - and hopefully lots of pockets. It's on my to-do list.

I haven't ever knitted a tank. Maybe next year.

I've never tried lace, but I'm getting ready to.

I've never made a shawl, but I'm getting ready to.

I am currently getting back into socks since I'm knitting along with the 6 Sox group. Maybe I'll use my left-overs to make socks for the baby.

I love Lucy Neatby's sock designs.

I like cables. I like ribs. I like fair isle. I like circular knitting.

I don't love working intarsia.

I love Sally Melville's "tweed stitch" pattern from Sally Melville Styles. I started a cardigan in it once but didn't finish. It's still on my "to do" list. This time, however, I'll make it much smaller than I started it out last time.

When working on straight needles or double points, I prefer bamboo. However, when working in the round, I tend to prefer Addi Turbos. Even with socks, I tend to cast on with DPNs in bamboo and then switch over to two circular Addis after a few rows.

I like classic looks and styling. I love Rowan designs, particularly Kim Hargreaves. I've always been a fan of Debbie Bliss, Jo Sharp, and Mission Falls.

I probably won't make or wear anything from Hot Knits, but I really like Hip to Knit, and I'm looking forward to seeing what's in Hip Knits.

I'm supposed to be on Atkins, trying to shed more post-baby pounds. But I do seem to have developed a real weakness for chocolate.

I love little bags to store knitting accessories (markers, tape measure, needle sizer, etc.) in. Mesh bags, see-through bags, bags in bright colors… doesn't matter. If it's a little zip-up bag, it's cool.

I love little books to keep track of my projects, to-do lists, etc.

I love pens in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

I love knitting paraphernalia.

I'm a big de-caf coffee drinker.

I tend to buy yarns that both feel good and catch my attention in terms of color.

I like self-patterning yarns. I love Opal. I like novelty yarns. I like wool. I like handpainted and variegated yarns.

I bought fabrics to make myself needle rolls, but I haven't made them yet.

I'm a mom of two boys - 3 1/2 and 6 months.

That's a start.

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