Secret Valentine Exchange

Back in January, I read about the Secret Valentine Exchange hosted by Sanae and Ute and proceeded to spend a week dithering about whether I should participate.  I love the idea of the exchange, but didn’t feel much confidence about participating in an exchange with a bunch of sewing/blogging superstars.  I mostly like the things that I make, and my family members have to like what I make since that’s their job (well, with the exception of my daughter – she has no qualms about expressing her brutally honest opinions).  In the end I decided to go for it.

My secret Valentine turned out to be Kristi of Sweet KM.  I had another little crisis of confidence, since she is obviously a very talented sewer, knitter, and designer.  I considered various projects, and finally landed on a set of felted nesting bowls and a couple of little notepads.  I made some of these bowls several years ago (ie. before E was born), and they are still in use as receptacles for random small things.  I gave a set to my mum, and they are used to hold acorn caps and little felt balls, which young children seem to find endlessly entertaining.  I thought it would be fun to give them another try.

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Fortunately, they turned out quite well!  Felting wool is always a bit unpredictable – I even find that different colours of the same type of yarn felt differently.  In this case, I put the two knitted bowls into a mesh bag, tossed them in the washing machine, and hoped for the best.  I had to do some touch-up felting by hand to even things out a bit, and then dried them over forms found in my kitchen cupboards – a can of tomatoes and a can of chickpeas:)  To finish them off, I added the contrast stitching, which makes them look a bit more like they belong together.

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The little matchbook notepads are stamped with simple hand-carved Speedyblock stamps.  These are another item that I used to make lots of back in my bookbinding days, and I had fun digging out my long-neglected paper and stamps.

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And now for the loveliness that landed in my mailbox yesterday afternoon – perfect timing, in fact, because it was my birthday!  I immediately knew I would love whatever was in there when I saw the name on the return address, Brienne Moody, whose blog is one of my favourites.  Happy Birthday to me, indeed!  I have to admit that I was so excited to see my parcel that I ripped it open while standing on the front porch – I didn’t even make it inside the house!

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In the package I found a beautiful drawstring bag, two skeins of lovely Quince yarn, a very sweet card, and a rather enigmatic fortune telling fish, who can’t seem to decide if I’m indifferent or passionate.

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I absolutely love the bag – the pretty green fabric, the oh-so-soft leather – it is just perfect.  I have already started using it to transport knitting projects, and I know that it is one of those special items that will bring some every-day beauty into my life and make me happy every time I use it.  The Quince yarn is also gorgeous, and a very generous surprise – I can’t wait to use it to cast on a pair of these wristwarmers.  Thank you so much, Brienne.  I am so grateful for these amazing gifts!

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And in the end, I am so happy that I decided to participate in the Secret Valentine Exchange.  Yes, it is slightly intimidating creating a gift for someone you’ve never met, but it is also exciting.  I even felt slightly giddy when I put my parcel in the mail, hoping that Kristi would be happy to receive it!  And of course, getting my own package from Brienne was amazing as well – I just can’t stop smiling.  Perhaps most of all, it is wonderful to feel part of such a creative, talented group of women, and to see what everyone has made!  A big thank you to Sanae and Ute for organizing the exchange – next year I will hop on board without hesitation!

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9 thoughts on “Secret Valentine Exchange

    • Thank you – I look forward to seeing what you make! I love the process of felting wool – it is so exciting to see it transform into something completely different.

  1. I loved those felted bowls the moment I saw them. They’re gorgeous! I would never have guessed for a moment they were knitted – that’s one of those “dark arts” of which I am completely oblivious. See, you’re a star too!
    The bag looks super and it’s always nice to hear of gifts being used immediately.

  2. Oh Angela – Ute and I are so honored that you took part in the Secret Valentine Exchange and your bowls are absolutely beautiful!! And I would have expected nothing less than stellar from Brienne, and of course she didn’t disappoint. I was so touched by this post — thank you again!

  3. I am so glad you participated and I discovered you and your wonderful blog. I can absolutely understand about being nervous to send something handmade to a fellow crafter! I was giddy with excitement too, when I send my gift to England. What a wonderful coincidence that you received it on your birthday (Happy belated Birthday! ) – this also happened to another woman in the group! I absolutely love your bowls and agree that Brienne ‘ s gifts is so so gorgeous! Until next year 😉 Ute

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