Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dear Diary, We opened and sorted more lovely wool gifts yesterday ...

Ardis and Emily joined me at AFSC to open packages from all over the US (plus Canada and Surrey, England) for the people of Afghanistan. Then, we cruised around the changing neighborhood on a beautiful SF Spring day while El Nino was out. We were all too camera shy, but the garments are what you really want to see ...

131 newborn super-cute hand-knit wool socks ...

142 newborn super-cute hand-knit and crocheted wool hats ...

We also received a few hundred fantastic wool hats, socks, and mittens in other sizes. Thank you to all the generous and talented donors. We did not have time to sort and count everything.

Wanted to let you know that we are not yet showered by too many newborn items, so if you were worried that everyone would be knitting and crocheting only for babies, no fretting yet. We welcome more wool hats and and socks sized for newborns for the hospital. Please check our website guidelines for measurements.

Thought you would want to see this message about these newborn hats and socks knit in memory of Sgt Zachary Tellier ...

I found this tag in my file from 2008 ... thank you to our long-time knitter for this continuing tribute ...

We headed out to explore the transformed Art Deco furniture mart that is now home to Twitter. Mind-blowing changes to the area where we have been sorting and packing for Afghanistan since late 2001 in the basement of the Friends/AFSC building. Inside the historic SF furniture mart, we were greeted by this mural of women spinning and quilting ... looks like a WPA mural, although the security guard couldn't confirm ...

Twitter on the right. Dolby on the left. AFSC stuck in between the huge buildings filled with tech workers.

On the north side of Market Street, the last century ... with our favorite vegetarian place, where Judith always suggests not over-tipping since the funds probably go to the Mothership. Sometimes after packing, we stop in for lentil soup, NEATloaf, 9-grain bread, berry tea, and some knitting time. Hope the place never changes.

My, this post got long and meandering ... hopefully, interesting though. Why don't you tell us about your a4A projects here and something about your day or world? A chance for far-flung a4A friends to connect.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

We opened packages today at the AFSC Basement!

Long-time volunteer Christy from Seattle is visiting San Francisco. Guess what she did first thing after arriving on a rain-delayed fight ... No, not drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. No, not hop on the Cable Car to Ghirardelli Square. No, didn't head over to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.

Guess ... Christy helped me open boxes of wool gifts in the AFSC Basement! She didn't even take time for lunch after landing and dropping her luggage at the hotel, We sure do have wonderful, dedicated, generous volunteers!

Such a good time seeing the wool gifts that are starting to arrive. Here's Christy holding Louise's amazing collection of baby socks with colorful patterning. A lot of little feet are going to be warmer and happier because of Louise's talents!

These baby hats from Diane in Gold Country are a perfect design for newborns. The stretchy ribbing will be comfy on the baby's forehead and grow some with the baby. Christy brought Frangos for the packing volunteers -- SAVED for the next packing session as incentive! -- and I put the box in the photo to try to give perspective for the hats, but that didn't work. These hats are sized for newborns, although the hats appear larger in the photos. Oh, well.
Here's Christy with her own duffle of 100 knit wool hats that she hauled on the plane today. One hundred warmer Afghans next winter, thanks to Christy! We're all warmed by your generosity and energy. A true pleasure to have your involvement, and I am very glad we had the opportunity to see each other again today.
The beginnings of our boxes filling up with baby socks and baby hats for newborns ...
Heartfelt thanks to all who have mailed in packages so far. And, thanks to all working on wool garments now.

After the ASFC Basement, Christy went out swing dancing with her husband tonight at Le Colonial! FUN-FUN-FUN.

Anyone else coming to San Francisco over the next few months? Get in touch with me. I might have to start offering pick up service at SFO.

Friday, February 5, 2016

the new campaign is on

OK, everybody, look at this!

We are back in action!! No firm deadline yet, but there is time to knit a LOT of things. Baby hats and socks are always fun, and I like to make sure the bigger kids are not forgotten. For those of you who wonder why nothing for kids between newborn and 7? It's just a function of what agencies are able and willing to take things. As always, you do the most good by sending what's asked for. For one thing, it's polite, and for another, only those things on the list will actually be sent.

Over the next few days I'll post links to some patterns I've tested recently, but feel free to use your tried and true old favorites, as always.

We want to make a LOT of things for this campaign, so get those needles (and hooks) smoking!

