Monday, 30 April 2007

Halfway there - but need more knitters please

Hi all,

Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou to those already signed up to this exciting project. Unfortunately we still son't have nearly enough knitters to do both rugs but are halfway there to getting enough for one. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please send them a link to this site, or talk about it at your local knitting group to generate some interest. As you know I think it is a great project to get rid of some left over yarn that you might not have any other use for, and at the same time, make something wonderful and warm for a child in need, whilst getting support and encourageent from other knittes and getting to know them through the project.

Some people emailed and were worried about the postage costs. I realise that as the blanket gets further along it will get heavier and hence more costly to post, and unfortunately have no way around that as this is a national project. However I had planned to do it state by state so that all the knitters in one state knit first then it gets sent to the next state, goes to all the knitters there and so on. This was more to save on postage time as it still costs the same to send interstate or in your own state, however one of our knitters offered a great solution, and that is that instead of posting between knitters, some may choose to meet the next knitter in person and hand it over that way. That is perfectly fine, and encouraged as it will help build the community sense of the project. If you REALLY don't want to send the rug in the post, let me know and I will make sure that you are not the last knitter in your state.

Now, I have to apologise that I haven't listed all of you as fast as I would have liked, but please understand that with a full time job, a household, a 1yr old son and a Masters degree to juggle, it can be difficult for me to post names on a daily basis. However I do try to get to it at least once a week and check to see if there are any more willing volunteers. I have just updated the list tonight, so if you have applied to join but aren't in the list, please send me another email, as I may have missed it. Also, those of you that have blogs, I have linked them to your name where possible, but if I didn't catch your blog address on your email, I haven't linked it. If you would like me to add the link, please send me your blog detals.

One final thing to check is that you have received an invitation to join the blog. You need to accept the invitation to post in here, which will be required once we start knitting so we can follow the rug around Australia and also see it blossom in all it's growing glory! If you are unsure about how to post to the blog, feel free to ask me your questions, or email your photos/progress details of the rug to me and I can update the blog. You do NOT need a blog to join, and if you'd rather not post to the blog, you can still join as long as you promise to keep us updated when you get the rug via an email to me at that time.

There, I think that covers everything for now. I just hope we get enough interest to make this a reality!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

A little inspiration

This is a photo of Oddball Blanket #1 which is currently working it's way around America. I just thought it would be good to post the pic here so you can all see what I am on about - this is truly inspiring work!

Also, I have a very humble apology to make - I forgot the dot au part of my email address when I set this blog up last night so if you tried to sign up today and failed, please try again by emailing me at chillychookatyahoodotcomdotau (swap the at's for the at symbol and the dots for actual dots).

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Calling volunteers!

What's it all about?
The Rugz 4 Kidz project is a charity project for disadvantaged kids. With the weather becoming cooler, some families are short of warm winter blankets and these kids struggle to keep warm and get the good night's sleep that their growing bodies need. This project aims to create two blankets to start with, one for a boy, and one for a girl and if it works really well we can run it again and again so that several children can be spoiled with the warmth of a hand knitted blanket. The blankets will each be 100cm x 155cm - enough to top a single bed or wrap around the child. Along with the blanket the child will also receive a beautiful fabric covered book with messages of hope and love from the knitters who created their special blanket. The spin-off is that we get to share our work with each other, use up a ball or two from our yarn stash and virtually meet some other knitters that we may not have "met" otherwise.

What do you need to participate?
Firstly you need to be located in Australia for the duration of the project. Unfortunately, we can't make this an international project as postage between knitters would take too long. Other than that, all you need is some knitting time and some machine washable 8ply yarn (wool or acrylic or a blend of both) to spare.

How does it work?
I will start the blankets, setting up with the correct number of stitches using my own circular needles. Once they are started I will send each blanket (with needles included) to a person on the participant's list and that person is required to knit 7cm of blanket. You can change colours as many times as you like in that 7cm so it's a great way to use up leftover yarns. Be creative, try out a new stitch or use a stitch you particularly enjoy knitting or want some practice with, or if you are a beginner, just plain garter stitch or stocking stitch will be perfectly fine. However, no matter what stitch you choose, it is requested that you keep the borders going so that the blanket is better able to hold it's shape and sit flat.

