A very personal appeal

A very personal appeal


Yesterday, I was asked to be one of three guest speakers at an end of year function for a gathering of professional women. The invitation was late and so I was unprepared.

It is strange monitoring the thoughts in your head just before you are about to step into any form of limelight. I was there to talk about the new business we have laboured to build over the last 5 months. This to create an income so we can continue our work with KasCare. Our business is called IMdirections, but it is the blog, Why You Must Blog, that is my contribution to the business.

In essence, I have started to teach small business and in particular, women in business, how to use their website to build trust and relationships in order to create a community. It is after all no surprise that we really prefer to do business with people we like and trust.

So I took the microphone prepared to begin the talk about Why You Must Blog. Instead I spoke without break about KAS.

I told the story of Ronda who visited us in 2008 here in Australia and spoke to us of the children she gave cheap blankets to at intersections she drove through, on cold winter nights.

I asked them to imagine a child, alone and cold, at night in our city.

I explained how we were looking to do something different with our lives, about the blanket my mother knitted for me out of squares and how these three facts combined inspired the idea to go online and ask the world's stitchers to send squares to South Africa.

I painted the picture of our excitement when the first parcel arrived and our utter amazement when, after Lion Brand featured us in February 2009 as their charity of the month, we had 50,000 hits to the knit-a-square website in ONE day. And how, after that, the deluge of envelopes, packages and parcels began.

And then I spoke about you. The women and men of the world who responded to the idea of KAS, who embraced the idea that we could make a difference one square at a time, who poured knitted and crochet garments into South Africa with love and deep concern for the small children whom we wrap blankets around.

I watched the women's faces as I spoke about you, this extraordinary community of over 5,000 volunteers from around the world. They drew closer and the energy changed in the room.

We are unique and beautiful as a community. People applaud us all and are inspired by what has been done and continues to be achieved.

Today Pam Antink sent us an article. The story encompasses an English woman, Elizabeth Falconer teaching students in her ESL class to knit for knit-a-square. They came from as far afield as the Ivory Coast, El Salvador and a refugee camp in Laos.

They knit in England for the children of South Africa, inspired by a project started by Zimbabweans who live in Australia and South Africa, and which receives contributions from thousands, primary children to women in their late nineties, who live in 38 countries all over the globe.

Together we have produced over 160,000 squares and more than 10,000 knitted and crochet garments and put those garments and as many as 5,000 blankets around the shoulders of small children, many of whom are unwell and live in unspeakable poverty.

And still they smile.

Does that not paint a remarkable picture?


In April this year I sent out a plea for help.

We had seen first hand on our visit to South Africa that the operation could not be sustained without funding. 225 people have responded this year with regular monthly donations. It has allowed us to cover transport, customs duty and canteen costs. It also allowed us to pay for the monthly website subscription costs and part of the administrative help that Ronda and I receive with enormous gratitude from our two daughters, Erin and Kalai, both of whom work for KAS at way below average rates. Previously these costs were covered from our own pockets.

Simply put, our work for KAS would have ended had it not been for those who rose to the challenge and so generously donated. Thank you again, all of you.

While KAS continues to be a family run volunteer organization, we have the help of remarkable volunteers on the ground in South Africa. Lindiwe Ngwenya and Wandile Mkhwanazi are two women who we particularly wish to bring to your attention.

Both Lindi and Wandi have worked with passion and commitment for KAS since its inception. They live in Soweto and tirelessly seek out suitable creches for distributions, put together sewing groups through their and other parishes, and once a week make the hour's journey to Ronda's home to open parcels. After nearly two years of devotion to KAS, we believe it is time to reimburse them appropriately. Both women work for KAS out of a sense of love of their communities and from their deep faith, as does Ronda. None the less, a labourer is worthy of her hire and it is time to acknowledge that.

Please, those of you who do not yet donate to KAS, could you find it in your hearts to add to your already mighty contribution a small but regular payment of $5 a month?

If everyone in the KAS community was able to do that, we could massively expand our operations.

How would we do that?
Firstly, we would return to active online marketing activities to find more knitters. We would become more active in promoting KasKids (our schools' program which is currently in around 250 schools around the world) and KasElders (the program to introduce knit-a-square to the elderly in communities, churches and retirement homes).

We would actively seek financial sponsors in South Africa as our incorporation there is nearly complete. We would be able to equip our volunteers with trestle tables, storage and work space.

Today, the parcels spill out of the lounge and along the hallway in Ronda's home. But please note the new typist desk and chair that we were able to purchase recently to save Ronda's back. Another heartfelt thank you.

We would have the time to talk to other charitable organisations in South Africa (and Zimbabwe and even other countries with high numbers of AIDS orphans) to partner with, so that we reached further and made an even greater difference to the lives of these vulnerable children.

We would spread the word to 10, 20, 50 thousand stitchers and their families and friends and so our KAS community, which is such a beacon would embrace even more.

Please help us achieve this goal. It is for the children that I ask. You can donate HERE.

With love for you all and your commitment to the work we all do, Sandy

PS. Here is the link to the 2011 calendar. It is an honor system this year. We ask that if you access the calendar, you donate, as was the case last year $7.50 (unless you are already a donor in which case, as we have already written it is a gift to show you our appreciation). You will find the donation form on the left of the page. Once you have purchased it, please feel free to send it widely after that to your friends and family as a gift from KAS and to help spread the word.

PPS! We have some very exciting news for you from South Africa in the bumper issue of the Square Circle ezine on its way to you before Christmas, and just before Cressida's wedding, which is two weeks tomorrow!

Oh! and the square lists for the last two months. You can find them here.


KasKids at Methodist Ladies College, Melbourne. The girls of the International Baccalaureate class 2010 and their families have contributed over 1,000 squares. More about their intentions for next year in the next ezine.

What’s happening KAS?

What's happening KAS . . .?


As always we are so happy to welcome more than 200 new subscribers to the ezine and members to the forum. If this is the first time you have received Square Circle, you may enjoy reading some of the previous issues to give you an idea of the work we do in South Africa, to warm the children with your wonderful work.

What's happening KAS . . .? • Oh happy day • Nkosi Haven • Nkosi Johnson • Trust us • Time to 'OPRAH' Kas! • KAS in our schools • Just a few dollars ADD up • RAVELYMPICS • Slip-overs • Your beautiful work

. . . ERIN!
Firstly, we are thrilled to introduce you to Erin (pictured above with Patience). Many of you may already know her to be Ronda's daughter, as she has often volunteered her help for distributions and opening days.

Here in Australia, we were so relieved when she put up her hand to work part time for us for a small stipend. Who better than someone already so familiar with KAS and also aware of the fragility of our funding. She will be of great help to Ronda in collections, communications, distributions, database recording, local PR and promotions and school activities. She will also be your direct access to what is happening on the ground in South Africa in the forum. This is proving to be a very popular thread, so pop on over and introduce yourself!

