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Rectangle Shawls for Afghan Mothers

Update as of August 10, 2008
Please Read

This campaign has been completed. Thank you for partcipating. Please click here for details on our current campaign for youth in time for winter! Please join us. Sept./Oct. due date.

Dear Knitters and Crocheters for Afghanistan,

Surprise! And, now for something different ...

The CURE Hospital in Kabul has asked us to send RECTANGLE shawls for the new mothers that receive services at their wonderful hospital.

We are honored to have this opportunity to directly express our concern, respect, and friendship for the women of Afghanistan.

Please read this memo closely to ensure that you knit or crochet the kind of RECTANGLE shawl that is needed and that conforms to Afghan customs. We have talked with the medical personnel at CURE, and our specifications are designed with their guidance and approval.

Important points to review

  • The shawl needs to be RECTANGULAR in shape. You may want to think "stole." We *cannot* accept triangles or circles, which do not provide adequate coverage and are not customary.
  • RECTANGLE shawls are worn over the head, covering the hair in back and across the shoulders and chest for modesty. Therefore, please make your rectangle shawl conform to these measurements (which are wider and longer than you may personally be accustomed to):

    Rectangle shawl width --
    20" minimum to 24" inches maximum (or 50 cm to 60 cm)
    Rectangle shawl length --
    66" minimum to 80" inches maximum (or 168 cm to 200 cm)

  • The fabric must be dense enough to provide warmth, but be careful to avoid a carpet-like thickness as the fabric needs to flow over a woman's head and shoulders. Avoiding yarns heavier than worsted-weight, and using the appropriate needle and hook sizes for a proper gauge, should take care of concern for drape.
  • Lace can be OK, but only if the pattern is densely filled. Avoid lace with lots of air space. Fabric needs to provide warmth, and modesty is important. Any lace will likely be worn indoors with an additional head covering when going outside
  • Use wool (or other animal fiber) to provide maximum utility in harsh weather. Please review our memo on wool and fiber content.
  • Please avoid white and very light colors that soil more easily. Afghans like all colors. Feel free to mix up a bright and cheery palette. Use up those wool oddballs.
  • Please, no fringe on the shawl. Per the hospital's request.

    Our general guidelines and mailing addresses are HERE for your reference.

    About rectangle shawl patterns

    We list a sampling of patterns here to illustrate the kinds of rectangle shawls needed. However, you are welcome to use your favorite patterns and stitch dictionaries to create a rectangle shawl that conforms to our guidelines in terms of measurements and other qualities.

    Some of these patterns are written for acrylic or cotton yarns. Please pay attention to each pattern's yarn requirements for weight and yardage only -- remember that shawls for CURE *must* be made of wool. You will also see examples of acceptable lace -- lace that is fairly dense.

    Knit ...
  • Zen garden stole
  • Friendship shawl
  • Sonata shawl (omit fringe)
    Add more stitches/repeats to make the following patterns comply with the required measurements --
  • Wave and shell shawl
  • Border wrap
  • Prayer shawl
  • Andean treasure shawl
  • Soffice stole (omit fringe)
  • Upstairs shawl
  • Candle flame shawl

    Crochet ...
  • Easy shawl (omit fringe)
  • Long shawl
  • Wilshire shawl (omit fringe)
  • Marigold shawl (omit fringe)
  • Simply shawl
    Add more stitches/repeats to make the following patterns comply with the required measurements --
  • Indian summer wrap
  • Concerto shawl (omit fringe)
  • Fantasy shawl (omit fringe)
  • Anniversary shawl

    Do you have a link to a favorite free pattern that fits the specs? Send the link to afghans4Afghans at aol dot com. We'll post your suggestions here.

    Attention, weavers!

    We can accept RECTANGLE shawls woven on a loom -- as long at the garments conform to our guidelines on this page. Thank you! We know weavers produce lovely handiwork, and we are delighted to have your involvement.

    Weavezine has put together weaving tips for you here.
    Got a weaving question about this project? Please email editor@weavezine dot com for assistance. (Big thanks to Syne for her leadership!)

    Due date

    We'd like to send 500 RECTANGLE shawls to Kabul ... we'll give this our best try! We are accepting RECTANGLE shawls through July 31 (both at our San Francisco and Canadian/ addresses).

    The Afghan people still need to know that we care. Maybe more than ever before. Our gifts are highly valued. When we receive specific requests from relief workers on the ground in Afghanistan, we do our best to say yes. They know what is needed, and we want to help.

    Please spread the word!

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

    Looking for some camaraderie?

    Join Heidi's afghans for Afghans' knit and crochet-along. Please jump in now! Heidi is waiting for you!

    As you know from the news, life in Afghanistan remains difficult and insecure. Making a difference for people on the other side of the world seems an impossible task ... but your handmade gifts and generosity bring real comfort and warmth to the Afghan people.

    We extend our gratitude to you all for making this happen. Your participation matters.

    Our best,
    Ann and colleagues at afghans for Afghans

    PS: If shawls are not your thing or time is short, not to worry. PLEASE CLICK HERE for details on new major campaign for youth in time for winter! Sept./Oct. due date.

    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 for more than 6 years, our handmade garments and blankets would still be needed in Afghanistan. Thank you for continuing to take action with your own hands to remember the Afghan people.

  • Saloni models rectangle shawl
    Saloni (of Nine Rubies in San Mateo, CA) models
    rectangle shawl that provides adequate coverage

    example of shawl style
    Example of shawl style worn in Afghanistan
    (photo by Marsha MacColl, Afghans 4 Tomorrow)

    example of shawl style
    Example of shawl style worn in Afghanistan
    (photo by Marsha MacColl, Afghans 4 Tomorrow)

    example of shawl style
    Example of shawl style worn in Afghanistan
    (photo by Marsha MacColl, Afghans 4 Tomorrow)

    example of shawl style
    At our AFSC Collection Center, Laura Truffaut
    models Nina Shawl knit by Elizabeth Cittar
    (from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book)

    example of shawl style
    Sue Clark, from Webster, TX,
    shows us her chic crocheted shawl

    In-VEST for Peace Art

    Click here to find out how to contribute and
    receive your In-VEST for Peace Tote Bag gift.

    Original In-VEST for Peace art by Rosemary Hill
    © 2006 afghans for Afghans
    All rights reserved



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