Obviously the momentous news of the month is the departure of Sandy McDonald – after 5 years of unstinting work, guidance, and indeed, sacrifice, during the development of Knit-a-Square. The entire McDonald family – Sandy, Roger, Kalai, Cressida and Zanny – brought Ronda’s blanket dream into reality.
If you have not read the story, please do! Sandy has written about the origins of Knit-a-Square, its development, evolvement and the future! Here is the final paragraph :
What a five years it has been. But now, it’s time for the McDonald team to say farewell.
In time, we’ll take up the work again to introduce programs to school children, so that they can help children less fortunate than they. Knit-a-square is a wonderful program for school children, to learn both to knit and the power of making a difference.
For now, we will watch with delight as KasCare moves onto the next stage of its journey in the safe hands of Erica and her board.
Our grateful thanks for the journey, the opportunity to learn and grow from you all and now to teach others the remarkable benefits of community. I tell them, inspired by you:
What we can do together is yet to be imagined.
With love to you all
Sandy McDonald, co-founder.
Without Sandy’s dynamic vision and energy KAS would not have the strength that it has in order to move forward, above is a bouquet to say thank you and farewell from all the knit-a-square members.
Extra news from Sandy :
A wonderful donation of $500 for KasCare was received from the Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga in Australia.
Noreen Elliot passed the cheque to Sandy when she was invited to speak at the CWL Conference. Noreen has known knit-a-square for many years as she used to work for Sir John Bushell (papal knight) who was our long term cherished client and has become something of a personal mentor to us. He is well versed with all matters KAS and has taken a deep interest in its development over the last five years.
Recently Noreen wrote that St Peter’s Parish Epping had a monthly meeting and held a raffle for the upcoming Father’s Day. They sold tickets at all four masses on the weekend of Father’s day. The prizes were meal vouchers, the tickets were $1 each and they raised $602 (which is a lot of tickets sold for a single parish). The members decided whatever was raised would be given to KAS to help with our fundraising. They have donated $800+ in the past. So they have KAS in their hearts which is wonderful.
Here is part of this report outlining two wonderful heart warming stories – Olwethu :
Another organization we have supported for a while now is Mama Ntombi’s Community Projects (MNCP), also based in KwaZulu Natal. Sandra Pillay, a Project Manager at MNCP and our contact there reports, “Just this morning we are intervening in the life of little 9-year old girl, Olwethu Shezi. We found her this past weekend at our Wayside Sunday School in such a state of neglect. We thank God that one of our Sunday school children invited her to come along for the first time.
Please go to theKnit-A-Square Shop today and purchase something special to support the day-to-day operations (KAS Ops) directly in South Africa. This month we are highlighting Snacks – an important element of the distributions.
During the Kido’s Distribution in 2010, some children were watching the events rather forlornly through the fence – fortunately the team had some spare beanies, biscuits and apples to share with the children!
This challenge is going to take us around the planet whilst reaching great heights & piles of squares – 178,000 to be precise, in order to reach the top ofTable Mountain, Cape Town in South Africa!
We are going to need 50 squares for every foot climbed!
We have zoomed along quite nicely so far! We soon rang the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, topped The Little Mermaid (Copenhagen) and Greyfriars Bobby (Edinburgh). Members have covered Stonehenge, Daibutsu Buddha, The Hollywood Sign, a number of Lighthouses & Castles. Recently, we conquered The White House in Washington, National Monument for Remembrance for those who died in WWI & WWII in Amsterdam. We recently conquered an unusual bridge in Norway, Buckingham Palace and have recently arrived at the Brandeburg Gate, Berlin!
KAS has a surplus of hats & beanies, therefore please would those of you who make hats switch to squares as essentially, 1 hat = 3 squares and will help build the piles to reach our target just that bit quicker!
The major distribution period is over, but there will be more exciting photos to come – watch out for the installation of desks and other items purchased for Nancefield through the USA lead appeal!
Have recently added some photographs of previous distributions that have not been previously seen, so do take a look!
