Over 5000 Squares

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More than 5000 squares this month

Here it is!

I thought you would be as excited, as we are, by the amazing milestone we reached this month since the last ezine:

March 27 03 09: 1831 squares; 9 vests; 22 sweaters; 1 shrug; 2 hats

And at 23 04 09: 5119 squares; 78 sweaters; 90 hats, 39 vests, 32 others (knitted bibs, shrug, toys, jackets)

This is, in a word, INCREDIBLE! Thank you all for this truly fantastic effort. Here, to share with you, is the world of warmth and colour you are creating.



Collecting, sorting and bundling blankets
- our remarkable SCC volunteers
A sewing day at Moletsane Parish,
Soweto April 25 2009
More children receive blankets
Jamey and his sweater
The inaugural knit-a-square
on the go day - May 2nd
New projects
–Zeverfontein Creche May 16 2009
–Jabulani Khakibos Kids

Crochet and knit pain free and your health


Laura's baby
The race for April
Facebook members
Cindy's remarkable story



There is so much in the ezine, I hope you will take your time to read it and enjoy the fruits of your hard work.

The great work our SCC volunteers do

The Soweto Comfort Club ladies were very busy during the month, collecting, opening, sorting and organising. It is hard to imagine the sheer volume your efforts represent. But here are some great photographs of the piles of squares, laid out blankets and bundled blankets. We are always so pleased to hear from you, if you recognise your squares. (See Cindy's remarkable story below).

Ronda and Jo, (Josephine) meet every Monday afternoon and then again with Lindiwe, Florence and Sonja every Thursday, often with help from others, Erin and her friends as well. On one occasion with Helen, the 80 year old mother of a crocheting contributor from Florence, Lynne. Helen is an avid knitter and keen to help. We are very grateful for her, and all the other volunteers, help.

They work all day, collecting from the post office, opening the parcels, sorting and bundling the squares into blankets. They also use this time to plan the sewing meetings and distribution of the blankets.

Jo and Lindiwe are in touch with many different communities across Soweto, Phiri, Moletsane Squatter Camp, (pronounced mor-let-sar-nay), the Methodist Church squatter camp, White River and Protea South Squatter camps, where little Jamey lives, to name a few.

As more squares arrive, there are other volunteers who will become involved both in sorting and in sewing. But as with any growing endeavour, we will cross these bridges as we come to them.

It is work they all love dearly, as Ronda wrote earlier in the month: "what an AMAZING thing it is to sort through these squares and re-read the notes and so on … it is SO heart-warming that all these wonderful women (and men) put SO much effort into the making of 100s of beautiful little squares – the colours, the workmanship and talent, the caring and kindness, the enthusiasm and the pure generosity is truly uplifting. How do you adequately express thanks ?!!

Sewing day at Moletsane

Last Saturday Ronda set off with a car load of bundled blankets to meet Jo and Lindiwe at the church that serves the Moletsane squatter community.

They were met there by Father Mgozo and Debra Sebuse, who was responsible for organising Jamey's wheelchair, and lots of volunteer sewers. Father Mgozo is a great supporter of knit-a-square.

There is a wonderful video in the making of the women singing a welcome song, some of the children receiving their blankets and the women sewing.

I hope to have it ready in a week or so before I send you the mid May ezine which will tell you all about the WORLD knit-a-square-on-the-go day!

There are many remarkable women, mostly elderly, often 'AIDS grannies' who have lost their children to HIV AIDS, and who now look after their grandchildren and other AIDS orphans in the area.

Many of these people have disabilities too, and in a country with minimal social security benefits, these women must do whatever they can to house, clothe and feed themselves and their charges.

Jo does a 'WoolWorths' (a supermarket chain in South Africa) run on a weekly basis collecting the perishable foods which did not sell that day and then distributes it to as many women as she can in these areas.

These courageous women literally do daily battle to help those they care for survive. We have bundled blankets for many of them to sew and distribute to their charges and those of their neighbours. We hope very soon to have photographs of some of these children in their homes with their blankets.

