Attn: planning dept.

This week, the Knitters Without Borders head office (that would be me) received the following five bags from the Fundraising Department. (That would be the incredibly generous S. Kate)


What’s inside?


Possibility. That’s what.

This is five hundred (that’s right. HOLY CRAP) let’s type it again. Five hundred seriously neat little lapel pins with the TSF/KWB logo and name on them. S. Kate ordered them, paid for them with her own wool money (I think it must be noted that S.Kate could have had a lot of stash with that money.) and shipped them off to me.

Now we need the planning department. (That would be you.)

We need a plan that accomplishes the following.

1. Earns at least $2 per pin. (This is really only the minimum. The sky is that limit. The possibilities are endless. Think big! I want S. Kate’s gift to pay off.)

2. Does not involve me going to the post office 47 times a day for the rest of the winter mailing these off individually. Addressing the envelopes alone would be a huge job, there has to be a better way than giving MSF money to the post office, and never mind licking the stamps. I’d spend the whole season with my tongue all dried out saying “Ah weelly appwechiate da denerwosity of nidders”.

I lack grace in enough ways that we do not need to add that to the list.

3. Makes it so that the odds are decent that you can get one no matter where you are.


Put your ideas in the comments, along with an enormous three cheers for S.Kate. Our friends at MSF are reminding us that they continue to need money to respond to the quake in Kashmir and other emergencies around the world. MSF is not accepting targeted donations for Kashmir, not because they have not responded, (in fact, they were present when the quake struck) but because donations to the emergency fund remain the best way for them to save money, remain flexible and respond quickly (and without waste) to needs around the world. The 80 000 dead in Kashmir is not the worst of it. Not to be too blunt, but dead people don’t need medical care. Now, 2.5 million people are homeless, and winter is coming. MSF is going to be very busy treating pneumonia, bronchitis, hypothermia, tetanus, malnutrition… and they are already stretched out from activities in Niger, Sudan, Darfur… I’ll stop now, since I feel like I’m preaching to the choir. Knitters Without Borders always give what they are able to.

I’m betting that S. Kate is one of MSF’s favourite knitters today. She’s certainly one of mine.

(How much do you love that by now, MSF has “favourite knitters”? I bet they didn’t see you guys coming.) I think we should give away some gifts tomorrow.

151 thoughts on “Attn: planning dept.

  1. Think globally, act locally was the first thought that came to my mind. Could there be local “Knitters Without Borders” meet ups, where donation/auctions were set up and lapel pins distributed to attendees? (Maybe one trip to the post office with 50 lapel pins at a time?)

  2. Set up donation boxes at the LYS’s and provide them with a supply of pins.
    Unfortunately, this will make it hard to ensure the “$2 sky’s the limit” minimum, but it will allow you to keep some of your gorgeous hair πŸ™‚

  3. Wow! Thankyou S.Kate! I am the last one to consult with on logistical problems of this magnitude, but…maybe another donation to MSF of a specified amount (or not) and sending the Planning Dept. a self-addressed, stamped envelope (bubble pack?) with the deep understanding of Harlot time frame? As in, you mail it by Christmas?

  4. Yay S. Kate! Yay S. Kate! YAY S. KATE!!!
    As for distributing them… too bad you just got done touring. Would it be possible to get friendly LYSs and bookstores whom you’ve graced with your presence to sell the pins?

  5. Wow! I want one! I immediately checked Cafe Press to see if there was a way you could open a shop through them that would distribute the pins for you and handle all of the transactions, and then you’d just get a check you could send on to MSF. I’ve used that for fundraising and it works well, but it seems like they need to make the stuff themselves. An Ebay shop would require too much shipping on your part . . .Now CD baby takes stock from artists and handles the sales and shipping . . . wonder if they could be talked into handling pins . . .

  6. You would have to set a ship-once-a-week policy, but what about the customs details? I was thinking of the LYS/Bookstore option. Could the Storey help you out?

  7. I know I would gladly pay $5 for such a pin, knowing there was more money going to MSF.
    I like the SASE idea in combination with some sort of volunteer regional distribution system: say 10 volunteers who were each willing to mail out fifty pins? That way you’re only sending to ten people. And a little card with the logo to which the pin is attached would alleviate the need to write a note; I’m sure we would all understand that.
    I’m in Maine and would be happy to help.
    Hurray for S. Kate!

  8. hmm.. can you combine book tour events with TSF fundraising? Have a (knitted?) bucket and everyone who donates some minimum amount, gets a pin. Right there and then.
    To mail bunches of pins at a time… groups that raise money send the info as a group and you send the pins (as a group) to them.
    Local groups are obvious, but someone still has to get the pins to the group, and people who are donating to TSF are not all local.
    But that still leaves people who can’t get to one of your book events or who aren’t part of a knitters group of some kind (we don’t all play well with others, you know πŸ˜‰ ) so.. maybe you need an assistant to handle the individuals.
    If you go the assistant route, I’ll volunteer for that. I’m close enough to get the pins from you (going sometime to see the Catherine the Great exhibit at the AGO, for example).
    You could be like the PBS station. “With a donation of only TEN dollars, you get a FREE TSF lapel pin. Quantites are limited, so act now!” And you could like, refuse regular programming until you get a minimum amount – just like on tv! “We can’t return to the regular Harlotblog until we’ve reached our minimum. Help us out here, folks. Its for a good cause. And you get this BEAUTIFUL TSF lapel pin with a minimum donation…” Apparently this system works because they’ve been doing it for years πŸ˜‰

  9. Many good Karma points to S. Kate!
    I like the auction idea. It could involve a few LYS and lots of pins at each location or vice versa. The winners could donate their bid to MSB and the LYS could distribute the pins.

  10. I would think that there are any number of regional KWB who would be willing to volunteer their time and Postal Fu, in order that folks could then get their pins.
    For instance, I live in Alexandria, VA — met you, Stephanie, at Knit Happens. I would be glad to assist in distribution for the DC/MD/VA area — in other words, take orders and ship out pins for that area. The only drawback would be getting the pins for this area sent down this way…Hmmm.
    I shall ponder!

  11. One thing would be to call your friend at MSF Canada head office and ask how many folks work in the office (regular staff, I guess) and just send over some pins for them. That would be a few pins that didn’t earn some cash but I bet they’d be appreciated and remind them of their ‘favourite knitters’.

  12. If you take “orders” for one week, and then ship them all out on one day? Cuts down on the post office trips….and use double stick tape πŸ™‚ no licking required.
    Just a thought, although not a creative one….

  13. I’m not sure of what the postal system is like there but they do have the meter printers that remove the need of licking 50 gazillion stamps (an accurate number I’m sure) Plus, if you shipped to a group locally such as a cluster of knitters in a general area, send to one all their pins so they meet and that way you cut shipping down too. Wouldn’t the post office give some sort of discount for bulk mail?

  14. I know that I need 2 of them as soon as you figure it out. I will gladly pay $10 for both and send a sase bubble pack thingy.

  15. The book/yarn store option is a great way. See if one or more of the on-line retailers would be willing to help out.
    Would HQ be willing to accept bulk orders? I’m sure some local SnB’s/guilds/meetups could order in bulk and distribute at their usual gathering.

