Your knitted squares for charity (with ends unwoven) can help poverty-stricken Lakota families
I have a simple question for you, charity knitter: do you enjoy knitting squares but hate weaving in ends? Maybe you don’t actually hate it, but boy, you’d be thrilled if there was a time when you didn’t have to weave in a single blessed yarn end.
If you’re nodding in agreement right now… I have great news for you! Now you can knit for charity — for a fantastic cause — and you can knit all the squares you want without having to weave in a single end of yarn!
Does this sound too good to be true? Read on!
Welcome to Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation
A few weeks ago, you may have read about the Pine Ridge Reservation in my post about For the Children of Pine Ridge. So if you’re wondering if this group serves the very same reservation, the answer is yes.
A quick refresher in case you haven’t had a chance to read the article about that group: the Lakota people living on the Pine Ridge Reservation experience perhaps the most desperate poverty in all the United States. In addition to having an incredibly high unemployment rate, the life expectancy is extremely low — 47 for men and early 50s for women. Teen suicide is also 4 times the national average.
Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation is a great way for new knitters or experienced knitters who love to whip through a lot of pieces of charity knitting to help. The knitter’s job is to knit squares of any size (6” and 12” are preferred, but really any size can be used, so don’t worry about a square not being exactly this size) and send them into one central location.
Here’s one of the best parts, to me: a Lakota woman named Pam takes each square and lovingly seams them together into blankets. She then sends the blankets either to Pine Ridge Reservation social service agencies or to individual families that have requested them. I just love the picture this creates in my mind.
Never You Mind Those Ends!
So, you might be asking, what was all that I said earlier about not having to weave in ends? It is 100% true, and here’s why: Pam wants to make absolutely sure that every square that becomes part of a blanket is structurally sound and won’t unravel in the washing machine or with years of use. So she asks knitters (and crocheters) not to weave in ends. Not a single one. Whenever you change yarn, leave that end out! She asks for ends of no less than 4 inches and no more than 8 inches. She will painstakingly weave these ends in herself before seaming the squares together.
One other request she makes: do not knot an end and then cut the yarn close to the knot. Knots are perfectly acceptable, if you don’t feel comfortable letting a yarn end dangle when you change yarns. You just need to cut the yarn no closer than 4 inches away from the knot. Pam will happily undo the knot and weave the end in, but if the end is cut too close to the knot, she will not only struggle to undo the knot, but she also might not be able to weave the end in at all.
If you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, that poor woman, weaving in all those ends and seaming all those squares! I would lose my mind!”, don’t worry. Pam enjoys it! She loves to while away evenings on her porch, weaving in ends and greeting her neighbors.
Other guidelines do exist for creating squares, of course. For all the other information you need, head to the Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation Ravelry group. Be sure to read the “Gentle Reminders (FAQ)” thread for all the pertinent information about the group, including guidelines and procedures.
On the board you’ll also find regular theme threads (that can be followed if you wish, but it’s not required) along with contests and photos.
If you prefer Yahoo! boards to Ravelry groups, Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation has one of those as well.
So knit those squares, let those ends wave free, and know that you’re helping to keep a Lakota family warm at night. What a lovely way to knit for charity!