67 Blankets celebrated a cheerful morning with expat knitwits on March 15 at The Farmhouse at Steyn City, bringing together ladies from all corners of the globe.

Listening to all the different accents brought as much colour to the room as did the bright blankets knitted by these ladies from countries like Romania, Brazil, Turkey, USA, Bolivia, Greece, Cameroon, Peru, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Italy, Democratic Republic of Congo, Argentina, India, Pakistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Switzerland, Panama, Benin, Honduras, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, and Moldova.

Founder of 67 Blankets for Mandela Day, Carolyn Steyn, shared with guests how she came about starting this initiative. It was her husband Douw Steyn’s birthday, and he had just come out of the hospital, so Carolyn wanted a low-key celebration. Sitting in the room chatting, Carolyn said:

“I do not know what to do for 67 minutes on Mandela Day.”

Mandela’s personal assistant, Zelda la Grange, suggested making 67 blankets – and that’s how it all began. Ten years on, Carolyn has not only made 15 blankets herself but has also witnessed ubuntu in action.

Together with her sister Sharon one evening, they went for dinner to the Dainfern Club House, where Carolyn met a lady everyone has come to know as “pocket rocket.” She introduced herself as Patricia from Romania and expressed her passion for 67 Blankets and how she has ladies from 27 countries who all love knitting blankets. A friendship was formed, and at the event, Carolyn awarded Patricia the position of being a global ambassador for 67 Blankets in recognition of all her hard work and dedication. Patricia Dorner has been instrumental in coordinating and keeping up the morale for these ladies who come together for such a good cause, uniting cultures and languages.

67 Blankets makes a difference stitch by stitch and is all about giving blankets to people who need warmth during the winter months. This is one aspect of the organisation, and another is that it’s bringing people together from all walks of life, all races, socio-economic backgrounds, children, women, men, and even the Johannesburg Society for the Blind is knitting blankets to contribute.

Carolyn has seen her dream materialise; she would like to see more youth knitting and donating their creative work.

This year’s theme is Peace, Love, and Tolerance.

Carolyn closed by giving the knitwits a challenge to create blankets showcasing the country flags that they each represent.

While crocheting a new blanket with bright blue wool made in Turkey, Carolyn said:

“I am very proud of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day. I never thought that day that this would snowball, a simple idea, a ball of wool, a crochet hook would turn into what people are now calling a movement, a movement for good and change in our world.”

by Marion Kate