  16. Three cheers for S. Kate!!!!
    1) Send the pins to the LYS that you have visited over the past year a bunch – maybe ask them to collect a min donation of $5. I know you said $2 but really that is cheap.
    2) As you give away some of the gifts over the next months send a pin to each recipient.
    3) I also like the self addressed stamped envelope with another donation would be good. Although beware US senders – Steph will need a Canadian stamp.
    4) After you have done some of the above how about auctioning 1 or 2 on ebay.
    Those are my thoughts

  17. I like this idea, modified a bit:
    Wow! Thankyou S.Kate! I am the last one to consult with on logistical problems of this magnitude, but…maybe another donation to MSF of a specified amount (or not) and sending the Planning Dept. a self-addressed, stamped envelope (bubble pack?) with the deep understanding of Harlot time frame? As in, you mail it by Christmas?
    Modified to have a master list of volunteer shippers, and when you make your donation you look up the olunteer closest to you and send your SASE to them. Then they sent it back to you with the pin. I think probably 5-10 volunteer shippers scattered around the globe would work well. I’d be happy to do northeast US.
    I think this is the best method becuase it puts the responsibility on the one wanting the pin to get the SASE done and then all we’d have to do is pop the pin in th envelope and leave it at the mailbox for the mailperson to pick up πŸ™‚

  18. Well done, S. Kate! You won’t be a cockroach in your next life, that’s for sure!
    Steph, I could help with shipping out if you need another Canadian accomplice. I would be happy to consider a certain amount of postage-and-packaging funds (we can negociate this!) to be part of my TSF donation.
    For pins going to the States, I suggest you send a whack of them to a fellow conspirator down there, as the administrative hassle of one-at-a-time would be slow suicide.
    Anyone doing individual mailings of these babies will need to put a piece of corrugated cardboard on the back to protect the pin (and our valiant postal workers!)

  19. Lanea, that’s brilliant. Even if it won’t work for pins, there could be t-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers. What do you think, Steph?

  20. Don’t forget the good old fashioned SASE–self addressed stamped envelope. When sending you the payment, include a SASE, and once weekly or bi-weekly, you go to the post and drop em off. It doesn’t eliminate all your labor, but it is a start. LYS is also good, but I am far from CA and would like one so I hope you find another solution….

  21. I checked the U.S. and Canadian rate for the SASE idea. The SASE would have to have $1.98 postage on it if it weighs 8 ounces within the U.S. For Canada to U.S. it would be (min.) $2.35 (US) for an 8 ounce envelope.
    I think you’re going to need to deputize some folks south of (your) border to help in the mailings.
    Although I’m in Cal., I also like the idea of taking some along with you on your book tour.

  22. I’m fresh out of ideas at the moment but I shall ponder. What a great thing. I’m off to make my monthly donation to MSF.

  23. Here’s a thought – start a non-profit corporation (Knitters Without Borders) that distributes the pins as part of a “welcome new member” package. Members would receive quarterly newsletters (with donated patterns from knitwear designers, words of wisdom from fabled knitters such as the neighborhood friendly Yarn Harlot, and other such tidbits), and fundraising events could be run occasionally – organized in conjunction with LYS around the world.

    Well, you did say to think big. πŸ˜€

  24. How about this: You send a bunch of pins to a bunch of people to be local distribution centers.
    People send the DC’s a SASE and a copy of a paypal receipt of their payment to whatever fund S.Kate sets up for the pins. After she makes her money back, the rest of the money goes to MSF.
    DC’s send out the pins using their own $$ instead of or in addition to sending a donation to MSF.
    I’d be willing to do it for the SoCal area.

  25. I like the idea of having regional volunteers distribute these for you. As was said earlier, you could send out 10 packs to 10 different responsible people and they could distribute them as they see fit with the understanding that there should be a minimum contribution. You could even go so far as posting the names and e-mail addresses of these people so folks like me could contact my “representative” and secure a pin for myself through SASE or what have you. This way, others who may not have much contact with your personally (like me) could have an opportunity to support the cause with not to much work for yourself.
    πŸ™‚ Hope that helps.

  26. I’ll mention it at next weeks Stitch n’ Bitch and see if there are any other ideas, or a batch order to make!

  27. I bet you thought of the volunteer distribution network already, but (being Canadian and, well, you) were too polite to mention it. See how gracious you are?
    I like the network, sase, send a copy of your online receipt to MSF (or just a note to say you met the minimum), get a pin shipped on a reasonably timely schedule.
    I’ll be happy to distribute in the Southeast US. We’re big dishcloth knitters down here in the Sunny South, y’all.

  28. the SASE is the best idea i think. i think, however, that one volunteer in the US and one in Canada is the way to go. you can start by sending 100 to each of them and then send more as needed (who can predict if there will be more Cdns or more Americans who want pins?) this way, there won’t be 50 pins sitting in the northeast with no one ordering from that area — in Canada, stamps are stamps so it doesn’t matter if it’s being mailed from Nova Scotia to BC, it costs the same as if it were being mailed across Toronto. not sure if that is the case in the US, but our trusty volunteer there could find that out, eh? perhaps an additional volunteer (i’ll do it) to take international orders …
    simple πŸ™‚
    hip hip hooray s. kate, hip hip hooray!
    tara in guelph (close enough to pick up additional pins if need be)

  29. You could send them out in sets of 10-20 to volunteers in various areas. They could set up Ebay Auctions or other auctions available onlinein their area. You can give a link to those auctions here. Then everyone has a fair shot at the pins.
    Then the volunteers send them out to the winners, and keep one pin as a reward for work well done.
    They then send the total sales in as the donation.
    That way you send out a few packages, they get out public, everyone has a shot to get them
    I third the notion of starting a cafe press shop!
    That way those who don’t win a coveted pin in an auction can get something too and more can be going to DWB!

  30. Wow, what a great, generous donation from a stellar knitter!
    I really like the idea of having the pins available at LYSs, but like so many other people, I’m nowhere near Canada, so I’d like it to be more wide-spread…maybe ask your Super-Star publicist if she could share the names/addresses of the bookstores who sell your book and contact them about providing the pins with a donation bucket (felted, of course).
    You have a great opportunity to pick a professional publicist’s brain–I bet she’d have some suggestions. I, unfortunately, am not a professional publicist (nor do I play one on TV), so I am out of ideas already.
    I look forward to reading everyone else’s ideas!

  31. Maybe you could contact a few online stores, such as and Elann and ask if they could sell them. Then they could take care of all the shipping and everyone would have an opportunity to buy one.

  32. You could also send them to those with online shops and post the link on your blog and have the shop distribute them. That was also the general public has a shot at them.
    With the auction thing though you might get higher donations what with bidding and all.
    Just a thought..
    See you got the wheels turning!

  33. Send them in groups of 50 to 100 to local distribution points such as LYS’s who carry your book. They can collect the $ and remit to you. That would keep the mailing manageable. Good luck. Betsy

  34. Wow! S.Kate That’s AMAZING!!
    Stephanie, my very first gut response is to deputize or get helpers. I would definitely like to help however I can. Continue sending pins as presents for donations.
    But I also really like the LYS idea if anyone out there would be willing to help.
    My only other idea right now is kind of in conjunction with an idea I’ve had for a little while — which is how to get “stuff” for MSF as well as money. It’s tricky, I understand, because money is more universally helpful. But a dear friend of mine who works for MSF and I were talking this week about TSF and he thought that many of the clinics could really use some knitted hats, blankets, maybe soft cuddle toys. Could knitters get pins for monetary donations OR knitted goods donations?
    Ok. Last idea. Craft sale/auction/ebay auction. There are plenty of shows coming up for Christmas. Could we auction off knitted things or sell knitted things with all the proceeds going to MSF? Every donated knitted item earns you a pin? Free pin with purchase? And on that note, did anyone watch Martha Stewart Apprentice last night?
    Ok..I realize that this is a lot of work I’m talking about here. Maybe the SASE is the way to go. πŸ™‚

  35. How much does S. Kate rock! The pins look fantastic.
    If you need a distributor in Texas, I’m available and I go to the post office every other day anyway.