Patience's story follows later on . . .

We have all the squares now bundled and Ronda and Cheriel, who we introduce you to below, are busy sewing the blankets up. Ronda is anxious to make sure that the 35 blankets are complete before winter. I think we will all be taking blanket packs with us to Kruger National Park in less than 3 weeks time! GO-OVERS are arriving now too for the boys.

The money has arrived in South Africa for the three computers donated by Erica Smith in Melbourne. We hope very much that by the time we visit, they will be installed and we can report first hand on the boys using their computers.

Welcome back to school! The picture says it all. Ronda said their excitement at these stationery gifts was palpable, so thank you for those little 'slip ins'. Look how happy you have made these kids.

As you will read further on, many thousands of squares have been put toward this project – a joint venture between Oasis International, KasCare and Mosaiek Church Community. We are really excited about the collaboration to widely involve the Cosmo City Community in sewing the blankets and learning to knit and crochet themselves.

Oasis hopes very much that this will be an annual affair. On March 11, Ronda will meet Nolene for a full presentation of how to bundle and join the blankets. Then on May 15 the Mosaiek Church will involve their community in a Sewing Marathon with the aim of joining upwards of 70 blankets. Oasis is also planning to engage their UK and India branches, so it will be a truly international affair.

Wandile has been taking up batches of squares a week back to Soweto where they continue to be joined by volunteers in her parish. She looks after 8 creches and she has distributed to some of these during the summer months. At present we are really stockpiling blankets for distributions closer to the cooler months. We are also making contacts with new creches and orphanages outside of Johannesburg.

Recently Erin wrote a piece about a distribution to the Katia Day Care Centre, Malvern run by Jacqueline Madiba, who spends time walking the mean streets looking after children who are out on the pavement after dark. To read her story, please visit on the forum.



Meet Cheriel. Cheriel had a personal target of stitching together 100 blankets which she has just reached. That would represent nearly 500 hours of work. We are all so grateful for such commitment to putting warm blankets around the children. Thank you Cheriel. She also distributes blanket packs to many of her friends.

One of her friends is terminally ill and it seems she has found such a sense of joy and purpose stitching the blankets, knowing she is making a contribution. Ronda mentioned too Jeanette and her team who regularly fetchs 5 or so blanket packs. Making a difference, a blanket pack at a time! We are going to have a wonderful stockpile by winter.


Peter, Ronda's husband made a business visit to Nampak South Africa. When he found the receptionist busy knitting, he asked her what she was making. She started to tell him all about Knit-a-Square! He listened to her whole description and then told her about his own “connection” and she was delighted. We are expecting more than 1000 squares to be delivered. The secretary to the MD phoned to tell Ronda how the entire company – executive men included – were knitting flat out in a competition to make the most squares for us. Go Nampak!


Wandile mentioned that she sees Jamey often. Jamey received our very first blanket on March 28th 2009. He is disabled and in a wheelchair and you can watch the video here, toward the bottom of the page. She told Ronda that Jamey is NEVER without his blanket, rain or shine.


. . . Oh happy day

The Soweto Gospel Choir and KAS event held on January 30 in Philadelphia was a great success. Our blog in the forum immediately after the event reported on the joy of the evening as described by Debbie Posmontier. Debbie above, worked really hard to organise the KAS side of this evening. It was such a great story, Roger interviewed her by telephone (lovely too to hear the voice of someone you have been in such constant contact with by email) and the story is on the KasCare website. I hope you will take the time to read it, as it really confirms what we can achieve with collaboration.

We would also like to officially thank all of you who rose to the challenge to knit, send and join the squares into the 27 blankets we received. A special mention for Jackie Sousa who has taken the blankets back with her and between her employer's donations and the donations we received on the night, is organising the postage of the blankets to South Africa.

The blankets are to be given to the orphans of Nkosi Haven which is run by Gail Johnson. We are meeting with Gail on March 28 and it is our great hope that they will have arrived by then. It will be a highlight of our forthcoming trip to South Africa to be there with Ronda. Now read on as to why this effort was SO meaningful!

The girls of Musica Mundi Choir, Springside School walk on stage to present the choir with the blankets for the orphans the choir support. The evening ended with the choir, the girls and the audience singing 'Oh Happy Day".. For more photographs and the interview with Debbie, see the website.


Nkosi Johnson and Nkosi Haven



This is the beginning of the famous speech Nkosi Johnson, after whom the orphanage Nkosi Haven is called and where the blankets will be distributed, made for the opening ceremony of the 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa:

??"Hi, my name is Nkosi Johnson. I live in Melville, Johannesburg, South Africa. I am 11 years old and I have full-blown AIDS. I was born HIV-positive.

?When I was two years old, I was living in a care center for HIV / AIDS-infected people. My mommy was obviously also infected and could not afford to keep me because she was very scared that the community she lived in would find out that we were both infected and chase us away.

I know she loved me very much and would visit me when she could. And then the care center had to close down because they didn't have any funds. So my foster mother, Gail Johnson, who was a director of the care center and had taken me home for weekends, said at a board meeting she would take me home. She took me home with her and I have been living with her for eight years now.

He went on to tell the story of how he got into school and then his mother died. He ended the speech:

Because I was separated from my mother at an early age, because we were both HIV positive, my mommy Gail and I have always wanted to start a care center for HIV / AIDS mothers and their children. I am very happy and proud to say that the first Nkosi's Haven was opened last year. And we look after 10 mommies and 15 children. My mommy Gail and I want to open five Nkosi's Havens by the end of next year because I want more infected mothers to stay together with their children- they mustn't be separated from their children so they can be together and live longer with the love that they need.

When I grow up, I want to lecture to more and more people about AIDS- and if mommy Gail will let me, around the whole country. I want people to understand about AIDS- to be careful and respect AIDS- you can't get AIDS if you touch, hug, kiss, hold hands with someone who is infected.

Care for us and accept us- we are all human beings.

We are normal. We have hands. We have feet. We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else- don't be afraid of us- we are all the same!"

Nkosi died of complications of the HIV/AIDS virus in June 2003. His foster mother Gail Johnson told a local newspaper, "Look at him. Half the size of bloody nothing and still fighting."

So this is the centre that Soweto Gospel Choir supports and where your beautifully worked blankets will go. Nkosi would be greatly pleased I am sure.

Gail wrote: Hi Sandy – this is wonderful and it certainly sounds as though EVERYONE had the time of their lives on the night as well as ‘putting the plan’ together – thank you. The Choir are magnificent aren’t they? I go cold (need a blanket!!!) every time I hear them sing.