Friday, November 20, 2015

A new campaign

Ann Rubin announced yesterday that there will finally be a new campaign! Probably early in 2016, but details are still being hammered out. I will let you know once guidelines for this one are finalized. It's been a long time -- it'll feel good to get some warmth into that troubled part of the world.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy 2015, everybody! Here in southeastern Pennsylvania, I am at the southernmost reach of a snowstorm that is just getting started and is predicted to be an amazing blizzard from here on up through New England. So I am thinking of mittens and hats and warm wool socks, and that makes me think of afghans for Afghans. I wanted to stop in and say hello.

When the last campaign ended in the fall, I had several things in progress that missed the deadline. Then there was an onslaught of birthdays, not to mention Christmas, and they all got tucked away. Now it's time to pull them out and finish them up. As you know, though, there's no ongoing campaign, and Ann is not currently collecting things to have "just in case." So my plan is to finish these things and put them in a box, hoping they'll match the next campaign. If they do not, I will send them somewhere in the U.S. and cast on new things for A4A.

Currently in the rotation: one pair of socks, with 1.5 socks completed; mittens with a cable down the back -- one almost done; and another pair of plain mittens in green, with one hand almost finished. I will post pictures as they join the "ready and waiting" pile.

What's everybody else working on?

I know sometimes it's frustrating that we have to wait to know about the next campaign, but it's important to make sure shipping is available and reliable, and it's equally important to send what is needed. Ann will let us know as soon as something becomes possible.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Domestic Road Trip Report

What comes in to the AFSC Basement ...

What goes out of the AFSC Basement ... here, Terrie and Tom on 9th Street, making sure our message is clear:

We crossed the Bay Bridge and headed east to Budd's staging area. Budd, the founder of Trust in Education, is on the left. Our cartons have the blue and blue/yellow (Go, Cal!) tape on the upper edges. This is for easy identification in transit and distribution. The blue/yellow combo is on the boxes of baby hats and socks for the maternity hospital.

Thankfully, Tom carried the boxes and drove the U-Haul truck for us. I don't know how anyone can safely drive a truck in a crowded city with bike riders, wandering people, and street construction around every corner. Tom was our man. And, if that isn't enough, you should know that when Tom was a kid, he taught himself to knit from an encyclopedia. Tom TRULY APPRECIATED all the cargo he was hauling -- he knows that our wonderful volunteer knitters and crocheters put in a priceless amount of labor, creativity, and caring into our wool gifts for the Afghans.

Driving back to U-Haul, we hit heavy traffic on the Bay Bridge, which turned out to be our reward ... enjoyed the finale of an orange sunset behind the silhouette of the city and even the GG Bridge on a rare clear evening.

Does anyone remember what chapter we're on?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

From Down in the AFSC Basement to
Over the Moon

Sue squeezes the last box shut with all her might and a huge smile ...
We never tired of seeing such adorable baby socks in a rainbow of colors for the new babies at the maternity hospital in Kabul ...
The cartons are all packed and inventoried. Took a stroll by the AFSC conference room on the way out and admired how our artful banner hangs on the wall after all these years ... some of you may remember seeing the banner at Stitches West or other events in the past ...
And, then the moon rises over San Francisco. The Afghans enjoyed this same moon about 11 or so hours ago, assuming their sky was clear. Hope you saw the moon wherever you were tonight.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just finished 4 more little wool hats to get in the mail tomorrow. Pink with purple stripes,  two tone purple, red and rust tweeds.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

September 8

That's the just-announced due date for school kids' socks, mittens, and hats. If you can make just one more . . . 

A4A hopes to continue collecting through the end of the year, but sending things by September 8 means they'll get to Afghan kids in time for this winter. 

Cast on!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Take a look at Diane's happy hats ... for Afghan babies and children.

Diane is one of our longtime, devoted "local volunteers" who helps behind the scenes to keep afghans for Afghans going. Diane use to live on the Peninsula, south of SF. Then moved to Gold Country. Diane helps respond to incoming emails. She is golden to me and a4A.

I loved this photo of her hats on the striped background and asked permission to post here --
Now I am prompted to flip through our scrapbook of memories here ...
Diane packing with us back in 2010.
Diane's version of our Fulled Afghan Carpet Bag pattern.
Diane has a special talent for mixing up colors and using up small oddballs to great effect.

Thank you, Diane, for all that you do! We miss you here, but glad and grateful that you make time to help behind the scenes from your undisclosed location in the Sierra Foothills. Have you cleared out the town of all wool oddballs, yet? Oddballs can stay to keep life interesting, but wool oddballs must be put to good use with knitting needles.

