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!

I Wonder if Portia Knits?

That was one of the very random thoughts that occurred to me when I was walking across campus this morning. Lots of celebrities, both past and present, like to click their needles–just check out these blog posts from Eclecticiti and Cheaty Monkey to see the who’s who of the knit and purl world. Anyway, I found myself wondering whether or not the lovely Portia de Rossi knits–and if not, she should do,but then, that’s my advice for everyone that doesn’t knit. From curiously pondering what Portia does in her free time, it was natural that I’d then wonder about Ellen and hot on the heels of that came the surprising thought that maybe I should email Ellen about the Project. So I did.

I spent most of the day talking myself out of it, then back into it, then back out of it again. I’m sure that she gets thousands of emails every day all from people who are doing incredible things in the world, and as much as I have complete belief in this Project and the people contributing to it, I just wasn’t sure whether that would translate to anyone else–silly really when I remember just how many people across America have already thrown themselves into the Project. I must have visited her website a dozen times today, clicked on the link to email the show, and then closed the window in terror. I can’t quite say what made me shy away from sending an email, other than perhaps an irrational fear that there’s a slim chance that she might just get to hear about the Project and like it, and what then?

Earlier this evening, though, I finally managed to put those fears behind me. I wrote a very brief email (actually, the submission form only allows 1500 characters so I had to be brief) outlining the Project and its aims. I’m not sure I was entirely coherent–my email was the written equivalent of an over-excited 5 year old meeting Father Christmas–but I think I got the main thoughts down. I did remember to send a link to this website and to the podcast I did for WUKY yesterday, if nothing else, maybe she’ll like my English accent. But the email is sent now, and all I can do is wait, and hope.

If, though, anyone else feels like petitioning Ellen on the Project’s behalf, here’s a link to her “contact page”–I’d be thrilled if you told her about the Project from your perspective.

 

Technology/HTML Person Needed!

Today, it occurred to me that I haven’t put up a link here to the facebook page, so here it is. I’d really like to put a button on the sidebar somewhere that will take viewers straight to the page, but I’ve no idea how to do that. Does anyone out there know the html code and where I put the html code when I get it? Or, even better, would anyone like to do it for me? Technology is not my strong suit and really, it’s taken everything I had to click the very obvious buttons to set up this blog. And I still can’t get facebook to publish new posts, even though the settings here on wordpress tell me the two are connected. Hmph. Can anyone help? Leave a comment here or send me an email (ukdiversityproject@gmail.com) if you can help with this. I’d appreciate it very much.

Otherwise, things are still pootling along in the right direction here at DPHQ. I finished another square this afternoon (that’s four of mine, and goodness knows how many out there in the big, wide, world) and yesterday, after hours of work, I finally managed to put together spreadsheets for all the contributions and donations. They involve a great deal of cross-referencing but it’s the only way I’ll be able to keep track of things as the project gets busier. At least that’s one task off my ever-increasing list…