If you want a peek inside the barn on opening days, this is where you'll find it. I'm Leanne Hunt and I've been attending opening days twice a month since 2017 with my driver Bongi and my guide dog Tango. Here is where I record what I see and hear for the benefit of overseas members who don't have the opportunity I do. I trust you'll find it interesting.

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Leanne with bears.

I didn't get to the barn today but I thought I would post something anyway. This is a post to explain what a podcast is for those of you who are in the dark.
Radio has been around for a hundred years and we all remember the wonderful shows we grew up with. Many of those shows have disappeared or, if they still exist, they cater for such a diverse audience that we no longer feel as connected to them. Also, radio stations rely heavily on advertising to keep shows on air, with the result that our favourite shows are so cluttered with annoying ads that it becomes painful to keep the radio on for any length of time.
Podcasts are like radio shows except that they can serve very select audiences. They are generally produced by people who are passionate about their subject. Best of all, they include no irrelevant advertising. Thus, a podcast audience is like a tight-knit community that speaks the same language when it comes to their pet subject.
You don't have to know much about the technical aspect of podcasting to listen to one. Actually, the only thing you really need to know is how to find what you are looking for. In the case of the soon-to-be-launched Knit-a-Square podcast, there are two options:
First, you can find the podcast on the website. There will soon be a dedicated podcast page with links to Apple Podcasts and Google Player. These sites are like YouTube in that they allow you to play a podcast directly from your computer.
The other option is to access the podcast from a podcast app on your smart phone. If you have an iPhone, you will be able to download the Apple Podcasts app directly from the iStore. If you have an Android phone, you can choose between various free apps, the most popular of which are Google Player, Spotify and Overcast. Each app is slightly different but there will be a search field where you can type in "Knit-a-Square". When the Knit-a-Square podcast appears on your screen, tap the "Subscribe" button. This will ensure that each episode of the podcast downloads automatically to your podcast library when it is released. once it is there, you can listen to it at your own convenience.
I urge you to explore the options for downloading podcasts, even before the Knit-a-Square podcast goes live. You can start by searching for a couple of other knitting podcasts and getting used to the luxury of sitting down with your knitting and a cup of tea to listen. Two of my favourite shows are "The Two KnitLit Chicks", a podcast about knitting and books presented by Tracy and Barb, and "Two Ewes Fiber Adventures" [note the American spelling of fiber], a show about yarn and what you can do with it, presented by Kelly and Marsha. Both these shows have websites, so you can play episodes from your computer if you don't have a smart phone.
Finally, please don't try to search for the Knit-a-Square podcast yet because you won't find it! Our podcast is still in the incubation stage. When it launches, you will hear about it on my blog and on the Facebook page, as well as in Snippets when it is sent out. And that's when I'll need you to get on board and share the podcast with as many people as you can, because the more listens we get in the first few weeks determines how high it ranks in the listings when people are checking out what's new.
I hope this post clears things up for you. Do try and practise with the podcasts I've recommended above. If nothing else, you'll impress your friends by being ahead in the game as you chat confidently about the podcasts you follow! I'll be happy to answer questions if you have any.

Thanks so much, Leanne. Looking forward to your launch.....but hey, no pressure.  :))

Thank you for this information.   I will defo be looking out for it's creation and will listen for sure. Kx

I am very excited for this new pod cast.  I don't listen to many of them, but the ones I have heard have been great so this can only be a good thing for KAS!

Members, you are no doubt feeling the effects of COVID-19 and taking measures to prevent its spread. Wherever you are in the world, we send our sincerest good wishes for your health and safety.

This is what is happening in South Africa:

president Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Monday 23 March, instituting a 21-day countrywide lockdown. The lockdown will begin at midnight on Thursday 26 March. The allowance of three days ahead of the lockdown was intended to give companies time to prepare for the shut or, if they were required to keep operating, adjust their operations to comply with new restrictions about social distancing. Many people have taken the opportunity to travel to their homes in other provinces, although this should have been more vociferously discouraged as it could spread the virus to remote areas where health facilities are inadequate. There has also been the inevitable panic buying and visits to family members and friends, with the result that the last couple of days have been rather frantic. South Africans are sociable by nature and enjoy large gatherings, especially around Easter, so the upcoming period of confinement is likely to be very hard on them.

The pandemic is surely the biggest challenge we have ever faced in the history of Knit-a-Square. We have no choice but to halt our operations for the duration of the lockdown. Ronda has indicated to the volunteers that the barn will be closed until May so as not to raise expectations. It is unlikely that three weeks will be enough to bring the virus under control and we feel we must make this clear from the start.