Have a good weekend, everyone,

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why I love taking taxis ...

Last Saturday, I called for a ride to SFO. The taxi arrived a little late. How aggravating! The delay was because SF was invaded by the Outside Lands concert in Golden Gate Park. Always something, especially in the summer. Still, airport rides usually get pushed to the top.

I am talking with the driver and trying to relax and not worry about the time. We're bemoaning the city's growth as we cross town. He tells me he grew up in the East Bay. This is his first month on the job. I want to guess his homeland, always my favorite taxi game. "John" Rahimi says he's from Mazar-i-Sharif. I would not have guessed that! He's been called John ever since school when the name was easier for classmates. I told him that I ate in the Helmand Restaurant last week and had my favorite Aushak dish. We're on the subject of food. I bring up Bolani. Guess what? The East West company was founded by his sister. Remember when I posted about Bolani here? Small world! I told him about a4A and handed him my card. I told him about my 1999 visit to the NW Frontier Province when Afghan refugees were pouring over the Khyber Pass. I floated the idea that getting a trademark on bolani is like trademarking tamales. He laughed. We could have gabbed together for hours if I didn't have a plane to catch.

Nice man. I will call Zalmi whenever I need a ride to the airport. That was the right cab for me, wasn't it.

I love taking taxis because you meet drivers originating from all over the world (and/or drivers with colorful stories about SF when you could make a living doing the job). Pink furry mustache, not for me.

PS: If you are ever in SF and need a taxi to or from the airport, email me for John's phone number.

Friday, August 8, 2014

It rained (wool) at the AFSC Basement in San Francisco.

Monday's super-strong gang included (left to right) Kirstin (Happy Birthday!), Charlene, Bette and Giovanna. Carol R had to catch the street car to the ferry, so escaped before we took the photo. Bette and Giovanna visited us as emissaries from the Fiberfrolics knitting group in Benecia, above San Francisco. Our longtime supporter and friend, Carol M, involved the Fiberfrolics many years ago, and they have knit hundreds of sweaters and hats and other garments for a4A. Giovanna owns the yarn shop, of the same name, that orchestrates charity knitting and includes us because they love to use wool. Glad the ladies could drive down to deliver their pile of colorful hats and spend the afternoon with us. We needed their muscle. A huge pile of boxes and envelopes were waiting for us. We worked non-stop to open as many as possible .
On Tuesday, Candace, Elizabeth, Marina, Rachel, Susan, and Anne finished opening almost all the mail and reviewing the baby socks. That more than filled our afternoon, and we even started to fill the cartons that will be sent to Afghanistan. I have no idea how most of the afternoon's stars managed to escape the camera, but they did. (You could probably search this blog to find photos of the long-timers.)

Susan visited us all the way from Bezerkeley. Let me tell you, meeting her and hearing about her work was very meaningful and not bezerk in the least. Susan coaches Afghan-American immigrants in English as part of the social service programs of Jewish Family and Children Services East Bay. While the women visit and support each other, Susan has them knitting for Afghanistan. Susan brought over their beautifully well-made hats to add to our cartons heading to their homeland. Susan's on the right (Anne is on the left):
Anne was a special visitor from Wellesley, MA. In town for work, she managed to schedule us in before flying home -- and we had a super visit. Anne G is connected to a group that reached out to the people of Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11. Anne's neighbor lost her husband on the United Airlines plane.

Can you believe that Anne brought us a box of chocolates not available, everywhere, thanks to globalization? Check out this exotic box from New England nestled in with the fabulous wool baby socks:

Golden foil for precious wool baby hats --
The Baby Shower ended on July 31. Knitters and crocheters across the US and Canada, plus some Royal Mail, a package from Switzerland, and Japan, too, plus maybe a couple other far-away lands responded enthusiastically to the invitation to create wool socks and hats for babies at the Malalai Maternity Hospital in Kabul.We don't know yet how many heads and footsies are going to be warmer and happier because of our generous volunteers, but the number will have 4 digits.

Here's the first of the cartons to be packed up ... 500 pairs ... 1,000 Afghan feet ... 5,000 Afghan toes!
Thank you, Knitters and Crocheters, for Afghanistan! XOXOXOXO

Thank you, Stephen McNeil, Director of Peace Building at AFSC, and the front office staff at AFSC.

Group hug, everyone, and enjoy the weekend.

Wish we could make it rain rain in California, too, but our powers are limited.