I have included individual photographs of some of the women sewing at the Moletsane sewing day as a tribute to their courage and strength. They are greatly excited by the knit-a-square project and have 'taken it to their hearts' according to Jo and Lindiwe.

It is humbling to receive these accolades, from across the oceans, for the work we are doing so far away from the daily grind of their lives.

1. Elizabeth Sithole

2. Elizabeth Malekel

3. Leticia Sehuretshe and Sarah Sasa. Leticia is responsible for the ladies' church activities during the week at the Parish Centre. Sarah's special task involves sorting out squares to be sewn together.

4. Letecia Williams. She also one of the senior care-givers at the Parish.

5. Adelaide Msobela and Elizabeth Mokuane

6. Elsie Falatsa, 68 years old, and Maggie Tsele (grey hat and glasses).

Elsie Falatsa is the sole guardian of four people, three of whom are orphans Nthabiseng, a 15 year old girl; Maletsema, a 13 year old girl, Letlotlo, a 12 year old boy, and the fourth is a 35 year old man with epilepsy. She buys food using the government grant she receives for the three orphans which is,in total, R480 per month (US$56, 42
euros, AUS$77).
Blankets are being sewn together for distribution to them all.

7. Julia Ramafalo, Suzan Mateitsane, Adelina Masepa, Winifred Mbatha

8. Pogiso Radebe. Pogiso is hosting the next distribution event in the grounds of the Methodist church which serves her squatter camp. Mosimodi Sebuse, Merriam Makenete who is legally blind, Christina Sehale, Leticia Sehuretshe. Many of this population lose their eyesight through untreated glaucoma.



Some of the children who received blankets on the day

Ronda wrote this morning to tell me that tragically, one of twins, Malusi and Mluleki Buthelezi (7 month olds) who should have been there on Saturday passed away the week before.

Deborah from Moletsane is delivering a blanket to the surviving twin, Mhuleki, this week. One of your blankets will warm and comfort this little child.

Tshepiso (right) is an adorable 6 year old, special needs child who is also disabled in her left hand and foot. Ronda said she was SO smiley and happy. She goes to Phillip Kuseligh special needs school and is looked after by her guardian, Mary Mbelele who has a special needs son of her own, Sello.

Mary is unemployed and is one of the many people who receive food handouts, through Josephine, from WoolWorths on a weekly basis. In this way they donate over a million rands worth of food a month throughout South Africa. it is so heartening to know that their are corporations with good hearts helping people like Mary and Tshepiso. The video of Tshepiso is so touching it will bring a lump to your throat. (Coming next week.)

Kamogelo is 7 years old and is in Grade 2 at the Ithuteng Primary School in Soweto. Her brother Lucas, 9, also received a blanket. Their mother is HIV positive, still alive but unable to care for them so they live with their grandmother in the Moletsane Parish.

Mpho Moloi is 16 years old and is a grade 3 pupil at a special needs school, Willowmead. She is taken care of by her 74 year old grandmother, Lina Moloi.




The inaugural WORLD knit-a-square on the go day - May 2nd

Well it may only be in two cities in the world and the Kruger National Park, South Africa, but we feel that the effort that has been put in, particularly by Kyla and Andrea in Toronto, warrants the title!

For those of you new to the knit-a-square community, Kyla and Andrea have organised a stall at a crafts fund-raising day for Interim Place, (a counselling and shelter service for abused women and children). The event is at Port Credit High School, Mississauga on May 2nd.

They are asking folk passing by to sit at the table, have a cup of tea and a chat and knit on a few rows to a square. When they choose to move on, they leave the partially knitted square on the chair and the next person picks it up to knit a few more rows.

When we heard, we suggested we try to do the same thing in Melbourne and Johannesburg. Fortunately for the Melbourne contingent, it happens to be our local strip shopping centre's annual fiesta. We have hired a very small marquee to be placed right in the middle of the street. Zanny, Kalai, Cressida, Roger, various friends and I will be there handing out flyers and encouraging people to 'have a go, knit a row.

