Saturday, October 1, 2016

Our Cartons Packed with Gorgeous Wool Hats, Socks, Mittens, and LOVE for the Afghan people

From the hands and hearts of Afghan-American women

Susan Rosthal, over in Berkeley, says: "Here are some of my wonderful Afghan ESL students with items they knitted for afghansforAfghans."

I thought our readers would enjoy seeing this photo of Susan's Afghan-American students who knitted for Afghanistan through our project. Susan also joined us this summer at the AFSC basement to help pack. 

Tashakor, Susan and students!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Getting close to finishing the packing ...

Elizabeth came by on her lunch hour today to count out hats and pack a few boxes. Sweet!

I am going to try to list all the local volunteers who have joined us this summer for opening your packages, sorting, inspecting, repacking into new cartons:

Carol R. (by ferry)
Carol M. (by ferry)
Candace (via the Golden Gate Bridge)
Ann B. (via the Golden Gate Bridge)
Keiko (by car, BART, hell or highwater)
Susan R (teaches English to Afghan-American immigrants and has her students knitting for a4A)
Sue F (city lady)
Emily S (can't wear out this volunteer, we tried)
Kirsten (shared her day off!)
Emily L (city lady)
Ardis (feel better soon!)
Laura (did you have a bon voyage?)
Julie (our southernmost volunteer)
Heidi (CalTrain, choo-choo)
Elisabeth (CalTrain, choo-choo)
Charlene (with the Merrimeko pocket)
Susan M (BART-able)
Jill (BART-able)
Ann Ru (BART-able)
Terrie (city lady)
Carol J (connects us with Grace)

It takes a village, devoted villagers who love knitting and crochet and know the value of a hand-made wool garment. Hope I did not miss anyone! If so, please whisper your name in my ear. Deep, heartfelt thanks to all!

Friday, August 26, 2016

And, the Academy Award goes to Kirsten's hat!

Kirsten's ribbed, doubled, reversible hat is the star here ...

The Afghan who receives this hat will be a lot more comfortable this winter, thanks to Kirsten's smart design. Go Giants!

The scene ...

In addition to Kirsten, the fabulous ensemble cast, from left to right -- Carlene, Ardis, Jill and Emily ...

Zooming in on the action ...

Going off script ... someone donated hand-knit socks that match the shawl I am making for myself. What a coincidence! Don't worry, I didn't take the socks home. The socks were packed up with the other 174 adults socks that fit in the packing carton for delivery to 350 Afghan feet this winter.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

From last week's sorting session, or maybe the week before ... what a blur!

We were very happy to see all your packages arriving at AFSC in San Francisco!

Packages have all been opened. Now we're reviewing the piles and miles of wool hats, socks, and mittens. No counts yet. My estimated guess is 25 cartons total. I'd say that hats and socks far outnumber mittens. We shall see. Our local volunteers have 3-4 more afternoons ahead to finish sorting and packing this collection.

Carol M. came over by ferry to help pack and brought hats knit by her and sister Kay. Very nice to have Carol spend the afternoon with us at the AFSC Basement -- it's been a long time, and I missed Carol! Carol R. also came by ferry -- more than once -- and brought the very soft and warm turquoise hat in the left corner and fresh figs from her tree. Yum!

Julie traveled up from San Jose for 2 afternoons before her school year started. Check out these knee socks with calf shaping. Perfect with a kilt!

a4A knitters are talented and smart!

I had to Google this place! Post in the comments if you know where this is. Bonus points if you have been there.

Pulled these well-made crocheted mittens from the mound as an example to emulate. Looks like one of Marcie's mittens posted below.

Heidi caught CalTrain from Palo Alto to help on a recent afternoon and brought her friend Elisabeth. The pair were quite the dynamic duo as they focused on pairs of baby socks. Elisabeth sent this link to NYT's article "The Benefits of Knitting" from earlier this year. Thought everyone would love to read, even if you've read it before. Only good can come from our needlework. Win-win all around, here and in Afghanistan.

