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Campaign for Wool Socks, Mittens, & Hats for Winter

Update as of March 27, 2014

Our campaign for sweaters for school girls for Trust in Education was completed in 2013. Thank you to all the participants!

Throughout May 2014 and likely beyond, we welcome wool socks, mittens, and hats for age 7 years to adults, according to the same guidelines below.

Dedicated to the Memory of Luisa Gelenter

Please Read This Whole Page for Guidelines

Dear Knitters and Crocheters for Afghanistan,

Please join us!

We are knitting and crocheting WOOL hats, mittens, and socks for Trust in Education's students, street children, and internally displaced people in Afghanistan -- ages 7 - adult years. This is our first campaign for this accomplished organization.

As of July 31, we completed our effort to collect WOOL SWEATERS for Trust in Education's female students at their new school in Farza. Thank you very much to all the generous and talented volunteers who participated. Your sweaters are gorgeous and top-quality.

Founded by Budd McKenzie in 2002, Trust in Education (TIE) is a U.S.-based non-profit, grass-roots organization that delivers educational, economic, and health care assistance to villages in Afghanistan. TIE informs and enlists Americans to become directly involved in rebuilding Afghanistan. They are a tie between American and Afghan communities. TIE's highest priority is working for educational opportunities for Afghans that will foster long-range stability and future prosperity. Visit TIE's website to read more about their pioneering work and achievements. TIE will transport and distribute our wool gifts to their students and other Afghans in need and report back to us.

TIE's school for girls in Farza opened earlier this year. We are giving a new, colorful, and cheerful wool sweater to each girl for their first winter in their new school. Educating girls is crucial now because girls and women were denied the right to education under Taliban rule. Financed by TIE, this school has been constructed by those in the community. TIE is paying for building materials, and community members are volunteering their labor -- a true partnership that is wiser than having an NGO pay for everything. Volunteering to build the school in their own village means that education is a high priority, and the community will defend the school.

Our goal was to make 500 wool sweaters for the girls so that each girl can pick a sweater that fits properly and that she likes. Shouldn't all school girls have a new, beautiful wool sweater to wear to class? Yes! Yes! Yes! After the girls in the Farza school select their sweaters, the girls will have the opportunity to share the remaining sweaters with their mothers and siblings at home, or possibly with girls who are studying in other education venues, as determined by the staff of TIE. We are happy to say that we exceeded the goal -- thanks to our talented and generous volunteers.

Priority items now needed for females and males -- ages 7 years through adults:

  • Socks
    -- Basic socks with proper heels and coverage for the lower leg (NO booties or slippers or tube socks).
    -- Any foot length (measuring from back of heel to tip of toe) from about 6.5" - 10" will be useful.
    -- Socks for KNITTERS ONLY (crochet does not work well for socks).
    -- Socks in a pair should match each other.
    -- Tie mates together.
    -- We can never have enough socks!

  • Mittens
    -- Small adult-sized mittens will fit the older teens.
    -- No fingerless styles.
    -- Make sure wrist-ribbing is long enough for warmth.
    -- Careful to avoid holes at the thumb increases.
    -- Use dense gauge to help ensure warmth.
    -- Mittens in a pair should match each other.
    -- Tie mates together.

  • Hats
    -- Be sure that hats cover ears.
    -- Hats need some stretch for comfort over forehead.
    -- Please go easy on the hats. Everyone loves to make hats, but we receive a disproportionate amount of hats. Perhaps those who prefer to make small items can focus on socks and mittens so that we have a balance of garments.

    With socks, mittens, and hats, we can pack many more items per box and warm more people in the same amount of cargo space -- which is especially important with air transit. Making socks, mittens, and hats are a terrific chance to use wool oddballs on hand. These are portable projects that take less time. You can play a lot with color. You don't have a large package to mail to us.

    Please assume standard garment sizes. Afghan children may be thinner than North American children, but they are not shorter. Here's a size chart for reference.

    Please DO NOT send any other items not listed above. Only the items above will be sent to Afghanistan. Please note, we never have a need for used items, scarves, ear warmers, felted items, fingerless gloves, toys, store-bought merchandise, fleece anything, quilts, knitting-loomed creations, or unassembled squares. We can only send what is specifically requested by our partner relief agencies and appropriate for the Afghan culture. Cargo space is extremely limited.