Erin was not quite as fortunate in finding a suitable venue at such short notice, so she and some friends are going away to Kruger and will knit with the elephants as company. She hopes to host a home event soon with every one she knows invited to attend.

What we would like these events to do, apart from creating awareness in new communities and making more squares, is to serve as a learning experience for a much bigger event on March 28 2010. Kyla suggested this day, as that is when Jamey received the first blanket.

On that day we would hope to have HUNDREDS of cities, towns, villages, schools and homes involved across the globe. It doesn't have to be a big event for you to be involved. In some ways it is an extension of the crochet or knit anywhere, anytime idea. And it is a great way to keep spreading the word.

Before this day, Kerry has had the okay to attend the i-knit-weekender event in London to do a knit-a-square-on-the-go event in September. That is what spawned the whole idea in the first place. I hope those of you who live in the UK may be able to lend her a hand. If so contact her on the forum forum.

I will send you photographs and stories of all three events in the Mid May ezine.



Jamey and his sweater from Russia

A young woman from Russia wrote to Kyla in her Square A Day live journal: "May I knit a sweater for Jamey? Whats climate in South Africa? Please give me his size. I am from Russia. I have never been in Africa. For me, it's hot magic place with crocodile and hippo."

So Ronda made inquiries to find out Jamey's age and size from his carer Selina. The story that came back from her is quite heart-breaking. This is what she wrote back:

His guardian is his grandmother, Selina Nthuseng, who will be 70 next year, and they live in the Protea South squatter camp, not far from Phiri.

Jamey’s full name is Mokoena James Ramojansi and he was born on 30th May 2001 so he is nearly 8 years old.

He is able to write with assistance but very sadly, cannot attend school because Selina can’t afford the school fees at the special needs school in Soweto, and neither can she afford the transport costs to get him there every day. So this poor child sits at home day in and day out while all his little mates go off to school. He wears a nappy, cannot walk unassisted and has no speech as he has not had the correct therapy for that. Selina says he is very responsive and lively though – and loves being spoken to, as we clearly saw when he received his blanket.

During the day, when Selina needs to go out, he is cared for by a neighbour called Zukiswa Poshane, so they are not completely without a support system, but they are also on the Woolworths food run and their house in the squatter camp is apparently very small – so they are among the poorest of the poor, bless their hearts. He will love his sweater when he receives it.


Zeverfontein squatter camp crèche and our other projects

Youth project workers from St Vincents de Paul society, Tonia and Lindi spoke to Ronda recently, after she had delivered a talk to over 2 500 people over three services at her Church about knit-a-square. (so brave!).

They asked if it would be possible to provide squares for blankets for 30 children in the Zevernfontein squatter camp crèche they support. It is an extremely poor area. Jo and Lindiwe have sewn over 40 blankets between them and Sonja, Ronda and Erin a whole lot more, so Ronda believes we will be able to do this very soon. Tonia and Lindi have offered to stitch blankets together as well.

On May 16, Pogiso Radebe is hosting a distribution event in the grounds of the Methodist church which serves her squatter camp.

Jen Price from Ten Thousand Homes has been in touch with Ronda. They are co-ordinating delivery of 105 blankets, and many of the sweaters and hats for the children of Molestane and Kabokweni. I have a new list of the children now with their ages and sizes which will be on the site as soon as there is a quiet moment to get it done. In the meantime, Kerry from the Forum has it and you can contact her for details. She is also keeping a list of those of you who have chosen to knit or crochet for a particular child.

Jabulani Khakibos Kids is an organisation that looks after 35 homeless street orphans, all boys. We have been in touch with them with a view to providing each of the boys with a hat and blanket and are just waiting for details of their ages and sizes.


New on the site

Knit-a-square.com, will soon have a forum in site. This is because part of my work is to ensure that the search engines continue to find knit-a-square and rank it highly. That way more knitters and crocheters will find us and contribute to the project. Google, in particular, rates a site highly when there is a lot of activity on it. So it is logical for there to be a forum on site. I do hope that once it is up you will support it, knowing that by doing so you are helping to make sure others like you finds knit-a-square, which means more squares, more blankets ...... more warm children!

