Special notice re: crocheting, yarn weights and use of wool

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Hallo

A deluge of knitters and crocheters, thanks to Lion Brand

We are absolutely delighted with the wonderful response from knitters and crocheters after reading about knit-a-square in the Lion Brand Yarn Company newsletter. As a result, my inbox has many hundreds of emails in it, which is a great testimony to your generosity - thank you.

I will answer everyone's emails personally in the next week or so but in the meantime, I thought it best to firstly welcome you all to Square Circle and secondly, answer briefly the main questions that have been asked.

Is it okay to crochet squares? YES PLEASE!
We have had so many questions asking whether you can crochet squares. Absolutely, we will make beautiful warm blankets from your crocheted squares. Jill from woolcrafting.com has sent me a pattern for a crochet 8 x 8" (20x20cm) square today in response to this need, which I will post to the site later tonight. So perhaps if you revisit knit-a-square.com tomorrow (Monday our time, late Sunday USA time), the details will be there.

Wool or other yarns
We suggested wool because of its wonderful warmth but as Rebecca from California has said, on the site, in a vitally important response to this question, it is the fire retardant qualities of wool that is so important. It is true that many of these small children will live in make-shift shacks with candles for light and possibly near cooking stoves which use naked flames. Anything that would burn easily, or worse melt, should not be used. I am very grateful to you Rebecca for pointing this out so clearly and will amend the knitting (and soon crocheting ) instructions accordingly. You can find Rebecca's full post here: knitting help.

Finding wool
Many of you have said that wool is difficult to find in the USA. It would be very sad if this knitting project was inhibited for want of wool. Rebecca has a list of other possibilities to suggest including cotton, linen, bamboo, the new soy fibres and so on. I will do further research as to the best sites for purchasing wool on the internet as well as other yarns which may be suitable and have good fire retardant qualities. It is also possible that we could organise donations of wool, and if that is the case I will post that information too. Any suggestions gratefully received here, thank you.

Weight of the yarns - hmmmm!
Many questions have come in about the weight of yarn to be used. It is a vexing issue, and we have struggled to give a definitive answer as to what the equivalent is of Australian eight ply wool. I understood it to be worsted (USA) but as one knitter (no name supplied) has commented on the site, yarn weights appear to be consistently decreasing. "Knitting worsted weight (commonly referred to in California as four-ply yarn), is now about 75 percent of the thickness it was 20 or 30 years ago. In order to achieve the same thickness as used to be obtained with a USA #8 needle, now requires a USA #6 or #7 needle. The yarns' weights can also vary according to the manufacturer of the yarn."

We are obviously looking for the most consistent weight as well as size to make our volunteers' job easy when joining the squares. So PLEASE don't let this stop you knitting, crocheting and sending the squares, but eventually I hope to have definitive instructions for everyone, no matter where you are.

Again, I will continue to research this, but will greatly appreciate your responses on the yarn weight page, link above, which in time will help us create a definitive comparison chart of weight and needles for an 8 x 8" square. As Marian from Shirley says, she made an perfect 8 x 8" square using Size 10 needles but with an extra four stitches (36 instead of 32) when using four Medium weight merino wool yarn.

And to add to a wonderful day, full of joy because of your excited and generous responses, here is a picture of the first bag of squares and square pullovers, sent by Ronda this morning.

Many of you have asked to be notified when we receive squares. We will do our best, especially if you have enclosed your email address.

As the volume of squares arriving increases (which we must hope and pray will be the case), this may not be possible immediately, but I will keep you posted! Your support and generous response to this most desperate need is magnificent.

We were trying to work out today how many stitches would be required for 100 000 blankets, loosely estimated at about 9 trillion! That's a lot of knitting and crocheting, but with you all on board, it doesn't seem impossible at all. Thank you, Sandy