We recently had the official opening of the Village so I will send you pics so you can see our facilities and the additions we have made, to offer our moms and kids the best we can afford.

There is a book out on Nkosi (released ages ago) called “We are all the Same” – written by Jim Wooten, the ex News Correspondent of ABC TV (American) – which really gives the story of Nkosi – Jim certainly captured his spirit. Thank you all so very, very much for thinking of us and for your amazing energy and enthusiasm.

I found this photograph almost unbearably poignant. Beautifully appointed cots and decorations waiting to accommodate little babies who may be orphaned, abandoned and or infected with HIV/AIDS. I hope that the blankets they are wrapped in will comfort them through out their lives. And we should all be very grateful for people like Gail Johnson, who has dedicated her life to giving HIV/AIDS infected mothers and their children or orphans a place like home.




. . . trust us!

We asked for your patience in the last issue of Square Circle with regard to the opening of the boxes and parcels that are currently stored safely in Ronda's home. And now we ask for your TRUST.

Lindiwe and Ronda, Wandile or Erin (not necessarily altogether all of the time) can only process and document 800 squares (plus other items) sensibly at a sitting. Over the weekends, Peter, Ronda and various visitors open parcels as well, but it is easy to imagine how quickly a backlog occurs. This weekend, Peter and Ronda opened and processed 2,000 squares!

They also have to be mindful of storing the squares once they are opened, before being able to bundle them and distribute them to the various groups of sewers. None the less, the job is being done with love, consistently and with consideration for your amazing work and, it is being done on a shoestring!

So PLEASE do not stop sending squares because of this. The McDonald family will certainly work hard to help put a dint in the backlog when we are there, and over time, we will arrange means by which we can open, sort and bundle the squares at a greater pace. For now, we ask that you understand that the boxes and parcels are safely stored and are being opened in a logical order and as fast as the resources we have can manage.

You will see that there are no United States parcels opened in the last two square lists, but that a huge quantity of US parcels and boxes have gone to Oasis. Nolene Vonk, who is co-ordinating the Oasis International/KasCare project, and with whom we are in regular contact will organise teams to open each parcel, catalogue them and return to Ronda any hats, vests, GO-OVERS or gifts in each.

There is also a HUGE quantity of USA and remaining UK parcels in Ronda's house from at least a month ago.

Everyone involved in this process is acutely aware of your concern to know that your contribution is safely in South Africa and appropriately distributed for the purposes for which they have been sent. But we must ask please, that having given for the purposes of warming these children and seen the results of your wonderful efforts in ezines, you trust that this is what is happening, even when your name might not be on the list.

Ronda also suggested that we think about doing as a new contributor called Kathleen Buckley Collins from Maryland has done. Kathlen put a tick on the postal manifest – where it asks “in case of non-delivery, tick one of the following”  – that if her parcel went astray it should be send to the Red Cross. Great idea.

We are happy though, to report that as far as we know nothing has gone astray. 

You can access the three lists up to February 11 2010 here.

The power of ZERO!
Ronda has asked: "Please can everyone, where possible, put big ZERO’s for every value – weight, volume, value, size – ALL the dimensions, regardless, and perhaps then our customs folk will stop creating values out of misunderstood numbers and levying charges! " Apparently a parcel came in with 70ozs written on it, and as a result customs insisted on charging duty as if it was $70US for FOUR squares!

We cannot cover every circumstance by which we can reduce duty. And as mentioned earlier, the duty has certainly been less since everyone has so diligently marked: No Commercial Value and For Charity Only. But we can certainly lessen the possibilities of duty further where this is possible. We are in fact very grateful to note that for the most part things are running wonderfully smoothly, despite these little glitches. And if we can assist that process just a little further we will be even more thankful!

Wandile holding a delightful jumper, with Erin and the latest little arrival in the Lowrie camp, Patience (4).

Patience's story
Patience's father, who works on a game farm far to the North West of Johannesburg, hoping to find a place for her in the local nursery school, left her with his cousin, Otilla, who works for Ronda. Patience doesn't speak a word of Zulu or English so even Otilla is battling to communicate with her. Still, Ronda says she is happy little girl, even though she has been sent hundreds of kilometres from her family to go to school. Such is the value placed on education. Makes you think doesn't it?


. . . just a few dollars ADD up!

Firstly a HUG and much gratitude to our members who have donated this month and to those who have take up the recurring donation system. We would love to encourage you to take up the recurring donation system set up by Karen in the forum. If everyone donated just a small amount each month, then we could fulfil so much more in terms of getting blankets on children and KasKids into schools to teach the next generation of children to knit and be concerned for the orphan's welfare. Simply click on the donation button on the right hand side of the page here.




. . . time to 'OPRAH' Kas!

Everyone is agreed that if KAS was to be picked up by Oprah, many good things would eventuate. Certainly, thousands more members and contributors to our cause, a greater awareness of and for the orphans, but also an increased likelihood of some funding. Simply put, funding will ensure that we bring warmth and comfort to so many more thousands of orphaned children.

How? Well firstly we could pay small amounts of money to homeless women to help bundle and sew the blankets. This in itself would be an enormous act of charity and if those women had children, there would be trickle down benefit to the child as well. We would also be better resourced to organise a volunteer base. As the volume of squares increased we would need to manage it through dozens of volunteers.

If we are serious about warming thousands and thousands of orphaned children, then this is the sort of planning we must do.

Oprah supports AIDS orphans herself in South Africa and so ours would be a cause close to her heart, if we could just get close to her heart!



"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead


While we have had several attempts, and many of you have written already, Dawne, an active member of our forum, has made the following very worthy suggestion which we are following up.

Keeping this little one warm this winter
If you want to help warm this adorable child and thousands like her, then here's what we would like you to do! the goal is to get as many of you all writing on the same day.

1. This Thursday, March 3, copy and paste this paragraph, or write you own version below into the email form,

We would like to reach the many millions of knitters and crocheters to ask them to join our warm knit-a-square community of over 3,000 folk, who lovingly send 8” squares to make hand-made blankets for South African AIDS orphans. So far we have sent 57,000 squares and this year we have a goal of 100,000 squares. We need your help to warm these children who have so little, and whose number is growing by staggering 500 children a day.

2. It is very important that you add your own message as to why you believe Oprah should include KAS on her show.

3. Copy a link from the back issues of the newsletter into your email to direct those reading the emails to your most favorite story in the ezines. You might like to say something similar to this:

"You might like to read the story here about the Hill Kids/Zeverfontein creche children/etc," (or which ever of the distributions touched you.) Or – "the photographs of these children have greatly touched me, they may touch you too. It is important that you write from your heart about why KAS and the work we do moves you.

4. As soon as you have done that, hop into the forum to let us know if you have heard anything back. This will generate a lot of energy and encourage others to participate.

