A look at the beginning.

Leah and her four children standing against a barn door.

How did we begin? I wish I had a great story to tell, but it’s pretty simple. Love-Squared became a reality because I couldn’t find a yarn-based charity that was simple and local. This is the first post in a series about all of us behind the scenes.

My name is Leah. Currently, I work full-time as a plant nursery associate. I live in Oregon with my husband, four active kids, a dog, cats, lizard, and chickens. At the time, I lived in Michigan, was a stay at home parent to four kids who were under eight years old. I had recently learned how to knit so I could make wool pants for my infant. I was looking to branch out a little and charity knitting sounded like a great idea. There are so many yarn-based charities out there. It was a little overwhelming, but also frustrating. It was difficult to find a charity that matched my time and skill level and one that was a bit more local. A lot of the hats for hospitals had stopped taking donations because they had too many. Even more charities were focused on over seas organizations and the high cost of international shipping was a problem. My husband’s solution was, “start your own.”

I thought he was crazy. How was I going to do that? Where would I even begin? I laughed it off, but his words kept popping into my brain and began to take root. Hmmm…what am I passionate about? I’ve always been an advocate for our houseless community members. I started looking for homeless charities in my area and found many for adults. What about homeless kids? Why are there no groups for homeless kids?  Should I start one? Could I start one? I can at least try.

Oliver snuggling with his blankie in black and white.The idea for blankets came from my own kids. All four of them had a blankie. Even my eldest still had his blankie hiding in his room. Blankie was a best friend. It meant comfort, warmth, love, and was often a source of courage. I wanted to give other kids that sense of ownership and friendship. Something to snuggle when things were a little scary or stressful. Something soft and warm that could make them smile. I can do this!

I started knitting. I soon discovered that blankets take a long time to knit. Blankets, even small blankets, took way too long and required too much yarn. I think I got about half finished with the first blanket when I was ready to give up. I’m not sure when I thought of these blankets in terms of a quilt, but it saved the idea. Quilts are made up of smaller, more manageable blocks. I can whip out a few blocks a day and eventually have a whole quilt. Knitted squares would be the same. I could make squares any time and just about anywhere – park, at school pick-up, baseball, etc.

May 11, 2011 was the day Love-Squared became official. I had knit the first square and made an announcement to all of my friends and family on Facebook. My sister Randi sent a stack of snuggly squares4 rainbow colored knitted squares from Atlanta and we were moving forward. I got the courage to ask the owner of a local business if they would be a drop-off location for a month. I’ll never forget Jen and her Dragonfly Tea Cottage patrons – This is how I first met the fabulous Christie, but that’s a story to be told soon. I was thinking I’d get maybe 20-30 squares that month. Instead, there were over 100 squares to collect. Jen kept the basket and her customers kept filling it. We began holding knit nights on the big front porch and things took Women sitting and knitting on a large porch.off. Thanks to the Dragonfly and Love-Squared, I had made some wonderful life-long friends.

The squares were piling up, I had to find a place that would take the finished blankets. After many phone calls, unanswered messages and emails from various organizations, Renee at Family House responded. They would love to receive our blankets.  I was giddy with nerves and excitement when I dropped off the first donation of seven blankets.

We have come a long way since 2011. It took two years to reach a goal of 1000 squares in six months. In 2016 we attempted to receive squares from all 50 states. In the end we had reached 27 states, Puerto Rico, two provinces in Canada, and Europe.  Today, we are stuffing squares instead of clothes into closets and giving up entire rooms and garages. We’ve been able to donate 100 blankets annually during the Tent City Toledo event on top of the blankets we still donate to Family House.  We are still growing and still figuring out what comes next.

seven patchwork blanket hanging on a swing set

7 blankets!!

Founder of Love Squared.

7 Comments on "A look at the beginning."

  1. Christie says:

    Aww!!! I’m so lucky and proud to call you FRIEND! Love-Squared is an amazing adventure!

  2. Kathleen Ward says:

    Thank you!

  3. Jen says:

    It was an amazing time…your vision I believed in…and to see how far you have come…well it blesses my socks off!! Love to you!

  4. Patricia Walls says:

    Thank you Leah for your vision and implementation of this wonderful idea for blankets for the littles! I live in Traverse City Michigan and wanted to know where are the two places in Michigan I could send the squares to? You posted the 4 addresses on another page but the way they showed up on my phone was confusing so I was wondering if you could just send me the two Michigan addresses, please? Thank you!
    God bless you for caring for the least of these! Matthew 25:31-46
    Patricia

  5. Lynnsey Burke says:

    Where can I send squares to?
    Are you still taking them?
    Thanks

    • Leah says:

      Hello,

      squares can be sent to Kathy at 217 Nichols Dr., Saline, MI 48176 or Christie at 6750 Sterns Rd., Ottawa Lake, MI 49267. The portland, OR address is taking a break during a move.

      Thank you,
      Leah

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