Ten Thousand Homes

Knit and crochet for this amazing charity for children

Ten Thousand Homes is a Christian based charity for children that 'desires to provide a home' for these previously homeless children, many of whom are AIDS orphans.

Knit-a-square was contacted by Jennifer Price and Keri Dodge who work for Ten Thousand Homes, to see if there was a way in which our crocheting and knitting project could be extended to their children.

She explained that Ten Thousand Homes was about more than just providing homeless children with a roof over their heads. "A home being more than 4 walls and a roof, although that is important too! We are working to build a care center in one of the communities we work in. A place that the kids can come to get help with their homework, a hot meal, love, interaction, and everything that a healthy home would provide."

Sadness and Hope
This video is a moving testimony to hope, when children's charities such as Ten Thousand Homes work to alleviate the immediate suffering of the children, but also to provide them a basis for a future. Please watch it.

Watching this, we are all empowered to help change these children's future.

Sweetness and Mama V are two stories that evoke two sides of this tragedy, sadness and hope.

In reading them you will gain a greater understanding of what besets a child bereft of everything, or having to look after a sick or dying parent, but it is the hope so evident in these stories, that is inspiring. This charitable work helps to capture the innate joy in children and allow them to enjoy the normal things of life. People such as Mama V are heroines and we celebrate them.

Ten Thousand Homes works with Mama V (Victoria Hlatshwayo) and other local Africans to assess the needs of each child which includes "food, clothing, meds, and sometimes a new home."

What a synergy: one thousand bricks to make a home, ten thousand homes the goal. Ten thousand blankets to make ten thousand children warm.

Ten Thousand Homes and knit-a-square's
crochet and knitting project

Knit-A-Square's involvement with Ten Thousand Homes kicked off with a bang a few years ago, when we matched individual knitters with residents in Ten Thousand Homes communities. Each child received their very own, individualized blanket.

 

Felt a square

Felting your old knitted woollen garments will make a great wool blanket

For those those of you that don't knit, felting your old woolly clothes and making squares from them is a great substitute to make a wool blanket. What is felting?

Dirty woollen garments

We found three old jumpers (sweaters) and a very old woollen blanket in our local charity shop and made enough squares for a 40 square blanket.

If you chose to make a blanket for yourself, you could send the leftover squares to help make a wool blanket for a child or baby in Africa.

The advantage of these squares is that they are wool and so they will be extra warm. Please consider this before throwing away the scraps.

Click here for knitting and posting instructions.

Felting woollen garments

Here are the felting instructions:

1. Put the garments in a very hot wash – 60 degrees celsius (140 degrees fahrenheit) with a good scoop of washing powder

2. After the wash, check the felting process. The garments should feel matted and you should not be able to see any holes through the fabric, as you usually can when holding a knitted garment up to the light. The final test is that the fabric will not fray when you cut it. Rewash if this process is not complete.

Cutting felt squares

3. Place the garments in a dryer, if you have one to continue to assist the process

4. Cut a template out of a magazine (8 x 8" square or 20 x 20 cms)

5. When the garments are dry, place the template on the front of the garment nearest one of the seams and cut out a square

6. Keep placing the template as close to each cut-out square to maximise the number of squares you can cut out of each garment.

A felt square blanket

Note: because the fabric is felted, you can cut out in any direction, over seams and different patterns and include the ribbing and neckline.

Joining: we sent the squares for the blanket pictured here to South Africa and are waiting for the craft women from the Soweto Comfort Club to let us know how they accomplished joining the squares. To find out the results please subscribe to the Square Circle ezine.

If you have experience of joining felt squares, please let us know by filling in this form and we will publish your ideas in the next Square Circle ezine. Thank you.

Charity knitting hero: Debbie and Springside School, Philadelphia

Celebrate charity knitting heros

 

Debbie Posmontier and the girls of Springside School, Philadelphia

"We will sit in the sunshine in the meadow behind the school, a lovely place to knit for the less fortunate children on another continent”

Debbie tutors girls in grade 2-6, aged between 7 and 11. She wrote to me in early March 09:

teahing how to knit

"I am so excited to be knitting and felting squares for your project. I tutor in the lower school at an all girls school in Philadelphia called Springside School. We are planning a Square Circle of 8, 9, and 10 year olds who are already knitting or are interested in learning. I have contacted our local yarn shop, The Tangled Web, and they have put you and us in their newsletter and have asked for donations of "yarn stash wool" for our school. I also received a donation of yarn from another local shop, Sticher's Dream, and an artist donated needles, as well.

