Afghans for Afghans - Mothers' Day Deadline!

The horrific events at Virginia Tech yesterday really made me think about compassion and what we should do for others. My younger brother attends V-Tech as a PhD student; he was home when the shooting occurred - Thank God Thank God Thank God - so he's fine.

If you haven't already heard of Afghans for Afghans, by all means take a few moments to look at their website. In short, Afghans for Afghans is a non-profit organization that sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets, hats, socks and other clothing items to families in Afghanistan to help keep them warm during their harsh winters with little indoor heat. A few years ago, Steph and I sent them a blanket and a few baby items. I just read on Mason-Dixon Knitting about the campaign to send baby blankets and garments to Afghanistan for Mothers' Day. Mothers' Day is the deadline for us to send them items so that they can get to Afghanistan by the time the weather turns cold.

I know there's no real connection between Virginia Tech and Afghans for Afghans, but hear me out. When something really awful happens, like the worst shooting in American history, it hurts my heart and makes me want to counter-act that with something good. I believe in balance in the Universe (this is one way I've retained some hope throughout the Bush Presidency; we've just got to have some better times coming to us!), and I also believe this balance is achieved by being pro-active. I want there to be more good and compassion in the world, so I have to act accordingly.

Now, Mothers' Day is a little less than a month away. Could I knit some hats and sweaters by then? Oh, sure. Could I knit a 40"x40" (the minimum size requested by the organization) baby blanket by then? Uh, maybe. Could several of us knit a baby blanket by then? Absolutely! I know I don't have a wide readership here, but it wouldn't take very many of us very long to knit enough for a baby blanket.

So here's my plan. It would take 25 8" squares to make a 40"x40" blanket. Anyone who wants to participate would knit as many 8" squares as he or she cares to and sends them to me by, say, May 5. That gives me almost a week to sew them up and send them off to Afghans for Afghans by Mothers' Day. So that the blanket or blankets have some consistency in the design (re: so they don't look like ass), here are some guidelines:

1. Read their memo on which fibers to use. Basically, everything has to be at least 75% wool or other animal fiber to be warm enough. This is essential.

2. No lacy or holey stitch patterns. These blankets are for warmth. Dense, reversible stitch patterns, like seed stitch, garter, basketweave, you get the idea, are ideal.

3. What about color? No whites or light colors, as they are hard to keep clean (this is on their website, too). Anything else is a go. I'll arrange what I get as best I can and do some kind of border to bring it together. If I get enough squares, I could make one blanket using cool colors (blues, greens) and another using warm colors (reds, yellows, oranges). Green is the beloved color of Islam.

4. What about color patterns? Images are not allowed, but stripes are fine, including self-striping yarns.

5. Yarn weight: I think worsted is the best choice for this project (18-20st=4"). It will knit up quickly and be nice and warm. Sport or fingering weight yarn could be doubled. This is a good way to use up leftover bits of yarn from other projects. 8x8" is basically a big gauge swatch.

Is this a good idea? Will you help me? Leave a comment or email me at: madtownmama (at) gmail and we'll get the ball rolling.


Thorny said…

I was actually rifling through my stash last night, trying to figure out if I had enough yarn bits to manage a 40x40 blanket on my own, in that short amount of time. Heck, even if I had the yarn bits, could I manage a blanket on my own in that amount of time? The verdict was no, and I was really discouraged and sad about it. But this... this I can SO do!

Thank you so much for arranging this!
Steph said…
Count me in too. We can knit 'em like crazy when I'm visiting next week. Wonderful idea, Suze. :)

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