Square Circle Forum

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!

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You're welcome.  :)) The least I could do in return for everything you share with us.

Leanne, your accounts are so interesting.  You must thank your husband and his colleagues for the wonderful contribution to Mandiba Day.

Ronda is irrepressible. You can't keep her down. She bounces right up wherever she or KAS are needed.She's an example to us all.

It was a balmy 18 degrees with no wind as Bongi and I arrived at the Knit-a-Square barn this morning. After a bitterly cold snap a week or two ago, the weather has become unseasonably warm, although we are expecting another cold front soon. At any rate, it was nice not to be freezing as we sat with the garage door open and worked on sorting squares.
I'm glad to report that the postal strike has ended, making it possible for a few parcels to get through. However, most of those which were caught up in the strike must still be under a mountain of unsorted mail because the parcel corner was looking very empty when we came in today. I'm wondering whether my suggestion that people reduce the number of parcels they send has affected the flow. The last two months have seen a noticeable drop in the number of squares we've received. As a result, we struggled to meet the demand for blanket packs from our gogo groups ahead of Mandela Day and found our stock of blankets to be very low.
Thankfully, a nearby private school, St Stithians, came through for us today. A teacher in the girls' prep school, Lisa Granger, has run a knitting contest among the older girls for the last four years in which the houses have competed to see which could produce the most squares. Last year the contest resulted in 4000 squares being donated, and this year saw a whopping 7000 come in! Ronda and Thomas took the van to collect them and they returned with piles of boxes and bags. The squares will keep us busy for weeks, until the flow of post resumes. isn't it amazing how the timing has worked out? We feel really blessed.
Chatting to Mabel, I learnt that her Mandela Day distributions in Carltonville all went well. It was a busy day with lots to do. In the morning, Mabel's husband Shadrack drove to two different gogo groups to fetch the blankets they had sewn up, since there weren't enough in the barn to cater for the 200 children she would be visiting. Then she and her husband went to three of the creches while Mampho, one of the women who oversees a gogo group, visited the other two. There was scarcely enough time to interact with the little ones and listen to their songs before they had to move on to the next creche; however, the last place was a residential facility for about 40 disabled children, so it didn't close in the afternoon. Mabel told me how sad it was to see several of the children confined permanently to bed while others sped around in wheelchairs. Both children and carers were very pleased to receive the blankets, hand-warmers and beanies she gave them.
Some gorgeous blankets came in today from Athele, containing some really lovely picture squares from Croatia and the Czech Republic. As always, it is inspiring to see what beautiful creations arise from the combination of so many different squares in a vast array of colours, patterns and yarns. Even if the squares we receive are plain and dull on their own, they take on a new life when they are incorporated into a blanket along with vivid tones and charming picture squares. Never think that your knitting/crocheting won't be welcomed. In fact, when you consider that it takes 35 squares to make a blanket compared to just two hand-warmers to make a set, not to mention that beanies and toys are stand alone items, it starts to make sense why we need so many squares compared to everything else. So, keep on making those lovely, snuggly squares and sending them in!

An amazing, uplifting recount, Leanne. Can't wipe the smile from my face.

Well done to Mabel, her hubby, Shadrack and Mampho for ensuring that as many squares as possible were collected in a timely manner.

So many people doing wonderful things in this report. How wonderful is Lisa Granger and the girls of St. Stithians??!! What an outstanding effort by them all.

A fabulous effort from all our crafters, sewers and volunteers...a love for the children that flows from all corners of our world.

Thank you, Leanne for bringing happiness to our day.

I wholeheartedly agree with Bev. Well done, Leanne and thank you for making KAS real for those of us who live so far away.

Thank you so much Leanne for this report. I would like to second Bev too, what more can I say, I so appreciate what you do! xx

I agree with the others, Leanne.  Your beautiful writing brings the KASbarn to life for us and helps us to realize just how important each and every contribution is!  xo

And I second Ben's comments xx

Thank you Leanne !  I third Bev's comments :-)

It's always a pleasure to read your reports, dear Leanne ... what a Godsend you are to KAS SA !  I feel as though you are writing about someone else and find myself smiling along with the overseas forum members as though I am learning something new each time !  What a wonderful talent you have, indeed, for descriptive writing !

Thanks also for your encouragement to our wonderful, amazing, creative contributors all over the world ... I am adding mine here as well.  We are so blessed by your loving and loyal support through the years, every single one of you !  

We are hoping for deluges of post to start coming in ... it always takes a while for the sorters to get going and the system to pick up momentum.  HUGS to everyone ... we are keen to up the momentum and try to reach the goal we have set for this year's blanket distributions, despite the various setbacks that have come along. At our board meeting yesterday we committed to distributing right up until the end of October, rolling beanies and handwarmer sets into the blankets, should the weather turn hot in the meantime.  We will let you know how that goes !!!  

Thank you Leanne for this interesting report!I love knitting hats for the children but as I understand,it is squares you are needing at the moment,the most.

my favorite squares are the corner to corner squares:-)So I will get knitting!

We seem to have had a very short winter. For the last few days, the weather has been growing consistently warmer, with the temperature hitting 29 degrees Centigrade as I write this! It's very balmy for August and i'm fully expecting another cold snap before winter is over, but it is rather lovely to smell the fragrance of spring flowers in the air!

Ronda celebrated her birthday on Sunday so there was a big chocolate cake with tea at the barn. I'm glad to report that Ronda is looking well and is back to her usual busy self. It's been quite an up-and-down year so far, both for her and Knit-a-Square, so we're grateful for her sustained energy.

Of particular concern to Ronda is the bank balance. We had a great start to 2018 with all the new Paypal sign-ups and once-off donations. The support from members is invaluable as it keeps us going from month to month. We still receive very little sponsorship from companies, although efforts to attract such sponsorship are ongoing. Mostly, we just have to keep costs as low as possible. The current situation with postal charges on received parcels and the recent petrol price hikes make it a struggle, but we trust our needs will continue to be met as they always have.

Meanwhile, the mail has begun to flow in again after the postal workers' strike ended last month. We received some wonderful completed blankets, as well as several parcels containing really lovely squares. The long work table is again covered in piles of squares in different colour schemes, and the volunteers managed to bundle up several blanket packs in the hour or so I sat with them. I spotted some gorgeous corner-to-corner squares knitted in gradient yarn, as well as some very useful "plain Jane" squares in pale pink. Also a box of 73 crocheted granny squares in various colours which will make interesting design features amongst the knitted squares.

For once, there were no collections, deliveries or distributions this week, so everyone got on with the job of sorting squares, photographing last week's completed blankets, and filling the shelves with stock for upcoming creche visits. Seeing the shelves fill up again is really great as we literally ran out of blankets around Mandela Day. Lots of distributions are being arranged for the next few weeks, so look out for news of those.

I will be having cataract surgery on my left eye in two weeks time, so won't be attending opening day or updating this blog until mid-September. To those of you in the northern hemisphere, I wish you a happy end to your summer. To those who, like us, are welcoming the birds returning from afar and delighting in the sprouting of new buds, may you feel energised and full of creative inspiration!

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Created by Linda Maltby May 2, 2018 at 8:26am. Last updated by Linda Maltby Aug 1.

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