You can see the excitement about the project in the eyes of the girls who already knit. As we are coming into spring here, we have plans to knit at recess time while we sit in the sunshine in the meadow behind the school. It is a lovely place to knit for the less fortunate children on another continent."

children knitting

Later she sent me this photograph of the meadow the girls will knit in during spring and on March 18 2009, these wonderful photographs of the children learning how to knit and the squares they have knitted.

Debbie not only grasped the great need of the AIDS orphans of South Africa but has imparted to her children the gift of giving.

We know that for this knitting project to be sustainable, we must garner the energy and compassion of school children to fulfil this vast undertaking of supplying blankets and warm clothing to the many millions of children in great need in Southern Africa.

They, in turn, will be empowered knowing they are making a difference and learning the importance of giving at the same time. knitting kids

We are really grateful to Debbie and her wonderful students for having pioneered the schools-based side of this knitting project.

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

Charity knitting hero: Kerry Paris, creator of the knit-a-square forum

Celebrate a charity knitting hero

Kerry Paris, UK – creator of the knit-a-square forum

 

Kerry lives in Essex. She first wrote to me in early March 09 to let me know about a knitting festival in London this coming September called i-knit London. She volunteered to hand out flyers, but also came up with this innovative idea.

knit-a-square on the go

She wrote: "Also there should be many stitchers wandering around looking for activities, perhaps if we could gather some donated wool and offer a cup of tea they might be willing to take a break for 15 mins and stitch a bit! We could have squares on the go that people can just pick up and do a few stitches on while they chat?"

Brilliant. We should instigate this idea at every knitting and crocheting festival around the world. Any volunteers?

knitting forum

Then she wrote a few days later to make this generous offer:

I was also thinking, what do you think of having a forum?

You have a blog which is very good, but I find it a little inaccessible (not a complaint, I'm not the best at technology). A forum might be a great place for all the lovely people who are helping you out to chat and exchange idea's and get to know each other.

I don't know quite what it is about this project that has really struck a chord with me, but I feel like I want to help and be a part of it. Crocheting squares with beautiful wool is relaxing and uplifting and its wonderful knowing how much a child will love what my squares will make.

She offered to spend the time to both investigate what was available and to set it up as she said: " This project is wonderful for the children but also don't forget it is marvelous for those taking part. I'd love for a forum to bring us all together."

Within six days she had set it up and very shortly it had 75 people contributing to it.

Given that Kerry is not technological (by her own admittance) this is an amazing feat. She is moderating the UK region of the forum and is administrator of the site in her own free time, which will be an ongoing commitment as more and more people find knit-a-square.

And she has been willing to spend many hours communicating with me through the setting up issues of the forum. I hope you will support her in her endeavours and, of course by doing so, support knit-a-square to make this a world wide crocheting and knitting project.

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

Charity knitting hero: Veronica La Du, founder of her own knitting charity

Celebrate a charity knitting hero

Veronica La Du

 

So, to all of those people in Africa who are sewing together the blankets, expect a whole box load or more of squares to come your way soon!

Veronica's mother wrote on February 22 2009:

I am the MOM of an avid knitter, Veronica, age 12. She has been knitting since she was 8. We donate a portion of the proceeds of her sales to Animal Rights organizations and would like to expand our charitable contributions. We love your organization and are in the process of alerting our church groups to help with this endeavor.

It was so inspiring to think of one so young already immersed in the act of giving, I wrote back and asked if we could feature Veronica on the site to illustrate how empowering the act of giving for a young person can be.

girl knitting written letter

Better than that Veronica wrote this letter:

To: Sandy of Knit-A-Square
From: Veronica

Hi! My name is Veronica. I am 12 years old and I have been knitting since I was 8. I now have my own little knitting business. I donate a portion of the profits to the SPCA. We have 3 cats, all were homeless. Some of the things I knit are: cat toys, scarves, bags, hats, bracelets and more recently, 8” x 8” squares.

