Unveiled!

Last night was the Big Reveal, the Unveiling, the culmination of eight months hard work and a whole lot of love and commitment. Against all expectations, I didn’t cry–came a little close when I was thanking people at the end but for the most part I managed to hold it together. And the reaction from the crowd (about 250 strong!) was wonderful. I was really just too overwhelmed to notice anything other than the ridiculously powerful spotlight in my face but I’m told that there was a huge gasp of (hopefully) astonishment. Lots of people milled around and looked at the blanket, searching out squares that they knew about or had knit. It was quite a moment. I’ve posted lots of pictures on the facebook page, including plenty of the drag show that followed–which was fabulous, by the way, but as I know that not everyone has a facebook account it would be remiss of me not to post photos here.

Before the pictures though let me remind any interested parties that squares are still available for sponsorship and right now I’m trying to raise as much money as possible for the Diversity Project LGBT Scholarship. There’s a link to Paypal over on the right of this page, you can donate via Paypal or you can send a check directly to me. If you choose Paypal, please send it to ukdiversityproject@gmail.com. If you want to send a check, email me (at the same address) for further details. Let’s see if we can make this $1000 into $2000!

Now, though, it’s picture time!

Doesn’t it look fantastic?

Sponsor a Square

With the blanket itself completed and unveiled, it’s now time to turn our attention to the Diversity Project LGBT Scholarship. Already, there’s $1,000 in the Scholarship Fund but I’m excited to see just how much more we can raise and just how much of a contribution we can make to one (or maybe more?) LGBT student’s life.

Here’s where anyone can contribute. There are 168 squares in the Diversity Project and you can sponsor one. I’m suggesting a minimum donation amount of $20 but you can really donate any amount that you like. Contributions can be sent via Paypal–there’s a button over there on the right of the page which will take you directly to Paypal, and payments should be sent to ukdiversityproject@gmail.com. Alternatively, you can send me a check–but please email me (same address as Paypal) for details of where to send your check.

If you are making a payment via Paypal, please be certain to put all your details in the information box as you check out–that will enable me to make sure your sponsorship details are fully noted and acknowledged, although if you would prefer to remain anonymous that’s fine too.

There’s no time limit right now on sponsorship, although I am hoping to be in a position to award the Scholarship in the upcoming 2012/13 school year. Further details about that will follow in due course.

I know so many of you have already participated in this Project and have made it a tremendous success–please help in making this final stage meaningful for one of our LGBT students and sponsor a square today.

Many thanks.

Coming Together

Since September last year, 168 beautiful squares have been knitted and crocheted by some incredible people. In the last four weeks, four more amazing women–Ann, Asri, Kerri, and Marlayna–have worked their proverbial socks off to give each square a border. The bulk of the work is done, and it’s finally time to stitch this blanket together.

We’ll meet this coming Wednesday at 6pm, at The Gaines Center for the Humanities here in Lexington, to lay out the blanket, decide what square is going where, and start to put together what is going to be a stunning work of art. Please, come and join us. Further details about the event can be found on facebook.

And, watch this space for a VERY exciting announcement…

Three Wheels on My Wagon…

I know that things have been a little quiet from the Diversity Project lately, so I thought I should make some time to post and let you all know that the Project is still making progress, albeit at a slightly slower pace than I would like. There have been a few reasons for that.

