Wrap with Love

VOLUNTEERS – ALWAYS WANTED

Wrap with Love – ‘Blankets for cold humanity’

More Sewers needed to join the hundreds of knitted squares into blankets.

Second Monday of each month 9.30am-12pm

At St Mary’s Parish Hall – Enjoy cuppa & chat

**Contact: Carmel Moroney – 6033 5381

NEXT SEWING DAY: Every second Monday (call Carmel 6033 5381 to confirm)

*  *  *

“WRAP WITH LOVE” – WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT

“Knitting blankets for cold humanity”

In 2012, the not-for-profit organisation WRAP WITH LOVE celebrated 20 years of delivering free hand-knitted blankets to people needing warmth.  This Australian initiative has thus far delivered 300,000 blankets to poor, cold or traumatised people in more than 50 countries, including Australia! It is a story worth the telling, and St Mary’s parishioners in Corowa have been doing their part for more than eleven years.

The organisation was begun in 1992 and is based on the very simple idea of asking volunteers just to knit small squares that could later be joined to others to form a warm blanket. Like many ideas of utter simplicity, the idea has been greeted with enthusiasm by anyone who could manage to wield two knitting needles to produce a square of 10 inches by 10 inches, or 25 cm by 25 cm.

Those who are willing to be involved can either do the knitting at home or join a local group to get involved in a thoughtful and merciful act of charity. The aim is to have the squares neatly knitted or crocheted, then submitted for joining together. The local committee sets to work to carefully sew the squares together and to crochet the edges to prevent the disaster of runaway threads.

Twenty-one years ago the first shipment was just fifteen ‘wraps’, as they are called. They were shipped to the needy in Mozambique. Since then, teams all across Australia have built up and are now sending 30,000 wraps to the poor each year. The completed works are donated through bona fide Aid Agencies who ensure they reach those in trauma and in need.

The work was begun in Sydney and that remains the headquarters, with a warehouse in Alexandria as the focus of all the action of receiving, packing and shipping.

The 20th birthday celebrations on October 24th 2012 included a morning tea at the warehouse and members of many different knitting groups were able to see just how the squares are sorted by size and colour into bags for assembling into wraps; they also observed the packing of finished wraps into strong yellow bags for transportation. Among those celebrating were workers, volunteers and donors who have provided invaluable help through the years.

Wrap with Love is a voluntary, non-denominational, non-racial and non-political organisation incorporated with the Department of Fair Trading NSW. Of course, its continuing success depends on the willingness of many members of the team persevering and new ones willing to begin to give some of their time.

COROWASt Mary’s CWL

St Mary's Volunteers joining the squaresSt Mary's Volunteers joining the squares - 2

In 2002, the idea caught the attention of members of the Corowa Catholic Women’s League and quite a number of members decided they would like to join in the action. Approximately twelve are still actively involved and the production rate has not slowed. In 2011 more than 400 blankets were produced and in 2012 more than 300. The number includes some boxes arriving from other centres.

Because the idea was shared among different branches of the organisation throughout the region beginning from Corowa, some are still mailing their finished items to Corowa. They are then forwarded per kind courtesy of Francis Transport to Alexandria in Sydney. Recently, in August 2013, two boxes arrived from the Eaglehawk branch of the CWL in Victoria, and this month they will be forwarded along with two large boxes from the local Corowa committee – a total of approximately 40 blankets produced in June and July. As mentioned earlier, it is a non-denominational group and, in Corowa, members of different faiths share in the tasks of knitting and sewing. All volunteers are welcome to help share warmth with ‘cold humanity’.

KNITTING PATTERN

If you are wondering about the pattern, here is the basic information to get you started. Knitted or crocheted squares for Wraps are to measure 25cm x 25cm, or 10 inches x 10 inches each. Please use a tape measure to ensure consistent sizing for easy matching of squares when they are being sewn into a Wrap. Some knitters have cleverly included patterns within the squares, such as this kangaroo. All Wraps sent abroad have an Australian tag attached to them. The second picture shows squares awaiting joining.

Some squares given Australian motifsSquares awaiting joining

PATTERN

Use size 8 (4mm) needles and 8 ply yarn. (A combination equivalent to 8 ply is also acceptable).

Pattern 1: Diagonal (preferred as it is easier to join)

Case on 3 stitches.  Row 1: K1, increase 1 in the next stitch, knit to end of row.

Repeat Row 1 until the side edge measures 25cm.

Next Row: K1, K2 together, knit to the end of the row.

Repeat this row until 3 stitches remain. Cast off.

In some instances you may have to decrease 2 stitches towards the last 2 inches of the square due to the tension of various yarns. This will ensure a perfect 25cm square when finished.

Pattern 2: Standard 

You will need to test your tension for this method.

Cast on 50 – 55 stitches and knit each row in plain stitch. Do NOT use stocking stitch as this curls and is not easy to sew with other squares.

Completed Wraps are Preferred

Colorful squares carefully joined

The completed Wraps are made up of 28 squares 4 x 7. Each square should be joined alternately diagonal/horizontal to the adjoining square to give stability as is evident in these pictures, and the edge should be crocheted, as in the picture below.

Squares joined & crocheted at edge

Always have the wrong side of each square facing up when sewing together as this then becomes the back of the Wrap.  Weave all ends back into the square out of sight.

The local contact person for St Mary’s parish Corowa is Carmel Maroney Ph. 02 6033 5381. St Mary’s group meets on the 2nd and 4th Mondays in the Parish Hall at 9.30am. Each session is approximately two hours.

For more information about the Wrap with Love organisation visit the following website; it includes many beautiful photos of wraps and recipients in different countries. It is worth a visit, because it will add to your inspiration: http://www.artsandcraftsnsw.com.au/Wrap.htm

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