Squares of Love and Ahava Knits

By Lydia Abel

Ahava Knits is a community-focused group inspired by Rabbi and Sara Wineberg, to celebrate and remember the short but beautiful life of 12-year-old Jamie Rose Whitesman. 

Ahava Knits brought together a group of grannies who knit and crochet for babies and children as a way of paying it forward. The group has grown, and avid knitters and crocheters are working together to make a difference, one ball of yarn at a time! 

It started with making masks for the children at Red Cross Children’s Hospital during the Coronavirus pandemic but it soon grew to include blankets, beanies and babywear. Working with Bobbas for Babies (Israeli Embassy Initiative), they now supply finished baby and preemie beanies, blankets, tops and toys to Bless a Baby in Durbanville, who in turn pack these into beautiful bags of goodies for new moms in need, at eleven Western Cape maternity homes. 

Recently they teamed up with Squares of Love and have been sending blankets, beanies and gorgeous sweaters for the elderly and the young to a range of welfare organisations supporting people in impoverished areas. 

Squares of Love (SOL) started during the lockdown phase of 2020 as a natural offshoot of the now well-known Ladles of Love (LOL), a movement of volunteers making sandwiches on a large scale for those in need during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. SOL is a group of ladies in the Sea Point and Durbanville areas. 

Two contributors to LOL, Jan Chasen and Shelley Garb, realised that the 2020 winter season was going to present problems with the cold Cape weather. Squares of Love was born as a separate group, recruiting knitters and crocheters from near and far to knit or crochet squares, blankets and beanies. Many contributors were thrilled to connect with them, as they had been knitting squares for years and did not know what to do with them! Some took charge of the sewing, joining 30 squares together to make blankets, while others crocheted beautiful borders around them. The process shifted into making strips which made the sewing up stage quicker. And recently, lots of colourful fleece blankets for newborns have been added.

The number of blankets and beanies lovingly produced by these groups is not known, but it is definitely in the high hundreds! These projects have also been a god-send to the many women, stuck living alone or in homes, who love their crafts and being able to share the love and keep others warm and cosy. 

Recipients are spread across the Western Cape, from Maitland to Manenberg and as far as Robertson; and distribution facilitated in partnership with various other NGOs and organisations such as Ikamva Labantu, UJW, Bless a Baby and One-to-One.

Donations of yarn, knitted goods and or squares, are gratefully received! If you would like to contribute, email: lydia.abel@gmail.com 

• Published in the October 2022 Digital Edition – Click here to read it.

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