The students at Spring Valley Science School (San Francisco, CA) love to knit
hats to help the people of Afghanistan endure winter weather.
Milyko, Marrina Beck, Angelica Beck, and Amy Milyko assemble afghan squares.
Photo by crocheter Nell Benton. Manassas, VA
"We think your idea for making afghans for Afghans is very worthwhile, and we are joining the project by contributing a group blanket. The Medina knitting group has seven or eight members and meets once a month. My husband's 95-year-old aunt contributed her handmade squares. We also knit baby hats for our local hospital and have knit sweaters for shipment to Africa. Our group will continue making afghan squares and will send the completed blanket when finished."
Patricia Van Gelder, Marjorie Eiseman, Margery Lilien,
Barbara Koplin, and Annie Modesitt of the National Council
of Jewish Women, Essex County, NJ
"Once a week, during lunch, parents and a teacher or two got together with San Anselmo Elementary School's kids and taught them how to knit and/or crochet. The goal was to create 7" squares, which we then stitched into blankets. We spread the word through our school newsletter and asked for donated yarn, crochet hooks, and any kind of 7" squares. The response was overwhelming! Parents, teachers, grandparents, friends, neighbors, and students produced hundreds of squares and donated bags of yarn and all sizes of hooks and needles. In two months we made eight adult afghans, three children's afghans, a baby blanket, and two bags of hats and mittens. At the same time, we taught our enthusiastic kids valuable new skills. Meanwhile, our beloved San Anselmo has closed its doors, due to budget cuts -- but we have pledged to continue our project at the various schools where we will scatter, just as long as afghans are being sent to Afghans."
San Anselmo Elementary School
San Jose, CA
Ask friends to join you for a stitching bee
Depending on the number of people in your group
and the pattern design, each person makes one or more squares.
Before you know it (say, a couple hours?), you'll create enough
squares to complete a full blanket.
Organize a group afghan project for youth
Perhaps with a Scout troop, YMCA or other community
center, classroom, a house-of-worship program, a sorority,
seniors, or even something ad hoc at your kitchen table.
Younger kids can create simple garter stitch squares. Make
this a multigenerational activity.
Select a pattern that suits the skill level
and time constraints of the participants
This is also a purposeful way to test new designs
and stitches (call it a sampler) ... plus, a super idea to
use odd balls of yarn in your stash. The more colors, the
Please avoid lacy stitches that do not insulate sufficiently.
Please use 100% wool or mostly wool (or other durable, warm animal fiber) to provide maximum utility in harsh weather. More notes on wool here.
If some friends only knit, while others prefer crochet ...
you can still all get along. Combine both knit and crochet
squares in the same blanket for strong textural interest.
For easier construction, make the squares equal in size.
Join the squares to make a complete blanket
Using a crochet hook, slip stitch the squares
together into one or more blankets. Or, whip stitch the squares
together with a darning needle. Depending on your design,
add an edging all around.
While you can use your favorite pattern or almost any knit
or crochet stitch to make blocks, here are some free afghan
patterns based on squares or other units:
Grassroot initiatives from bloggers
Need some group camaraderie to complete your items in time? Join the afghans for Afghans'
knit and crochet-along. Please jump in now! We're waiting for you!
Mason-Dixon Knitting bloggers organized a worldwide Afghanalong to make blanket squares. They gathered in several cities for assembly parties in 2004.
If your camera is handy
Email a photo of your group to afghans4Afghans at aol dot com.
We'll post it here to inspire others.
Lilly and her knitting club at South Portland High School in
Maine. They know the value of wool in Maine!