Jacqui Grieve recently posted this message on the KAS Facebook page :
I want to thank all the wonderful people around the world who support this worthy charity. I am involved in a Catholic charity in Johannesburg and we support very poor families in a shanty town called Diepsloot. Because of your kindness I am going there today armed with loads of items. And when winter arrives, I will be able to give every single one of our families warm blankets and beanies.
Today, our Catholic charity group took one of your beautiful crocheted blankets to the knitting society we have started in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. With the wool kindly sent in by some of you, these ladies are going to copy the style of this blanket, and hopefully we will be able to help them sell them! After all, if you create work for a mother, you feed a whole family! Thanks again to all you wonderful people. God Bless you all.
You might also enjoy reading a report from Mama Ntombi Community Projects –
These thoughtful youngsters used their tokens to purchase blankets created by the Stitch Witch Group for their grandmothers!
The Stitch Witch Group have been running a competition in order to get as many teddies as possible to give to the children as a Christmas gift!
ISSUES – WE NEED YOUR HELP WITH !
For sometime now Knit-a-Square has been trying to convey a message to our wonderful contributors about the teeny weeny garments we are receiving, and, thankfully, the flow has reduced as people have switched to the newly re-sized garments in theKAS Pattern Book.
We know that people love to knit for babies, and the garments are quick to do! However, although KAS has some connections with organisations that deal with babies, it is increasingly becoming difficult to distribute these loving made, but tiny garments. It is an issue that is increasingly affecting a number of charities who work in Africa.
This letter from the Greenfields Africa Charityaddressed to all “Fish & Chip” knitters, asking them to switch to other items, or garments for 2-3-4 years of age. These were originally designed for babies born with AIDS. However, the good news is, that, more and more babies are being born in Africa without AIDS.
Essentially, the natural age group Knit-a-Square is dealing with is aged 3 – 9 years. Please help spread-the-word about the sizes of garments that KAS and other charities supporting children in Africa in 2014 need.
KAS SQUARE MEASURE
Lovingly created, but variable sizes !
Another issue we need help with, in spreading-the-word is the sizing of squares! As you can see from the above photograph of variable shapes and sizes that are being received, that we need help in ensuring that as many people as possible know that the squares KAS needs are to be 8x8inch (20x20cm) or as near as possible to those measurements.
Increasingly, the team are receiving rectangles which are very difficult to insert into a blanket. Sadly, all these well-meaning items are having to be frogged, and, the yarn is then re-used. But this is such a waste of time and energy, especially when one considers the cost of posting to South Africa. Ronda is loathe to upset anyone, but the situation has got rather out of hand. We are not sure why this is occurring, it may well be that the word has spread about squares, but not the actual sizes!
To help the situation we have created the The KAS SquareMeasure, which was one of the last tasks Sandy completed before leaving KAS. The measure acts as a jig which can be placed over the top of a square to ensure everyone knows when to stop!
Once printed, and, if possible laminated, they make an excellent flyer to give people as well as being the correct size, it contains all the vital information such as postal address, tail size and how to butterfly the tail.
SORTED IN AFRICA
Here is a special opening day photo – to see more open day photographs please go to Sorted in Africa
Ronda’s sister Charm was visiting from the UK and volunteered to help with the parcel opening session!
(and by all events, had a great time!)
Over the years Ronda has received lots of wonderful and charming letters from school children who want to help. We’ll share them gradually that came from the 3M class, Ambleside, Tasmania Island (Australia) :
Nixon Street Primary – Tasmania Island, Australia
KAS GROUP NEWS &
SPREADING THE WORD
A great way to help spread-the-word about Knit-a-Square is to send lovely Christmas Cards! Anne Powell has added them to the
Resourcescategory in time for the Christmas season, and, where Anne has made some suggestions about printing etc!
The beautiful cards are available as free download from
written by Laurie Fortier (Canada) can be found on the Forum menu bar KasBlog. We have added a new box on the right-hand side of the Forum front page which will alert you to when a new blog is available. Laurie regular updates the blog and there are several already to browse!