5. One week later, follow up with an polite email, that just asks if they have received your request and is there any other information they may like. You could suggest they have a look at the website or the forum. Here are the three links to copy into your email. knit-a-square Square Circle Forum KasCare

We would love to send postcards to as part of this campaign, but we have not been able to find a physical address for the Oprah show. If anyone can find it, please post it in the forum and we will add that to the campaign.

As Dawne wrote:

They welcome suggestions as you will see from visiting the website. 3,000 members respectfully requesting KAS/KAScare as a show idea. Suddenly, millions of people, many of them knitters, know about KAS. You don't knit? Be an 'angel' and give $10 during the commercial break. It's so quick, so easy to do. Just a click and Pay Pal a transaction. Or hey, learn to knit – it'll do you good!

Let's generate a lot of energy around this. We believe Dawne is right and such a concerted effort could have the desired outcome. We need all the help we can get.


. . . KAS in our schools

Last week Cressida was invited back to present the KasKids™ School Program at her old school, Methodist Ladies College here in Melbourne to just short of 600 year 11 and 12 students. MLC is encouraging their international baccalaureate students to take up KAS as their compulsory social studies component which is truly a wonderful achievement for us. Cressida did a great job and I was very proud to see her standing on the stage, which we had last seen her on at the end of her school career 10 years ago! She has written a piece on it, and I hope you will read it here on the KasCare website.

From a HUGE school with over 2,000 students to the wee, Drummond school with just 13 students, we visited last year. We were so delighted to receive these photos and the card signed by all the students. Thank you for your great contribution everyone and we hope you will knit again next year and make another blanket for an orphan.

Pool Hayes Arts and Community School sent bundles and bundles of items. Ronda said it was a wonderful contribution.

Well done schools! Since the beginning of this year another 29 Teacher Resources have been purchased which we are excited to think means another 29 schools participating.




. . . Ravelrympics


The KAS ravelry group put together TeamKAS for the Ravelrympics to be run for the duration of the Winter Olympics. It looks like Team KAS has outperformed itself as is usual for our wonderful KASERS. Well done everyone and thank you to our mods, RhondaH and Kyla and to Rona (Rondaletts) for organising and running the event.

Last tally Saturday 27 Feb:

TeamKAS Totals – Ravelrympics team:
?jow1306 – 9 squares, 6 hats, 1 vest
?ramblinroo – 2 squares
?RhondaH – 3 squares, 3 hats
?SassySean – 2 squares
?rondaletts – 7 squares, 5 hats, 2 Izzy comfort dolls
TeamKAS Totals – KASlympics team (reporting/tracking at KAS Forums):
?Squares: 35
?Hats: 13
?Go-Overs: 1
Total Team KAS Items: 89



Isn't this a great testimony to your creativity. The concept of a simple two sided long vest is put forward and look what you produce. The long term goal is to make all these patterns available as 'KAS' pattern downloads, where they are original patterns and we have permission from their creators to do so. To that end many of you have sent us the patterns, for which we are very grateful. In the meantime, Elaine Jones has uploaded this charming pattern to knit-a-square and Anne Powell has added many to the forum under patterns/apparel. Thanks to both of you and to the contributors.


. . . your beautiful work

We would really like to highlight the arrival of 19 boxes this year from Leaksdale Church!

This is the church of one of our forum administrators, Anne Powell. What a great contribution, lots of stationary and hats and an amazing 680 squares. Our most grateful thanks to the Leaksdale Church Community.

On top of the great work they have done, this is also inspirational. You will see that the sending of the squares has been sponsored by individual families within the church. A great way to get non-knitting folk to be part of the work we are doing. Any of you having difficulty with postage, perhaps you could consider a similar idea. I know that Anne would be very happy to talk to you about exactly how she did it. Hop on into the forum and start a discussion with on the forum under the spread the word discussion.

We were delighted to see a large contribution from Australia in the last two months including the biggest box we have ever received from the Lutheran Prince of Peace College, 165 squares from Mavis Patterson from the Heidlellberg Choral Society which is in Ivanhoe where we live, and also the choir my mother, Zanny used to sing for. Lovely surprise.


We also posted off just over 50 kilos of knitted items from Australia that had been kindly donated to my mother and myself over the last year. Susan Oliver and Pam Robinson made this possible though their generous donations for the postage. It was a great relief to see these huge boxes safely on their way. It is with sadness that we have requested no further donations directly though us, but would greatly welcome ongoing contributions to be sent directly to South Africa.

The first KasCuddle arrives in South Africa. Lindiwe was thrilled and felt certain that this will be very successful for new born babies. You can find details on the forum

Aren't these beautiful. You can imagine how happy a little child will be with these squares in their blankets.

From ravelry – just some fabulous work. DnaDiva's Africa Square is SO clever.

Gifts galore!

Scrap books from Helen Flagg to inspire you. These books will be greatly treasured by our small pre-school orphans and are now a central plank of the new KasKids™ program. We are looking forward to launching the new program and introducing you to it.

A lovely message from Joukje Wynholds from the Netherlands.

Erin and Debbie from the Bez Valley sewing group showing off the beautiful blanket made with 72 tiny squares we received recently. And Erin modelling some of the beautiful work contained in the Prince of Peace contribution.







On of our forum members, Cindy wrote to tell us:

"My daughter, Tina Day, has been named Mrs. Oregon City International 2010. The Mrs. International Pageants recognize women for their dedication to their families, their professional accomplishments and their community. Tina has always had a heart for children. She, her husband and family are a foster family and they have adopted 2 of their fostered children. You already know of her commitment to Knit-a-Square.

In April 2010 she will compete to represent the state of Oregon at the International level.

Cindy and her husband Dave sponsored an advertisement in the pageant program and donated it to KasCare which is wonderfully generous. We wish Tina everything of the best in her quest to be Mrs.Oregan International 2010. You can support her through her blog.



I was to make a concerted effort this time not to write a novel. But KAS is a constantly unfolding story – there is so much to tell you. We leave in 2 weeks and 3 days for our epic South African journey and there will be even more to tell you after that. However, we are going to try to do somethings differently. Erin will be reporting more regularly on on-the-ground happenings in South Africa in the forum. PLEASE JOIN now if you haven't already.

I know you are busy too, so this may be the last of the really long ezines, but between updates, KasNews on the forum and the KasCare.org website, I don't think you will miss a jot of what is happening.

Take care, until South Africa then, with great fondness, Sandy

Come with us to South Africa

Come with us to South Africa


In 11 hours we will be on our way to South Africa. While some of the trip is about a long planned family reunion, much of it will devoted to meeting our wonderful volunteers and our children who we help look out for.