I first learned about the Knit-A-Square project from my mother. She had gotten an email from Lion Brand Yarn and thought that she would check the website out. Knowing how much I love to knit and help out, she showed it to me and now I have my church and my school involved.

We made a flyer where we put a couple of options for people who want to donate. For people who can knit or crochet, we asked for 8” x 8” squares. For people who can’t knit or crochet, we asked for yarn to knit with or gently-used blankets or sweaters that we could felt. After we felt them, we would cut them into the 8” squares.

I really hope that I can make a difference to the many children in need. So, to all of those people in Africa who are sewing together the blankets, expect a whole box load or more of squares to come your way soon!

Sincerely,
Veronica

It is wonderful to read of one so young, so actively involved in charitable work. But what is so special about this letter is that Veronica has thought beyond just knit-a-square's request to knit or crochet a square. She has considered how to involve people who do not knit or crochet.

No better illustrated then by her most recent letter offering to use the $100 she has raised for knit-a-square.com. She and her grandma " have single-handedly made a blanket and a half and more people are knitting/crocheting squares.

We are all privileged to have someone so young, like Veronica, thinking, working and acting on behalf of the children we seek to help.

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

Charity knitting hero: Kyla Austin, Pledge a Square a Day

Celebrate a charity knitting hero

Kyla Austin, Toronto, Canada

So that's my pledge to you – a square a day.

Already well versed in charity knitting, when Kyla found knit-a-square she made this amazing pledge.

She wrote: My name's Kyla, and a family friend taught me to knit when I was about five years old. I didn't enjoy it a great deal and never really kept it up. Then two years ago I found the knitting charity 'caps to the capital', where knitted baby hats were sent all over the world to keep little newborn heads warm. Determined that I could make a couple hats, I picked up knitting again, teaching myself off the internet, sitting in front of my computer in residence.

After finding knit-a-square, I gathered up all the spare yarn that's been sitting around my apartment, and whipped up a couple squares over two days. It doesn't take me long to knit up a square, and when I realized this,
it hit me all of a sudden perhaps I can make a square a day.

 

charity knitting

I have a long commute to school and spare time between classes. We don't have tv but we do watch movies, so there's another few hours there. It wouldn't be that difficult to make a square a day. So that's my pledge to you – a square a day.

Kyla didn't stop there though. Soon she wrote again:

Anyway, since I am knitting in class, my professor and classmates have caught on. I emailed my professor the website address, and this was her reply:

"Kyla, Thank you for this….you know, after I asked you about it last week, I spoke to my mother this weekend who, as I mentioned has been knitting for babes/children for years and she's getting me going with all kinds of wool! Sometimes we just need another reminder of what's in front of us."

So there you go! Got another one hooked just by knitting in public. I think I could start a chain.

And indeed that is exactly what Kyla is doing:

I taught my classmate to knit yesterday. She sat down next to me and asked if I could show her, so I gave her a knitting 101 introductory lesson then just let her run with it. She was really proud of herself, saying that she could start knitting her own squares as well.

She too has a long commute to school, and she said 'there's no reason why I can't do something with that time – I mean, there's children out there in the world that unfortunately make the clothes that I buy in stores, I think I owe children a lot more than a blanket,"

Many of my classmates have asked me. "why are you knitting every day in class now?" And so many of them have asked me that I sent an email out to everybody explaining the goal and the program and including a link to the site. Now they ask me "hey which number square is this?" and "how many are you going to do?" and my favorite:

"I wish I could knit," to which I reply "I'll teach you any time you like."

Finished square 14 tonight. tomorrow is square 15. (15 March 09)

Kyla has also put up her own live journal, squareaday.livejournal.com . The journal is finding all sorts people interested in contributing, Brownie troops, students and knitters and crocheters thrilled to find a project as a 'stash buster". As Kyla said: "gotta love the grapevine over the interwebs".

 

 

 

Recently Kyla wrote to explore the idea of visiting South Africa in a year when she has completed her 365 squares, help put them together and do some volunteering. We are currently in contact about how this may work.

Kyla embodies a spirit of compassion which has moved us all greatly. I hope you find her story inspirational as we do. I look forward greatly to her updates and will keep you all in touch with her progress through the Square Circle ezine.

We hope too, very much, that she will get to meet some of the children she is working so diligently to help.

And we are grateful to her college mates and tutors who have become involved as well.

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