Some things are just worth reading over and over again. Here is a collection of some "special posts" by our members
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ONE SQUARE FOR AN ELBOW - KAS BLANKET POEM
One square for an elbow, one for an arm,
One for a wrist and one for a knee,
One for a hip - just how hard can this be?
One for a bicep, I nearly forgot!
Where is that green yarn I know that I bought?
One for an ankle and one for a thigh,
One for a shin - a square blue as the sky!
Now one for a bottom to help keep it warm,
Whatever the weather with sunshine or storm,
With violet? Or yellow? as warm as the sun,
Then double these numbers - and two sides are done!
Next, one for the left chest, one for the right,
Two for the tummy with colours so bright.
One for each collarbone, one for each hand,
With love for a child in a far-away land.
Four more for the back and one for the neck,
Have I finished knitting? Just count them to check.
Thirty-five squares created with love,
And maybe an extra, - could I knit a dove?
If I can’t do a blanket, I can knit a square,
If I cover an elbow, there are others here,
We circle the planet and work one by one,
To send in our parcels - a blanket is done!!
With love to all at KAS
and the wonderful people who join up the squares
- Bless you, every one!
Arlene Guerin, Sept. 9, 2013
Volunteer for a Day
by Cath Riley
For me, the KAS experience started nearly 2 years ago when I found the Website and started making squares. Recently retired, I had lots of time so I got stuck in - and it took over my life!
In July last year I broke my arm, which meant we couldn't go on our annual holiday in the Dordogne in France. This year, we decided to visit the Knit-a-Square offices in S.A. to meet the people I had seen in the Forum photos. Ronda and Estelle encouraged me, and as we have family in SA we combined it with a holiday.
After a great time with family, staying in game lodges, Safari drives etc., we went to the KAS S.A. office on opening day. My dream had come true! It was surreal to actually be there, an emotional experience.
It was what they called a slow day as there was not much post. After introductions and chatting, we started opening parcels. The first one, which had 70 beautiful squares, did not have a packing slip! There was a large box with over 600 squares and what a job it was sorting them out! There were all sorts of shapes, sizes, and weights, and we must have had 20 different piles of sizes - not one of them with a tail, let alone butterflied. It was a back breaking job for all concerned. I realized then how important the correct size is, and also to put them in some sort of order when we send them.
I spent some time chatting to Ronda who told me some of the difficulties - first and foremost is getting enough volunteers. She could do with so many more to make life easier, although there are the regulars who turn up every week and are very loyal. The financial situation has eased slightly thanks to the fund raising efforts, pay for a day, and monthly contributions. She mentioned how valuable all those $5 contributions are. Now there is the KAS shop. All the monies from that go directly to Ronda in SA. I urge everyone who can to visit the shop and purchase items, as this will help greatly and make everyone's job easier.
We stopped in the middle of the day for a lovely lunch made by Estelle - homemade quiche and a beautiful salad - and we had time to chat some more. Ronda, Estelle, Wendy, Molly, Wandi, Linde, and Joel are now real people to me, not just faces in photos. They do a wonderful job which is very tiring, but so worthwhile.
We were unable to go on a distribution due to time constraints, but I think Ronda was relieved as it was far too hot for the children to put on the blankets, hats and hand warmers to show us how happy and appreciative they were.
Who would have thought that such a simple idea of making and sending 8" squares would grow into such a wonderful organization, keeping so many children warm on cold South African nights. Children who have nothing - and I really mean nothing - are provided with warmth and comfort and love. On our travels we passed the informal settlement of Diepsloot and what a sad, depressing sight it was. There was an uncountable number of shacks made from all manner of things and the place seemed to stretch for miles. Ronda said that it is a terrible place, full of crime, rape and murder. The team are very brave to distribute in such places, though it is the place where they are most needed. Hats off to them!!
I had a wonderful day and the welcome I received was fantastic. Rest assured that this is a fantastic organization run by caring, hardworking people, and I, for one, am proud to be a little part of it. I will continue to support it in any way I can.
Glance Back, but Move Ahead
by Valerie Zalewski
For this first edition of KAS Snippets 2016, I wish to welcome you all to another year of "snippets", all the little bits of news and anecdotes that make KAS the warm friendly place that it is.
We would like to include a "Guest" article each month. Guidelines can be found [here] and we hope that you will feel free to submit something for inclusion in KAS Snippets.
I feel a little like the ghosts of past, present, and future rolled into one. As most of you know, KAS was started in 2009 by Ronda and her family, the idea being to knit squares that could be made into blankets to provide warmth and comfort to the very many orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa.
These were the very first 2 parcels that Ronda received in 2009.
It is said that from small acorns grow great oak trees. We can attest to the fact that from 2 small parcels a very large number of blankets have grown.
In 2015 we received a total of 207,990 squares from all over the world. This means 5942 children are being kept warm with a KAS blanket.
We also welcomed many new members to the Square Circle Forum, bringing our membership up to 4243 industrious crafters.