Come on the journey with us. The family plan to keep a diary of events as we travel around South Africa. The first week we are in Ngwenya at the bottom end of the Kruger National Park, the world's largest natural game reserve.

After that we are in Johannesburg for 9 days and we will be busy meeting, and visiting, and seeing the results of your work up close.

We would love to share this with you and the KAS community, so we have created a blog: allfororphans.com

Look forward to seeing you in there over the next four weeks!

Sandy, Roger, Kalai, Cressida and Zanny (plus the lads, Sunny and Glenn!)

A PLEA – help us warm these babies

A PLEA – help us warm these babies

The three month old baby girl lying in the corner, lay listless. I stroked her perfect, tiny hand and with the little energy she had left, a smile flickered at the corner of her mouth.

In less than a month, these babies will still sleep on this same floor, a piece of old linoleum laid on the bare African soil. But the temperatures will have dropped and will continue to do so for winter in Soweto. I took this photograph yesterday, 30 March, 2010.

Scattered throughout Soweto, and all the informal settlements, are hundreds and hundreds of small creches like this fashioned out of whatever comes to hand, old window frames with no glass, stained carpet pieces, plywood, corrugated iron.

Our work is to get to as many as we can to wrap warm blankets around these babies and children, many of who are affected or infected by HIV/AIDS and most of who have lost or are losing their parents.

The squares are arriving abundantly. But we have outgrown our limited resources. We need a manager on the ground in South Africa. Someone who will organise DAILY, the sewing groups and distributions, who is familiar with the informal settlements and can source the networks to find these thousands of children. Ronda will always be involved in knit-a-square, but this is now an organisational role beyond that of the organic spread of volunteers; our wonderful family, their friends, church groups and our truly remarkable Sowetan volunteers.

We are serious about putting blankets around these children. About bringing joy to their sad eyes. About telling the world of their plight.

We know you are serious about sending us the knitted and crocheted squares to do this. But now we must ask you to help us further.

A membership concept to achieve our goal
We need to raise a minimum, to start, of $3000 a month to incorporate in South Africa, hire a part-time manager and some additional facilities outside of Ronda's home and to achieve our common purpose in South Africa.

That is $3US a month from 1,000 of our 3,500 plus members. We would like to suggest that it becomes a membership fee, because that way you own what we are doing here as much as we all do. $36 per year is a small fee to pay to know that we are ALL achieving what we set out to do.

Our hope is to find a young enthusiastic and energetic South African who will, among other things, fund-raise here to cover other organizational costs. But we must have funds to do this.

PLEASE, respond to this plea. We need your help desperately. You can organize a recurring donation HERE (in the right hand column).

These children, and thousands like them, rely on us now to keep them warm through the glass-less windows this winter and for years to come.

Thank you for reading and considering this solution. We will be humbled by your response, but excited to know that we can go forward and warm our children.

Peace be with you this Easter, with love, Sandy

PS. We have made great progress opening squares over this week, Canada, Australia, half of the UK and South Africa. But the "wall" of the USA remains and we will tackle that on our return from CapeTown after Easter.

Are we making a difference

Are we making a difference?


We are back in Australia after a momentous, heart-warming, heart-wrenching trip to South Africa. We witnessed what you are achieving for those orphaned, vulnerable children we have been able to wrap blankets around, or put a hat on their heads, or hand them a pencil, soft toy or scrap book. It made us deeply grateful for every square in every blanket – for every stitch that has been made by you, for them.

Since we left in the middle of March, we have been joined by hundreds of new members. We know that you and our whole community warmly welcomes those who would wish to work with us to warm and comfort the children.

The blog I wrote: all for orphans kept up to date with much of what we saw and enjoyed, both on behalf of KasCare and on a personal level during the four weeks away, with some notable exceptions; meeting Oliver Quambasch from Hotel Hope, Stephanie from Jabulani Khakibos Boys, Gail from Nkosi Haven Orphanage and Sister Cecelia Sato from Vuselela Community Health Centre in Diepsloot, among others.

Time is pressing for everyone. Communicating regularly with you is one of the best jobs in the world. But the previous ezines , pages long as they were, took too much time to prepare and far too long to read. We have observed that many more of you open and read short updates, so Square Circle will now be far more regular and much shorter. I will continue to post to all for orphans regularly, meaning that between the ezine, news on KasCare.org the blog and the forum all aspects of what we do should be covered.

Each of these memorable meetings will be reported on in depth for following ezines together with the wonderful work you do and news of KAS plans going forward, but in todays' ezine, can we share this observation with you from our very recent experience.


There is no doubt that there has been, during KAS's short 18 months existence, an extraordinary communal, international effort to warm and comfort children who have little to nothing. Clearly we have all had faith in what we were doing as meaningful, right, necessary and making a difference.

Our time in South Africa was limited. However as we raced around Johannesburg, visiting creches, orphanages, community centres, meeting people, touching the beautiful children, we held you in mind. What would you feel had you been with us, experiencing what we were?

The three month old baby whose hand I held, and who tried to muster a smile in her weakened state, communicated something so moving, so powerful, she seemed to sum up all that we were doing. Just one small child whose life is likely imperilled, even at her young age. Sending her story out to the world and those of her little companions who lay on the cold linoleum floor illuminated what we can do in the future and what we are already achieving with every stitch you make.

The squares we make are indeed a currency of hope. When they are sewn into a blanket, they keep children warm, often children who are ill and who, if kept cold, would undoubtedly become gravely unwell.

The blankets are vibrant and beautiful and a gift to a child who may never have received a gift of such magnitude before. As we hand them out, the children are told that the blankets have been made by people around the world who care for them.

The children held tight to their blankets and yet relinquished them with obedience when asked by the teacher, folding them neatly and piling them up in the corner of the room.

Asked would each child be returned the blanket they were given, I was told that they would know exactly which one was theirs. Their claim had been laid!

But it is not in the blanket alone that we make a difference. The warmth of the blanket spreads beyond its little recipient. When we spoke to the dozens of people we met socially and told them about KAS, they smiled and asked how they could help. The carers, Go-Gos and 'teachers' at the creches were profuse in their gratitude for this unexpected help for their children, asking us to return to help others. Those we met who were working too with orphaned or vulnerable children, pleaded with us to continue and grow our work, understanding the enormous value of raising awareness and the lifting of their weight as together we tackled this enormous issue.

KAS is making a difference. It is only a question of scale. I have been reading Peter Singer's book, 'The life you can save'. A notable author, he is also Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. His premise is that while none of us would hesitate to save a child from drowning, many of us spend money on things we do not need and would not miss, while thousands of children die each day.

By the sheer acts of knitting and sending, sewing and distributing, organizing and planning, spreading the word, donating and caring, our world-wide KAS community both changes how we think about, and act toward, the millions of vulnerable, alone or dying children in the world today and touch, in a meaningful way, those of them we can connect to, as a result.

