Wednesday, June 1, 2016

We have more time!!

The news will go out to all subscribers to the A4A info list sometime later today or maybe tomorrow, but Ann Rubin emailed me to say that we now know that the shipment will not leave before the end of July! And it is (at least in the US) prime small project knitting season! More baby socks, more mittens. . . here we go.

Send pictures!

Monday, May 23, 2016

What's Happening Lately at the AFSC Basement?

Your wonderful packages full of wool hats, socks, and mittens for the people of Afghanistan have been arriving at AFSC in San Francisco.

Whoops, wrong delivery. That was USPS delivering a box of paper towels for the younguns in the swanky high-rise apartment building next door, which is across the street from Twitter. Not that long ago, our neighbor was an empty lot and sometimes vegetable patch. We live in a time of rapid change.

On the other side of the world, in Afghanistan, change is slower. The darn war continues, and we continue to knit and crochet our practical gifts of friendship and respect because our gifts are still valued and that's what we do. Thank you to long-time volunteers and the newer participants who keep the momentum going.

We opened packages last Wednesday. The volume is finally picking up -- so much so that we did not have time to conduct an interim count. We were dazzled by the superb workmanship and wide array of cheery colors. We have very talented and generous volunteers.

Here's Carlene with s stack of ribbed hats made by Louise in Orange, California. The all-rib hat offers a useful range on fit and great ear coverage when folded up. And, Louise's gauge is always right on for the perfect fabric density.

Theresa is holding 44 pairs of socks made by Karen on Ravelry. Can you believe it? 88 warmer feet! 440 warmer toes!

Emily got to open the most recent box from our Ravelry moderator Renee, who this time made sure that several larger youth and adults will have warmer feet in the winter. Don't you love all these colors?

One of the packages came with this tribute note -- Happy Birthday to Nico!

After a couple productive hours down in the AFSC Basement with long-time volunteers Emily, Teresa, Carlene, and Elizabeth (no photo! next time!), time for fresh air and natural light at a favorite spot that always delivers.

Wherever you are this week, enjoy some fresh air and natural light. You still have plenty of time to cast on to be included in this shipment. No due date yet. Sometime this summer. We'll keep you posted.

And, if you're coming to San Francisco this summer, please get in touch. We can try to plan a packing date around you. Bring a puffer coat and wear a knitted cap -- just in case.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

On the way to California

I haven't done as much knitting for this campaign as I intended to. But, as I constantly repeat, the kid who gets the one pair of mittens you made doesn't care about the quantity you produced. One pair of warm hands is a victory right there. 

I thought I'd only finished 2 pairs of mittens, but when I went to the box, it turns out I'd done this:

And friends added some more things for me to mail, so the box will be even better:

(the color on this photo is a little bleached out -- wrong kind of cloudy day)

I also gave away 7 small bags of yarn for people to use for socks and mittens, and inspired two friends to make more than 50 pairs of  baby socks by giving them the link to Kate Atherley's wonderful pattern.(Three pairs are on the left side of that photo just above.)They tell me making them is like eating jellybeans.

The campaign is still on, with a due date likely sometime in early summer. I'll be mailing these things tomorrow, though, so they're not in the avalanche of packages that arrive at the last possible minute. I may finish one or two more things; they can go later. This way the volunteers get a chance to pack gradually.

I'd love to see what others are making this year!

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!