When you have knitted your bit, post the blanket to the next knitter (you will be emailed with the name and address of that person at the start of the project so that each person's details only go out to one other knitter). The blanket will also travel with a bright cloth covered book. Inside this book, please write your name and a special message for the child who receives the blanket. If you have kids yourself, perhaps they might like to contribute with a colourful drawing? Send the book on with the blanket and some goodies for the next knitter.

If you are on both lists (you decide if you want to do either one or both blankets) I will try to spread out the allocations so that you won't have to knit both blankets at once. When the blanket has been through all knitters on the list, the last knitter will return it to me so that I can finish with the garter stitch borders and donate them to a local charity (I haven't worked that out yet but it will probably be the Red Shield blanket appeal or the Salvation Army). When I donate them I will post to the blog so that everyone knows that their hard work was well received and passed on to the charity for two very lucky kids!

How do I sign up?
As winter is fast approaching I would like to aim for sign-ups to be complete by Saturday 19th May or until we have the right number of knitters. We need at 20 knitters for each blanket, with the blanket taking an expected 11 months to complete (2 weeks per knitter plus 3-4 postage days between knitters). If we start now, the blankets will be ready for winter 2009.

Sign up by sending me an email at chillychook at

Please stipulate if you want to be on one or both lists, and if you only want to be on one, let me know if you have a preference to be on the boy's or girl's blanket list. I understand that you may have more of certain colours in your stash so will try to assign you to the appropriate list, however if I get too many people for one list and not the other I will have to allocate accordingly.

The rules:

  1. Use the dedicated needles (they will travel with the blanket) and please send them on in the same condition you receive them.
  2. Use 8ply machine washable yarn (wool, acrylic or a blend of both)
  3. Knit the first and last 5 stitches of every row - this is the garter stitch border. Do what you like with the rest of the stitches.
  4. Post to the blog when you receive a blanket, and again when you send it on (perhaps with a picture for your second post showing your completed section), so we can keep track of it and watch it growing.
  5. Try to get your knitting done and the blanket sent on within 2 weeks of
    receiving the blanket.

Some Guidelines

Please try to include a small treat as thanks to the next knitter for taking part, something like a few chocolates or special coffee sachets is fine, just something nice to let the knitter know you are thinking of them.

Try to stick to the boy/girl colour themes where possible. You shouldn't feel you have to go out and buy yarn specifically for this project as it is a stash buster after all, but it would be nice if the colours didn't clash, so that the final recipient will adore the finished blanket.

Remember, you are knitting for kids who might be sensitive to very scratchy yarns. Please package the blanket appropriately when you send it on - respect all the hard work that has gone into it.

I realise that it will get heavier as it gets bigger, so the postage will get more expensive the further down the list you are, however I will try to group the allocations by state so that you may choose to meet up with the next knitter in person to pass it on if that is what you would prefer to do.
If you have any further questions add them in your sign-up email which should also include:

  • Your name
  • Your postal address
  • Your preferences for one or both blankets

One final note on signups
PLEASE don't sign up if you don't intend on doing the required 7cm of blanket within a fortnight of receiving the blanket. It would be a very big disappointment to EVERYONE if a blanket ended up in someone's half finished projects box and never got to the intended recipient. If something comes up and you aren't able to do your bit on the blanket within the required time frame PLEASE let us know by posting on the group blog and send the blanket on. Of course if you're just going to be a few days late, not to worry, let us know and send the blanket on when you are done.

I look forward to working with you all on this exciting project! Also, as this is the first project I have run like this, your suggestions will be more than welcome on how to improve it. Now I'm off to get prepared, buy some needles and needle protectors to knit those gorgeous blankets and to cover some blank note books to hold those inspiring messages!