First, I defended the Project to my Gaines committee two weeks ago. Trying to get my defense paper done amidst all the other class work I had proved challenging–not least because alongside that I had to take two days out to take our youngest daughter to the KMEA Choir in Louisville. It was a lovely event, and the choir sang beautifully, but two days was a lot to lose and it knocked me off my game a little bit. Just as I was getting back into my stride, I was struck down with labrynthitis and a secondary middle ear infection. After a week on meclizine and antibiotics, I was finally able to walk around without feeling like I was going to fall over and right now I’m almost back up to speed. But now, I’m in the midst of a family emergency. As I write this, I’m hoping that we’re through the worst of it but I’m not sure. My dad is currently in an intensive care unit in England with what they’re pretty certain is bacterial meningitis. I won’t go into all the terrifying details other than to say that this is the second time he’s had to battle meningitis. We nearly lost him to it 10 years ago and here we are again, dealing with a second dose. In the last hour, though, I spoke to mum and it seems he might have turned a corner for the better this evening. All we can do is wait. If you have any spare wishes for my dad, I’d very much appreciate them. I’m trying to stay calm but there has been some serious flight-”browsing” going on and my passport is at the ready. Hoping, though, that it won’t come to an emergency trip across the Atlantic…

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on with me. The Project, though, continues to take shape–we’re still working on crocheting the borders which is proving to be a much longer and more intense job than I anticipated. Still, it’s Spring Break next week and assuming all is well back in England I’m hoping to spend the week crocheting as much as I can. In fact, if anyone wants to spend an hour or two in a coffee shop working on the borders with me, give me a nudge and I’ll buy you a coffee!

 

Crochet, crochet, and yet more crochet

I seem to be starting every post lately with an apology for not updating more regularly. It’s become a bit of a recurrent theme, not dissimilar to my recent facebook status updates which almost always seem to tell the world (or at least the part of it that wants to see what I’m up to) that I’ve burnt my toast. For the record (and not that it’s particularly relevant here) I’ve burnt my breakfast toast six times so far this year. And it’s only February. Maybe I should switch to an alternative breakfast that does not involve any level of cooking.

Back to business though, and right now we’re engaged in the long, long, long task of crocheting borders on the individual squares. We have around 160 squares right now, with the promise of more on their way, so there’s a LOT of crocheting going on. It’s a plea I’ve made before and will make again but if you can possibly help with this you will be added to my list for sainthood–because, of course, I have so much say over these things. Seriously, though, there are about 70 more squares needing borders. Even if you can only do a couple, I would appreciate it so very much. And, while I’m on the topic, huge thanks to those who have already volunteered their services–Ann, Kerri, Asri, and Marlayna. You ladies are absolute stars and I love you very much for doing this.If you can help, give me a nudge at ukdiversityproject@gmail.com or find me on facebook and I’ll be happy to furnish you with squares and yarn.

We’re also in the process of finalising a display space for the blanket. Margie and MB have been helping with that and gave me some rather excellent news today that we’re all hoping will pan out. I can’t say much more than that at the moment, but if this venue comes off, it would be wonderful. I’m keeping every flexible joint crossed.

One last thing before I hit “publish” on this post–although hopefully I’ll remember to update about this again. I’ll be on WRFL Radio Free Lexington again next Friday, with the lovely Allie, on her Out Loud show. Tune in between 3pm and 4pm for updates and chit chat.

 

TARGET!!!

In case you  missed yesterday’s facebook update, here’s the BIG news. We have hit our square target!!!! Excuse me while I jump up and down and squeal for a moment, please! I have, in my physical possession, 143 squares, but I know of several more that are just waiting for me to collect them, which absolutely counts. Phew, what a huge sigh of relief, and massive, massive thanks to everyone that has contributed yarn, squares, needles, money, time, energy, and moral support thus far. I can never properly express how awed I have been by the investment that other people have placed in this project.

But don’t let this exciting news stop you knitting–I’ll continue to accept squares up to the end of January as I know that several people still have squares in the works and there are some en route still from other countries. And I promise that I will use EVERY SINGLE SQUARE in the finished blanket. That’s a guarantee. Now that I know we have enough squares I’m curious to know just HOW many we can get and just how big this blanket will be. Go on, amaze me! While I’m on the subject, let me just throw in a quick reminder that our last Knit-In will take place next Wednesday, 18th January, at Coffee Times on Regency Road. We’ll be there at 6.30pm until they close. There’s a facebook page for the event here, and we’d love to have our final Knit-In be the biggest one yet.