As with any community, there were both ups and downs. The ups consisted of the phenominal number of squares and all the new members.
The downs were due in part to the problems within the South African postal system, leading to the temporary shutting down of the Bryanston Post Office. We hope that there will not be too many problems of this kind in the future.
Other less positive points come from the overload of work for the SA volunteers. A heavy increase in the number of squares arriving means much more work for Ronda and her team, opening parcels and often having to fight with the tangled jumble of un-butterflied tails. Then, of course, there's the additional problem of finding space enough to stock the squares and then the finished blankets until Distribution Day, finding funds to pay rent on such a space once found, and paying a small amount to the "Gogos" who help in sewing together the blankets.
This brings us to the present situation. After using her house as the storage space for KAS for several years, Ronda finally managed to liberate her home. Since then she has had to move several times before finding an ideal locale on the ground floor with easy access for bringing in the large van-load of parcels, adequate space for working easily, and room for storing blankets and other items.
To face the problem of funding, the KAS Shop has been given a complete face-lift. Thanks to the hard work of Andrea Palmatier and several members of the Mods group, we now have a very modern, cheerful shop. It makes shopping there a real pleasure. There are items for EVERY budget, even the smallest.
By shopping in the KAS Shop we can help to provide snacks for the children on Distribution days, put fuel in the KASmobile, pay the Gogos for the blankets they sew, and contribute to the different items that KAS badly needs to help our children.
It can also be a way for non-knitting friends and family to be an active part of the KAS family.
To move on to the future, we must consider how to help Ronda and her team of volunteers continue to use the enthusiasm of KAS members efficiently. Over the years more and more items are coming in that are not directly related to the blankets. While most of these items are very useful, they can't always be easily treated, stored and distributed. It is felt that we must move on to concentrating on those items that can be dealt with the most efficiently. A Wish List for 2016 has been published on the forum and you can find it [here]. Basically the most needed items are the squares, hats (preferably in a ribbed or similar pattern so that it will "grow" with the child's head), hand-warmers and soft toys.
To prevent overcrowding with storage, items such as go-overs, cuddles and sweaters or vests will be passed on to other organisations, such as Hotel Hope or Mama Ntombe's Community Project who can more easily distribute them. But be assured that they will all be used to help as many children as possible, although you may not see such items in the photos of KAS Distribution Days.
To alleviate the problem of finding enough willing hands to sew the squares into blankets, completed blankets can now be sent to Ronda, but it is important that the parcels still be labelled "Knitted Squares" and "No Commercial Value". The blankets should be the same size as our usual 35-square blankets. This size has been calculated to provide a blanket that will be useful to a child as he/she grows.
A convenient packing slip and label can be found [here].
Squares that are sent must be correctly "butterflied" so that precious time isn't spent in disentangling loose tails.
Instructions for butterflying can be found [here].
I wish all of you a wonderful year 2016 and thank you for every minute of the time you spend making KAS the best place to be for providing the love, warmth and comfort that the children need.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas in Soweto
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the camp
Orphans were huddled in hovels quite damp
No stockings were hung, for the world didn’t care
There was no hope at all that St. Nick would be there.
The Gogo sat watching the kids fast asleep
And for their lost parents, she started to weep.
A small gift for each, she thought through her tears
Would bring them such joy for the whole coming year.
And she curled up beside the smallest wee tad,
“Tomorrow we’ll sing, I won’t let them be sad..”
Then outside the hut, she heard a commotion.
It sounded like hoof-beats! And full of emotion...
She peeked out the door with her heart in her throat
Saw a little old man and eight small antelope
And the strangest of vehicles - with runners not wheels
And a jolly old fellow in red head to heels.
The Go-go was panicked, didn’t know what to think.
But Santa just smiled and gave her a wink.
“Don’t be afraid - let me in if you dare
I’ve a sackful of gifts sent by Knit-a-Square.”
As he entered the shack and looked down at each kid
Fast asleep on the ground, down his cheek a tear slid.
Then he reached in his pack and pulled out for each child
A beautiful blanket of squares bright and wild.
As he bent down to cover them up from above
He whispered “This was made, for you, with great love.
All over the world, people know, and they care.
The work of their hands , with you they now share.”
He waved the Gogo goodbye, and went to the door,
Then he stopped and said “Oops - there still is one more”
And out of his sack pulled a blanket for her
Wrapped it close round her shoulders - ‘Twas as warm as fur.
As she watched from the door., and saw him depart
The warmth she was feeling, was deep in her heart.
And she heard him exclaim as the sled rose on high
Merry Christmas Soweto, from the KASfolk and I.
THE "PLAIN JANE SQUARE"
I’m just a ‘plain Jane’ square
Nothing fancy, nothing grand!
Just a ‘plain Jane’ square,
Made by a loving hand.
You think I’m not important?
Well, think again, my friend!
‘Cause many other ‘plain Janes’
When they’re joined end to end
Will keep an orphan warm at night,
Wrap ‘round them on cold days,
And tell them that they’re loved
In, oh, so many ways!