  36. You could also ask your book distributor to send out 10 as special promo items to specific knitting stores. I mean, hey, if you’re going on tour, the shop probably places an order for a gazillion books, so why not have your publisher send them for you.
    Of course, you might need to write up a quick e-mail and make sure shops agree that these are for MSF and require donation, then only send to the shops which agree.
    You also have a very loyal network of followers which you could tap to be distribution centers. Send up a shout out for volunteers, pick 5 regionally distributed people, ship each one a bag of pins, and post an e-mail addr which all volunteers will check. I think the method last time with a small variant would work:
    knitter-> donate to MSF,
    knitter-> e-mail your conf to us,
    distrib: a volunteer reads the e-mail and “tags” each e-mail with the name of the closest distributor. I.e.: all pins on the west coast get tagged for “knitterA” to e-mail “knitter A’s addr”, send the pin when SASE arrives.
    distrib: we e-mail you an address to send a SASE env. to,
    knitter-> you send it to us (with your printout), and
    distrib: we ship pins weekly
    would be a good idea.
    I’d be willing to take a bag and/or setup a process flow (with a gmail acct the distributors can check) to help out.

  37. YAY S. Kate!!! Wow! Very very cool!!
    I would say, perhaps give a deadline (if you want a pin let me know by X) and the day after the deadline mail them out. And have people email you their address so you only have to tape it on the package & include the cost of shipping in the price.

  38. Having done my tour of duty battling postal agencies around the world as I ebayed a while back, I recommend that you have a US agent and a Canadian one to mail to their respective countries. Otherwise you get a 50% chance of some snitty person in some agency wanting to know why you didn’t fill out some form (I was going to use an expletive, but deleted it) about the value of said item, whether it was new or used, and obviously you are in business if you are sending that many packages, etc. etc. etc. I have very bad postal fu, so if your fu is stronger, then your experience may vary.
    I’m pondering here. I pay about $9 a pin from Rapid Pins for title pins, and they are smaller brag pins. So, let’s say $7.50 + shipping. And you could be nibbled to death on the envelope and bubble wrap department. SOOOO….I’d say consider selling locally in shops or on your publicity jaunts therefore cutting down on all shipping charges – slower, but probably less annoying than mailing 500 items individually. Or do auctions with a minimum. And my contribution to MSF is deducted monthly so I’d buy one just to get my brags in – it could go right next to my title pins on my brag bag. 😎

  39. Hi Steph – I’d be happy to volunteer as a distributor of pins here in the States!! If you collect the money and addresses (or I could do that, if it’s better) and then send the info to me along with the pins, I’ll mail them out with pleasure.
    I’ll even get the little padded envelopes and foot the bill for the postage for up to $200(US).
    Whatever the process will be, if you want my help you have got it!
    Also – I emailed a few times about some beautiful White Buffalo yarn I have that I am inexplicably allergic to, and would love to donate to this cause – if you or anyone reading this post wants to work out something let me know! I’m heartbroken that I can’t use the stuff but I might as well do something good with it.

  40. Stephanie, your 500 pins will be gone in a micro-second. You KNOW you have way more of ‘your people’ who support TSF than that, and I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t gladly pay $5US or better for them. I would be happy to help with the distribution.
    Have you talked to your publisher or your agent? They have a distribution network in place, and surely have an excellent database of all the LYS and bookstores where you’ve been. I realize that this is not their project, but they have to be a major resource in figuring out how to do this.

  41. hi stephanie-
    i love that this ignited some thoughts about a non-profit. i love that idea – you can become a foundation that disperses funds.
    i’ll take a bag for the western us. heck, i’ll start a non-profit. ha.
    i’m loving the second book – thanks.

  42. Wow so many incredibly creative ideas… Since Erin is the creative one I won’t add to the mix but I will say that I would be happy to volunteer as an US distributor. Heck, what better place for them to come from then pretty much smack dab in the middle of the Good ol’ US of A πŸ˜‰
    S. Kate, you seriously rock. πŸ™‚

  43. Each person who donates can print out their receipt, stuff in an envelope with a SASE, and then when you have received 500 of them, have another little knit party and have a bunch of local knitters (me and the Lettuce Knit gang) come and help you stuff envelopes. And then maybe we would get a chance to see the stash! πŸ™‚

  44. You give them out to people who donate money at Maryland Sheep & Wool. Or people who smile nicely at you and go all fangirl SQUEE if they see you at MDS&W.
    Not that I’d do that. Nope. Not at all.

  45. I think regional distribution would probobly be teh best way, with SASE being the best way. Or have a weekely mail day, where these regional distributors can send them out in groups. Say, if the person gets several orders from one town, teh pins can go to one person, and all the knitters can get together to pick them up. You get your pins, you save on shipping, and knitters get to meet each other.

  46. I am not good at this “thinking” thing, but know many of the commenters are-some good ideas out there already. I know my bumper sticker raises questions everywhere I go, and I am always so proud to say what it is and how much has been raised (jaws drop). Anyhoo, those pins are seriously cool and so is S. Kate. So awesome I am speechless.

  47. If we do local distributors, I can do the UK, maybe Europe distribution, I can’t be the only non-North American that would love to help

  48. YEA S.KATE!!! Well done!!!
    I like Tara’s idea of limiting the distribution centers – this may be a case of ‘less is more’- and the best organization is tight and lean.
    I know you’ll figure out something and I definately want a pin!
    Don’t we have a Cafe Press shop? I bought the KWB tote bag from them (I think) –

  49. I think I’d do it by city: Aka, you send 50 pins to Boston, your Boston contact (me) pays you for them, and then I have the responsibility of getting my money back by selling them, either to local knitting circles, individuals, whatever…
    I am guessing, though, that someone else already had this idea…

  50. What freecia said — regional distributors. There are lots of us who don’t live near the Harlot tour route OR a decent yarn shop, who have donated and would like a shot at one of the pins. Another thought…have S. Kate put in an order for more pins, you’ll need way more than 500!! And you should get more than a $5 donation for them, too. I’d say $10 minimum.

  51. I too was to suggest that you take them on tour. You probably won’t have to carry them along for a very long time.
    And, just for your info, Canada Post sells preglued stamps, you know… No more licking!

  52. 1.Send them to yarn shops and then post which yarn shops have them and we can go buy them there.
    2. Take them on your book tours and sell them there.
    I would like to get one πŸ™‚

  53. I like the ideas so far. I think having a few regional volunteers sending them out is the way to go. You list the volunteers and their regions, then the volunteers accept self adressed stamped envelopes that accompanied the donation. The volunteers then send the donation money on to you, with a list of contributors/pins sent for record keeping.
    I am in Los Angeles and would be happy to handle the southwest and/or west coast. I would even be happy to set up a p/o box to make sure my mailman doesn’t get homicidal on me..LOL!
    Also, definately a Cafe Press store, you set your own prices, so you can determine the donation over cost amount. It won’t bring in quite as much money, but it’s practically labor free after set up.

