| | | |

How to Help at the Pine Ridge Reservation through Knitted Squares

No need to weave in ends – your knitted squares can help Lakota families through Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation

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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I recently read your article on knitting for the Pine Ridge Reservation and I would very much like to contribute knitted squares. I emailed Katyallen815@gmail.com for a shipping address but am not getting a response. Can you please confirm if this is still a valid email address and if not can you provide another contact.
    Many thanks for any information you can provide.

    1. Hello MaryAnn! I’m trying to get a hold of a moderator at the Ravelry group to see if that address is still valid. If I don’t hear back from her today, I’ll try another one. Thank you for your patience!

      1. Just to update: I’ve heard back from the moderator in question, she has indeed changed her email address, but her message to me (on Ravelry) was cut off before the new email address. 😆 I let her know, and hopefully I’ll hear from her again soon!

        1. Nicole, I just wanted to thank you for going to such efforts to provide me with a valid email address. I look forward to receiving it so I can participate in this great effort.

  2. Hello,
    My knitting group has knit 21 twelve inch squares for a blanket. We did not leave tails as we were not aware of this instruction when we became aware of this opportunity via our local yarn store.
    Can we please send you the square?
    If not , can we see the blanket together and send it to you?
    What is your address?
    Thank you so much for your assistance.
    Christina Poliseo

    1. Hi Christina! You should be okay with not leaving tails; that was primarily the former blanket seamer who instructed not to leave tails.

      Here’s the email address for one of the moderators, to whom you can write and ask for the best address to send your squares to: katyallen815@gmail.com

    1. Hi Carol, I don’t have the shipping address because there are several, but if you email the moderator at katyallen815(at)gmail.com, she’ll be able to square you away with the address you need.

  3. I appreciate that you explained that this area experiences the most poverty in the USA. My best friend told me that they are planning to give back to the community, and they are hoping to find reliable donations for the pine ridge Indian reservation. Thanks to this helpful article, I’ll be sure to tell him that consulting trusted donations for the pine ridge Indian reservation service can help them with the right planning.

  4. Hi Nicole,
    I am Nelly, SpanishRose on Ravelry. I am a moderator in the Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation group. The thread to ask for an address to send to is here: https://www.ravelry.com/discuss/afghan-squares-for-pine-ridge-reservation/4044198/76-100#82

    We accept any and all squares. Preferred sizes are 6” and 12”.
    Use any yarn. We’ll weave in your ends if you don’t want to.

    Any questions? Come join the group on Ravelry. We’d love to have you.

    1. Thank you very much, Nelly, I so appreciate this! I probably get at least a request a week asking where to send squares for your group. 😀 This is really helpful!

  5. Thank you for this info – I didn’t realize they accepted afghan squares. I’ve donated used clothing, shoes, knitting needles, crochet hooks, notions, yarn and some knitting and crochet books to Pine Ridge in the past. The people living on the reservation are living way below the US poverty level and need all the help they can get.

    This is a great way to work on small items, use up scrap yarn, and learn new stitches.

      1. Tried to send a message thru ravelry but said no such address. I have quite a lot of finished blocks. Unfortunately I have woven in all the ends . Would they still use them?
        Also are you only supposed to use acrylic yarns?

  6. Are there folks at Pine Ridge that knit or crochet but need yarn and supplies? How would we go about sending supplies to them? Also where to send slipper socks, scarves etc we have made ? Or is this an option?

    1. Hi Linda! I suggest you check out Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation. I believe they’ll be able to take all of those items and more. Scroll down this page https://friendsofpineridgereservation.org/ and find the photos with the “donate X” banners on them. You’ll find a box for both art and craft supplies as well as one for hand-crafted items. Hope this helps!

  7. I love to knit and crochet. I have a lot of hats and scarves that I haven’t given away. I would love to send them to people that need them. Also I would love to make the squares. Is there certain colors that you don’t recommend?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Anna! I’d advise you to join the Afghan Squares group on Ravelry linked to in this article. They’ll be able to give you more information about the squares. As for your hats and scarves, try the For the Children of Pine Ridge Ravelry group, also linked to in this article. Thank you so much for commenting! (And I’m so sorry I only just saw this comment!)

  8. Pingback: Help the Lakota People and Knit for Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation
    1. I useto knit for the Pine Ridge Native Americans about 25 years ago. I had breast cancer and during my chemo times being real sick I decided to knit for them. I sent out many boxes then the woman who was collecting items retired. I would like to help again. I am 70 and spent most my life knitting for charity such a good feeling my problem use to be geting yarn. I also now knit for Care wear love knitting for babies and nursing home residents. I also help in winter hats mittens scarfs for homeless food boxes etc. Such a good feeling knitting for people who appreciate it. Thanks for reading Nina

      1. Thank you for commenting, Nina! And thank you so much for knitting for charity. I know it is greatly appreciated!

  9. I would like to knit for the native American tribes that might be in need of hats, have lost my contact with the Dakota tribes. Would need to know size and needs plus a mailing address. I have been knitting for our deployed troops for years but their needs have lessened over time. Sent a box of hats last year thru a contact at Wells Fargo, but as I mentioned before, have lost contact. Any assistance you might provide would be greatly appreciated.

  10. I love the article however an ‘ad choice’ pop up box is smack in the middle of one of the paragraphs so I cannot read it. I cannot get rid of the ad choice box. Please do not subscribe to ad choice. They are not only annoying but based on this, extremely rude. Thank you.

    1. Hi Dianne, I’m so sorry you’re having an issue with this ad. Could you tell me exactly which paragraph the ad is appearing in, and which browser you’re using? Also if you’re using a computer, phone, or tablet? It sounds like a Google ad is causing the issue, but I’m not sure which one is the problem. Thank you, and my apologies again.

      1. I am on my laptop using Internet Explorer 11. The paragraph it appears in is the one that begins with ‘One other request she makes..’.

        I just went on line now to look at the article and the pop up box is not displaying allowing me to read the entire article. I am sorry to have bothered you with this but truthfully, I will not return to sites that these appear in as the ads are annoying and get in the way of my viewing the web site. Normally I would not have revisited this article but I did so to answer your question about which paragraph it appeared in.

        How can these ads – whether they are Google or ad choice – be stopped from popping up whenever and, apparently, wherever they want? Is there something I can do on my side to avoid them?

        Thank you for your time.

        1. Hi Dianne. Thank you very much for responding to my inquiry. I thought that the ad you were referring to was a Google ad, but I tested this page on IE and had a similar problem to what you’re experiencing. Turns out it’s not a Google ad after all. (Not that that’s important to you, I just don’t want to damage Google’s reputation!)

          I usually place ads myself, and I try to place them in such a manner as to avoid the issue you’re describing. I read many articles online myself, and I too have been victimized by ad placement that kept me from reading articles, and I know full well how frustrating it is!

          Now that I know where the ad is located, I think I should be able to remove the problem entirely and, I hope, keep this from occurring again.

          Again, thank you for giving me more information. I hope you’ll give this site another chance!