secret pal 12

My secret pal is revealed!

For the last few months, I’ve been participating in Secret Pal 12, and it has been a LOT of fun, both the giving and receiving.

The Pal that’s been giving to me is: Yvonne from Pennsylvania

She finished up all the wonderful everything with a gift certificate to iTunes!  She knows me VERY well indeed.  Please go check out her blog at :

I won’t yet reveal the Secret Pal I’ve been giving to since I don’t think she has yet received the last package.  (NOTE TO SELF: do not send parcel post again…ever.)

I have a good bit to blog about from this weekend, but it’ll keep til tomorrow. I’m actually sleepy right now….

SP 12 Questions catch up

With all the Ravelympics knitting and the beginning of school, I have gotten WAY behind in answering the weekly Secret Pal questions, so I’ll take a few minutes to get back up to speed.

Secret Pal 12 Question #6

What is your favorite type of project to take along on holiday/vacation?

If you’d like to share a story…Tell us about a time that you packed too much knitting or were stranded without knitting.

Hmmmm, I like to take several small projects like hats, socks, mittens and maybe some finishing work that I’ve been putting off. I haven’t ever been stranded without knitting; if I didn’t have a project, I would go find a local yarn store and acquire one.

Secret Pal 12 Question #7

What is (are) your favorite place(s) to knit? and What supplies (besides yarn & needles) make the setting perfect for knitting?

One of my favorite places to knit is waiting rooms. It seems that I spend way too much time in waiting rooms for appointments and I really do not want to read People magazine or any of the way stupid publications that are supposed to be for women….. Of course I love to knit in bed and when I combine knitting and listening to a good audiobook – life could not be better!!

Secret Pal 12 Question #8

What is your favorite supper for a hot summer evening?

Watermelon. I’ll buy a big seedless watermelon and take 10-15 minutes to cut it into chunks and then we’ll all sit around and eat it out of a big rectangular casserole dish. If somebody else wants more than that, they can have a PB&J or cheese sandwich or something….but I just eat watermelon. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Secret Pal 12 Question #9

In many communities, “the fair” is a great place to visit and spend time with your family. It’s also where many have entered one product or another (jams, cakes, even knitting)…

Have you ever entered your knitting (or anything else) in the fair?Would you ever consider it?

I used to love to go the the Plymouth State Fair in New Hampshire where I grew up. The location was really beautiful and the buildings were old but not rickety. I saw my first (and only) demolition derby there, and of course there were horse pulls and tractor pulls, and fried dough and carnival rides. I remember seeing the sewing awards and jams and jellies, but I have no memory of knitted things.

I’ve been to the state fair here in Huntsville, but I found it kind of unpleasant. It’s held at the old airport so it’s incredibly hot (all that sun reflected back from the black asphalt) and no shade anyplace. The buildings are 1960’s/70’s era and so lack any kind of attractiveness except for their air conditioning. Ugh.

I would enter my knitting into something like that but it has never occurred to me to do so. I think it might’ve been more important before the Internet, especially as a platform for displaying knitting excellence. Now with the Web and Ravelry especially, there’s a world wide knitting community that is very encouraging and inspiring.

Secret Pal 12 Question #10

Which Olympic event would best describe your knitting/knitting style?

This is a tough question – perhaps the decathalon because I have so many different projects going at any one time! Or perhaps one of the distance events – I just hang in there until I get it done. My dear friend Meg has said to me often that knitting isn’t a race and that’s been very helpful advice, especially when I’m considering attempting some kind of large project. Perhaps the most relevant kind of analogy with my knitting and the Olympics for me is the ongoing training aspect and the commitment to excellence.

From my secret pal

I’ve posted the amazing package I’ve received from the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap #5  on my Hogwarts blog, Chronicles of Strangeness, so if yer inclined, please do visit.  Truly, Emma put together a terrific kit – I am in awe!
This is the wonderful stuff I got from my secret pal….who is located somewhere in Ohio.  I spent about 15 minutes tryna figger out who she is but then gave it up as hopeless since there’s about 300 participants. 

A Lovely wrapping job!

Simply gorgeous yarn!  And an Elizabeth Zimmerman book that I came within the skin of my teeth of buying last weekend.  Thank you thank you thank you!  You are a dear sweet secret pal…and I loved the Daffy Duck card!   I feel more mitten coming on…..

 NOTE TO SECRET PAL: yes, indigo is my favorite color, but I love purple and blue and periwinkle and emerald greens and raspberry and cranberry so really, do not tax yerself in looking for indigo.  Thanks a million!

The mail came today and there were no packages – what a come down from yesterday’s stellar haul!

Serious Stash enhancement

It’s been *quite* a day here a “Chez Oney” – many packages in the mail!!!!  While on vacation, I got some things, and several of the things I ordered came plus my HSKS5  Package and one from my secret pal!  Yay! Yay! Yay!  I think I will do separate posts for the SP package and the Hogwarts Package….

First off…….

Noro Silk Garden for another scarf….oh my goodness I can hardly wait to start on it….

I wanted to try this out….I may save up some $ so as to make a sweater out of it.

This pic is more accurate for color.
Then this is gonna become my first ever sweater for ME

This is the RYC Cashsoft 4 ply I found at half price in the color “Deep”.  I’m excited to start this too.
Then the West Virginia haul….


Muench “Touch Me” (it’s more purple in real life).  It’s soooo expensive (I’ve had this before)  but I just gotta use it again. There’s actually 3 skeins of this…..




2 of these:

recycled sari silk from Nepal, and 2 skeins of this for my secret pal….

and then native WV yarn from Pocahontas County

That’s undyed yarn; the shop actually had 5 colors-I was trying to restrain myself…..