  54. I think the regional distributer/SASE/donate to MSF online and send an e-mail and SASE to the nearest distributer plan is the best.
    Stephanie, I will be in Toronto for a conference 11/2 – 11/8. Maybe I could meet up with you and take some pins back to the west coast (Eugene, Oregon) to save on postage to distributers. We met when you were at Powell’s in Portland πŸ™‚

  55. I do some designing, and sell patterns through my LYS. I’ve just put together a pattern for a Santa hat that I was thinking of giving away as a freebie. What if the store collected $2 or $3 (or more, even) for the pattern, and included a pin in the purchase? I’m quite certain Lorena at the Sheep would be willing to participate.
    Any other designers willing to offer a pattern to be sold this way? I’d be happy to provide the Santa Hat pattern to other stores, too, if they want.

  56. I think everyone has amazing ideas – I don’t know how you would make a decision about which one to use.
    I think local distributors would probably have been my suggestion, too, but I really liked Bex’s post. I am a grad student without a lot of cash, but knitting teddies or blankets or hats or socks to donate to MSF would make my heart bust out like the Grinch’s at the end of the story. Tell me how to donate it and I will knit like a crazy person avoiding her thesis.
    And yay! S.Kate! You rock!

  57. Well to charge atleast $5.00 is only fair but i think that $10.00 would also be fair. But I want to say that the self addressed stamped envelop is the only way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!! No one should expect anything less. The pins are awesome and should be proudly worn but with some finacial benefit to the cause they are championing. cecilia

  58. I’ll send you $25 US and a self-addressed postage-paid padded envelope. No fuss, not muss.

  59. If you decide to go the local distributors route and need another deputy in the western U.S., let me know.

  60. How about 10 Regional Captains… Each with a portion, say 50 pins… (One can be the “International” chair) and then you do the mailing to each Captain once. Then each Captain could save some out (say, 25 or 30 for a “knit out” type fundraising event somewhere central in their region (some LYS owner is dying to get in on this, I just know it), and then with the rest they mail to far-flung “winners” of drawings?
    Then you could get meetup-ness AND cover the satellite knitters as well…
    I realize this is two mailings for some of the pins, but I think it is worth it to dilute the work…
    I am also not sure how the captains could be chosen, maybe if they could send you a convincing tale of the event they could put on? In any case, I imagine you know at least one trustworthy organizer in most states by now, what with the touring and all… πŸ™‚

  61. I recommend having people send in at least $5 US with a little padded envelope with postage on it, probably about $1.00 postage. I’m ready to send $50 whenever you say, with my postage paid envelope that is.

  62. Yes, for those who wonder, US postage (at least letter rate and first class) is the same for the whole country, so it doesn’t matter where you mail from. It might take a day longer to get from Philadelphia to California than it would take if you mailed from Chicago, but that’s all.
    And — lovely as it might feel to knit toys and sweaters to help out, what the relief agencies really need right now is our money, to buy and ship the tents, food, and medicine that will help people in Kashmir have a shot at living through this winter, or to buy the food, medicine, and water needed at the sites of other disasters. (My God, what a year it’s been.) Other organizations, though, will be happy to take your stuff — Children in Common, Afghans for Afghans, the Dulaan Project, the mitten project in Norway, Maine (, any shelter near you — I firmly believe that any person you help counts, and makes a difference, so find a place that needs what you have to offer and send them something. (If you need an address, write to me! I have plenty of them in my files.) This group is so generous and open-hearted. Makes me glad to read you all every day.

  63. Harlot, where do I send my SASE and how much?
    See, that was easy.
    Even though I am worn out and disillusioned from cheering for the Astros, I shall whip up a cheer for S. Kate:
    Gimme an S!
    Gimme a K!
    Gimme an A!
    Gimme a T!
    Gimme and E!
    Oh, um, maybe I should try again..
    Gimme an S!
    Gimme a PERIOD!
    Gimme a K….
    –Dez in Baton Rouge

  64. I agree that the best way to go is to take them with you on your book tour. They will take up very little space in your luggage (which you can fill later with yarn) and you can hand them out for a minimum donation of $25/$50/whatever. That way you are not selling pins, you are giving them for *free* with a donation. And no postage!

  65. Bring them on book tour.
    Jar o’ pins, an explanatory piece of paper, and tip jar with a minimum donation all set out on a table that everyone waiting in line to get a signature must pass (and therefore will be standing next to for several minutes).
    Your tip jar will be full, the pin jar empty. You could probably get the store owner to help you count it and put it into larger denomination bills, or even take the cash & write a check, and mail for you. Yarn people are helpful that way – shop owners especially so.

  66. send me a physical address , dear Steph, i still want NSF to be able to give away the skein of opal sock yarn and might as well send it to you directly so you can send it to well….someone.
    yup; pins on book tour. great idea.
    btw; now that i’ve decided to stay in dallas tx, to live, do you think your book tour will ever get to somewere that warm?
    marie, out of florida; in texas

  67. I like Sioban’s idea, though a pain for you to lug them- I am picturing a frantic scramble to catch your flight with a slow, dull security agent at the checkpoint who doesn’t understand why you have 500 pins and deems them a definite security risk. His decision- mail them back to yourself. When you look at him more carefully, he strangely resembles “The Weenie”. All kidding aside, maybe your publicist can distribute them to your future book tour stops where they can be put in jars at your table.

  68. You gave the dangerous command (think!), so, well, here it is:
    You would need only a few local volunteers to stuff envelopes and schlep them to the post office(totally possible)if donors sent you a SASE bubble-padded envelope with a donation of at least $5.US and you adopted Caren’s suggestion “. . . perhaps give a deadline (if you want a pin let me know by X) and the day after the deadline mail them out. . . Posted by: Caren at October 27, 2005 01:11 PM”
    If envelopes + donations arrived after all the pins had been mailed, you could just put the donations to MSF and send a receipt for the donation or a knitting pattern? a stitch marker?or whatever to the donor via their SASE. What donor would mind? The point is donation and the pin or whatever comes back to the donor would be simply a bonus to the good feeling one gets from lending a hand, no?

  69. Stephanie,
    For the past week I have searched the knitting blogs waiting for someone to step up to the plate and start a fund-raising drive for the Pakistani earthquake victims in the same way that others, for example, you and Margene, have stepped up to the plate for tsunami and hurricane victims in the past. (I am not a blogger). I am so happy to see this need addressed in your blog today. Winter is coming to Pakistan, and winter in the Himalayan mountains (think Mt. Everest) involves cold and snow. Arguably, the assistance needed by the earthquake victims is even greater than that needed by the tsunami victims. Also, governments are not stepping up to the plate as they should be. Check out the editorial called “Uncharitable Charity” at today’s Be forewarned: it might make you ill.

  70. First – Kudos Kate – You are the Best Friend of Knitter with out Borders!!!! You rock!
    Second – Since the postal system has borders, the answer lies in the following:
    1) Volunteer(s) willing to be the point person on the stateside as well as in Canada. North, South, East and West coasts if possible. That means receiving stamped addressed envelopes to mail the pin back in Canada or the US and then mailing the funds to the charity. Volunteer should be willing to do daily if need be but probably only weekly.
    Third – Let Stephanie do her book signing with donations asked for the charity if possible (like the Dulaan project at Lord & Taylor) – however, sometimes given the crowd that can be challenging….
    Fourth – If you want a volunteer East Coast based, you’ve got one –
    Fifth – Plan on the need to re-order more pins!!!

