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SOUTH AFRICA REPORTS

Mapetla is fairly close to where Wandi lives and she had been contacted by

Nombusa who asked to receive squares for a gogo group in her area ... so we

loaded up some bags of blanket packs and, after visiting Bushkoppies, popped

in to meet up with our prospective new gogo group.

Full Report here

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SHOP NOW

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YOU CAN ALSO FIND US ON

FACEBOOK

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It's not too late to join our

March 2016 theme

LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS !!

This month, Gloria (Canada) asks us to keep our little boys in mind as we create sqaures and items to send to S.A.

If you haven't already joined the fun, please do!  Here is a small sample of what has already been created for this month's theme ...

There's more ... much more ... [here]

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SORTED IN SOUTH AFRICA

Click [here] to see what else has arrived along with more of Edy's absolutely delightful dolls!

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THE FEBRUARY SQUARES LIST IS AVAILABLE

Please visit the website: www.knit-a-square.com. click on: "Received Squares"

Thanks to the hard work of warmhearted volunteers around the globe 16,520 squares (equal to 472 blankets), 621 hats, 198 pairs of handwarmers and 215 toys were received in Febuary.

Ronda and the team opened 278 parcels containing thousands of squares, hundreds of hats, handwarmers, toys and other goodies.

Thank you volunteers, thank you Ronda and the team!

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THE BLANKET ROOM COLLECTION

 

 Christine continues to keep us updated on new arrivals in

 the Blanket Room

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APRIL PATTERN OF THE MONTH

Wheel Spoke Squares – crochet pattern  by Linda Maltby (Canada)

A wheel-style centre adds an interesting focal point to a solid crochet square but working in one colour is recommended when making the pattern for the first time.

Using contrasting colours for the wheel spoke creates an impressive centre wheel

 as in these examples by Anne Powell (Canada) 

and Linda Maltby (Canada)

The Wheel Spoke Square crochet pattern is available in

The KAS Pattern Book

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KNIT-A-SQUARE DELIVERS!

Well the Van has zipped around a few corners since last month.  It is almost at its destination with less than 2000 squares needed to complete the run.  Can we do it before April???  Please join us and add your squares total ... as you make the squares rather than when you send them.  We want to move the Van to the Office as soon as possible :-)

Click here to join Knit-a-Square Delivers

 

Remember:  We are no longer recording our sent items in a tally.  Our items will be noted in The Squares List when our parcels arrive.

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WRITTEN BY SUE GILLMAN

THE SQUARE HEART AWARD

FOR MARCH 2016

is awarded to

GLENROSE FRIENDS

Glenrose Friends adopted KAS as their charity for 2015 and they are a fine example of the special way that KAS touches people across generations. Glenrose friends, from Wales, only became part of us in January 2015 but what an inspiring group they are.

Learn more about this wonderful group in Wales!

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Our dear Ronda is our Guest Writer this month! She has provided us with a lovely account of KAS from beginning to present, along with her personal thank you for every donation received!

Please check our Writer's Guidelines to find out how you can become a Guest Writer in our monthly newsletter.  We would love to hear from you!

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SUMMING UP A YEAR OF AMAZING GRACE

by Ronda Lowrie

But we need to go back a few years first ….

For more than five years until July 2013, as many will remember, Knit-a-Square operated inside our Fourways, Johannesburg, home … and virtually every room, plus the garage and sheds, showed evidence (sometimes overwhelming) of its large, physical presence.

My husband Peter is surely deserving of a lifetime square (purple ?) heart award for his patience, particularly as – in South Africa anyway – a man’s bar room is his pride and joy.  I will try and dig our some pics of those days when the only access he had to his before-dinner “tipple” was the narrowest of pathways through ceiling high piles of boxes and parcels.  On a few occasions one or two of them actually fell on his head as he squeezed through them seeking a whisky and soda !

The bedrooms, all three, were piled high with bags of KAS items, and when we did host the occasional visitor it took several hours to haul everything out to the shed, or to try and squash extra bags into other rooms and cupboards to give a semblance of normality.  Those were the days !!

 

So … MANY will remember our true delight at being offered, free of charge, a suite of offices in Bryanston, close to the post office – the proviso being that if our kind landlord DID find tenants for the space we would immediately move out !  We were confident no such thing would happen because he had been searching for more than two years and, well, this space just had our name on it !!

The halcyon months (yes months, not even a full year) passed by while we revelled in this luxury, so enjoying our surroundings that we even succumbed to doing more TIDYING and COUNTING and PHOTOGRAPHING than actual DISTRIBUTING of items in that glorious seven month period !! We even acquired some furniture and equipment, and of course we DID distribute, but could probably have achieved more !  

Then horrors … on 26th December 2013 our hitherto adored landlord had the audacity to give us 24 hours to vacate the premises !  YES … he had found those dreaded tenants !  

This is why I love Wendy so much … she said not a single word to me as I enjoyed my Christmas hols in a resort many miles to the south of where this disaster was unfolding.  And in her efficient manner she took charge and organised the small team of volunteers on call into clearing out those huge premises into which Knit-a-Square had literally EXPLODED 7 months earlier – within 24 hours.  And then, she press-ganged several of her family members and friends into housing the piles of stock in their attics, garages and spare rooms so that we could figure out what to do next.

Only when everything was done and dusted, on January 27th, did Wendy phone me (as I lay in a hammock next to a distant river sipping my tea, feeling totally relaxed) and told me what had happened !!!   She’s a God-send, that girl !

We battled along in a paraplegic way for two whole months, opening parcels on two patio tables in a garage at our house and, once more, there was no room to breathe despite all the piles of items being so kindly housed elsewhere. In the end it took many months before we were able to retrieve our belongings from the four corners of the city !