The Knit for Life Team
Pam Johnson & Elaine Jones are trying to win £300 ($450) to buy yarn for their teams of ladies to knit squares for KAS! You can help by voting for them every week (I do on a Monday). The competition started on 4th November and runs for 16 weeks. Although Knit for Life hasn’t won yet, it is the 3rd most viewed profile – so they are in with a very good chance! To read more go toKnit for Life.
JANUARY –WINTER DRIVE– Anne Powell (emphasis on long sleeved garments)
FEBRUARY –HEARTS – RED, WHITE & PINK– Laurie Fortier
MARCH –VARIEGATED YARN– Gitta Seyfert
APRIL –COLOUR COLLISION– Elaine Jones
MAY –MELLOW YELLOW – Sunshine, flowers & all things yellow – Sue Gillman
JUNE –DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD– Robin Monsees
JULY –STRIPES, ZIG ZAGS & TEXTURES & MANDELA DAY THEME– Anne Powell
AUGUST –THE BEAUTY OF BLUES– Susan Haines
SEPTEMBER –AROUND THE WORLD IN 30 DAYS! – Bev Jeffery
OCTOBER –FAVOURITES– favourite yarn, patterns etc – Mary Anne Fellows
NOVEMBER –BUGS, SLUGS & HUGS– Linda Maltby
DECEMBER –UN-CHALLENGE– time to relax, have fun, and get ready for the holidays – Susan Haines
SQUARE LISTS – TALLY – ITEM COUNT
VITAL MESSAGE :PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO ADD “NO COMMERCIAL VALUE, CHARITY ONLY” ON YOUR PARCELS AND GIVE A ZERO VALUE ON THE CUSTOMS TICKET, OR THE SMALLEST SUM THE POSTAL SERVICES WILL ACCEPT.
Please avoid writing such things as “value UNDER $50 or £20” or use similar phrases. South African Customs Officials do comprehend the word “under” and whack a massive tariff onto the parcels. Recently KAS as been forced to use valuable donations to pay over-the-odds for some parcels.
For example : KAS RECENTLY GOT CHARGED £13 ($21) CUSTOM DUTY ON A PARCEL CONTAINING 14 SQUARES !
The Package Inventory develped to help make parcel opening day easier for the team in South Africa has proved a great success in speeding up the whole process. Now the team have ‘test driven’ it for several months, Gina has modified the design so that it truly meets the office needs. The file is below, or, click on the link above in order to read the discussion.
We have received an additional 137 Likes on the Facebook page so far during October-November taking our total to 6456! We also copy the messages etc received on Facebook to the Forum for anyone who is not a member of FB.
Please do check out Anne Powell’s Christmas fun page!
The discussion was only posted on the 19th and has already received some wonderful, interesting and amusing Christmas stories!
Here is a taster from Gloria Grandy :
Letters to Santa remind me of when my youngest son (now 39) was about 3. He visited Santa and sat on his lap. When we got home, I asked what he had asked Santa for. He said, Can’t tell … Santa knows. He was very excited because Santa was going to bring him something. However, Mom didn’t know what Santa was supposed to “buy” !!
We spent days trying to pry it out of him, but he wouldn’t budge. He wouldn’t say because “Santa knew”. I had a lovely neighbor who came to the rescue. One day she dropped a letter to my son into our mailbox. It was from Santa. In short, it said that the day we had visited he had seen so many good little girls and boys that he had completely forgotten what my son had asked for. Could he please write to him c/o the North Pole and refresh his memory?
Since my son could not yet write a letter by himself, I had to do it for him. We secreted ourselves in his room and he dictated his letter. He wanted a Fisher Price Record Player !!! Well, folks, Santa brought him that record player.
A couple of years later a local group was collecting toys for very needy families in our area. When they came to our door and explained what they wanted, my son ran upstairs and brought down his Fisher Price Record Player. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to part with it and he said yes, he was very sure. I explained that if he gave it away, he would not be able to get it back. He said that was okay … he seemed to understand that some others had so much less than he had and he wanted to share. He hugged his little record player and passed it to the lady at the door. He might have been around 5 years old. I realized then that he knew what Christmas was all about
and another from Jeanne Haessler :
Our Christmas socks…it wouldn’t be Christmas without them! (except for hubby who’s all business)