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:

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