We has been spoiled by our previous arrangement and KAS was now a disaster.  Peter was still being patient, but I was desperate to get KAS out of our personal space – and so we searched for LARGE, affordable premises (is there EVER any such thing ?).  

And that is how we found Surrey Bizhub which, as you know, owns Block 2 of Surrey Office Park in Randburg and rents individual offices within the building to start-up businesses who may not be able to afford entire office suites.  The facilities are common and shared – and we were delighted with the enormous boardroom which seemed the perfect place in which to open our massive piles of parcels.

The rest is history now … we battled for nearly a year in this way, coming against other tenants who resented our occupying the boardroom for a WHOLE DAY at a time, even though only once a week, and on the same day too for ease of planning !  Also our volunteers would spend at least an hour AND A LOT OF ENERGY each week, hauling all the contents of opened parcels up a steep flight of stairs to our upstairs office and trying to make room for it all.

Distribute hard as we did … that little office became like the black hole of Calcutta within a short space of time (AND yet our overflow was still occupying space in the homes of other people – awkward !).  But, happily, in January last year we spread into the next door office and at last had our own opening space, and a large boardroom table bought from the vacating tenant.  Happiness !

The rent went up ….double (eeeek !)  Our SA PAYPAL account had long since been set up and contributions were being made through by a handful of wonderful people (you know who you are and we love you guys !) while KAScare (Erica) had been diligently passing over the proceeds of their now dwindling PAYPAL receipts.  The MedLemon project started and was our first (and only successful) attempt at achieving local corporate sponsorship, in terms of which they donated R50000 ($4500USD) for rental expenses.

Fundraising via PAYPAL SA took off in April last year when the first rental appeal gained momentum – along with the idea of “terrific tenners” and “fab fives”  !  We ecstatically banked R22296 (1465 USD) at the end of that month as 25 individual donors came on board. 

The Birthday Bash appeal for my 70th in August, and Helen’s Sept/Oct rental and gogo blanket appeals brought in more than 80 donations between them … INCREDIBLE !  

We have been bowled over by the generosity of our supporters who enable us to spread the warmth and love of Knit-a-Square to the children we so enjoy visiting. To have the opportunity to be amongst people who have so little, and yet are so full of joy and love to sing songs, wiggle around, raise their hands and give thanks is the most unbelievable privilege and, without the kind of financial help we have received – as described above - from all of you - we would never have been able to achieve our most basic aims and goals, nor meet the hundreds of great people we have met, nor make the wonderful friends we have, nor known the depths of suffering endured with such stoicism by orphaned and vulnerable children in this country.

Sadly the reality is simply that we DO need 150 square metres of secure office space for this operation.  By “secure” I mean space where there are fully trained and equipped security guards on duty 24 hours a day;  and we DO need the ground floor space that saves us from carrying heavy piles of blankets and other items up and down stairs – that nearly wiped us all out until August last year when we moved to 1G !!!  And we DO need to foot the bill for administrative costs such as fuel, gogo groups, postal expenses, gratuities, food for volunteers and children, stationery, repairs, equipment … the list goes on. 

Our current lease has been signed for 6 months only – until end July – so that we do not “bite off more than we might be able to chew” or overcommit ourselves – and the annual increase has set our rent at R18,500 (1212 USD) per month.

We are being careful to measure our spending and the aforementioned “purple patch” we enjoyed late last year has sustained us adequately.  Barring the unforseen,  the funds we have on hand should keep us going for another 6 weeks to two months.

The monthly PAYPAL receipts have been falling off (quite naturally) since October and this last month we were blessed with USD747.00 in total. So far we have almost R5000 (327 USD) from some 20 donors, and one or two people have cancelled their automatic monthly payments this month.  

As you all know, I do try to personally thank each donor by email immediately on receipt of donations, but some have bounced back.

Please be assured that, other than affording our Sowetan board members the weekly costs of such expenses as airtime, transport and any outreach purchases incurred on our behalf during the week, by cash reimbursement … nobody else at Knit-a-Square SA ever has, nor ever will receive a single cent from the exchequer !! 

We are very grateful to each and every one of you who have sent donations via PAYPAL in these last 10 months … it has been a revelation to us and always of great comfort to know that “next month’s expenses are achievable” !!!

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH !

 

 

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Replies to This Discussion

Wonderful compilation of information Gloria.  Ronda's note is a great history and a heartfelt appeal.

What a story from Ronda!!! You all deserve a medal for the wonderful job you have done, and Peter as well. Hopefully he can get his scotch and soda in peace now!

Thank you to all you wonderful people who have provided articles/info for the March Snips and to Glo, the magician, who pulls it all together to create our fabulously informative Snips each month.  :))

I totally agree Bev; thank you to all contributers and magician Glo!

As always I enjoyed reading KAS snippets with so much information to encourage us.. After reading Ronda's report on the needs to pay for the premises, I would like to make an Easter Thanksgiving donation... would anyone like to share with me to pay for a day's rental?

Sure Grace.  Want to PM me to sort it out or just go halvers?

Never mind, I know my brain, I will forget entirely.  I just went over to the KAS shop and paid a half a day's rent....$25 USD.  

Hi Jeanne.. thanks for Partnering with me for the day's rent.. I will send off my contribution today and that should see them good for another day.... Happy and Blessed Easter to you and yours.

I have sent my contribution to Ronda this morning for paying towards a days office rent.

My first month of "Snippets" and it was a real delight to read. Thanks to everyone for the hard work put into creating this! Ronda's report and the "KAS story" was a particular treat; it all just goes to show the power of love.

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LIST OF THEMES

AND

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