How many squares are there in a blanket?
It takes 35 squares to make a blanket. That’s 5 squares wide and 7 squares long, for a blanket that is 1.4 meters by 1.0 meters, large enough to keep a child warm at any age.
I have enough squares to make a blanket. Should I sew it up, or just send the squares separately?
The gogos (grandmothers) in South Africa are ready to sew your squares together, so we normally prefer that you send the squares separately.
Each blanket is made up of squares from dozens of different countries. That means that when a child wraps themselves up in that blanket, they’re getting a hug from the whole world. A global blanket of love!
Of course, if you have an already assembled blanket which you would like to send, don’t dismantle it. We’re very happy to receive ready-to-go blankets as well as squares.
How to stitch together a KAS blanket
Knit-a-square blankets are made up of 35 squares, five squares by seven squares as shown below.
Steps to follow when making a blanket
- Lay the squares out and design the blanket – let your creative juices flow!
- Mark the squares or bundle them in rows so that you know which square should be placed where in the blanket.
- Each square should have a ‘tail’ which is what you will use to sew the squares together. If there are no ‘tails,’ you will need additional wool to sew them together.
- Very often squares have a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ side. When sewing the squares together, place the ‘right’ sides of the two squares together, so that they are facing each other and then sew. The sewing will then be largely visible on the back of the blanket, leaving the front neat and tidy.
- There are a number of stitches one can use to sew the blankets together, but the two most popular stitches are whip stitch and blanket stitch.
- Start by sewing the squares together in rows of seven – as per the diagram, sew square 1 to 2; 2 to 3; 3 to four and so on. Do this for each of the rows B, C, D and E. You will end up with five strips of seven squares each.
- Do not weave in the tails yet as you will need them to sew the rows together.
- You will now need to sew the rows together and this is done in exactly the same way. Place the ‘right’ side of row 1 facing the ‘right’ side of row B and sew them together like you did the individual squares.
- You can now weave in the threads that are left. It is important that they are sewn in correctly and only then cut otherwise the blanket can unravel.
- Crocheting around the outside of the blanket gives it a strong edge and is always appreciated, but not necessary.
Do squares need to be 100% wool, or can I use yarn I already have?
Squares can be made of any type of yarn, as long as it’s warm. Natural fibres like wool are particularly good, but acrylic and acrylic blends are also welcome. If your yarn is very thin though, you might need to use two strands together. Always try to use patterns that don’t have large gaps or holes.
What is a yarn tail, and how long does it have to be?
A yarn tail is the piece of yarn that hangs off the end of the square when you’re done. Our sewing volunteers can use this tail to help with the sewing up, as long as it is in good condition and doesn’t have any knots. Please leave about 20” (50cm) of yarn from the corner of the square as a tail. Tie (butterfly) it neatly by following these instructions:
If there are any loose ends of yarn hanging off your square other than the main tail, please weave these ends in neatly and securely.
Where can I find appropriate knitting/crochet patterns?
Any square pattern which comes out the right size is welcome! The pattern should be fairly solid and not lacy. We have free knitting and crochet patterns available, specifically chosen for KAS needs, which you can find here.
What other items are accepted?
Do you accept items other than squares?
Absolutely! We also accept beanies/hats, hand-warmers and soft toys. Children of all ages love small, cuddly hand-made or gently loved toys.
What items do you most need?
Squares! Squares are at the heart of everything we do at KAS. It takes 35 of them to make a single blanket for a child in need. Our second most requested items are knitted hats and hand-warmers. Remember that by age 4, most children’s heads are the same size as an adult’s, so aim for adult-sized beanies. Hand-warmers need to be child-size to fit properly.
Do you accept items for babies?
Most of the children we visit are toddlers to 9 years old, so that is the age bracket we most need items for, but we have partnerships with several organizations in South Africa which help to distribute baby items.
How you can support Knit-a-square
Where is KAS based?
KAS is a worldwide organization, with members in dozens of different countries. We are incorporated in South Africa, where the assembly and distribution of squares are managed. The KAS Board and Moderation team are made up of KAS members and supporters from across the globe.
Where does KAS help?
KAS blankets, hats, hand-warmers and toys are currently distributed in South Africa, particularly around the Soweto and Johannesburg area. Obviously, we’d love to be able to help even more areas, and may do in time, but for now it’s important to focus on areas where we are already able to make a significant difference.
How can I support KAS financially?
More than just about anything else, KAS needs funding. The money we are able to raise makes it possible to cover expenses in South Africa, things like postal duty, fuel for the van to pick up packages and get to blanket distributions.
You can make a financial donation by going to our Donation page. If you are able to make a recurring donation, (for example, once a month for a certain period of months,) then that helps us with planning our budget. Of course, if you’re not sure if you can make that kind of ongoing commitment, we also welcome one time donations.
There is also a KAS Shop where you can purchase items which directly support the children and Knit-a-square.
What non-yarn-related items does KAS need?
Plastic or metal yarn needles for sewing up and crochet hooks: size 4.00 mm. The Gogos use the hooks to crochet around the finished blankets to create a sturdy edge.
What can I do to spread the word?
Spreading the word is also of vital importance to KAS. We are a grass-roots movement, and our success depends on getting more members – both crafters and non-crafters! We have Promotional Materials on the Square Circle Forum you can use and a Teacher Resource available. Share the news at knitting circles, yarn shops, online forums, anywhere crafters might be. KAS is also a great fit for retirement villages and homes, where many of our most talented crafty members reside. If you’re involved with a retiree community, why not let them know about KAS?
How can my school or youth club get involved?
Knitting is a great skill for kids to learn, and at the same time they will be participating in a world-wide community helping their South African ‘cousins.’ Many teachers have started knitting or crochet groups in their schools.
How can my company or organization get involved?
If you are part of an organization which would like to partner with KAS, we’d love to hear from you! Offering your services as a drop-point for squares and then sending those squares off on behalf of knitters and crocheters is a great way for businesses to engage with the local community. Other options include having a square knitting competition internally, or sponsoring a South African crèche distribution financially. If you’d like to talk to someone about possibilities for corporate involvement in KAS, let one of the moderators or administrators on the forum know and we’ll put you in contact with the right people.
How to Sign up for PayPal in 7 Easy Steps
These instructions may vary by country but essentially you will be able to create a PayPal account by adapting these steps and following the prompts on the PayPal pages.
- Google Search ‘PayPal sign up.’ Add your country to the search line.
- Click on PayPal link.
- If provided, watch the video about PayPal:
- Somewhere on the page, click on ‘Sign Up for Free’ (or variation of same):
- After listing your country and language preferred, click on the Personal option:
- Fill in your information:
You are now ready to make a donation to help the volunteers in South Africa help the children stay warm.
CLICK HERE to make your donation.
Miscellaneous Square Questions
How will I know that my squares have arrived?
About once a month, a new Square List will be published. These lists contain the sender names and a summary of the contents of each of the packages that have been opened during that month. Don’t worry if it takes a few months to see your name on the lists – very, very few packages have ever been lost, but the postal system is often very slow and there is often a large backlog of packages yet-to-be-opened in South Africa.
I still need help! My question isn’t on this list!
No problem! We’ve got a category in the Square Circle forum where you can get answers to whatever KAS-related questions you have. Go
here and click the Add button to post your question, and another member will soon be along to help you out!