And I also got some glove needles and some Addi Lace Turbos.  I am definitely a convert!!!!!  So lovely and pointy.  I must have more of these……..

I will do more pictures tomorrow.

Secret Pal Question #4

The “perfect sized” stash was a tough question for many of you to answer. Maybe these stash related questions will be easier:

1) What yarn (that you don’t have/haven’t used) would make your stash”complete”?

2) What yarn do you never want to be without?

Hmmmmmm. I’ve been engaging in *much* stash enhancement lately, so there’s really not a whole lot on my wish list. Probably some Wollmeise or a Philosopher’s Wool kit; I just got the PW book and I am seriously drooling over it. Now that my grey matter is starting to wake up, a few others are occurring to me: Satakeili, some of this stuff from Riihivilla , Classic Elite’s Bam Boo and I want to try some z-twist yarns for a gansey to see what the difference is from s-twist ( Wendy for example ). I’m still making/designing mittens so fingering weight wool is great for those and I’m starting to make sweaters (I should have my HEAD EXAMINED!!!) and wool is too warm for here so that’s where the Bam Boo comes in.

Yarn that I never ever wanna be without is cashmere or a cashmere blend. There’s something so incredibly delicious about it that now that I’ve got it I never wanna be without it; I take it our and fondle it from time to time.. I know I have expensive tastes but life’s too darn short to knit with crappy yarn.

SP 12 Question #3

 I’m tryna catch up…..
What would you consider the perfect amount of stash?

This is an exceedingly hard question for me!  Probably enough to fill several rooms…..with sweaters’ and sweaters’ worth of wonderful yarns…especially cashmere.  So that if I wanted to go in there and start on an Alice Starmore or a Kaffe Fassett sweater I could do it easily without going to the LYS or online.  And beautifully colored things too….kind of like my LYS I think.  I would be a terrible LYS owner though – I wouldn’t want to sell any of it!

Secret Pal Question 2

As a kid, what did you look forward to most about summer vacation/break/holiday?
Had to be the weather.  I LOVE hot weather – love it love it love it! Where I grew up, it was 9 months of winter and 3 months of poor ice fishing, and we went to school right up thru the 3rd week of June.  And the lake would STILL be cold.

For me, there’s just something about the bright sunshine, the big green leaves on the trees or a warm summer rain….simply fabulous.

SP12 Question #1

Our delightful leader – who shall remain anonymous- told us she’ll be sending us a weekly question to help our secret pals get to know us better. The first question is (drum roll please):

What’s your favorite summertime drink?

Mine is sweet iced tea. I love it – I could drink gallons of the stuff. I do have to be careful not to drink it after about 6:30 pm, ‘cos then I’ll be awake until 3 am, but I do love it.

I don’t drink nearly as much of it as I used to – it does have a lot of sugar in it, but here is my favorite recipe for making it:

2 quarts cold water

3 large iced tea bags (Luzianne has this size) otherwise use a “bunch” of small tea bags – Red Rose or Salada or even the store brand -NOT Lipton EVER! Usually there’s some instruction on the box as to how many bags….

a clear or translucent pitcher (preferably with a lid)

a sunny day

1 cup of sugar

1 navel orange


Put the cold water and tea bags into the container and set it in the sun for 2-5 hours (until the tea is the “right” color). Bring inside, discard the tea bags and add the sugar. Mix thoroughly. Slice the navel orange into 1/4 inch slices (with the peel on) and put them into the tea. Chill.


Just in Case……

I’m 2 days late with the sign up for SecretPal 12

Just in case they let me in, here’s the answers to the questionnaire:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I love merino wool, silk, bamboo/cotton blends all in sport weight or finer. I do not like anything scratchy or that has that cheap acrylic “soapy” feel. I am also not fond of fun fur or lumpy yarns (like boucle).

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have a couple of large coffee mugs that I use for hooks & straights. I store circulars in a CD booklet.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I’ve been knitting for 30+ years – my grandma taught me the basics, and I think I’m an advanced knitter….

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Amazon wish list. :o)

5. What’s your favorite scent?

grapefruit is my latest fave
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I like hard candies – nothing with mint in it please.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I make jewelry (beads and sterling silver wire), I sew, crochet, garden -I do other things too, but that list is very long. I do not spin (I won’t start that until all the kids are through college).

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like just about every genre of music though I am not fond of death metal or opera, and yes I like mp3s.

9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?

I love deep blues. Most of autumn colors are not my favorite – there are ones that I like but it’s tricky….

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married with 3 children; 2 dogs and a cat.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I don’t wear ponchos. I wear all the others, but not that much since I live in Alabama. :o)

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Right now I’m still in the midst of a mitten obsession, but shawls & scarves are coming up fast!

13. What are you knitting right now?

A Hemlock Ring blanket, a pair of gloves, a pair of 2 on 1 circular socks, a gansey sweater

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Circular needles are really good. Hiya Hiyas are my current favorite.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?


17. How old is your oldest UFO?

More than 20 years old now. Now I don’t think I’ll finish it just because it has remained unfinished for so long….

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Of the usual holidays, it’s probably Thanksgiving. I’m a Baha’i so we have 9 holy days and I think Naw-Ruz (Mar. 21) is my favorite.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Yarn, obviously. Music (I have a ridiculously large CD collection) and sterling silver earrings.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I’ve subscribed to IK but they haven’t sent me anything yet :(.

There are several books I’d like to have, but I’m ashamed at just how long a list that is! I don’t have any of the Elizabeth Zimmerman books and I would like to.

21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?

Entrelac is something I plan to work on

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I do knit socks. I have size 11 feet! 10.5 inches long, and 10.25 inches around the ball of the foot.

23. When is your birthday?

December 13 _ I’ll be 40 this year. :o)

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what’s your ID?

I’m “helenkosings” on Ravelry