What is KAS?

According to the United Nations,

There are more than 34 million orphans in the region (sub-Saharan Africa) today and some 11 million of them are orphaned by AIDS. Eight out of every 10 children in the world whose parents have died of AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa. During the last decade, the proportion of children who are orphaned as a result of AIDS rose from 3.5% to 32% and will continue to increase exponentially as the disease spreads unchecked. 

Ronda Lowrie lives amongst these orphans in South Africa. She could not continue as a spectator to the suffering of these children. With her niece, Sandy McDonald and their families, they began Knit-a-Square (KAS) in 2009.

Their idea is brilliant in it’s simplicity. With the help of the Internet, they “shout out” to the knitters and crocheters of the world asking them to make one 8 inch square. 35 squares sewn together in South Africa make a blanket to warm one orphan. Ronda and her volunteers go into settlements and day care centers and distribute the blankets one by one.


In the last five years the plight of the AIDS orphans of South Africa has touched the hearts of thousands of people world-wide. One square is all we ask, but many people send tens and hundreds of squares along with toys, hats, sweaters and more.


All of the donations serve to warm these forgotten children, but as Ronda tells us they do much more:

“The blankets are a currency we use to tell the children exactly how beloved they are. We tell them they are the future unique and special.”

There are many ways you can help us:

knit or crochet a square

like our Facebook page

join our wonderfully friendly group on the KAS Forum

make a donation

Charity knitting hero: Jill Wright, our crocheting support

Celebrate a charity knitting hero

Jill Wright, Colorado in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains


charity crochet

Jill runs a website business from home, called woolcrafting.com, also through Site Build It (like knit-a-square).

I contacted her in January 2009 to ask her if she would be kind enough to do a crochet pattern of the Square Vest, just on the off chance that there may be people visiting the site who wanted to crochet rather than knit.

Given the fact that Jill is a busy mother with two small boys who runs her own business, she was so quick to oblige and I had the pattern back, with photograph, in a matter of days.

Since then Jill has actively promoted knit-a-square on her site. She also provided me with a square pattern overnight plus photograph, when I asked her to, in response to your many requests to crochet squares.

She has designed another three squares and made them available to you on her site.

Jill has accumulated a vast body of information about all things to do with crochet. So if you visit her site, you can support her and knit-a-square by using her beautiful square patterns.

Please also join Square Circle Square Circle for more stories of our heroes and their efforts to help keep the children warm.

Charity knitting hero: Laura Zalesak, initiator of KAS @ Ravelry.com

Celebrate a charity knitting hero

Laura, beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

knitting group

Laura wrote in early March 2009:

"There is an awesome online social site called Ravelry.com for keeping track of patterns, projects, stashes, books, hooks, needles etc… and I would like to start a group on there for this charity. Hopefully it will pull a nice gathering of more people who can help out. I would like to start the group and use the logo for it and post some important info (like your website link, knit-a-square's mission, sending address, and requirements). I checked to see that a group wasn't made yet and there doesn't appear to be one. I have subscribed to the RSS feed on your site, so I'm keeping up to date on important information and updates. Other group moderators can be added as well."

We were delighted. It is a great site and Laura did an excellent job of summarising knit-a-square's mission on the opening page of the group and continues to do great work moderating the group.

One poster comments: BTW, I think you are doing an awesome job as moderator- very thorough and patient! And she is too.

We all wish Laura well as she waits for the arrival of her first child.

Within a short space of time the ravelry.com group had 170 members and its membership is growing.

One of the most exciting aspects of the site is the 'stash feature' where you can trade or sell your stash of yarn, organised by fibre type and manufacturer. There are literally thousands of stashes to chose from. Like one huge warehouse! And with crochet and knitting pattern ideas to match. There are also 11,034 patterns free for download which is amazing.

So please join the group. You will be supporting Laura and knit-a-square at the same time.

Join the Ravelry.com Group
To join you will need to go to www.ravelry.com, fill in your name and email address and request an invitation to join. That takes about 5 days. When you get your confirmation email, click on the link, enter chosen user name and password, then go to the tab called Groups. Search for knit-a-square and you will find a very lively conversation there to join in. Well worth it.

You will also find the crochet instructions for some specifically designed Square Vests posted by Kokkele there for knit-a-square, which are really pretty. And you may find too, a simple, easy pattern among the ravelry.com free patterns downloads, that we could add to the 'Square' selection of garments on the site.

Please also join Square Circle for more stories of our heroes and their efforts to help keep the children warm.

Would you visit South Africa if it was accompanied?

Would you visit South Africa if it was accompanied?

If you have ever thought to visit South Africa, this is your opportunity to let us know where you would want to go, what you would want to see and if you would prefer it to be accompanied.

South Africa is a land of immense physical beauty and magical landscapes.

A land of extraordinary contrast, rolling sand-duned desert to snow capped, craggy mountains, great wealth and extreme poverty, despair and hope, 11 official languages with cultures to match and all in an area just five times the size of Great Britain and three times that of Texas.


wild animals

It is also home to the big five: lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard among many other truly captivating animals.

The neck-dancing giraffe, cheetah (some say part dog, part cat), curious zebra, quirky warthog, fascinating, but exceptionally dangerous hippo, all types of buck and a panoply of birds roam the reserves all over South Africa.

To be in the great Kruger National Park is to feel an ancient land.

It beats to a rhythm far older than mankind itself. Where the lion stalks is where they have stalked forever.

orphaned child A rainbow-coloured nation so fittingly describes South Africans. Diverse, speaking many languages, supporting many cultures and yet fiercely loyal to their country.