Now that the knitting (and crocheting) is drawing to a close, it’s time for me to turn my mind to the next stage of the project–putting the blanket together. It’s going to take some work. A lot of work. Here’s what now needs to be done.

* Blocking. Some of the squares are fine as they are but some need to be blocked to straighten them out and get them to size. Right now (today!) I need volunteers who are able to block 10 squares each for me and get them back to me within a week. Email me or give me a nudge on facebook if you’re able to help. I need about 10 people to help me with this.

* Quotes and Dedications. Some of the squares already have dedications but I still have a lot of plain squares that will be perfect for embroidery. I’d really like to make every square have extra meaning, so if you have an LGBT-positive quote (it can be your own words, or a line from a song, a book,  or a poem) then please email it to me. The same goes for dedications–they can be to anyone you like, a loved one from the LGBT community that you’ve lost, or someone who has been inspirational to you, or a positive LGBT role model. There are no restrictions, this project is as much about celebration as it is about remembrance. Again, email me with details. I can collect these on an ongoing basis for the next couple of months, and I’ll probably post about this again to remind you!

* Borders. Once the squares have been blocked they all need to have a border crocheted onto them. I have yarn for that–they’ll all have a black border which will help frame them more effectively–but I’m going to need a LOT of help crocheting the borders on. So, all you crocheters out there, this is your time to shine. Let me know if you can help with this part of the project and I’ll get some squares to you. If enough of us work on this, we can get this intensive stage of the process beaten.

* Embroidery. I’m going to need help embroidering the quotes and dedications onto the finished squares. Again, I’ll need lots of volunteers. We’re not quite at the stage where this needs to start, but if you think you might be able to help with this, please let me know–I’m starting a list of people willing to help.

As you can see, there’s a lot that still needs to be done and we only have a short time to get it done. Please, please, please, if I can continue to beg for your help and support, please help with this if you can. Let me know what you can do and I’ll be forever grateful.

Almost there…

I have 122 squares in my sticky little hands–so only 22 squares to go until we reach our target! It’s so exciting!

We had an impromptu knit-in today–I was contacted last week by the Kentucky Kernel who are planning to run a huge feature on the Project in this Thursday’s edition of the Kernel and they wanted to send a photographer to get some pictures of the knitting in action, and of the squares themselves. We were small in number, but it was an incredibly productive meeting and we’ve decided a few crucial things. Mary-Beth and Margie have very kindly agreed to start work on finding a venue for displaying the finished blanket. Top contenders right now are The Kentucky Theater, Central Library, and the empty space in Lexington Green shopping area. I’ve left this in their very capable hands and will keep everyone updated with progress.

We also talked about how best to go about raising money from the completed blanket. Initially, I had thought that a charity auction would be the best way to raise funds but I admit I’ve had some concerns about whether or not anyone would actually bid for the blanket. Today, Kerri came up with a superb idea–sponsorship. She suggested that we could offer the squares for sponsorship–either by individuals or businesses–with a set minimum donation. That would remove some of the uncertainty about raising funds and would be a much more viable proposition. Sponsors would have their name listed next to the square that they have sponsored. We’re thinking of a minimum donation of $15-$20 (can’t decide–opinions would be welcome on this point) but, naturally, we would be happy for sponsors to donate more, if they chose to. I’m so grateful to Kerri for this gem of an idea–seems far more workable to me than a charity auction. And it removes the deadline of June–although I’m still planning on getting the blanket finished by the end of March and getting the funds in by the end of June so that we can start with scholarship applications.

Finally, we’re going to have one last knit-in before I close the door to squares. Next Wednesday, 18th January at Coffee Times on Regency Road, 6.30pm start. I’ll continue to accept squares until the end of January, though, so carry on knitting–if we get more than 144 squares we’ll just make a bigger blanket!