This discussion aims to give you an up-close and personal look at what happens on opening days at the Knit-a-Square barn. I'm a partially-sighted volunteer who who attends with my guide dog Tango and my driver Bongi, who has also become a keen volunteer. While everyone else opens parcels, sorts squares and packs items ready for distribution, I listen and take mental notes so I can pass on something of the atmosphere on the ground. Enjoy!
In mentioning the end of the tax year, I forgot to add that, as a non-profit organisation, we don't pay tax; however, the end of the tax year is when the Knit-a-Square books get audited. We've had a good year, thanks to the tremendous support of our members, and this has enabled us to meet all our financial commitments without worry. Ronda told me yesterday that KAS is the best tenant in the business park according to the managing agent, not just because we rent the biggest space but because we consistently pay on time. What an amazing position to be in for a charity, especially in the tough economic climate gripping South Africa at the moment!
Yesterday's opening day was a little different in that Ronda called in sick and couldn't attend. She had fallen ill with pneumonia and had to visit the physiotherapist to ease the congestion in her chest. Estelle and Thomas drove to her house to fetch the van, which was full of parcels collected from the post office the day before. When they arrived back, everyone piled in to help offload, and then we saw the real energy of the KAS volunteers express itself.
From my safe place at the sorting table, I could just make out that there was a line of volunteers stretching from inside the van to the corner where the parcels get stacked. I think Mabel was at the head of the line; certainly,, it was her name that everyone was calling as the packages flew through the air! She was having a marvellous time, tossing packets and boxes to whomever was free to catch them, and the packages went from hand to hand into the pile. I expect this is what the postal workers do too, although I was a little worried that something would pop and spill all over the place. Happily, the ladies are more skilled than that, and nothing got broken or damaged. Soon, the entire contents of the van were piled in the corner, and the volunteers were all whooping and dusting their hands with satisfaction.
Up until the arrival of the mail, we had been attending to last week's backlog of squares on the sorting table. Often, squares arrive which are a little hard to match, either because of size or texture. More effort is required to make up bundles for blankets, but it is always a relief when these squares do find buddies and can be cleared from the sorting table.
Conversely, sometimes squares come in which are perfectly sized and even colour-co-ordinated into batches. Yesterday, for example, Megan opened a parcel from Plymouth and was elated to find in it 6 sets of 10 and 2 sets of 5 co-ordinating squares, exactly the right amount to make up 2 complete blanket packs. These kind of finds are exciting and produce exclamations of gratitude from the volunteers. While we certainly don't expect squares to come in like that, it is a treat when it happens.
I met Linda yesterday, a local woman who pops in from time to time to collect squares that cannot be incorporated into blankets because they are either oddly shaped or full of holes [yes, we receive all sorts, including unrelated unfinished objects] which she unravels and knits up again into striped blankets. Nothing goes to waste. While purists might doubt whether a blanket made of scrap yarn could ever turn out well, the result of combining all the assorted thicknesses, consistencies and colours of yarn is actually beautiful.
Estelle also brought in a blanket she had made up out of small, oddly-sized squares in bright colours. She crocheted around each square in black until they could be easily fitted together into a standard-sized blanket. The effect it produced was like a stained glass window with lead in-between, really striking.
Yesterday's distribution was to Orlando East, run by Nani and Thomas, so look out for pictures of that coming up.
I will be away for the rest of March as my husband and I are travelling to London to visit my daughter Tammy who is studying at Kings College. I will be back after Easter to attend and report on another opening day, so here's wishing all of you a blessed season. May those of you who have endured snow-storms and other forms of heavy weather soon find solace in spring.
Finally, best wishes to Ronda for a speedy recovery
Thank you Leanne for alerting everyone on the forum for Ronda's need for positive prayers and love - we hope that she will resist the temptation to return to the KAS Barn before she is completely well! So glad that the team are able to keep everything running smoothly, and, with a good dose of fun too! We will miss your reports, but hope you and your husband have a wonderful reunion with your daughter in London.
Thank you so much for yet another wonderfully informative report, Leanne. I wish you a safe and happy visit with your daughter. xo
As Pam has said, I hope Ronda resists the urge to return to the KAS Barn until she is FULLY recovered...pneumonia is not something to be taken lightly.
What a great team in SA and always so happy in what they do...it is a joy to read about their KAS days and one can 'feel the love'.
Thank you Leanne, and enjoy your visit with your daughter. Poor Ronda ! Lots of rest and recuperation. The trusty volunteers will keep things going until you are well enough.
I do hope Ronda will rest and allow her body to heal, and relax knowing everything is under control.
Safe journey Leanne. Thank you for your eloquent, lyrical and warm hearted chronicles.
And to Linda, you are doing a labor of love so unique saving and recycling. Not many people would choose to do what you do. I admire you and the challenging work you chosen.Thanks for being there.