Firstly, we are thrilled to tell you that we are to be incorporated in South Africa. Cathy Loupis of CAL Consulting, Johannesburg has offered to assist KAS with the formation of our Section 21 as KasCare South Africa. While there, it became evident that much of the potential work we needed to do would be impeded by not being a registered association in South Africa. It will also significantly reduce administrative difficulties around employing an operations manager in South Africa from Australia.

Now that we are over our jet lag and settled into our home office, we are formulating plans for South Africa which we will be delighted to share with you by the next ezine.

I am also preparing a full report on all our activities, some of which has been loosely put together in our revised wish list for 2010, posted on the forum.

We would be greatly pleased for all of you who are not members of the forum to join , not only to enjoy the warm KAS community but also because it is simply easier to discuss the practicalities of the work we are doing within the forum, rather than within Square Circle.



We received this great photo from Frances Kitchen, a women of many talents, knitter, chef, broadcaster and journalist. Thank you Frances and for the delightful baby blanket you have sent KAS.

Hot of the press
Sally Goldenbaum, a member of our KAS forum is a published author of a series of knitting mystery novels, (which fall into the narrative greed category – you just can't get enough!). She has just had published today her third novel in the series, the Seaside Knitters Mysteries, called Moon Spinners. I believe the charity our heroic knitters knit for may be KAS! Look forward to a wonderful discussion about the book in the forum, so dash out and get a copy soon.


We have had over a hundred people generously subscribe to a recurring donation to help us put in place an operations manager in South Africa so that we can get more blankets onto more children. Our appeal in April explained that our amazing and remarkable volunteers have done a truly brilliant job so far, but we are growing and cannot ask more of them than they are already giving freely of their time. It is time to move to the next step to ensure that your work can continue effectively to warm more children.

We are asking for just a small recurring donation to help us do this. In doing so, we recognise that you already give of your time, effort and money for postage, so accept that this can only be made if it is within your means and does not put your already substantial contribution at risk. If you are able you can donate here.



Here are the square lists for the period February 27 – April 22 (there are three of them so far and another two will be posted tomorrow). Each post office collection adds another fantastic hill of boxes and parcels to the mountain collected in the last 3 months.


Although we have tried to ensure that older parcels are placed at the front and newer ones toward the back, this is not always possible, so do not despair if your parcel is not yet catalogued. They are there. Here is Gloria from Bryanston Post Office, the collecting office who has become a friend and supporter of KAS. She takes great pride sorting and organising our huge collections.

We have had to accept that for the moment post is arriving faster than we can open, sort and catalogue it, but PLEASE do not stop sending. Part of our planning is to ensure that we get through the backlog urgently, catalogue the arrival of the parcels immediately and streamline the process.

Parcel opening is a truly wonderful experience. Wandile says you get addicted to it. She is right, we miss it already and we were only able to open on three occasions. Imagine my delight at opening this parcel to discover it was from a family friend in Australia, Margaret Griffiths, although you all seem like family friends to us now – another hidden aspect of the joy that KAS delivers! It is a joy that we will spread further as we organise more volunteers to join with us. And another reason to make sure you keep sending.

Next ezine – mid May: Plans for South Africa revealed; Remarkable Oliver; Soweto Gospel Choir Blankets and Nkosi Haven; Erica's Parcel Database Software.

Until then, look after yourselves. Thank you as always for your continuing and amazing contributions. Bye for now, Sandy

A dentist adopts a creche

The best laid plans!


Ah, the best laid plans! Do you remember last ezine I said, 'short and often?' How many of you also suffer from the 'time no longer exists' syndrome? It is characterized by a number of odd symptoms: it is evening just shortly after getting out of bed; Friday seems to follow Monday and the rest of the days of the week have disappeared; the first of the month is followed almost immediately by the 15th of the month and only a few days later by the last day of the month. The year starts in January, touches base with you around Easter, reminds you that it's cold (or hot) depending on which hemisphere you live in, and then ends with only 10 shopping days until Christmas.

The upside of this is that there is never any room for boredom, and the downside is that you grow older much quicker and are continually frustrated by what is left to do. Having said that, there is always time to be reminded of the work we are doing and why we are doing it.

"Keep up the good work that you are doing as you will certainly have the satisfaction of knowing that somewhere in South Africa a vulnerable child is being emotionally assisted and kept warm thanks to your willing soul and hands."

Claude Nkebi, project manager, Hellenic Church counselling centre, Bez Valley, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Claude's sentiment above, sent recently in an email, summed up eloquently the impact of the work you and KAS are doing in South Africa.

And from Elizabeth, (Brisbane, Australia) in the forum, this excerpt from a post called:

Thank you KAS from the bottom of my heart', touched many of us and will continue to do so for a long time too:

"…thank you KAS, for all you give to me. Thank you for the sense of community across the oceans. Thank you for providing me with opportunity to learn new knitting skills, which I can use for me, for my friends and family, and for many who I will never meet. Thank you for the kind words, the messages of encouragment and the thoughtful touches. Thank you for the support I get for knowing that across the miles we are linked, stitch by stitch. Thank you for reminding me that I can make a difference, and thank you for the photos which prove it."


Nkosi Haven – Soweto Gospel Choir blanket distribution • A quick tour of KAS • A Dentist adopts a creche • Planet Purl – over 200 squares received – Let's make it 1,000! • KASAOTG: Here's inspiration to spread the word • Make it in May • Waiting for baby news • New mods • Blitzing the pile • Erica's solution • Eye candy – your beautiful work! • Square lists



As of 8.30am GMT, Wednesday 5 May, we had 999 members on the forum! We watched with baited breathe and soon after that our 1000th member, Anne Hirst from Scotland joined us. Congratulations Anne. We now have 1,025 forum members and 2,839 subscribers to Square Circle.

We have understood from a lot of of the communication we receive, that many of our new members are finding us now, not necessarily through the knit-a-square or forum websites.

We so hope that you will stay with us on this long journey to warm and comfort the orphans of South Africa, and hopefully throughout Africa in time. We often refer back to blanket distributions like Nkosi Haven, Jabulani Khakibos Boys or Ten Thousand homes and challenges, like 'the July Challenge' which was 'Keep a Newborn Warm'. If this sounds like a foreign language, please read the back copies of this ezine and join our forum, where ANY question you ask will be answered in a warm and helpful manner.


A QUICK TOUR OF KAS – it has grown so quickly it confuses even the family!
Some of you may not be aware of the history of KAS. I recently wrote a brief history for a fund-raising proposal and offer it here to those of you who may not be familiar with 'the two families on two continents' story of how KAS came to be this world wide community working so hard to help the children. You can download it here.