Yesterday, therefore, was the last opening day until things return to normal. Ronda didn't go in but Wandi, Lindi and Nani did. There wasn't a large post — only about R700's worth — so they limited their activity to sorting squares. Estelle and Anna also popped in briefly to collect parcels for opening at home.

Post will not be collected for the next several weeks.  With this in mind, we ask you to please hold on to your squares and other items for the moment. When everything is back to normal, you can package everything up in a big parcel and ship it out.

It is our concern that our board members are looked after, during this time. They will continue to receive a weekly gratuity, as will Themba, the security guard at Surrey Business Park, and the woman who cleans the barn. All these people are part of the Knit-a-Square family. It is going to be hard for them but we hope this small gesture brings a little relief. We regret that we cannot stretch to helping the gogos, although there is ample opportunity for us to contribute as individuals to the state's newly-established "Solidarity Fund" and other non-profit organisations that support the poor.

On a more personal note, Ronda and her husband have had to delay the move to their new house. None of the council functions will be continuing, which means the property transfer cannot go through. Renovations on the new house have also had to be put on hold because builders won't be working. As she says, however, God is in control of everything. We must trust Him to direct us and pray for His strength.  Her words to the volunteers are just that: "Pray, pray, and keep on praying."

Thank you so much, Leanne for this information. Hoping that you all stay safe and virus free.  xo

Thank you for the update.  I am keeping up a bit with the news in SA via the World Service news on the radio.  
It must be heart breaking for you all to know that you cannot help at this time for those in need.  We will all keep up making our squares, hats and hand warmers, ready to parcel up and send out as soon as we are all able.  
For those of us who have a faith we will all be praying and meditating and saying the rosary and generally beseeching for mercy!
Please all stay safe at this unprecedented time xXx

This morning, instead of going to the barn, I hosted a group call with Ronda, Estelle and Athelé. on WhatsApp. We each prepared for the call with our phones fully charged, something to drink, and a W I P (work in progress). Mine was a crocheted Square in a variegated yarn comprising moss green, cream, dark green and brown. Estelle and Athelé were each sewing up squares and made good progress as we chatted. Ronda had opted just to drink tea because her life is busy enough with KAS admin, cleaning the house and staying in touch with her family around the world.

We began by discussing how the lockdown is affecting us all. It is day five of the 21-day period of restriction and, so far, we are all keeping ourselves occupied with hobbies and household tasks. Estelle amused us by sharing that her daily exercise includes a walk around the garden with her dogs and a trip to the gate with her husband so he can blow his vuvuzela along with the other residents in their street.

Ronda brought us sad news. She told us that Andrea Palmatier had just messaged her to say that our beloved Anne Powell from Canada had passed away. Her death was the result of heart failure, not the coronavirus. We were all shocked. None of us had actually ever met Anne, yet we all knew her as a good friend in our own way. Ann was a member of Knit-a-Square for many years and was a font of good ideas for fundraisers, designs for squares, and patterns for accessories. If memory serves, she was the person who designed the Knit-a-Square Cuddler, the baby sleeping bag that used to be among the items we distributed. She was a faithful supporter, blessing us with her crafting skills and her financial donations. We Will miss her presence on the forum.

News on the podcast front is that I have received the first episode back from the editor and it sounds lovely. The Second episode is now in production. My plan is to upload these two in early April and follow them up with the third episode thereafter. Please look out for notifications on this blog and on Facebook. I will soon be interviewing guests on the podcast, so think about whether you have a story to share about your journey with Knit-a-Square. Technology makes this simple, because all you need is a computer and an Internet connection. I will email you a link which will take you to a website, and then we simply chat. The conversation gets recorded and saved for inclusion into an upcoming episode, and we all get to enjoy your contribution when the episode is broadcast. If that sounds like fun to you, please get in touch.

Finally, I want to thank everybody for their continuing support. We are all going through trying times, and I know that where ever you are, you are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please take care of yourselves. You are in our prayers. As Ronda said on our group called today, we really are a family. Even though we are scattered around the world and most of us have never met, we are connected by our common passion for knitting/crocheting and our purpose, to warm South Africa’s orphaned and vulnerable children. May this passion and purpose carry us through the darkness into the light.

Thank you Leanne yes we were all shocked this morning when Ronda brought us this sad news. Anne was one of the first members to contact me when I joined KAS in 2014. She was always willing to help me with any queries and help when I mixed up replies and remarks on The Forum. 
My deepest condolences to her family and friends. 

That is really sad.  I have had many friendly chats with Anne over the years and KAS was obviously a big part of her life.  She was always encouraging and fun.

oh that is so sad! 

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