2. Matches will be distributed: On or before July 1, 2009
3. Secret Pal dates: July 1, 2009 though September 30, 2009
Knitters and/or Crocheters only, please.
This secret pal (SP) event is based in the United States. The term "International" will refer to all participants outside the United States. You are welcome to join no matter where you live! Due to the high number of International participants, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate all requests for same Country/Continent pals. If you are able to communicate in any language other than English, please let us know. We normally have several participants who are more comfortable corresponding in other languages.
Having a blog (or website) is mandatory for participating in this program. If you're new to blogging, please note that you must have at least 10 posts in order to join SP. Your blog must be public (if not, you MUST allow anonymous access to your pal and your hostess) and post once per week throughout the three (3) months (July, August, September) of the exchange. This online journal is a great place for the SP who is spoiling you to find out who you are and what you like or dislike (do you like sweets? are you allergic to specific yarns?). It also provides a place for you to publicly thank your SP when the packages/cards start rolling in. Your blog certainly does not have to be a knitting blog, but you must have one fiber/hobby related post each month.
You must set up an anonymous email address such as the free ones from Hotmail or Yahoo so you can contact your SP buddy without giving away your identity. Make sure to check the account regularly. You might want to consider having that account's mail forwarded to your regular email account so you don't miss anything. If you do this, don't forget to reply from your anonymous account when corresponding with your pal! Make sure to check to make sure the account is anonymous by emailing yourself first.
Participants will have a choice to participate in one of three different spending levels: $30, $60, or $90. These amounts do not include the value of your time if you make something or any postage costs. Establishing the amount should make it clear to all what a fair commitment should be, and no one should expect more or less.
Once you have been assigned a secret pal, please send them a quick note to say hello (from your anonymous email address) so they know they've been paired. Keep in mind that the fun of a Secret Pal event is to meet and get to know a random person who shares a common interest with you (knitting and/or crochet). There is a method to the madness of matching up all participants and you only get one match. Complaints about your secret pal of the "I'd rather not have a pal who..." variety are a quick way to have yourself removed from the event. If you feel you have a valid reason to request a rematch, feel free to email your hostess. Please remember, though, that you cannot pick and choose your secret pal. We will not hesitate to remove anyone who appears to be missing the point of a Secret Pal exchange.
Knitting- and crochet-related items are great, but they are not the only things you are limited to sending. Lots of participants also like to send their pal soaps, lotions, candy, cards, candles, and other special treats. Just remember that not everyone likes to crochet and that not everybody spins. It's a good idea to get to know your pal by reading the responses to their questionnaire and their blog entries. If you're still stumped, ask your pal what specific things they like. You can always ask your hostess for help, too. We've seen lots of neat packages and will be more than happy to make suggestions.
The number of gifts you send to your pal is entirely up to you as long as you meet the minimum spending requirement of the spending level you chose. Post cards, letters, and cards are great, inexpensive ways to stay in touch with your pal. Sending of only one large package at the end of the exchange is permitted as long as you notify your pal that that is what you're doing. Also, though you may decide to send one package at the end of the swap, you are required to send a note or card or something small by SNAIL MAIL each month just to ensure your pal knows you're out there! Purchasing delivery confirmation for packages during this round is highly recommended. For less than $1.00 at the post office (or free when you use Click
'n Ship at the USPS website), you (and your hostess) will have peace of mind (which is priceless.) If you do not purchase delivery confirmation and your package is lost, your hostess will have to treat the situation like the package was never sent. Every round, this happens to someone who didn't purchase the confirmation. It never ends happily - don't let it happen to you - get the delivery confirmation!
You must make contact with your pals twice per month, each month of the exchange (July, August, and September) to let them know you're still around with either an e-card, blog comment, or email. Of course, if you'd like to contact your pal more often, you're more than welcome to do so. Remember to use your anonymous email when contacting your pal. If you're going to be away for more than five (5) days, you must let your pal and hostess know. It's an awkward situation when you think your pal may have dropped out of the exchange because you haven't heard from them. Remember to treat your pal as you would like to be treated.
Please remember that keeping in touch with the pal spoiling you is just as important as staying in touch with your spoilee. A quick email to let your pal know that a package has arrived will ease their mind as to whether or not it got lost in the mail, not to mention being just plain old good manners. A public post to your blog to thank your pal is required within 72 hours of receiving your goodies . Part of the fun of Secret Pal is the joy of giving, and that includes knowing your gift was received.
Also keep in touch with your hostess. If you have a problem, your hostess is your FIRST and BEST resource for a swift resolution. Unless your hostess instructs you otherwise, contact her via the email she will provide you-- and give her a little time to respond. If you don't get a response, use the SP hostesses main email:
If for some reason you are unable to follow through with your responsibility with the program, please let us know immediately so that we can find a replacement for you. We realize and completely understand that sometimes, things come up which are totally out of your control and which might prevent you from participating, but you need to let us know instead of avoiding your pals and your hostess. If you stop participating and don't respond to your hostess, you will be replaced and your name added to the banned list for future SP swaps. If you have not had contact from your pal as outlined above, please let your hostess know immediately. Do not use your blog or any other means to blast your pal. We will try to find out what happened. If they have flaked, we will get you a replacement.
Five USD ($5.00), which should take care of anyone who has been abandoned by their pal. In this scenario, the hostess will assess how much of the commitment has been met, and will make arrangements to have the rest fulfilled. We do not anticipate not having enough, but there are no guarantees; however, we will do our best to make sure everyone is accounted for and, if need be, recruit "angels" for shortfalls. If there is any extra cash at the end of the exchange, we will donate it to a knitting-related charity.
It's an important one! Please keep in mind that we are volunteering our time to run this event. We all have participated in past Secret Pal events and know how much fun they can be; therefore, we want to help continue the tradition. This takes an incredible amount of time and effort. If you think something is amiss, please let us know. We're perfectly open to onstructive criticism and will gladly respond to any civil and respectful queries. The hostesses also reserve the right to remove any participant at any time at our discretion.
*Anonymous comments on the Secret Pal blog will be immediately removed no matter what the content of the post is.
Thank you, and have a wonderful SP experience!!!