Here too, is a quick chart and explanation of where everything fits in and also of the many websites associated with KAS and how they all do different work to find you, assist you, raise funds and of course bring to the attention of the world the plight of the orphans.



A Dentist Adopts a Creche


During our recent trip to South Africa, we witnessed these little children, some of whom were clearly ill, asleep on the floor and separated from the dirt only by a piece of linoleum. Since then we have all being thinking a great deal about the creches of which there are hundreds and hundreds in Soweto alone, let alone the rest of South Africa, and how we can help them.

The obvious and first thing to do is to get blankets and hats on every child in a creche. We have also been having a conversation in the forum about sleeping mats, or pillowcases to cover blankets to act as sleeping mats, for the June/July challenge.

Our issue is, as always, how do we fund the facilitation of this on the ground in South Africa? It is one thing to receive squares and make the blankets without funds, distributing within the resources we have, but quite another to run an organization that puts blankets on children, in say two to three hundred creches each winter, without funding.

And so the idea, still in its infancy, was born. We would appeal to lots of organizations and individuals for different levels of support to firstly, wrap the children in blankets, but in time provide sleeping mats, educational material and basic nutrition. We have had some very well considered and philosophical input from one of our great supporters. She has worked out how these levels could best describe what can be done with the support, but as we are still working out the logistics, we will share that with you in the next ezine.

Back to my dentist. I had a regular check up and decided to test the idea. Joe Xanthopoulos is a busy dentist, so I knew there was only a short window in which to ask him if he would consider it – about 30 seconds to be precise!

I said: " Would you consider adopting a creche in South Africa to make sure that little children do not have to sleep on the cold, hard floor in winter. They will be given a blanket, a hat and some basic educational tools – a pencil and exercise book. This will make an enormous difference in the lives of up to 35 children in a creche, some of whom are orphaned and affected or infected with HIV/AIDS. It will only cost you US$500.

He simply said 'yes'. While for an individual this is a sizable sum, for many organizations, it is not. Furthermore, the outcome is completely tangible. They would only have to look at the photographs of the children with their blankets to know that they had supported our work, which does make an enormous difference.

If any of you have contact with an organization who you know to have philanthropic aims, perhaps our Adopt a KasCreche will be something they will consider. Here are two resources which might help you in the first instance: Who is KasCare, a brief background, and the Adopt a Creche form.

Presently we do not have registration outside of Australia and we recognize this may be a stumbling block for organizations seeking tax exemption for their gifts. However, it is a relatively small amount at this level of giving and so some organizations may still consider it, especially when they see a blanket wrapped around a baby who was previously lying on the cold floor. Thank you Joe, from all of us, for being the first of many, we hope.



From the blog



Here is an article written on the blog, 'All for Orphans', about our time spent delivering blankets to the children of Nkosi Haven during our recent visit to South Africa. For our new members, the story also describes the work that was done to put together 25 blankets for a promotional event, in conjunction with the famous Soweto Gospel Choir in Philadelphia, in January.

The article tells the story of Nkosi Johnson, the 12 year old AIDS campaigner made famous by his speech to the 13th International Conference on AIDS. He died not long afterwards. The story of Nkosi and his foster mother, Gail Johnson, who we met, is a deeply poignant story and highlights exactly why we do this work. Click here to read the story.

From the forum


We have put up the challenge in both the forum and ravelry. It is not too late to join in (still 10 days to go) and send us your creative work this month. Be inspired by these fabulous squares opened while we were in South Africa in April this year.

Here is the challenge: Most of the blankets we now distribute include at least one, two or more squares, in between the ‘plain jane' (garter or plain crochet) squares that are creative, embroidered, striped, patterned, appliqued, initialled, sequined, beaded, buttoned, ribboned, multi-yarned, multi-coloured or just exquisitely made.  It is incredible how these squares lift the whole blanket into a work of great beauty.  Knit-a-square works on lots of levels, but importantly, it is democratic because each blanket is unique; it combines the selfless love of the world. All are made by squares which are warm, cosy and have your beauty and creativity that makes the blanket extraordinary.  These squares are the best way to personalise the blankets for our children.

PS: If any of these beautiful squares are your work, please let us know in the forum thread,Meeting You. This is a great place to introduce yourself and meet others too, so we look forward to a chat with you soon. You can also upload your work


KASOTG – Knit A Square On The Go Day

The first Saturday in May was the second KASOTG day. While the concept is still in its infancy, many Kasers got involved in different ways. Dawne wrote this about her event.

I've had a cold & it's allergy season so Saturday morning came hard and early for me because I did not sleep well the night before. We needed to be at the farmer's market at 7:30. (a.m. – yikes!) Thankfully Emma was bringing the presentation board she made with photos I printed her from the forum. I had much of my yarn/needles ready to go the night before which helped.

My husband Dave came with me but he did not knit. (slippery as a greased pig. LOL!) I taught Emma and Amelia (her sister) more things about knitting while we waited for people to come. And they did! We had promoted our event but I thought it would be the walk-through traffic that would make or break the event. In the end some of our friends did come out and we made some new acquaintances too. One of the most fun moments for me was teaching a 3.5 year old little girl to knit. Her mother and I spoke quite a bit and she took the KAS on a Page flyer home. Every time someone took a flyer it gave me a little sense of hope that they would actually go home and make some time to get to knit-a-square.com and be part of our continued work.

Two knitters I knew brought a finished square with them which was a very nice surprise. I was also given 3 skeins of a very thick, slightly rough wool. Boy, is it ever warm. I've been thinking about a sleeping mat. I can probably make a simple flannel pillow case to go around the mat. Wool for warmth and flannel for softness.

I gave Emma lots of pictures – the whole range from a group of smiling children wrapped in blankets to a photo of one of the Hill kids; a boy wearing his KAS hat. We decided we needed to use them all. The hope and the despair. The babies on linoleum really hit home for so many people. We also had a picture of Ronda in Bottegas, in a daycare, and I could point to her and say "this is Ronda, she heads up the S. Africa operation". Having the names of the places – Bez Valley, Protea South, Bottegas, Diepsloot – in the captions of the pictures gave us a 'ring of authority'. Not once did anyone express any hesitation that we were not a proper charity. How can they when the evidence is so clearly there?

I told people about the Hill children and Heloise's work. I told them about our 3,000 members worldwide. I told them 1 simple garter stitch square was a valuable gift of their time and talent. Lots of people told me they would tell their grandmothers who 'have knit so long they don't even have to look at their needles' and ask them to make squares. And 2 old men told me I was too young to knit. Their mothers knit, you know. I asked them "how do you think they got to be so good at it??" Oddly enough they didn't say anything about the very young girls (14 and 11) sitting with me!

