Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Sock Challenge for Akkol, Kazakhstan

When I was in Columbus for the yarn industry trade show, I had the opportunity to meet Nanci, owner of Knit On! in Bellevue, Kentucky. Nanci and her husband Dave not only own a yarn store, but they have adopted 3 teenagers from Kazakhstan. They are going back in August to adopt another teenager. You can read more about their story on their shop webpage.

Nanci runs a list for knitters who make warm woolen garments to send with adoptive
parents when they travel to Kazakhstan to pick up their kids. You can join this list too if you want to hear more about the ongoing challenges and goals. The current challenge is a big one, and I'd love to enlist your help!

When Nanci & Dave travel to pick up their new child, Nanci would like to take enough warm wool socks that every child in the orphanage will receive a them as a special treat at what we think of as Christmas. When they were in power, the Soviets outlawed Christmas in Kazakhstan, and so the people moved their celebrations to New Year's Eve instead. Every New Year's Eve at the orphanage Grandfather Frost brings the children a bag of candy, they have a dance and the older children are allowed to stay up all night. They are also allowed to eat all they want, instead of the usual single serving with no seconds. While the kids enjoy this and appreciate the bag of candy that they receive, Nanci would like for them to get a pair of warm wool socks as well. Her kids told her it is always cold there and they used to layer many pairs of thin polyester socks to try to keep their feet warm. If you follow the aboved link to the Knit On! webpage, you can read about how happy the children were the first time Nanci showed up with knitted donations.

Would you like to join me in making some socks for the kids in Akkol? These are big kids, many of whom are of adult size. Sizes needed range from foot lengths of 7" to 11.5". The younger kids are more likely to have something that can be handed down to them but the older kids are often short on handmedowns since no one is likely to have outgrown things in their size. Thick boot socks are ok and will knit up pretty quickly even in big sizes.

I've been making a pair of Joan's Socks because these are thick & warm & knit up very quickly using two strands of worsted weight wool held together. Remember to make yours out of real wool for warmth though, (not the acrylic blend mentioned in the pattern). I'm working on a pair with Araucania Nature Wool. They feel great and would be very warm & cozy. It is amazing how quickly these go! You could also make yours with assorted oddballs from your stash and get some fun multicolor socks. Just wind your balls into two equal parts and change yarns when a color runs out. Each sock will match that way. Or if you happen to have a stash of bulky yarn (like Lamb's Pride Bulky for example) you could knit this pattern with a single strand of your bulky yarn. The Men's Berlin Socks would also be good for the larger sizes and knit up fairly quickly with a single strand of worsted weight wool.

If you want to knit for the kids in Akkol, and you live in the Lafayette, Indiana, area you can drop off your donations at River Knits by July 25th (which happens to be my dad's birthday). If you are going to be in the Cincinnati area you can drop your donations off at Knit On! by July 31st. If you are far away from either place, send your socks directly to Knit On! by the end of July. Remember the goal is 250 socks! For now, concentrating on the larger sizes would be good! As that changes I'll let you know what the totals are and what is needed. Let's warm up a whole orphanage full of kids and make their festivities extra special this year!

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