    Additional information

  • Fiber: Use wool (or other animal fiber) to provide maximum utility in harsh weather. Please review our memo on wool and fiber content.
  • Color: The Afghan people like all colors -- bright and cheery palettes! Use up those wool oddballs. Please avoid white and very light colors that soil more easily. No camouflage/military-looking yarn.
  • Patterns: Knit or crochet your favorite pattern or try something new. Classic patterns are best. Avoid lacy or airy patterns. Items must be very warm and durable for the harshest winter weather. Most of the recipients have few or no possessions.
  • Fit: Test your garment on your own children or a neighbor's child or yourself ... to double-check proper fit.

    Please review our GENERAL GUIDELINES and MAIL ADDRESS here.

    Due Date: We continue to accept wool socks, mittens, and hats through May 2014 and likely beyond (we hope!).

    Please send completed items anytime so we can stay on top of packing. This lets us gauge our progress.

    Email us when you send your gift, and we will acknowledge you by email. If you need confirmation that your package has arrived in San Francisco, please enclose a self-addressed stamped card or envelope, and we will mail it back. Or, use the signature request service of your delivery agent.

    Please be sure to check this page (or our email list) for updates. Join our email list for notices by sending an email to:

    Please spread the word!

    Another important way to participate ... please tell your fiber friends about our campaign. We count on volunteers for word-of-mouth to keep our momentum. Please share the link to this webpage. Add one of our banners to your blog or website.

    We have told TIE that each item is lovingly created as a special gift for a child. The quality, beauty, and distinctiveness of our handmade wool garments are not available in any store! These are gifts of friendship and respect during wartime. These children are going to be cold and at risk, and we're stepping up to do what we can to comfort those enduring hardships.

    Everything related to transit to Afghanistan is getting harder to arrange and subject to delays. (Such as the Pakistan government closing the overland transit road to Afghanistan in response to NATO drone attacks in November 2011.) It is much harder to partner with relief groups that are dealing with less certainty than ever before. As you know from the news, turmoil has been increasing. We are now only using air transit to avoid the overland transit delays and the customs process in Karachi, although we can be subject to inspection delays or the flight schedule changing for other priorities. War, politics, and weather can change course or cause delay. Because of this, our campaigns have become smaller, but we are doing our best to keep up our effort. The need remains large, and we are determined not to forget the people of Afghanistan.

    We are fortunate to partner with TIE because they are still able to successfully deliver material supplies. We value their indispensable work and devotion to relieve suffering and to improving the lives of Afghans. They know what is needed, and we want to help.

    We must seize this opportunity and hope you agree. We are counting on you, as always.

    Making a difference on the other side of the world may seem impossible ... but your handmade gifts and generosity bring true comfort and warmth to young people and their families. The Afghan people still need to know that we care.

    Our deepest gratitude to the volunteers who have been contributing for many years, and welcome to the new volunteers who keep our momentum going. We're determined to continue our tradition together.

    Thank you for reading. Your caring and involvement matter!

    Ann and colleagues

    PS: Looking for group camaraderie and inspiration? Join our afghans for Afghans' knit and crochet-along , with our moderator Elizabeth Durand. The more, the merrier! You can also find the friends of afghans for Afghans group on

    Our Dedication, In Memory of Luisa Gelenter, December 8, 2012

    This campaign is dedicated to the memory of Luisa Gelenter, a dear friend of the afghans for Afghans project, extraordinary human being, and genius of La Lana Wools in Taos, New Mexico. Luisa championed afghans for Afghans from the beginning, giving support, wise advise, strength, and good laughs to us all. Nothing in the world like Luisa's fibers, plant-derived colors, spirit, and inspiration. We are deeply saddened and miss Luisa. Our hearts go out to her son and family and many friends everywhere. May her memory be a blessing.

    In partnership with the San Francisco office of the American Friends Service Committee, the afghans for Afghans project started in late 2001 in response to the war that unfolded after 9/11. Who knew that more than 11 years later, our handmade wool garments would still be needed in Afghanistan. Thank you for continuing to take action with your own hands and hearts to remember the Afghan people.

    Check out our Bulky Yarn Fundraiser -- luxurious yarn at a fabulous price for a good cause. Thanks for your support.



    Rokhshana Girls School

    Photos courtesy of Trust in Education and afghans for Afghans

    TIE's Farza school under construction

    TIE's Farza school under construction

    TIE's Farza school under construction


    TIE's Farza school under construction

    Classrooms soon!

    Abdullah Bin-Omar Middle School


    Abdullah Bin-Omar Middle School

    Afghan children are eager to learn

    CWS Kabul 2007

    This campaign is dedicated to Luisa Gelenter, second from left, in this 2006 photo at her La Lana Wool booth at Stitches West


    In-VEST for Peace Art

    Click here to find out how to contribute.
    Original In-VEST for Peace art by Rosemary Hill
    © 2006 afghans for Afghans
    All rights reserved





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