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Monday, January 30, 2006

Feeling Thoroughly Spoiled

On Saturday morning I received a postcard from my Secret Pal saying hello and warning me to expect a package before the end of this week. The postcard itself is beautiful and depicts a small section of the Hikone Screen.

Now I don't know much at all about Japanese art so I googled and this is what I found out. The Hikone Screen is a six-fold screen painted on gold paper which was painted in the early 17th century by an unknown artist and is now one of Japan's national treasures. It's kept at the Hikone Castle Museum and only put on display for a few weeks once a year. The full screen offers a glimpse of life inside a bordello probably in Kyoto. It shows geisha and young samurai enjoying music while they play games and compose letters and is representative of the fashion trends of the period including a pet dog. Parodying traditional paintings of the leisurely pursuits of gentlemen, this elegant screen would have been created for a wealthy daimyo household. You can see more of the Hikone Screen here if you're interested - just click on the link and scroll down!

Then, on Sunday evening, I found a very nice e-card which had been sent on Friday but which I hadn't noticed straight away as it had found its way into my junk folder.

Despite the fact that, these days, I don't get all that excited any more about Xmas and birthdays, I can't pretend that I wasn't looking forward with some anticipation to the package that my Secret Pal said I should expect later in the week. However, I was most surprised when our friendly postman actually delivered it this morning!!! What is it about this Secret Pal thing that had me dying to rip open the parcel without delay in order to discover its hidden contents! Anyway, I managed to restrain myself for long enough to take a photo of the contents still in their tissue wrapping.

As you can see, I also received a postcard depicting a sheep wearing a woolly hat and a pom-pom around its neck which gave me a bit of a giggle and I wasn't at all disappointed with the contents when opened. Below is what was inside!

First, a hand-knitted bath bag which has obviously had a lot of thought and care put into its creation. It's knitted in a very sumptuous feeling lavender coloured cotton yarn (lavender's one of my favourite colours at present) with light blue contrast and the word "bath" has been embroidered on afterwards. Then we have what's described as a meringue syabon body towel. This is so that I can spoil myself in the shower as the towel feels like one of those that gently exfoliates the skin making it nice and smooth! Some luxury bitter chocolate was what I alighted upon next and, as the latest scientific trials assure me that it's now believed that a couple of pieces a day are good for my cardiac and arterial health and preventative of heart attacks and strokes, I shall eat it with impunity (even though next month, the opposite will probably be found as seems to be often the case!) Just when I thought I'd seen everything in the package, I discovered something else inside the bath bag and that was the most gorgeous heart shaped soap which looks as if it's been hand made or hand pressed! On one side there are what looks like the branches of a tree in relief and, on the other, there are stars. It all looks very symbolic and, as I have a fascination for myth and symbolism, this is right up my street. Thank you so much, Secret Pal, for your very generous and thoughtful gifts. I love them all!!

Phew!!! After all that excitement, I can report that at the weekend I used up some more of the stash to make another loopy boa for a friend.

This time the ingredients were:

2 balls Sirdar Boa (Rhapsody - 020)
1 ball RYC Soft Lux (Basalt - 00005)
1 ball Rowan Calmer (Lucky - 484)
1 Ball Wendy Velvet Touch (Lilac - 1213)
Oddments Patons 4ply 100% Cotton (Foxglove - 01706)
Oddments Rowan Kid Silk Haze (Pearl - 590)
Some unidentified light purple yarn (top right) - wool according to burn test

As regards my last post, I'd just like to say thank you for the helpful comments on my questions regarding the proposed christening shawl. I'm glad to say that all of that angst about what is *right and traditional* for a christening shawl is now merely academic as my niece, Lisa, has decided that she would really rather just have a baby shawl and not a special christening shawl. She's opted for the one that I preferred, i.e. the first photo in the previous post, and she wants it in pink.

So, sufficient quantities of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in light pink were purchased on Saturday and it does feel, oh, so soft . . . . .


  • At 6:30 pm, Anonymous Anne said…

    Ooooh Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino - I just wanted to cuddle mine...

    You have a fab pal - beautiful thoughtful gifts.

  • At 6:31 pm, Blogger Marie said…

    With yarn like that knitting for others is nothing but pleasure. Love the loopy boas - they look so glamorous!

  • At 6:44 pm, Blogger Mandella said…

    That shawl is going to be really sumptuous in your choice of yarn. Lucky Baby. And Lucky You - what a great Secret Pal.

  • At 8:16 pm, Blogger Steph said…

    Lovely parcel, and those loopy boas look fab. :-)

  • At 8:51 pm, Blogger Ana said…

    lovely gifts you got, and i really like your work!!!

    Take care :)

  • At 10:09 pm, Blogger HazelNutcluster said…

    That's what I am doing my echarpe in, it's heavenly isn't it?

    It gives me faith in the human race (which I lose frequently) when I see the gifts that are being sent.

    I so need a loopy boa. I never go out, but that's not the point! :D

  • At 11:33 pm, Anonymous Lottie said…

    I love Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (but then I love all DB stuff!) it's so, so soft! The baby shawl is going to be lovely in that yarn.

    And wow - nice presents from your secret pal!

  • At 11:16 am, Anonymous jess said…

    Those sp gifts are lovely! Lucky you.

    That boa is super-glam.

  • At 1:39 pm, Anonymous Annarella said…

    Your SP is fantastic!! What a lovely parcel to get. :)

    I'm glad you went for the first shawl in the end, it was my fave too. Happy knitting with Baby Cashmerino, it's tiny but it does melt in you hands - so buttery & soft!

    So, starting tomorrow then? I've had a bit of a set back with my intended Olympics project, so I might need to change plans at the very last minute (hope I'm allowed to do that!), but won't think about it till tomorrow, for today is already full!!

    Take care xxx

  • At 5:39 pm, Blogger Sharon J said…

    Can't wait to see the finished shawl. I bet it's going to be absolutely gorgeous! ~Sharon

  • At 3:05 pm, Blogger Beverley said…

    Hi Hazel, lovely gifts you received, very thoughtful. Love the boa am so going to have to make one!

  • At 8:40 am, Blogger Daisy said…

    Wow, lovely SP gifts and I liked both of the cards too!
    I think a loopy boa is going on my list of Things To Knit!

  • At 6:53 pm, Blogger The Mully's said…

    Hi there! I love your bo scarf, but have a question- I have looked everywhere for a pattern that has big loops like your boa scarf and cannot find one. Please, how did you make your boa scarf? Thank you so much! :)


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