  71. HEY!
    There IS a cafe press shop. (I dunno if it was created in the last few hours, or if it’s been there all along, but I suspect the latter.) It’s here:
    You could take the original batch of SKate pins (hooray SKate) and send them out as gifts to donators, along with the other gifts as you’ve done in the past. Then maybe SKate would tell us where she got them, and allow us to buy directly from the source. Maybe the source could be pursuaded to sell/distribute them with an agreement that a portion goes to MSF? That way you’d be taken out of the hassle and those of us who don’t want to leave the Ownership of the Pin (a lesser-known Tolkien book?) to fate could buy one.

  72. I second (third? fourth? fifth?) the idea of sending them out to KWBs so someone else is doing the distribution. Then you could do a dutch auction on eBay where people could bid however much they wanted to get them – that would drive up the price and give everyone fair shakes to get a pin AND take the shipping duties out of your hands.
    Hooray, S. Kate!!!!

  73. How to distribute them? I like the handing them out on your tours but then that concentrates them on one side of the continent more than the other. (well you’ve only been to the Westcoast once you can’t argue that! heehhehe) What if you packaged bundles of 50 or however many, and shipped them to local yarn shops around NA to be “sold” for $2 or more donation to MSF, with the money raised being then sent to MSF once all the pins are gone? Then we would all have a chance at getting one, or two or three…

  74. you need point-bloggers – one blogger for a given area signs up to be the point-blogger (easier for bloggers than non-bloggers, if only because the blog is a useful contact tool, but non-bloggers could certainly do it, too). list the point-bloggers with an email – everyone from that given area who wants a pin then emails the point-blogger – give a deadline, say a week to get emails to the point-blogger. the point-blogger then tells you how many they need and you send all the packages out at once (media mail is cheap, at least in the US) and the point-bloggers handle distribution – they could even have a distribution meetup, so all the lovely TSFs can meet! gets the pins out in the world with minimal postage costs and time costs, plus facilitates more knitting meetups!

  75. As my father always says, “Delegate, Delegate, Dance to the music!”
    Take orders, and names of shipping volunteers. Ship order information and pins to volunteers (maybe choose a volunteer on the same side of the border as the orders?) then the volunteer would distribute.
    I’d love to sign up as the first volunteer, and I’ll check with my knitting group tonight to see how many pins they’d like to buy…

  76. My idea (which I am probably duplicating from another comment, but I haven’t read the other comments, so if I’m repetitive, just ignore):
    Find KWB representatives in various regions of the US and Canada. We send them an SASE and a designated minimum amount of money by some deadline (say, a month from now or so). At that point, they count up what they’ve received, tell you, and you send them that number of pins. Then they will do the dirty work of putting ’em in envelopes, licking, etc. These KWB reps could get fellow local knitters to help them with the process.

  77. I’m sure it’s already been mentioned, but I’d bring them with you on tourtourtour appearances and do a bit of fundraising then. Alternatively, how about shipping some to a vendor that is attending various festivals around the US and Canada? One that springs to mind are the Bosworths, but you know your readership better than I. Is there anyone you know who would be willing to do that? Maybe make them available to other stores around North America? Your favorite LYS’ in town?
    BTW, appropos of nothing – I had a dream where you bumped into Paul Gross on a random trip around town, splattered him with coffee, and had someone take a pick of you and he, holding the sock and a sign that said “HI PERCLEXED!” It’s sort of scary, when obsessive interests collide in my subconscious. *G*

  78. Ok here goes, find out the weight of the lapel, each buyer to send you a stamped addressed envelope for the exact postage and payment by paypal and then all you need to do is match them up and put them in a postbox. You just need a couple of postknitters in each continent to make that work who could advertise that fact by having a ‘button’on their blogs a bit like secret pal.
    Alternative suggestion is you let LYS with friendly knitters to distribute them on your behalf and fundraise it that way.
    Great idea, Steph, love these imprompu gifts people make that set us all to think wider and beyond the picture.
    Socknitting mama

  79. hip hip horray!
    hip hip horray!
    hip hip horray!
    (thank you S.Kate!)
    I’m all for the regional distrubution here in the states and other countries and am at the ready to make another donation. SASE asap via USPS to ME is a good plan (I really thought I could get some more abbreviations in there…)

  80. Wonderful movement!
    Give the girls something shiny and see them jump!
    Money for Pakistanis would be a nice way to give something back for all the wonderful cozy shawls made of kashmir wool…
    Well, I hope you will find a way to include Europeans in the pin-raising.
    By the way, what about KNITTING NEEDLES with the logo???
    And mugs, and T-shirts (large sized ones!), and mousepads, and knitting needles…
    Did I mention the knitting needles?
    Thank you for this wonderful idea S.Kate!

  81. I think the SASE idea is the best.
    However, I thought of an alternative…You know those box things that go about where you fill it up, send it to the next person and they take but return an item of good value. Well, you could send ALL of them out to person A. Person A takes a pin, returns “payment” in the form of something very nice knitting wise, and then sends the box to Person B. So on.
    In the end, you are the last person on the list and you get returned to you a full box of stuff that you can gift away for donations. You could also do something like each person that puts their item in puts a $ value on it so that if someone down the line really loves it, she can take it out and send you a donation for that monetary value. Thus the box can make money for a good cause as well as replenish the gift cycling for donations. If a person has NOTHING to give in return, then you can set a price per pin and that person would send that money to you as well as do the good deed of mailing the box along. Then at least those that want a pin and want to donate but do not have really *great* yarn stuff could still participate.

  82. I think the SASE idea is the best.
    However, I thought of an alternative…You know those box things that go about where you fill it up, send it to the next person and they take but return an item of good value. Well, you could send ALL of them out to person A. Person A takes a pin, returns “payment” in the form of something very nice knitting wise, and then sends the box to Person B. So on.
    In the end, you are the last person on the list and you get returned to you a full box of stuff that you can gift away for donations. You could also do something like each person that puts their item in puts a $ value on it so that if someone down the line really loves it, she can take it out and send you a donation for that monetary value. Thus the box can make money for a good cause as well as replenish the gift cycling for donations. If a person has NOTHING to give in return, then you can set a price per pin and that person would send that money to you as well as do the good deed of mailing the box along. Then at least those that want a pin and want to donate but do not have really *great* yarn stuff could still participate.

  83. S Kate, you totally rock! What an amazing idea, and how wonderful of you to have taken it on in such a large way! Lovely! If you send me information about where to order them, I’ll pick up the tab for the next batch as I’m sure the original 500 will be gone soon by the looks of things. That’s a very serious offer and I would be honoured if you’d let me help continue this great effort of yours.
    I like the eBay auction idea because it allows for more fundraising potential,and if people are willing to send SASE’s, they’ll pay a reasonable standard shipping cost to receive the pin. If you have regional distribution points each responsible for a certain number of pins that would mean you send out 8 packages of 50 pins each to the point distributors, and they manage from there. Keep 100 with you for things like silent auctions at tour spots and knitting guild meetings and such, or to recognize people for donations as you see fit. The money’s all going to the right place in the end which is what counts. Or, once you’ve chosen your deputies, send them each 50 pins and let Them decide the best way to make the most money for MSF. They’re knitters, very likely bloggers, and will have great ideas and can be trusted to act in the best interests of MSF. And Steph, $2 is too low for something such as this. $5 minimum absolutely.

