No need to weave in ends – your knitted squares can help Lakota families through Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation
I have a simple question for you, charity knitter: do you enjoy knitting squares but hate weaving in ends? Maybe you don’t actually hate it, but boy, you’d be thrilled if there was a time when you didn’t have to weave in a single blessed yarn end.
If you’re nodding in agreement right now… I have great news for you! Now you can knit for charity — for a fantastic cause — and you can knit all the squares you want without having to weave in a single end of yarn!
Does this sound too good to be true? Read on!
Welcome to Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation
Here’s a quick refresher about why you might be interested in knitting for the Pine Ridge Reservation.
The Lakota people living on the Pine Ridge Reservation experience perhaps the most desperate poverty in all the United States. In addition to having an incredibly high unemployment rate, the life expectancy is extremely low — 47 for men and early 50s for women.
Teen suicide is also 4 times the national average.
Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation is a great way for new knitters or experienced knitters who love to whip through a lot of pieces of charity knitting to help.
The knitter’s job is to knit squares of any size. They prefer 6”- and 12”-squares, but really squares can be any size. The group is happy to work with any squares they receive, so don’t worry about a square not being exactly this size.
You may have heard of Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation and of how the Ravelry-based group was headed by a Lakota woman named Pam Little Sparrow.
Pam would take every square sent to her and lovingly weave in ends, then seam the squares into beautiful afghans. She then sent the afghans to social service organizations on the reservation.
Sadly, in late March of 2020, Pam passed away.
The group placed gathering square donations on hold as members mourned and tried to decide what to do next. Happily, at the beginning of May 2020, two members – Leigh-Anne and Katy – stepped up to moderate the group and continue Pam’s mission in her loving memory.
As Leigh-Anne told me, “We intend on continuing in Pam’s very big footsteps by changing none of her rules, with the most important one being that no square will go unloved or unused.”
For more ways to knit for Native Americans, take a look at these posts!
Never You Mind Those Ends!
So, you might be asking, what about not having to weave in ends? It is 100% true, and here’s why. Pam wanted to make absolutely sure that every square that becomes part of a blanket is structurally sound and wouldn’t unravel in the washing machine or with years of use.
So she would ask knitters (and crocheters) not to weave in ends. Whenever you change yarn, leave that end out! Ends should be no less than 4 inches and no more than 8 inches.
According to Leigh-Anne, the group has 4 seamstresses to put the squares together.
One other guideline: do not knot an end and then cut the yarn close to the knot. Knots are perfectly acceptable, if you don’t feel comfortable letting a yarn end dangle when you change yarns. You just need to cut the yarn no closer than 4 inches away from the knot.
For all the other information you need, head to the Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation Ravelry group. Be sure to read the “Guidelines” thread for all the pertinent information about the group.
Read the first post in this thread, in particular, to see how to obtain a shipping address for squares. (Spoiler: you’ll need to PM one of the group moderators!)
So knit those squares, let those ends wave free, and know that you’re helping to keep a Lakota family warm at night!