The history of South Africa is both brooding and enlightening from way before Chaka Zulu, the Boer War and apartheid to the triumph of Nelson Mandela and the courage of the people to embrace a new nation.

Today what besets one besets all South Africans, the tragedy of HIV AIDS and the legacy of the AIDS orphans.



A visit could include the history of South Africa with a guided tour of Soweto and Nelson Mandela's original house. You could meet the children who you support, with a tour of Hotel Hope, the wild animals in Kruger National Park, Cape Town, one of the world's most beautiful cities and Robben Island where Nelson Mandela and other ANC activists were once incarcerated.

But we would also bring to the tour, the benefit of local knowledge, meeting with ordinary South Africans going about their daily lives, and of course, the women of Soweto Comfort Club who are organising the sewing and distribution of the blankets.Table Mountain

Cape Town, South Africa, one of the world's magnificent cities.

We may be biased, but it would be a wonderful thing if everyone could experience Africa in their lives.

The people, the animals and the land itself are a magical combination that will put a hook in your heart and provide you memories for life.

Such as the night we travelled in an open jeep for half an hour, among a very large pride of lions as they slowly paced up a hill, their cubs in tow. A privilege so powerful in our memories, and yet, relatively common place in the Kruger National Park.

It is a place of experiences so extraordinary, they take even the guides by surprise. This video amply demonstrates that!

If you visit South Africa, it will make your endeavours, for the children and AIDS orphans you knit for, even more meaningful. And you will be accompanied by those who love the country and will bring their passion to your experience.

Don't forget to join Square Circle for stories of the children and their blankets.

KAS book reviews

KAS book reviews

Heart Yarns
Roger G McDonald
The world’s first three-volume book of poetry, prayers and songs devoted to knitting and crochet.

click here to purchase

knitting for profit
Liz Raad
Even if you have no business experience…even if you've never succeeded in making money from knitting before…even if you have no money to start…You've just found the secret strategies of how you can make real CASH from your knitting!

click here to purchase

Patterns in the Sand: A Seaside Knitters Mystery (Hardcover)
Sally Goldenbaum
If narrative greed describes a desire for page turning novels, then look no further. These novels feature warm, friendly and intelligent knitters who spend Thursday evenings ensconsed in the colorful environs of Issy Chambers Seaside knitting studio. They eat delicious food and solve their idyllic seaside village’s latest murder mysteries. Along the way they provide you with the perfect bedside companion.

Issy, her Aunt Nell, Birdie and Cass will become your good friends. Sally writes so convincingly that you will believe you are part of their group, will look forward to Friday evenings on Nell and her husband’s convivial deck and imagine youself strolling down the main street of Sea Harbour in search of the perfect coffee and good companionship.

We eargerly await the publication of the third book in the series.

Heritage Blanket
Knit a painting and unleash your inner artistHeritage Blanket uses easy knitting patterns and the wonderful array of yarns available today to take you on a creative knitting adventure.

Everyone has an inner artist and a creative soul.

This e-book has been designed as a testimony to the inner artist in us all. And especially for those who pursue knitting as a passion.

click here to purchase

Teacher Resource
A Teacher Resource That MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Yes you CAN Make A Difference!
In your child's life! In an AIDS orphan's life! In your own life!

Engage your students in a fun and interactive charity knitting schools program.

It’s simple and easy to implement with step by step how to knit instructions, colorful handouts, and loads of facts about the orphans your kids will be helping.

click here to purchase


Hotel Hope – a childrens charity brings hope to orphans

Hotel Hope – a childrens charity brings hope to orphans infected or affected by HIV AIDS


This childrens' charity was been started by Oliver Quambash. He visited South Africa from Germany and immediately recognised the desperate needs of orphans, infected or affected by HIV AIDS. He returned to South Africa to open Hotel Hope dedicated to rescuing these abandoned children and AIDS orphans.

Orphans home

The philosophy of Hotel Hope is give the children a consistent family life, with God-parents, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents in a small loving and nurturing, family home environment. At present they have two houses alongside each other, the second one still needs a complete refurbishment.

While HIV AIDS is a main reason so many children are orphans in South Africa, as Oliver wrote in his first magazine, poverty is the single greatest factor, particularly as refugees pour in from Zimbabwe escaping starvation and now, cholera. Young mothers have no hope of raising children in an environment which offers no support, some hostility and when they may be desperately ill with HIV AIDS.

orphan child

The orphans of South Africa are a hidden tragedy. An estimated 1.5 million children are without their parents, facing a future devoid of family love, education and a future.

Hotel Hope as a new childrens charity seeking to make a difference for these children, deserves support. The orphans of South Africa and Zimbabwe depend on it.

Hotel Hope is soon to open a charity shop which will help toward refurbishment of the homes and clothing the children. Knit-a-square's role here will be to send squares for blankets for the children living in Hotel Hope homes. But also to act as a conduit for donations. If you download the Hotel Hope magazine, their bank details are listed.

They are also keen to receive warm woolly items such as the easy square pullover , Zanny has designed.



Children's charity manager

Please knit and send an 8 x 8" (20 x 20 cms) square specifically for blankets for the Hotel Hope children. Click here for instructions, and mark on your envelope, ONE KNITTED SQUARE ONLY – HOTEL HOPE. Thank you.

Also you can email Oliver direct at hotelhope@gmail.com, if you would like to receive his newsletter or donate to refurbishing the second house.

Please subscribe to the Square Circle ezine for news of this inspirational childrens charity, the children and their blankets.