  84. Okay. I read this post earlier and this kind of stuff is not my forte. I think many of the ideas already presented are good — distributors, LYSs, SASEs and the like.
    Then I pulled out my sock-in-progress and the resulting brainstorm goes along the lines of… socks… that rock… we all know that they do… coveted and in demand… limited edition… with a premium/pin to boot… with purchase…
    Something along those lines. We all like yarn, socks are in, we all want pins, it would be nice to raise more money…
    And, there already IS a Cafe Press store for MSF merchandise (or maybe was — is it still there?) — I bought a tote bag, bumper sticker, and notebook (which makes a great knit-blogger autograph book).

  85. a distribution tree! You send batches of pins out to branches on the tree. The branches agree to address and mail that set of pins. Sharing the load is the operative word. Paypal for the pin purchase goes to one person, who forwards names/addresses to tree branches – changing branches at close to the end of that batch.
    There’s a fan group for a folksinger that does something similar to share burning and mailing a CD – it works fabulously. Largely because it’s a community effort where the community is of nice people probably – which is also true for knitters and knitters without borders πŸ™‚

  86. I like the pattern idea, the sock idea and just about anything which enables those of us not in Canada or the U.S.A. to get our sticky little mitts on one.

  87. How phenomenal is that! I would gladly help distribute them in my area (Worcester, MA)or wherever – and I’d love to purchase myself. Let me know and I’ll gladly help out!

  88. Self addressed stamped envelopes sound like a good idea for some of them, at least — of course, I’m being self-serving here: I live in Alaska 2 hours from any large yarn source, and do nearly all my shopping via internet and the US postal service…
    lovely pin though, I find myself in full covetness-mode…

  89. Okay…Hurray for S.Kate, hurray for S. Kate. Thanks S. Kate, the pins look fabulaous. Now that said, I think that the SASE, volunteers in Canada/US, LYS participation would work. You know I’m usually the Logistics Queen, but I think that I’m having trouble with the Canadian border, would GST be involved or does that only come into play IF you purcahse over a certain dollar amount? AND, these pins are worth far more than $2.00, AND is that $2.00 US or Canadian? AND…AND…AND…there has GOT to be a way!!! Hum, well I’m sure ya’ll will work it out. Heavy sigh!! πŸ™‚

  90. After reading through all the comments, it seems clear that it won’t take long for 500 pins to be snapped up. Whatever the method, if you need another Toronto volunteer, count me in.

  91. Steph –
    I will be going to California in November and will gladly take some pins out and hand them off to a KWB distributor out that way.
    I also travel to Brantford (would Mary Maxim sell some for you?), London (there’s a new yarn shop that might sell for you) & Windsor (only 2 shops that I know of) quite a bit – – if that would be any help.

  92. Well, although I live in Canada (and less than 60km from you, Steph), I visit the U.S. on a fairly frequent basis. I even know how to get to a friendly postal office there — during business hours even. (Did you know that they sometimes are open on Saturday mornings?!) I would be happy to volunteer to be the U.S. co-conspirator. But for the ease of border crossings, I would have to be the official U.S. volunteer. Border guards have no sense of humour!

  93. I applaud the ship a mess to one person to distribute in combination with send a sase plus donation idea.
    I’ll be happy t a) take on a package of them to distribute and b) accept the donations and SASE’s for U.S. (or midwest U.S.) folks. I’d ship promtply, and send regular donations to MSF keeping none for myself, and even paying/donating for my pin.
    No matter how we do it, I want to be sure to get a pin!
    Meanwhile, I’ll ask our LYS if they will be willing to put a POS bucket up to collect funds in exchange for pins…

  94. Here’s the Master Plan I’ve come up with:
    1. Group of Do-gooding school kids, such as the Parents & Children Together group at my kids’ school (I’m volunteering them).
    2. Sell them on eBay. People have to pay via Paypal, including postage (easy to calculate postage to any destination once you know the weight of the item plus the packaging). I’d set a fixed ‘Buy It Now’ price hefty enough to make it clear that this is a charity donation, not just buying a pin.
    3. Send the whole kit and kaboodle to the Volunteer Kid Group, and they will address the envelopes, go to the post office, and mail the pins. It may take a week or two, but hopefully the knitters/buyers will be understanding if they know what’s happening.
    I think this would really work. You just need child labor! Our parent/kid charity action group is always looking for projects like this–meaningful but do-able by kids with parental supervision. In other words, I’m volunteering them. If you’re interested, let me know and I really will make the phone call and set it in motion.
    And oh yes, YAY S. KATE! xox Kay

  95. The only idea I can think of it to send a bunch of pins out to knitters so they can sell them and then they can send the money to you….. I’m sure someone has thought of that but it’s the only thing I can think of, and have the minimum price cover shipping. I can’t wait to buy one, count me in!

  96. I agree with all the people who have mentioned different variations of regional helpers etc. I volunteer to help too:) I really wish though that MSF had a paypal account.

  97. What great timing – while I have no ideas for distribute of uber-cool pins, I DID just get a mailing from MSF today, and promptly went online and donated. Good luck with the buttons!

  98. Stephanie,
    I have no good ideas about how to determine who gets a pin but, if you want to send a bunch to me in the Boston area, I’m happy to foot the bill for the envelopes and postage and send them out for you.
    I can’t let a fellow Canadian knitter down . . . πŸ™‚

  99. Stephanie,
    I own a LYS and I’d be happy to put up a donation box if you decide to distribute the pins that way…. I’ve seen a couple people suggest this already. I think it be an easy way to you get them everywhere without 500 trips to the post office.

  100. I think by asking for a fair chance for everyone, you have to think about those of us living in the middle of nowhere and being at least a 7 hour drive, one way, to the nearest LYS. I run a non-profit organization, and here is what I have done for such a project:
    Set a price to include shipping charges (I think a min of $10.00 is fair, some people might be cheaper for shipping than others, but really it shouldn’t matter, those that are cheaper just consider that they offered more to charity)
    Have a deadline. November 15th. Everyone sends you their money and a mailing address label with their address on it.
    You have a big party with lots of Screech, to take a break from Christmas knitting. Stuff enevelops, one single trip to the post office. Bang, done. Then you aren’t wasting money sending smaller packages all over North America for distribution, just to be divided and shipped again. Then no one ends up with a surplus of pins. All pins should be distributed, first come, first serve.
    I use 10 volunteers for such a party, and the time flies by quickly in one single evening.
    BTW, Steph, I left a package for you at Lettuce Knits about a month ago with something for Knitters Without Borders. Please let me know when you receive it. Thanks.

  101. I’d be more than willing…eager even… to be your Oregon and Pacific Northwest distributor if you go that route.

  102. Hoo Hey S. Kate!! You are There sistah!
    I think $10 with an SASE bubblepak is a good idea! Distribution to LYS’s that sell your books would be cool, or an autographed book-and-pin package for $45.98 (just kidding, sort of) would be way cool! Everyone here at Chez Hairball loves your new book and the idea of the pin. So much so, we’ve donated $25.00 of our wool stash money for knitted cat toys to MSF. So there, we are a happy catnip free zone for the next week, then on to more knitted canip mouses. Mouses not mice! By the same token, there will be no new sock yarn ball dog toys either! We are just a house full of four-footedness here. Yarn is just an amusement (obsession for the human factor) source here. Especially if there is any lanolin left in it!

