It is more than high time for a Knit-a-square update! Here’s what this wonderful group of people have been up to over the past few months.
THE GREAT JOURNEY TO EVATON
Evaton is an informal settlement in the Emfuleni region of Gauteng (see map at right), one of the nine provinces of South Africa. Although Gauteng is the smallest province, it is the most populous and includes the urban cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Evaton was established in 1904 and was affected by violent unrest in 1984. KAS visited a Day Care Centre where 138 children, many from Zimbabwe, are cared for. This is a long journey of approximately 40 km (24 miles).
The children were very excited and lined up in neat rows for their warm tops and beanies, but all that changed when the toys came out! The children loved using their blankets to carry their “babies,” just as mothers do in South Africa.
KAS HELPS THE VICTIMS OF SHACK FIRES
A lack of land and housing, and a lack of access to electricity, water and emergency services contribute to an average of 10 shack fires per day. A devastating fire this past September destroyed around 100 shacks and left more than 350 people without homes and belongings. A delivery of five large boxes of items coincided with this large shack fire near Pietermaritzburg.
Then days later, there was another huge shack fire in the Kya Sands Informal Settlement area in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, close to the KAS office. KAS volunteers were able to fill the van with blankets, beanies, tops and second-hand clothing, as well as canned food, sugar, bread, jam, powdered milk, diapers, cereal and rice.
KAS HELPS CHILDREN OUTSIDE GAUTENG
The Lindelani Reformatory School has partnered with KAS to make a difference in the lives of children in and around the Stellenbosch area in the Western Cape. Elna Otter is an Occupational Therapist working for the Western Cape Government and has been receiving blanket packs from KAS. The squares are stitched into blankets by juvenile offenders between the ages of eight and 17. Under Elna’s guidance, the youngsters have chosen several outreach projects close to their hearts to benefit from the finished blankets, including projects for the elderly and those which benefit preschool children and babies.
The Peace Agency in Durban is another organization, similar to Hotel Hope, that receives assistance from KAS. KAS has been able to send boxes of contributions to the Peace Agency who, in turn, have handed these out to the communities they serve. One of the projects the Agency runs is The Baby House, a place where babies are nurtured, loved and cared for as they await the arrival of their “forever parents.” Cathy and Justin Foxton set up The Baby House on their private property in June 2010. To date, they have cared for 20 babies, with 16 having been successfully adopted. Cathy and Justin have also been involved in the establishment of three other homes. This year, a “baby safe” will be installed on the property, allowing mothers to safely and anonymously leave their unwanted babies in the care of The Baby House.
Thanks to the efforts of KAS contributors, a transport company and the generous donation of the KASvan, Knit-a-square has been able to assist organizations that are based many kilometres from Johannesburg, providing much needed help. KAS has shown those in need that people do care and life is worth living.
THE SQUARES – WEEK 43
This week’s squares started by me saying, “What if I did this?” to myself when I started a square. The result was a brand new pattern! David thinks the stitch looks like a waving flag, so I’ve called it the Flag Stitch. Square four uses a very dark blue, even though it looks black. Now I’m wishing I had used black – it would make a cute bumblebee pattern.
Square eight is a bonus square. The mother of a good friend of mine generously donated a bag of yarn and it included this colourful bobble yarn. I’m so excited to have some new colours to work with!
Work with an odd number of stitches. For an 8″ square, I used 25 stitches and a 6.5 mm hook.
Row 1: Sc across. Ch 1, turn.
Row 2: Sc in first stitch, ch 1; sc, ch 1 across; sc in last stitch. Ch 1, turn.
Row 3: Sc in first stitch, dc in ch-1 space of the previous row; sc, dc in ch-1 space across; sc in last stitch. Ch 1, turn.
Repeat rows 2 and 3, changing colours as desired. If ending the square with row 2, substitute with row 1 (a row of sc) to finish it off.
Square Count: 301
Bonus Squares: 3