MEET THE KAS FAMILY
Johannesburg, South Africa
March 2017—Juli Harrington from Kamakura, Japan
And Her Adult Enrichment Class
Let’s learn about Juli and her group in her own words.
I began knitting and crocheting for KAS in December 2014 as a way to get rid of all the yarn I had in my cupboards. Of course, like everyone else, once I cleared out the yarn I had to buy more as I was addicted to making squares for KAS. My husband continually asks, “Have you completed 35 squares yet?!"
I was always a knitter so thought I would teach myself to crochet. I found that to be challenging, but loved how quick it was compared to knitting. Having the KAS theme and forum really encouraged me to learn new patterns and improve my skills. In 2015 my goal was to make 35 squares a month. I did fairly well, but only managed 8 blankets that year.
My husband and I are both from Oregon, USA, but have been in Japan together for 26 years. Our son attends Saint Maur International School in Yokohama, Japan. Saint Maur has an amazing Adult Enrichment Program. Parents and outside people volunteer to teach classes. There are over 80 classes and tours throughout the year. Parents can take French, Chinese, English, Spanish, cooking from many countries, Ikebana, drama, singing, origami….There are tours to history museums, sake factories... The list is endless.
My friends knew I was crocheting for KAS and wanted me to teach them so I decided to offer a “Knitting Blankets” class through the Adult Enrichment program. I enlisted an American friend, and pro crocheter, to help me teach. We decided to offer the class twice a month for 15 people figuring 10 might sign up and not come each time. We now have 20 people and they just requested we do it weekly. They are all addicted as well!
Each week we meet in the school cafeteria for 90 minutes. We started out with mostly beginners, so the first 3 months I didn’t get a chance to crochet at all during the class. I try to find a new patterns that build on the previous skills they have learned. We keep a pattern file so everyone can choose what they like to make. Now we have some amazing people that crochet and they all help each other so I can crochet during class, too. We have members who sometimes bring their mothers or guests to class, too.
Not everyone comes each week, but we have about 20 people from 10 different countries (USA, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India). I love the fact that KAS has attracted people from so many different backgrounds. I asked many of them why they joined and here is what a few said:
-to get rid of my yarn
-love to be crafty, but didn’t know how to crochet
-looked like fun
-would never do it at home alone
-used to live in South Africa
-reminds me of my grandmother
-used to know, but forgot and want to learn again
But, the biggest answer, from most everyone, was “because it is for charity” and “because it’s fun to crochet with friends"
All of the women are in Japan because of their husband’s jobs. Many of them are here for 2-4 years and then they move on to another country. I asked about jobs before coming to Japan. We have mothers, teachers, financiers and lawyers. Most are trying their best to live in a new country and find the Adult Enrichment classes really help them make new friends and challenge themselves.
So far our group has made 245 squares, 20 hats and 10 sets of hand warmers. Not huge numbers, but made with joy.
Many thanks to you and your group Juli. What you all have done is such a short time is amazing. No matter where people come from in the world, KAS is touching their lives.
Totally agree with everything Cath has said.
What a great group of caring people, it sounds like its a win-win for everyone.
Thank you for sharing your story, Juli, and for choosing K-A-S as the recipient of all this loveliness. :))
Oh my goodness Juli, what amazing work you are doing! Thank you for sharing your story of these wonderful ladies. Together you are adding beauty and love to the lives of many deserving children.
Thank you, Amy, for putting together this beautiful report and these brilliant photos. xo
Juli, thank you for sharing your 'KAS story' with us! You and your group are obviously great KAS supporters creating beautiful work for the children; enriching their lives through your 'Enrichment Class'. What a lovely way to spend 90 minutes a week, it sounds like you have a very special group :))
Thank you Amy for enabling us to learn more about members of our KAS family.
Thank you Juli for your great job in setting up a KAS group so far from "home". It is lovely to read that so many nations are joining together to enjoy [ read become addicted] to knitting for KAS.
Amy another lovely presentation.
Thank You so much for this lovely report. The squares made by the group are beautiful, colorful and warm.
As one who has moved a lot for work, I know how unsettling it can be, and having a comfort zone (like crochet) helps keep things chugging along on an even keel. I hope your group, wherever they may be, will continue to create and enjoy for many long years to come.
What a great story, Juli. You and your students make such beautiful squares. Thank you.
Thank you, Juli, for all you are doing for "our" children. Your classes sound well attended and they are clearly doing a lot of good for all these ladies too. Please thank them all!