So on that subject good folk, time to visit the site again to make sure that those engines know that knit-a-square is well and truly on their funny little 'spider' map!

Pain Free Knitting and crocheting
More seriously though, during the April Race I was alarmed to see how many of you were suffering wrist, arm and neck niggles or worse pain. So I contacted a great friend of mine who is a Pilates trainer and remedial masseur and she has kindly given me guidelines for knitting and crocheting PAIN FREE.

I hope that you will read it and put in place some of the many suggestions to ensure that you can crochet and knit pain free. Most importantly if you are suffering any pain at all, then stop the activity you are involved in. We are going to devise a sheet of stretches, good for the neck, shoulders, upper back, arms and wrists as a download. Please be careful with yourself.

If any of you have read the 'a tale about us' you may remember that, near the bottom, I mention only ever placing products on the site that may be of help, relevant or appropriate. Well as this was a page about health, there is a reference to a health program, Great Taste No Pain, that changes lives (mine included). You can download the free four day eating plan and see for yourself, if you happen to be one of the extraordinary 70 million people in the USA alone and millions of others world wide, who suffer from IBS, bloating, crohn's disease or diverticulitus. This eating plan also helps calcium uptake for osteoporosis and arthritis and, as a rather enjoyable bonus,you tend to lose weight.

Site map
Don't forget the site map. As the site gets bigger, this is a really easy way to find your way around.

Well I have started them. Phew. I did not expect this to be such a huge job. My personal goal in the April Race was to complete all 16 pages, but so far I have only finished three. Yarn weights, together with your compiled wisdom on the subject and also hats. I have included an area on the hats where you could enter patterns for your favorite hat pattern. Also you should see the beautiful hats made by Mary and Bellalou. Kyla has very kindly done the research and sent me a list of cheap yarn sites. The next one to tackle is post.

PR and Press
The girls (Kalai and Cressida) and I just had our photographs taken for an article on knit-a-square in the local newspaper. We have put a press kit together which is now available for download on the Spread the Word page. It contains a press release, photographs of postal collection, parcel opening, blanket organising and distribution, and a promotional piece on the Teacher's Resource. If you feel you can, please send it to your local paper. The more we spread the word, the more blankets on AIDS orphans.


Must have tee-shirts
Don't forget our knit-a-square store. We have just received the tee shirts we ordered, they are great and we will be wearing them tomorrow. Also in the store is the cutest teddy bear and a knitting tote with the Square Circle logo on it.



Community News

CONGRATULATIONS! Laura (Ravelry.com moderator) has had her baby. Tristan was born on Wednesday April 22, 2009 weighing 7lbs 2 oz. He is just a beautiful little boy with perfectly formed features. Congratulations Laura and Chris. We look forward to photographs soon to share with you, although those of you on the ravelry group will have seen him already.

THE RACE: The Race for April in ravelry.com (261 members) was quite frenetic in the last few days. I can't tell whether we reached the magic 600 number mark, it would certainly be close, but here is Kerry's great spreadsheet from the three groups on April 20.

Another update! As at 10.47pm GMT 19.04.09
Paulette Pronk -Forum -78 (1 Hat & 2 vests)
Kyla (squareaday-) -Ravelry- 57
Vortex’s Grandma- Forum -24
Vortex12- Forum- 20
Dumelaisuzu- Ravelry -20
Mbreeding- Forum- 19 (4 hats)
Kmouse2 -Forum- 19
Bellalou- Ravelry -17 (3 hat)
Kokkole- Ravelry -17 (8 hats & 5 Vests)
Jeanne- Forum -15
Andrea- Forum- 12
Christine- Forum -12
Dnadiva- Ravelry- 12
Gerda- Forum- 11
RhondaH- Ravelry- 9
Lola- Facebook -8
Beeper- Ravelry- 7
Kerry Paris- Forum- 7
Bev -Forum- 6
Zanny- Facebook- 5
Kalai- Facebook -5
Tinastouch- Ravelry- 4 (1hat)
Dochas22 -Forum -4
Ruth - Ravelry- 4
Diana Valle -Facebook -3
Lalaree -Ravelry -3
Liz -Ravelry -2
RachaelR- Ravelry -1
Kbeck -Ravelry- 1
Erin -Forum -1
Michelle Gibson- Facebook- 1
Well done girls thats 404 squares and an average of 21.3 a day now.