  103. Well Stephanie, from the huge response you’ve obviously broken into the big leagues and need a secretary. Too bad I live in Virginia. When I first saw the pins I thought, “Yeah! Cool! I want one!” Then I remembered how this got started with your suggestion to think about our wants and our needs and DONATE those wants. I have to sign off now so I can do some donating. Thanks to S.Kate for spurring donations at the mere sight of the pins on your blog.

  104. I think that the return addressed sase would be a very good solution, especially if they put the money inside the sase to make it easier for the packager. I would be willing to add a quarter to the price of the pin, which if done for every pin would total about 125 dollars, and would be fine with this being split between the people who were doing the packaging and postal running. Perhaps you may know a few teenagers willing to take the assignment on? I think if the envelopes were collected until there were five hundred takers, and the teens sat down they could probably get them packaged in a few hours, and then be off to the post and then the bank to deposit the finds and recieve their due, and the mall that afternoon.
    I am also thinking big. If there was a base charge for the pins of 30 dollars per pin, that would put tsf at the 100,000 mark for donations.
    The only complications I can see are keeping track of how many orders so you didn’t over sell the pins, deciding how you wanted to handle currancy (international money orders?) and keeping track of the orders.
    Unless… if you know of anyone who is in the girl scouts or a similar organization? Perhaps a troop or two would like to volunteer their envelope opening and postage licking services and earn points towards a badge. Then it could be done at their normal meeting place, not your house, there would be other adults to supervise, and the money could fund some of their activities, or perhaps they would like to make their own donation somewhere.

  105. i’m in the pacific northwest, just south of the BC border. I”d be more than happy to help with distribution in my part of the country, should you decide to go the route of regional volunteers to help with mailing. awesome of Kate to make these, truly.

  106. thanks so much for bringing this organization to my attention. I am always hesitant to donate the little money I do have to groups that are affiliated with things I am not so comfortable with. I love reading your blog (very new knitter here) and thanks so much!!!
    Thanks S.Kate!!!!

  107. Being Dutch and living in Europe I have no idea what LYS or KWB is. But isn’t this something for the girl-scouts to help with. Have everybody send a self-adressed envelope and the scouts can fill them and return them once a week during a meeting. Their speciality is helping other people, isn’t it.
    Medicin sans frontiere, scouts and knitters around the world join hands to help the people in need.
    Sound good to me !
    p.s. I’m offering $10,- plus postage to get one.

  108. Hi Stephanie,
    Perhaps for knitters waaay away from Canada or the USA (like Australia, for example!) is that you could have a minimum order, include postage money with that and praps set it up through ebay which would allow Paypal payments? Sounds like a bit of work to me but administration isn’t at all my strong point! Otherwise we could send a ssae and an international money order? I’m being selfish – I want some to pop in fellow knitters christmas pressies!

  109. LYS= Local Yarn Shop
    I will be very happy to send a stamped self addressed envelope and what every amount of money I need to send. Just let me know where and when.
    Dympna in foggy, sunny, rainy, San Francisco

  110. I like the idea of “regional distribution centres” or RDC’s…we love our acronyms! I would be willing to be the Cdn one in the west or the Cdn one period.
    $5 plus S&H …minimum!!
    WTG S.Kate!!!!!

  111. What a lovely idea and pin! Thank you S Kate!
    No ideas from me. I’m stuck in my own fundraising hell at the moment. My daughter however has been trying to get her classmates to raise money for the Red Cross, and MSF. I’m going to see if they’re willing to send it marked TSF.

  112. Very cool.
    Send the SASE but with understanding that YOU will make only one trip to the post office.
    For non-Canadian recipients (Hey, cool knitters around the world), maybe ask a fellow knitter to help out and send one bulk shipping to that country to then be mailed by that person??
    Yep, some postage involved for you so I’d like to encourage at least a $10.00 donation. More for MSF no cost to you.
    So cool!! (Should knitters actually say “So warm”??)

  113. Require that people do the following:
    (1) Donate at least $5 to MSF;
    (2) Print out donation receipt and photocopy it;
    (3) Mail donation receipt and SASE to you;
    (4) Wait PATIENTLY for pin to arrive.
    You could batch process — go to the post office five times (every time you reach 100 orders).

  114. I’d be happy to foot the bill for envelopes and postage and mail out all the ones in and around Texas.

  115. Yeaaaa, I finally found out how to do this. My idea would be to give the pins to people who donate to Doctors Without Borders and who send a bubble envelope or some envelope with return postage attached. I think we would all be willing to do that, I know I would. And willing to donate $100 for it…….your postman may need a truck to pick them up, but it wouldn’t be extra work for you, well minimized anyway……pat

  116. Don’t forget that Toronto high school students need to earn 40 community service hours in order to graduate. A small group of them (including perhaps, yours) could take charge of this. That, and an adequte minimum donation, should make this a very successful venture for MSF, with minimal stress on your part. You know we want them, and will pay whatever you ask us to pay, or more. They’ll be in second printing before long….
    Any decent local office supply place would donate envelopes and sheets of bubble wrap if they are asked nicely. It’s just Canada Post you can’t get around, but someone might volunteer the use of a postage machine that stamps the letters – no licking involved.
    Combine an idea like this with the generosity of nearby and far far away knitters who want to help distribute, and you’ve got a profitable no-brainer.
    I’d be happy to help set up something like this for you and even supervise the students. I’ve got lots of fundraising experience, and of course, lots of teenager experience.

  117. So many great ideas. Just let me know where to send money and how much. I would proudly buy and wear a pin!!

  118. Here is my half-baked idea:
    Step One: Give S. Kate wet sloppy kiss for me.
    Step Two: Send all pins to your party elf.
    Step Three: Ask pin lusters to reserve their pins by donating an amount greater or equal to ten bucks and sending confirmation until theyοΏ½re all spoken for.
    Then you kick it over to your party elf (me for the sake of argument). I will throw a little New York style party (aka drunken) in a local bar, whose owners will be harassed into holding it free by moi. Staples will give me a crapload of envelopes because I am a fast talker. Fabulous Miss Spreadsheet from the above comments will send us what we need to print the labels. No one leaves the party until all the envelopes are stuffed, and price of admission is $2 worth of postage. Donaters get pins, mailers get party.
    Also I think you should fly down for the party.
    (Alternatively, you could make the teenagers do it.)

  119. With my family scattered all over the States, I’m a regular at the PO. I’d be happy to distribute pins (via SASE, call my postage a donation or whatever) in the SW and mid-West (I live in southern Colorado). I think the $5 minimum donation with a receipt (or the knitters “cross my needles” word of honor?) and a SASE to regional distro reps is the way to go. As long as you know the zip code of the distro rep, your local PO can tell you the return postage and with US reps handling US “orders”, no one has to worry about customs or getting the right kind of stampage.
    PS- I get comments every time I wear my KWB/TSF sweatshirt (I ALWAYS explain what it means!) and I’ve noticed that other hockey moms are starting to bring their knitting to the rink!

  120. I saw someone further up on the comments (Hazel?) was offering to do UK distribution which would be brilliant. Maybe knitting groups in the UK could get to gether to send donations that way; the SSAE thing doesn’t really work from here and if we can get 5-10 people together at a time…
    I’d be happy to help with UK/European distribution if that’s practical…

  121. I saw someone further up on the comments (Hazel?) was offering to do UK distribution which would be brilliant. Maybe knitting groups in the UK could get together to send donations that way; the SSAE thing doesn’t really work from here and if we can get 5-10 people together at a time…
    I’d be happy to help with UK/European distribution if that’s practical…
    NYCMouses’s suggestion also sounds fabulous if we can get a PayPal thing going…

  122. How lovely it would be to get groups of knitters together for SnB events and collect donations and distribute pins that way. I’m going to my regular knitting nite on Nov. 15 and could collect $ and distribute pins at that time. Then could host my own knit-out with fellow local bloggers in early Dec. It would be nice to have it more homegrown, like we are normally, than a big “publicized” phenomenon.