The 2016 campaign has come to a close, although you still have time to add your photos to our album here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Another pair in the mail

Knit as distraction during DH hip replacement surgery - 

socks shipped

A few pair of infant socks have been shipped your way.  I am so happy to support such a great cause.  Thank you for sharing your knitting accomplishments on this blog.

Monday, August 1, 2016

crocheted lovelies

Beautiful crocheting from Marcie will keep these kids nice and warm! (Marcie, what pattern do you use for your mittens?)
This is about half of what is in the package I just sent. One of these years, I will not wait until the last minute. ;) -inge (now in Carrboro, NC)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sue Gave Birth to Newborn Socks Recently, Too!

Foxy Knitter, we're so happy to add your adorable newborn socks for the maternity hospital in Kabul. The new mothers will love the colors. Wonderful and practical ribbed cuffs.

Wednesday's sorting gang at AFSC were Carlene, Candace, Ann R, Sue, and me. (Thanks, again, ladies!) We concentrated on reviewing socks and sizing them. We rarely receive socks that don't make the grade. Reviewing is time-consuming, but we get to look at hundreds of pairs of socks in an infinite array of colors, all high-quality wools, and lovely stitching. Bless you, sock-knitters! You can imagine what one terrific pair of wool socks will mean to someone with little or no possessions in wintertime.

Here's Sue with her own contribution to the collection of newborn socks:

One pair is knit toe up, and the other from the cuff. I don't know which is which! Both patterns are links on Ravelry, for those who are on

Cozy Little Toes (top down)

Basic Newborn Set (toe up) - With Caveat to Make Cuffs Longer

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Baby Socks Headed Your Way

I just mailed these wee baby socks to y'all this afternoon. I think they turned out really well.

Monday, July 25, 2016

All about hats

As the deadline for this summer's campaign approaches, the AFSC basement has been seeing a lot of activity lately; last Friday, several of us gathered with Ann for a very productive afternoon devoted mostly to sorting your fabulous, colorful, gorgeous knitted and crocheted hats.

 Can you believe those adorable infant hats? These made us think of cupcakes (the basement crew always have dessert on their minds, apparently). Long-time contributor Pamela from Rochester always impresses us with the adorable buttons or appliqu├ęs that she adds to her work.

We do our best to work fast and efficienty, but every few minutes, we simply have to stop and gaze at the drop-gorgeous handknits that you have made with so much care and talent. It is impossible not to be inspired after a couple of hours of studying what others have made out of sticks and wool.

In case you are feeling intimidated or overwhelmed by the above, don't! We love a good, warm hat in every stripe and stitch pattern. Knitter Diane sent this bounty of lovely, creative, bright and subdued classic ribbed hats. In case you are wondering if we ever get tired of this model -- No, Never! We love that it is stretchy by design and that if it is long enough, it can be folded into a brim and thus provide twice as much warmth on a cold day.

While most of us played with hats on Friday, others got to open the packages that have been piling up, always an exciting task if you ask me. These beauties were only a few in a package that included many pairs.

 And given photos like this one, many more gorgeous baby socks will get to be handled, fondled and admired by this week's volunteers.

The photo below was sent by Mary Timberlake. From a knitter's home all the way to Kabul -- what an amazing, impressive journey.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

So many socks!

Look at these beauties knit by Virginia!

There is still time to make one or two more things for this campaign. The due date is the first week of August. 

If you are "enjoying" the same heatwave we're having here in the Philadelphia area, small things are the way to go. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rainbow World at AFSC Basement

We were all happy to be back in the AFSC Basement, opening your packages and sorting the rainbow of wool hats, socks, and mittens that will be on their way to Afghanistan in late September.

Look inside Longmont Kathy's package ... the Leprechaun skipped out before we snapped the pic ...

The Afghan newborns are going to look very cute in these colorful, delightfully patterned wool caps! Picture that in your mind!

Carol came by car, ferry, and streetcar to pitch in for the cause. Here's Carol holding her favorite cap of the day ... I think the color is Yves Klein Blue, or perhaps a little more purple-ee, with that glow from inside the color itself ...

Hope some a4a volunteers will post photos of their creations here, for the enjoyment of all!

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.