Paulette, you are definitely a super star. What this also shows is how squares can mount up just a few at a time. Fabulous work everyone and Kerry, thank you so much for taking on the detailed spreadsheet tally.

Face Book now has 306 members. There are some amazing photographs of hats and squares. Kalai is doing a grand job of moderating this group.

If you haven't joined the groups, please think about it. There is a wonderful sense of community and shared effort.


Cindy's remarkable story

I had just written the line at the top of the ezine about wanting to hear from you if you recognised your squares when I received an email from Cindy. It must have been late at night her time, as it was morning here, but I was able to write back and ask her if I could publish it in the ezine, to which she happily agreed. I am sure you will agree this is quite remarkable and a truly amazing story. She wrote:

"Sandy -I was just reviewing the Square Circle e-zine for April 7, 2009 and saw the most amazing thing.

About 18 or 20 years ago I was experimenting with, what for me, was a new technique, the afghan stitch or maybe it's known as Tunisian crochet. The blanket I was going to make had 5 strips which were to be joined together after the strips were finished. My neighbor, Vera, who was in her late 70s wanted to help. (She passed away about 10 years ago.) She did the white strips and I made 3 mint green strips. Unfortunately, when they were done and she had put them together (she crocheted, I didn't know how) the blanket was not what I had envisioned: lop-sided, different-looking styles, and uneven. I wasn't sure how to correct it, so I stashed it in the closet. Two or three years ago I was de-cluttering and that blanket, as far as I knew, went to the Goodwill. Imagine my surprise when I saw it wrapped around Little Lerato. I immediately recognized it and started to cry for all the excitement. Just think, Sandy, 18 or 20 years ago, God was already working through me and Vera to make a blanket to keep Little Lerato warm; even before she was born!! And half a world away. I am totally awed. (. . . God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28)

I would love to know who sent it to you and how they came upon it. I have attached a picture of my husband and I so Lerato can put a face to us. Without a doubt we will keep her and her brother in our prayers as we do our other 2 children.

Thank you so much for all you have done for this good work. My further prayer is that each child who receives a blanket, or cap or vest feels the arms of the Creator (or creator) enfold them each time they wear it or snuggle under it, Cindy"

I hope that if you do recognise those strips you will let us know.


Some lovely group memorabilia


From the'knit and sip sisters' Michigan, Laurie from Cape Cod, Anne from South Africa, Mark from South Africa, Anne from Canada, the Mulberry Grove Baptist Church. Wonderful large contributions have also been received from Mary from Florence, Dawn from Spanish Canary Isles, Treales Church of England Primary School, Lancashire, Mountain View Community Church, the Knitting Group, Suffolk, Parham Rendezvous Knitting Group in Suffolk



The squares and garments that had arrived up to 23 04 09

Ronda and Sonya spent hours re-entering all the data into an excel spread sheet in alphabetical order. I am happy to tell you that only one parcel up until now, appears to have gone missing, and it may still arrive. While that is very sad, most postal systems around the world expect a small percentage of post to be mislaid, so given the hundreds of parcels that have arrived, we are really thrilled to know this.

For tonight I have had to take screen shots of the excel documents to send you the stats, not an ideal way! I hope they are clear enough for you to read. Please bear with us as we work our way through these administrative details. Also I would be very grateful if you cannot see your name, if you would wait until the next ezine to contact me. They may still be in the post, or not in the last weeks collection. Many thanks for your patience. Thank you again for not only for your wonderful work, but for the spirit in which you work. I hope you can see that it is making a difference, not just for the children who are receiving blankets, but for the grandmothers and carers who look after them and indeed for everyone who is involved in this project. Until next time, you are in our thoughts, Sandy


Squares received up to 23 04 09