There was a nice mix of people drawn by the cause and those drawn by the knitting. Mostly it was the cause, I think. We were set up near the craft table. They have a weekly craft for kids to encourage families to come out and buy produce, handmade items and treats like pastries and fudge. On the one hand we were a bit off the beaten track but on the other our table was often full and we were borrowing chairs to seat everyone. Had we been right next to all the farmers there would have been no room for people to stop and it would have been noisy! Several people who have weekly tables to sell knit/crocheted items stopped by for a chat. One of them is a crochet genius and has offered to teach me! Crochet squares are probably faster than knit squares.

Two girls, 10 and 12 years old, sat down with needles they brought, and their own yarn, and using the Navajo Ply method whipped up a square while they chatted with us. These are homeschoolers that I know and they knit German style which is pretty fast. I had shown their mom the triple yarn, Navajo trick and she has really taken to it! Other people worked on squares I had started. One woman started a square (she knew how to knit) but it's 10.5 inches long in a really nice Rowan tweed that is soft b/c it has cashmere in it. I think I'm going to pull that back and make an 8 inch square instead so it can be used immediately.

Six squares were made from 8 till 1 that day. Not too shabby really. A lot of the visitors were people who could not knit or women with young children with them so they couldn't really focus. I think these people might make squares at home, though, and we'll see that ripple effect like when you cast a stone into still water.

So many people asked us if we would be there next week. I tried not to show my shock at the thought and merely replied that the first Sat. of May is KASOTG Day and we were one part of a world wide initiative. It was nice to know we would have been welcomed, don't get me wrong, but week after week….. that's a big commitment. (and too early in the a.m.) I'd like to work with Emma again next year so we can continue to raise awareness about KAScare and its work.

I had an email sign-up sheet for anyone who wanted to help form a grown-up KAS group. I have 5 names. That's not too bad. I'm giving myself from now till Mother's day to focus on getting caught up on some things and resting to get rid of this cold. And then… I'll think about a location and see how many of these women really are willing to come out. Could be good. I have an optimistic view of this.

So there you have it.

Oh, the best bit! Dave took our donation jar and walked through the market inviting people to walk to the back to our table (we did have signs on the doors too). He had our donation jar and told people about the work for the orphans. Several people – men at that – gave him 5 dollar bills! He used a little trick of mine to put a bit of money in the jar as a start to encourage positive peer response. It sends the signal that someone else has determined our efforts to be of value. He raised $25.61 for us! Some of these people (the men) never even wandered back to our table but others did come to speak with us. The $25.61 is the total after he took back his $5 to buy me lunch! That's $25.61 in new money! I think I'll keep a few bucks for Emma to post the squares from Saturday and a few she has already made and PayPal the rest. Not too shabby eh?


Our goal is to have the thousands of KASOTG events with thousands of people knitting a square next year, so please be inspired by Dawne's evocative story and put it in your diary. After all as a knitter you are doubtless a busy person and that means that May 2011 is almost on us!


We are all waiting for news of birth of Kyla's baby. Kyla is one of Canadian administrators in the forum and I know you will join with me in sending her our love and wishing her and Jim well for the arrival of their little girl, Cordelia.

We are delighted that Elizabeth from Australia and Rona from the USA have joined the forum as moderators. Both, together with Dawne, have an interest in KAS in schools and are active participants of the KAS in our schools.

I hope you will hop into the forum and introduce yourself soon, especially if you are a teacher, have a child or a grandchild at school. They will certainly encourage you, I am sure, to introduce KAS to your school.

Anne is our long term administrator who has done remarkable work within her church community to raise awareness and also funds for KAS work. If you want to introduce KAS into your church groups, please contact her in the Church Group in Canada, and she will share with you her success.


Planet Purl and 1000 squares


Planet Purl is hosting a Warm Hearts Square Charity Knitting Drive – 2010 to benefit Knit-a-square and Warm up America. There support is incredibly generous.

For every square received that meets our program guidelines (8×8" and warm and cosy) they will donate $1 per square to KAS and they are mailing the squares to South Africa on your behalf. Also if you send in your details with your square, they will put you into a draw for $100 voucher at your favorite yarn shop. This is an opportunity way too good to miss. Thank you, Planet Purl for your generous support. 1,000 squares will warm a creche of children which is truly wonderful.

To find out more – visit Planet Purl.



Blitzing the pile!


We recently suffered a sudden and great loss in our family – our much loved brother and uncle – Pete Lovemore. Ronda has not been much in Johannesburg as a result, attending the services in two countries, and to the family too.

However, we are delighted to tell you that Erin (Ronda's daughter who works on a part-time for KAS and is the South African administrator in the forum) and her husband, Clive, have opened almost half of the backlog and have plans to have a 'parcel party' soon, where a host of willing volunteers will spend the weekend opening and sorting the balance.

Wonderfully, the post is flying in as fast as we open, but it has become imperative that we clear this, so that you all know your fantastic efforts have been safely received and will soon be warming children. Erin contributes to the thread in the forum, http://forum.knit-a-square.com/forum/topics/back-on-the-ground-in-sa and will write soon of their plans to 'blitz the pile'.


Sometime back, there was a lively discussion on the forum, about how best to inform you all that your post had safely arrived. Erica came up with a solution. Now, amazingly, given the fact that most of you live in the USA, Canada and the UK, she lives in Melbourne, Australia too (where I live), so we met last week for a hot chocolate, on a cold autumn evening.

Erica's idea is brilliant and she has already done some work on a prototype.

Imagine if you were able to simply open a page through the website which would allow you to key in your name and email address, how many squares, hats, jumpers, others you were sending in your parcel, and then press print.

Okay, we are assuming most of you have access to a printer. If you do, you would print a label with the knit-a-square address on it, all the instructions with regard to No Commercial Value and For Charity Only, and a barcode. You would stick this label onto your parcel.

When your parcel arrived in South Africa, our volunteers would scan the barcode and immediately you would be sent an automated email telling you your parcel had safely arrived. It would also enter into our database who had sent what, saving us HOURS of time manually keying in all this data as we do now.

Erica is currently coding this and in about six weeks time, we will trial it. Once it is working satisfactorily for everyone, we will announce a 'go live' date. We are very excited about this project, believing it will save everyone a lot of time and let you know in a timely way, that your work has safely arrived in South Africa. Our grateful thanks go to Erica for the work she is devoting to this.


EYE CANDY – some of your beautiful work!



Square Lists


The square lists are updated now to May 17 and are up on the site.

Keep the children in your hearts and hands as winter takes hold in South Africa. We have so much work yet to do, so we are ever grateful for every stitch you make on their behalf. Just imagine living in a shack like the one below, and instantly you will realize how treasured your squares are.

You are very special to these children. Take care and be safe,