Creativity and Ramblings from the heart of NYC and around the World

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Compassion...Near and Far

On my way to and from the factory each day, from my hotel, I knit. I know, you're shocked. Inevitably I am asked by Mag what it is that I am knitting. This trip I was alternating between a 12" square for an Afghan Drive For Victims/Survivors of Katrina (more on that later) and a cotton washcloth (cotton really makes my hands ache after a while!) for Cloths for Katrina.

Later that day I plopped a pile of US magazines to share with the girls and on top was the copy of people from last week with a cover story on Katrina. The girls asked Mag to translate what they were looking at. Only one had heard a little about it on the radio. The looks of horror, shock, sadness and unrest that fell across them all was exactly how I'm sure we've all been feeling. Then Mag asked me, "Could we knit a square for an blanket?" Of course I said YES...
And thus it began... Mag went about her way to show the article and talk to all of the gals to see who might want to knit a square. Not only were these gals who live in nice dorms here (and send much of their paycheck home to far off towns) jumping at the chance, they were excited to be able to help people out who had lost everything...even though they live on the other side of the world.

Fu, (pictured left) who's job it is to clean the offices and take care of customers (like me) when we're here... Fu-Tsi knit the first square last night -- Eva...I've finally met someone who knits FASTER THAN YOU! Who knew it was possible!!! Mag asked Fu-Tsi if she'd be willing to teach people to knit if they wanted to learn. She GLOWED with excitement and pride. She's been so good to me and, being fairly new to the region, this project was bringing her a whole new world of respect from the ladies here. Very wonderful to watch!

Today we went to the fabric market so that I could find the remaining fabrics and trims to work with for the new line I'm designing. In the van on the way Mag, Candy (pictured above) and I were all knitting squares --- made me feel like some kind of knitting charity missionary! When everything in my list had been found at the market, we went to the other part of the the yarn market (photo left.) These are photos from the market where I picked out 32 large hanks of yarn and we bought 25 sets of 8.00mm bamboo needles. Above right you see Mag and Lee negotiating a price for the needles. We also picked up a winder as the yarn comes unwound in batches of 5 hanks per larger hank. The gals will knit 2 strands together for a thick and cushy feel.

We returned to the factory after a lovely lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant... and Mag went about chatting up the girls again that they yarn and needles would be available tonight!
I set up the winder and they brought a makeshift spinning holder that they use for a much heavier braid (it works!) Slowly ladies came thru and picked up needles and yarn. Some of them wanting to wait for a certain color or to take it to wind themselves. A few left immediately and came back a few minutes later with friends!

After everyone had begun...I brought out the big guns --- Reese's Peanut Butter Cup mini's for everyone!!! I knew they'd come in handy when I packed them!! :-)
It's warming to the heart to watch this. Amazing what one little square can do!
They have a goal to send me a box with all of the squares they can knit in 10 days! WOW! Now...What's going to happen to these squares???

So glad you asked! Add Sonni to the picture! Ladies in her church will put these squares together into afghans and they will send these finished afghans to a church in Jackson, MS and a church in Houston, TX who will then distribute them to those in need!

How can YOU HELP???
Make a square and send it along!!!


See, It's FUN!

Guidelines are as follows:

1. 12" squares ~ Crocheted or Knitted
2. Any color or fiber of yarn appreciated!
3. ANY pattern you choose would be wonderful (The more a variety of patterns, the more stunning the afghan...)
4. Please do not finish off the squares, that will be done when the assemblier is piecing the afghans together.

PLEA for YARN donations - if you don't feel you want to contribute
to being a square maker - would you enterain the idea of donating yarn?
If so, the guidelines for yarn donations are as follows:

1. There are no yarn guidelines
a. any color
b. any fiber
c. full or used skeins/balls welcome
d. any kind of home (smoking, non-smoking, pets, etc)
Any yarn or square donation will be greatly appreciated.

Send 12" Squares and/or Yarn to:

Sonni Strong
321 Howard ST. #4
Medina, OH 44256

Please be sure to email Sonni that you are sending package!
Her email:

I must get back to work...something difficult with the lovely sound of the ball winder whooshing and the ladies all giggling and chattering in Mandarin as they knit...

These are my kind of people!!!

Happy Tuesday all!


Anonymous Dani said...

This, and your cookie post below, have me crying - but in a good way. People connecting and making little bots of a dofference - forget the governements and the red tape and the BS, cookies CAN bridge gaps and squares CAN make a difference. Thank you Kimberli, this was JUST what I needed today.

11:05 AM

Anonymous Dani said...

apparently the crying thing messed up my typing, and my i's becaome o's - but you know what I meant, you can read typo ;-)

11:06 AM

Blogger kmckiernan said...

What a wonderful story and a great way for people to come together! I'll be mailing yarn soon to the address you posted!

4:36 PM

Anonymous ck said...

How cool that so many of them wanted to contribute!

That yarn stall looks fantastic...I can't believe the colors. Would I want to puke if you said how much it sells for? Not sure if yarn there is less expensive or not.

I know you're working, but enjoy the rest of your trip!

5:07 PM

Anonymous Siow Chin said...

Kimberli, what a heartwarming post! It is really touching to see those lovely ladies putting their needles together for a good cause and they themselves have little to start with. Brava to you!! Can't wait to see you soon.

9:11 PM

Anonymous Eva Shiu said...

Kimberli, I've already prepared some yarn for blanket squares. Hopefully, I can pass you a few on 24 Sept.

I can sure you will bring back a lot of squares back to US. All those Chinese knitters have turbo hands !

5:07 AM

Anonymous Nichola said...

What wonderful people!

9:32 AM

Anonymous marjorie said...

wow all the girls learn to knit and give! Maybe we should all gather on the 24th and knit squares.

1:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what an absolutely crazily inspiring and heartwarming thrilling post. Kim YOU ROCK!!
LOVE seeing all the pics too...this is all so wonderful!

Did I miss where to send yarn to?
Let me know
I will pass this on!!

9:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will make some squares myself and send her. Perhaps I can round some other up to help. xx Mom

1:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey sweets, it's Darlene again.
I reposted this on the livejournal fiberarts community. Go check it out because you'd be the best on to answer the questions/comments that are being posted to it:

thanks babe. :)muchlove, Darlene

6:00 PM

Blogger Catherine Kerth said...

thats amazing! i am speechless:)

12:25 AM

Blogger emy said...

Wow, that's knitterly love all around the world!

9:33 AM

Anonymous Kay said...

I love this story. xox Kay

2:39 AM


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