Knit A Square

A year or so ago, when I was properly getting back into knitting, and learning to crochet, I was finding myself with lots of oddments of yarn.  Around the same time, my mum found lots (and I mean lots) of squares which I had knitted when I was little.  So I had lots of knitted squares, and lots of little bits of yarn. What to do with them?  I thought there must be a charity that would accept donations of squares, probably to make into blankets, and so I had a quick search online.

I soon found Knit A Square.  It's a charity based in South Africa, aiming to provide warmth and comfort to orphaned or vulnerable children in southern Africa.  Many of these children are AIDS orphans.  What started as a family project now has volunteers in over 50 countries.  The simple idea is for volunteers to knit or crochet 8"/20cm squares, and post them to the address in South Africa, where they are then sewn into blankets.  It takes 35 squares to make one blanket.  There is also a KAS pattern book with patterns for different square designs and useful items of clothing.

During my gap year I spent six months volunteering at a school in KwaZulu-Natal, and then a month travelling around the coast to Cape Town.  I completely fell in love with the country, so I knew this would be the charity receiving my squares!  The first parcel I sent off to South Africa was about 25 squares and a packet of gold star stickers (as they also accept donations of stationery items) squeezed into the largest padded envelope I could buy in my local Post Office.  The envelope was about £2 and the postage via surface mail was about £6.  Not bad at all!

Since then I probably send off a parcel every 2-3 months.  I squash as many squares in as I can, sometimes stickers and other light things.  One parcel I sent off was just hats, but then I read in the KAS newsletter that they were running a bit short of squares, the main thing they need - a child wears one hat, but needs 35 squares for their blanket!  So it was back to squares.

I've got a few friends involved, one friend was just learning to crochet, and so she used the squares as a chance to try out different stitches.  Another friend, who is a very talented knitter and crocheter and has so much wool, has just sent me 3kgs of oddments.  Three kilos!  As she does a lot of commission-knitting and designing, she normally has a plethora of projects on the go, and so was unlikely to be using up this little lot any time soon.  I was more than willing to take it all off her hands! This is going to make a lot of squares, think I'm going to keep a tally.

I think KAS is a great charity, based on such a simple idea: I get to use up all the odd bits of yarn which can't be used for much else, I therefore use up what I have and create space in the flat (yes, I am aware that being sent 3kg of yarn is not using up what I have, and it's created space in someone else's home, not mine!), and it all gets sent off to South Africa where it is put to good use keeping children warm.  A win-win situation!


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