  123. I don’t have any clever ideas but I know I want one. I say they go to the first 500 people who send $10.00 and a bubble wrap postage paid return envelope with the return address already on it and a bit of extra bubble wrap inside to zip around the pin for safety. Then badger your kids (or your knitting group) to help you throw a pin in each one and mail them all out in one day. Hats off to both you and Kate. You got this started and Kate has really come up with a genuine act of kindness.

  124. Send them to your publisher, jack the price of the book up 5 bucks and distribute them with your book as a limited edition. Call it even.

  125. Good on you, S. Kate!!
    I’ve nothing to add about how to distribute the pins for the most benefit to Doctors Without Borders since everything I came up with has been suggested by someone else already. Just thought I’d chime in with my support and to say that when the head office decides on the “how to” let me know so I can buy a pin and help out.

  126. Thank you, S. Kate!
    I personally would be happy to send a SASE, pay $100 for 50 pins and flog them at my (Ottawa) knitting guild, at the LYSs in my area, and even to the knuggles in my office. I’ll bet my teen-age daughter would sell them at school too. And of course we would also donate any profit to MSF.

  127. The very first words of the very first comment were “Think locally” … what if you had a lick-a-thon! Along the lines of the “stitch-up” wherein you hosted a bunch o folks to seam blanket squares, a bunch o local folks (sorry to those from away) to stuff, and sign, and seal a whack of envelopes.
    You *know* that the pins will be all spoken for within a day or two of you putting them up for grabs here, right? Well, one of our lovely crewe will most certainly be able to find a way to sanely collect all the addresses. This way it will be over quickly and relatively painlessly AND we can have a fun gathering too!
    I’m in for bringing wine, chocolate and coffee in that order and can host here in Waterloo if you don’t feel up to repainting the house again πŸ˜‰
    Anyone within driving distance of the GTA wanna chime in on this here idear??

  128. how about telling anyone who wants one to send payment donation to you with a self-addressed stamped envelope?
    i have no idea.
    but s. kate, that was totally cool. rock on!
    keep it real, yarn harlot πŸ™‚

  129. Love Alison’s idea of a local teen volunteer project. Could do that for the packaging part. Then solicit companies who specialize in mail-order, ask them to do the shipping as donation to TSF. You send the mail-ready pins and a list of addresses of recipients, and they do the rest. (I’d volunteer my company, but we only do US distribution. Better if you can send the whole lot to one distributor.) A large yarn vendor with a printed catalog would be perfect.

  130. If you want to send me a bunch in the US (thereby saving customs, etc) and then give my address out and have people mail me the money. (Ask for shipping or a little Jiffy bubble bag. I’d be happy to send them out. I’m near a post office and can send these pins out daily. Let me know, I’d be happy to help.

  131. eBay, has got to be the easiest way to sell online, and they don’t charge listing or final value fees when the proceeds from your sale are donated to charity.
    If you sold them yourself, but only accepted paypal as a method of payment, you could print prepaid shipping labels directly from paypal. That way all you would need is a stack of bubblewrap envelopes. It might be easier to manage that way, as you can monitor all your sales online and see immediatly what has been mailed.

  132. I would sell them for $10 with a copy of an original YarnHarlot pattern at local yarn stores/bookstores. This would cover the cost of shipping and earn a nice penny for MSF/DWB.
    If you shipped in sets of 25 pins, shipping would probably come to less than a quarter a pin. I am not sure how much the pins each cost but I think S.Kate should be repaid (or if she prefers, a donation equal to the cost of the pins in her name), I would guess each pin is no more than $0.50. A copy of the Yarn Harlot pattern would be less than a $25. This way, we could earn $9 for each pin.
    $9 times 500 is $4,500.
    This could be a common event. Maybe every few months, there could be a new pattern. Then when we go to knitting events, we could wear all our pins.
    Frankly, without the pins, I would pay $10 for a knitting pattern if I knew the money was going to charity.

  133. I will be happy to mail a batch of pins out for you if you like. I’m in NC, pretty much in the center for the East Coast in US. Just give me the details and send a batch. I would be happy to help.

  134. I like Debbie B.’s idea of a newsletter with knitwear patterns and updates and bits of wisdom.
    You could also include ways/places/organizations or whatever where actual knitted donations can be sent. (I am broke. Knitted donations are easier to come by. Knowing I am broke, people who love me give me yarn for presents!)
    To help support the cost of publication and distribution you could “sell” small bits of advertizing space to online yarn stores, etc.
    Well, you did say think big. I also think you need some volunteer deputies (they don’t even have to be local, what with the wonders of e-mail) to run this thing (Poor Mr Washie gets little enough of your attention) and you could peruse the final product before printing.
    Sorry to be long winded.

  135. I will sell them on my ebay store if you want. I am sure we could get at least $5.00 US for them and I can provide free shipping to anyone who buys yarn from my store or they can pay the shipping. Then I can send you the money. The eBay fees will be my donation That would get them out there world wide.
    My eBay store is well known.
    Let me know what you think
    Shelley Mackie

  136. I am an attorney in Oklahoma City who would love to help you. If you can take care of the money issues, I can take care of the postage. If you send me the pins, I will mail them out once a week or so to all the names you collect. I would love to help, but don’t want to deal with the money. I have a blog, but don’t update often and don’t have the link on this computer. Bev Watts

  137. Okay, Stephanie, you’ve got plenty of good ideas coming in from The Harlett’s, but I gotta say every time I open the site to see if you’ve posted again I get a high school flashback seeing those “nickle” bags on your blog… it’s a little nostalgia for this old hippie gal.

  138. I liked Liz’s idea, but with a twist involving regional volunteers:
    Donate at least $5 to MSF;
    (2) Print out donation receipt and photocopy it;
    (3) Mail donation receipt and SASE to the regional volunteer;
    (4) Wait PATIENTLY for pin to arrive.
    You would just have to watch out that there wasn’t an acute pin shortage.
    I’d be happy to help out in the UK.

  139. I didn’t read through all the comments (sorry!) but how about taking them to knitting conventions, or having a fellow friend/blogger do so. I would happily try to get a small free booth at Stitches West to sell these, and I wholeheartedly agree with everybody that you can/should give them for $5 or $10 donations, to ensure that KWB gets a great donation.

  140. What about hitting the yahoo (and other like minded groups) the owners, to see if group members would be willing to pitch in and buy a large sum.. and the group owner could collect the money AND SHIP OUT the pins. I own a yahoo knitting/crocheting group.. and I would be more than willing to eat out of my own pocket the shipping cost once I recieved the pins.
    Food for thought… Im sure just by posting on your blog that group owners… or group activity coordinators could contact you to arrange costs, numbers and the such… you’d be suprised at the volume of interest. I wouldnt mind getting my hands on several pins.
    Im interested to see what you decide to do!

  141. I would love one and would gladly make a donation AND send you a SASE to ease potential administrative craziness. I’m also sending the link to my knitting guild – 60+ members. Or maybe I should wait until you have a plan?

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