The Knit-a-square program has inspired volunteers in more than 60 countries to knit and crochet more than 1.5 million blanket squares, hats, hand-warmers and toys. Your efforts are helping to keep the children warm but to keep this operation running every day, we need to extend your love and support.
Your donations are the backbone of financial support for the operations on the ground in South Africa, making it possible for them to continue.
Whether it's helping to pay the rent, a stipend for the gogos to sew blankets, fuel for the KasVan or to cover postal charges of $3.75 US per parcel, you make it possible to keep striving toward warming and comforting the children.
Our goal is to remove the monthly deficit that Ronda and her team have to deal with.
1. Make a donation whenever you are able.
2. Sign up for an ongoing monthly donation (subscription).
3. Shop at the KasShop!
Please follow this discussion for monthly updates, current financial reports and ideas on what we can all do to help.
Moved from the Shop Talk discussion:
Andrea, thank you for creating this space for financial and KAS Shop discussion. I can't wait to hear ideas from others.
I must admit I didn't realize that Ronda's cost per parcel was so high!! Filling each parcel as full as possible is obviously the best bet. 2kg is the largest our RJSK here in NS, Canada can send before moving to a higher rate. It may be different elsewhere.
We use a kitchen scale and always weigh carefully as we pack. We are able to get around 60 squares in each parcel. If we have a few squares left over at the end of a packing session, we just hold onto them untill we have enough for another 2kg parcel which, in River John, doesn't take long ... xo
Moved from the Shop Talk discussion:
Thanks for starting this discussion, Andrea. Like Glo, I am looking forward to hearing what the members would like to see in the Shop (we still have lots of room for new downloadable items on our shelves).
These parcel charges that Ronda now faces are certainly taking a bite out of our budget. A quick look at the most recent Squares List shows that out of about 200 parcels received, 55 of them contained less than 35 squares. It costs Ronda the same for a parcel of 50 squares as it does for a parcel of six.
Packaging affects the weight. In the past, I have mailed in wine boxes and averaged 40-45 squares per parcel to stay within the 2 Kg limit for small parcel rate. I realize that the boxes add to the weight. Now that there are parcel charges, packaging makes a difference.
Glo, could you describe how RJSK packages their parcels in order to get 60 or so squares in?
Well ... in the beginning, I used to put 10 squares in a ziploc bag, poke a pinhole in it to let out the air, and stack 6 of these pkgs and tie the pile together. Then I would wrap it all in brown paper. It worked well for me as I was sending only my own work which wasn't more than about 60 squares a month.
Enter RJSK! These ladies are phenomenal. We used the Ziplic bag idea for a while but discovered we were spending a lot on the bags while littering the world with plastic. These women receive squares from crafters throughout the community and needed a more economical way to pack them. It's nothing for them to have a packing day every couple of weeks and do up 4, 5, or 6 parcels!
So ... one of the ladies went scouting. She discovered that a local business (a brewery) received one of their ingredients in a large brown bag that is lined with plastic. This business offered to save the bags for us. We used them for quite a while. We just tie our squares in bundles of 10, stack 6 bundles together, tie that pile together and wrap in brown paper.
Unfortunately, the brewery no longer receives that ingredient in this type of bag so our supply ran out.
From there, another lady discovered a waxy-lined freezer paper used for packaging meats (that's the pinkish paper you may see in the photos.) Unfortunately, it isnt as heavy a paper and we use a l-o-t of tape.
Recently I'm told that someone has again found a supplier for this plastic-lined paper we started with so all is good.
All-in-all, wrapping them in paper adds very little weight, so we can get more squares into each parcel.
Having said all that, I will now say that the number of squares depends entirely on the technique and yarn/wool used to make them. Most crocheted squares will weigh more than most knitted squares.
I know I've rambled but I hope some of this helps ... xo
Thanks Glo. Packaging is always a problem. I remember looking for those very heavy plastic mailing bags they seem to be able to get in the UK., They would be ideal - strong, light weight. The only ones I found were from a company that sold packaging materials and the minimum quantity was huge.
Anne Powell the Bags for Life which are slightly thicker would be a good substitute! only 10p! Going the way of larger but few parcels here to cut down on post office charges.
Thanks, Mary. I don't think Bags for Life are available here in Canada, but I'll keep looking for a substitute.
What a great story about ingenuity in finding packaging Gloria. Thank you Andrea for moving it here so more of us would read it.
Can I just point out that it's not necessarily fair to say that large numbers of parcels are only containing a small number of squares. As only the squares are listed now, there is no indication as to how many other items are included in each parcel.
I agree Patricia. I once sent 20 squares but 36 toys. The box was close to 20 pounds...mmmm a little under 10 kilos.
Thank you, Amy. That illustrates my point perfectly!
I agree that one can't get a fair idea of how many squares are arriving versus toys. Right now, because I found a bunch of like-new toys my package is about equally them and squares, which I don't always have the time or health to produce in large quantities, while finding a good toy is much easier and faster. However I do understand the push for more squares...if I could just get all mine to be 8 inches and not 9" or even 9x10 I'd be a lot happier. The only sure way to get 8 inches for me is by hand knitting and that's my slow way, go figure eh? hahahaha
Thanks for continuing this discussion Andrea. I know we can all pull together and make the blue a little higher than the red.