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.

 

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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!

Heading for the Hundred

Huge shout outs and thanks to two wonderful people today–Joy and Jessi who, between them, have managed to add an astonishing 35 squares to the tally. Joy made 9 wonderful squares and Jessi has made an incredible 26. To say that I was stunned is an understatement. That makes the total squares in my possession 75, but I’m more than willing to bet that with the squares I know are in progress, the total must be getting close to 100. I’m hoping that we can at least get to the 100 mark before the end of November, and that with a bit of luck and continued focus we can get close to the 144 target by the end of December. That would give me plenty of time for embroidery and construction which is going to be a lengthy process in itself.

Tomorrow should help add to that total–it’s our Knit-In at Great Bagel. As ever, there will be wonderful company and a relaxed atmosphere–if you haven’t been to one of our knit-ins before, this would be an excellent opportunity to join us–and bring a friend!

Forgive me, wordpress, for I have sinned…

…it has been FAR too many days since my last post.

And, of course, I have a multitude of reasons why I’ve not updated over the last couple of weeks but it mostly comes down to the looming end-of-semester workload which, after eleven weeks of snapping at my heels like a determined terrier, has now snagged a tooth in the hem of my jeans and is determined to drag me to the ground. In other words, I’ve been really busy.

That said, there’s still been plenty happening with the Diversity Project. I’ve been knitting away and have several plain squares ready for embellishment and embroidery, just as soon as inspiration strikes. And this Sunday we have our Knit-In at Great Bagel, which I’m terribly excited about–what more excuse could anyone need to join in than the promise of fresh-from-the-oven bagels and wonderful company? I’m hoping we can take over their eaterie with our fabulousness.

Last week, I finally delivered on my promise to get some collection boxes in place. Susan’s brother very generously spent hours of his time painting empty boxes and I delivered them on Thursday of last week. If you’re in need of a place to drop off your squares, then here are your choices:

ON CAMPUS:

* Patterson Office Tower, 13th Floor

* OUTsource (Student Center)

* W T Young Library, Writing Center, 5th Floor

OFF CAMPUS

* Re-Belle, Limestone Street

* Gaines Center for the Humanities, Raymond Betts Building, East Maxwell Street

I have one more box to place this week–the kind folks at Mellow Mushroom have very generously offered to have a collection point for us so I’ll be calling them and setting it up. I could do with a few more off-campus sites so if you can think of anywhere friendly, do let me know and I’ll get some more boxes out there.

And with that, time for me to get back to the endless pile of reading that seems to have materialized on my desk–good thing I can read and knit at the same time!

Hope to see you all on Sunday!

Sunday Brunch Knit-In Planned

Our next Knit-In is planned!

It’s going to take place on Sunday 20th November, 11.00am, at Great Bagel, 396 Woodland Avenue, Lexington, 40508. They’re relatively new to the Lexington area, situated on the corner of Woodland and Euclid (the same block as Lynagh’s and Cosmic Charlie’s).

They’re happy for us to sit, knit, and hang-out with them for as long as we like–I’ll get there around 11am but if anyone wants to show up earlier, then please do so. Their bagels are out of the oven at 6am, 9am, and noon, which you might want to bear in mind–can you think of a better way to spend a Sunday than with a warm, oven-fresh bagel, a mug of coffee, and knitting? Oh, and for anyone with food allergy issues they also make a gluten free bagel (I had the cinnamon raisin last weekend, which was delicious) and I’m almost certain that I heard they have lactose-free milk products for their drinks.

Anyway, make sure you put the date in your diary, come along and join us!

Homecoming

I have two exams tomorrow which means, naturally, that a great deal of today will be spent procrastinating–and what better way to procrastinate than with facebook. Browsing the status updates I came across a post on Nicky’s wall, linking to a story that ran in yesterday’s Daily Mail–a British newspaper for those of you not in the know. The story was about a young lesbian couple–Rebeca Arellano and Haileigh Adams, seniors at Patrick High School in San Diego–who were crowned as Homecoming King and Queen over the weekend. Rebeca was crowned Homecoming King at Friday’s pep rally, and Haileigh crowned Homecoming Queen as Saturday’s dance.

To say that this makes my heart glow is an understatement–in fact, as my friend and Writing Center colleague Ashley will attest to, it actually made me cry. So many of the stories that we hear are so desperately tragic that to hear such positive news is wonderful–and proof that although we still have SUCH a long way to go, we’re making tiny, tiny baby steps. These girls were chosen from their peers–what more affirmation do we need that at least in some parts of the world (and I know, it’s not happening in enough parts of the world, not by a long chalk) being LGBT is accepted–not simply tolerated–and that love among two people, whoever they happen to be and however they identify themselves, is celebrated.

There’s more of the story here, on the Daily Mail’s website, and it’s worth looking at for the lovely photographs and the video clip of Rebeca speaking about the weekend’s events.

Among other things, this story is a reminder to me that the Diversity Project is as much about celebrating life as it is about remembering the lives that have been lost. And so, there WILL be a square in the blanket in celebration of Rebeca and Haileigh (I’m thinking it has to have embroidered crowns on it…) and their story will be told alongside everyone else’s–their relationship, their love, and the hope that their story brings will be shared with other people who need to hear the positive stories and the changes that are happening, albeit slowly.

So, before I head back to studying for these flippin’ exams, I’d like to raise a metaphorical glass to Rebeca and Haileigh, and offer my congratulations and love to them both. Cheers, girls.