Monday, 5 October 2015

Crochet me Crazy: 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day

My sister never had any interest in crochet or knitting when we were growing up, so image my surprise when one day she started churning out masses of crochet squares and then eventually, entire blankets! Turns out it was all for "67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day". At the time I had not been resident in South Africa for early nine years so I had no real idea about what the real driver was or who the beneficiaries were.

67 Blankets all started when Zelda la Grange, who was Personal Assistant to the late former President Nelson Mandela, approached philanthropist Carolyn Steyn in December 2013 with the challenge of making 67 knitted or crochet blankets for Mandela Day on 18 July the following year. Carolyn soon realised that this was no mean feat and reached out to friends, family and the S.A. Facebook community to ask for their help reach their ultimate goal of creating 67 blankets. No monetary donations and no blankets were to be bought; just blankets created with their own two hands for people throughout the Rainbow Nation that were in need of warmth and care.

The response received was immense, with hundreds of people answering her call and pledging to make blankets. Earning themselves the title of "KnitWits for Madiba”, these generous individuals spread not only across South Africa bu far and wide across the world in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Cyprus, London, the US and India, had started something short of miraculous.

On April 21, 2015, to mark 21 years of democracy in South Africa, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day smashed the Guinness World Record for the "The Largest Crochet Blanket in the World" measuring 3,377 square meters at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa.  Something very amazing to see!

I started my 67 Blankets journey earlier this year and am now an Ambassador in Hertfordshire, creating squares, sewing them to make blankets and taking delivery of squares and completed blankets made my other Knit Wits.  Donations of yarn, hooks and needles are also very welcome and graciously received. 

The people that will benefit are U.K. based charities and hospices. Requests from charities and hospices for baby and single bed blankets are extremely welcome and once approved by 67 Blankets in South Africa, blankets will be sent out from the U.K. as soon as they are received from the Knit Wit community.

If you are an individual, school, craft group, corporate foundation (the list is endless!) and would like to get involved, please do contact me through Twitter or the 67 Blankets U.K. Facebook group for more information on where to send your completed articles and donations to.  Join the UK Facebook page for more information on events and Knit Wit gatherings, to see what people have created, donated and received.

These are the dimensions for the many squares and blankets needed:

• squares - 20cm x 20cm
• single bed blankets - 140cm x 180cm)
cot blankets - 90cm x 110cm

Stitch by stitch we pledge to keep thousands upon thousands of people less fortunate than ourselves warmer over the cold winter months, in the name of Nelson Mandela.

Love Ally xx

Wonderful sites to follow:

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I mentally replied...

To be honest, technology has actually become a bit of a shit.  Where are the days of learning your best friend's telephone number off by heart, communication by letters and post it notes and actually speaking to someone in person if you had a gripe with them?

I  now e-mail, text, Whatsapp, Facebook message, Viber, Skype people.  The latter is the only form (I'm beyond finding out and caring if Viber can) have actual human emotion in them, because the poor individuals on other side of the call can actually get to see your real life mug.  I do of course speak to people (yes, face-to-face).  I'm not a bloody robot.

I remember days gone by where I would write detailed and heart felt letters to friends about the very exciting and riveting (bloody boring and mundane by modern terms) weekend that I'd had and wax lyrically about some or another nonsense that was important to a 16 year old girl at that time in the 90's.  I can only image what that would be like now.  In a feeble attempt in my 30 somethings, I think it would look something like this...

"awesum wknd!  Wht u get u2?  U r my bestie 4eva!"

Really?  Okay, so that is a bit crap, but you get the gist of it.  Where is the feeling, where is the heart?  Where is the tone?  How the heck do I interpret that?  So, if we had a huge fight on the weekend but the flat text that you just send me with absolutely no acknowledgement of the English language says something along that the lines that you are okay, is it really okay? Good luck in your future love, as a cashier...

One of my biggest faults of late is 'mentally replying'.  How that works is, one person sends me a Whatsapp, Facebook, Text/SMS message, e-mail and because I read even faster than I speak or type, I reply just as fast.  Mentally.  Yes, in my mind.  I replied to you without feeling and in my brain I composed a whole response that I would like to say to you but in my new generation laziness I just don't reply.  I know that I can reply to you later.  No immediate response actually needed.

I would rather speak to you in person because then I can say the exact same thing in one or two words or a million words (if I was feeling that way inclined) to you over the phone or face to face instead of me sending a few words over some blank surface for all meanings and sub text to be taken out of complete context.  

That and because I'm just lazy and I know that because the initial correspondence is coming from a source that is indirectly through a human entity, it can actually wait for a few minutes before I respond.

My whole gripe with this is that people are lazy.  I'm lazy too, so hands up to that.  People are too busy to be people and actually do things that people did not even ten years ago.  Writing a letter, leaving a note or picking up a phone is not archaic.  Neither is having respect for the basic foundations of the English language and taking one or two extra minutes to create an entire sentence in a language that all generations can actually decipher.

Clearly I am showing my age but you know what, at least I can remember a time when people actually spoke to each other and the other person knew exactly what they meant without mincing their words (says the woman, writing this in a blog post...).

Ally x
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