Secret Pals 4

Secret Pals 4 is a gift exchange event for knitters and crocheters from all over the world. This event will last February 1 - April 30, 2005.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Frequently Asked Questions

Folks who haven't played in a previous Secret Pal incarnation might have some questions about logistics. (I know I have had some!) Enter the FAQ for SP4 post. We'll list the questions being asked about how this all works, and keep those answers right here for your reference. It will be updated whenever a new question comes across our desks.

I have a favor to ask. If any of you talented button-creators have one more left in you, I could really use a button that reads "SP4 FAQ". That way I can set it to the permalink of this post, and keep it in our "Important Info" area. If you feel like whipping off another button, please email it to miriroosa AT gmail DOT com, and thanks in advance! The always helpful Andrea from mellowtrouble comes through again! Link is now in the sidebar!

Now - onto the questions!


How the heck does this work, and who is it that is not supposed to know my identity?
  • You are keeping your identity secret from the person you are sending to.

    This is how the whole system works.

    If there were only 4 participants, ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ I would have matched them up as such

    A sends to B
    B sends to C
    C sends to D
    D sends to A

    If you were participant ‘B’ you would know who ‘C’ was but you would keep your identity secret from them. ‘A’ would send to you but you wouldn’t know who they were.

Do we reveal our identities at the end?
  • You bet!

I haven’t heard a peep from my SP, what do I do?

I just got dissed on someone’s blog! What do I do?

I have a question about how this works! How do I get it answered and then added to the FAQ?


My blog’s link or title is wrong on the SP4 page, how does it get fixed?
  • Email your corrections to Miri

I’m the only participant from Kuala Lumpur! Won’t my blog give me away?
  • If you are the only participant from your state/country/planet, email Miri or Jacqueline. We may use some ‘ringer’ blogs - blogs that are not participating, but may be from your state/country/planet and could be used to throw an investigation off track. If you know of other knit blogs from your state/country/planet that can be used, please let us know.

I’ve never done this blog thing before! How do I get help?

I am part of SP4! Can I use these buttons? When can I use them? Which one do I use?
  • Yes you can! Place them on your site whenever you like! See the help sites above if you do not know how. And you can choose whichever one strikes your fancy!

Some of these blogs are not in my language! Is there help if I want to read them?


Okay, seriously. What’s the story with sending chocolate?
  • Some folks have experienced trouble, some have not. Our best advice is to double check before sending chocolate/foodstuffs to another country. If its not permitted and you send it anyway, it may get through, or it may be sent back to you, delaying your entire gift to your pal. When in doubt regarding what can or cannot be mailed, check with your local postal station first.

Got any tips for mailing?
  • One of our brilliant participants posted this info:
    If you are sending a package to your secret pal from the US to another country you should definately mark your custom form as a gift and not merchandise. Merchandise would cause your pal to have to pay a duty on the item. You should also say that the value is below $50. Since usually boxes that are above that value get tagged by customs and searched. Pack as lightly as possible, since if you go over a certain weight you have to fill out the big customs form vs the small easy one.

    She also suggests the following:
    1) Don't wrap since atleast for me those packages that have wrapped items always get hand searched and the gifts opened anyway. The person may never know you spent a long time wrapping. Or worse have a damaged gift.
    2) Be sure to write in a permenant pen and include the address inside. If the package gets wet in customs and your forms get smugged you always have another address inside the box for them to use

    Good tips.

Won’t my pal find out who I am as soon as I mail something and my name/return address is seen?
  • Jacqueline worked hard to try to match the SP’s with enough distance that they hopefully won’t know each other by address alone. As for the name, the suggestion is: use an alias! Now is your chance to become Queen Elizabeth I or Zazu Pitts. (Suggestion: you know that there are names out there that would just attract postal searches. Don’t use those, okay?)

If I want to create a DIY knit kit, can I copy a pattern from a book?
  • Sticky wicket, this one. Safer bets include buying the book for your pal as part of the kit, or providing the only the supplies and referencing the suggested pattern and book it’s found in, or making the item itself from your own book and gifting your pal with the completed item.

    For copyright info, check these sources:
    Copyright: A Primer for Knitters
    The Copyright FAQ for Knitters


At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few tips on mailing overseas:

1. You gotta sign it with your real name-don't get funny on the customs form. I had a friend sign mine to hide my identity.
2. Global Priority Mail envelopes are your best friend. They are like the Priority Mail envelopes, but are flat rate to every country in the world. The flat rate varies, so check out the postal service website. There is a large one that is $9 to the UK and a small one that is $5 to the UK. Stuff them full-don't go over 4 lbs. You can use one piece of clear tape to reinforce the seams without making the postal service angry!
3. If you are mailing to a US Military Base, you must fill out the customs form, however you only pay domestic rates.
4. Continuing on the Military Base theme, you should state on the Customs Form, GENUINE GIFT FOR MILITARY SPOUSE.
5. Find out the customs limits for the country you are mailing to. For the UK and Canada, anything over ~$20 USD may have customs fees levied on it. You don't want your pal to have to pay to pick up their package, do you?
6. Surface mail may be cheaper, but it can take 6-8 weeks to make it overseas. Get something smaller and mail it airmail.
7. For those mailing to the US, our customs limit is $200.

Just my hints-I mail overseas often and I've not had any problems. Knock on wood!


At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those sending to the U.K. the upper value limit for gifts is £28 .Less than $50 ! They not only charge duty but also a hefty collection fee.Someone sent me a few balls of yarn,''Emma'' by Vittadini and put the value at $100 - rather over-estimated !.That 'gift' cost me a lot.


At 5:53 AM, Blogger JinxedMinx said...

Thanks for the tips, ladies!

Keep 'em coming guys - this thread is a great place for you to share your tips!

At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a friend send me a gift via UPS with the value over $50. She marked it higher for insurance purposes, but it wasn't actually that much. I was given a bill to pay duty, but after I called to complain, it was quickly rectified. If you're sending to Canada, mark it as a gift and the value has to be less than $50.


At 1:34 PM, Blogger Mia said...

A trick for mailing stuff in the US is to have your local PO weigh it. But do not allow them to put the metered stripe on it. They can give you the correct postage in stamps. You can than mail from a nearby large city or have a friend who is traveling drop it in a mailbox. There are some limits to the size of the package so ask. You can send a card addressed to your SP inside another envelope to another town addressed to the post master there. Include a little note asking for hand cancelling there. The post office will do this for you put you do need to include the correct postage on the envelope.

At 4:08 AM, Blogger Sylver said...

If you know exactly what yarn or gift you are going to send, look for internet stores in the country the person lives in. It can save you a lot in shipping costs!

I have sent a couple of gifts this way, and they were all very nicely packaged :)

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