Sunday, 31 December 2017

Knitting for peace, charity, health and happiness!

Four great knitting books I'll be reading and using in 2018.

Christmas gifts I'm very happy with, all of them about knitting for 'causes'. 

This one talks about various projects and groups around the world where knitters make and donate things for a particular cause, beginning with knitters in wartime (from the American war of independence, through world war II, Bosnia and Rwanda in the twentieth century, to the current conflict in Iraq) and looking at projects donating blankets to the homeless, clothing for orphans and other children around the world who need love and support. Knitting donations;  knitting as a means of income for the poor and destitute; knitting as therapy for prisoners; knitting for cancer causes.

The case studies in this book are evidence for the author's claim that:

'We knitters work a powerful magic when we knit for others... we can build bridges.... help to heal... offer a primal sort of comfort, and create peace - however small, and in whatever way that may be - for others and ourselves.' (page 9) 

There are some patterns included in the book, for items which can be made and donated to some of the causes - full information in the book, and some basic knitting instructions.

Knitting for Peace. Make the world a better place one stitch at a time.  By Betty Christiansen, Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2006.


This one is historical, and takes me back to childhood memories of my Nan and Grandad - my
grandfather was in the so-called 'great war' (World War I). He lied about his age so that he could go and fight, because he was too young. He survived though with deafness that meant he couldn't fight in the second world war, though he played his part there as an air raid warden and first aid officer. And I'm sure that he had people at home knitting for him.

The book has some fantastic photos - advertising from the day, clothing, knitters, postcards, fashion plates and cartoons from magazines.  And a lot of patterns of very solid looking items of utilitarian clothing which was such an expression of love.  One scheme for providing sweaters for soldiers was set up in London by John Penoyre, and the book quotes him:

'The fact is the human mind is so constituted that in times of very special stress and trouble the little extra personal comforts to which one is attached bulk very large indeed.' (page 17)

Knitting for Tommy. Keeping the Great War Soldier warm.  By Lucinda Gosling, in association with Mary Evans Picture Library. The History Press, 2014. 


Knitting for Good is described as 'A guide to creating personal, social, and political change, stitch by stitch'.

This book begins by talking about some of the benefits of knitting, from a personal perspective.  Some of these benefits  are there in the first two books above as well;  in this one, the author talks from her own experience, and from people she has spoken with, about how knitting has all sorts of benefits - relaxation, therapy as a kind of physical meditation practice, for some even pain relief.  I would add help with sleep - I'm quite sure knitting helps me to sleep better.

Then the book talks about different ways we can contribute to our communities through knitting, and gives some examples.

The third section is about how knitters can have an impact on the world, from personal choices about recycling and supporting handmade and fair trade, through to 'craftivism' - linking craft and activism through the kind of knitting for causes also talked about in the first book above.

There are knitting patterns here too, examples of how people use their creativity to make connections, help others - and the book has a strong focus on how how we can use our knitting in this sort of way, if thats something we want to do, and how we can also benefit from doing this.

Knitting for Good. A guide to creating personal, social, and political change, stitch by stitch. by Betsy Greer, Trumpeter Press 2008. 


This third book is different, as its mostly a knitting pattern book - but its a great example of what the
other books are talking about. There is an introduction about the 'knitting for causes' movement - and the book then has a great set of patterns, contributed by various people.  All the patterns are free for anyone to use for a charity cause, so can be used to make items to sell in the made4aid Etsy shop.  (Its not very clear whether this is the case for the patterns in the other 3 books - they can be used though for donations to the causes they are 'named' for).

There are 25 patterns/projects here in total - some of them will definately be appearing in the made4aid shop sooner or later! 

Knits to Share and Care. by Gerard Allt,  D&C Press, 2008.


And - as we approach the end of 2017, I'll be updating the totals of money raised so far by made4aid. Currently all profits go to Medécins sans Frontiéres / Doctors without Borders.

Made4aid is a very small project, which quietly ticks along and suffers a bit from me being so busy in my every-day life. I'm so grateful for everyone who's ever helped, sent donations, encouraged.  And its so brilliant to hear from other people around the world who are doing similar things or who want to contribute.

The latest is MP, a middle-school student who has donating some fab hand-made cards - now in the Etsy shop, for sale with free shipping in the USA, a set of 10 cards for £8.50 / $12.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Getting up to date!

I find it hard to believe its close to two years since I posted here!  Life goes so fast and often feels too busy.  A year ago I had an accident which slowed me down for a bit, but I was blessed with great care from family, friends and the NHS and getting close to 'normal' mobility again.

Never too busy, though, to have a knitting project on the go, and I manage to find some time for sewing sometimes at weekends or on holidays....

.... and the made4aid shop on Etsy continues to tick over, with some great donations from people who find made4aid online and offer some of their work.

Sue is still making and donating items to made4aid, here are some currently in the shop.

a velvet bookmark

cluster bracelet

  Some great key rings / bag charms, including this great owl one.

Sweet little butterfly earrings,

Sue now also has her own great shop on Etsy, MimzDesigns, with some fabulous steampunk and goth creations and artwork.

We have some unique and attractive and practical bags made and donated by Linda Ann


Sayani, a high school student in the USA is making wax crayons, from recycled left over ends, in funky fun shapes.

And Amar, in India, has donated some of his paintings.


All available (at the time of writing) in the made4aid shop on Etsy.

And me.....  I've been working on bits and pieces and will try to blog about that soon - and certainly sooner than another two years!

Proceeds from made4aid go to Medécins sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders.
We've raised £6678 / $US 9075, since 2009 when made4aid began.

Do get in touch if you're interested in helping!;  and/or find us on facebook.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Original East African artwork, supporting MLISADA charity

This wonderful portrait, 'Braided Girl' was painted by Jimmy Kayondo, and is currently listed in the made4aid Etsy shop.

Jimmy Kayondo is a painter and graphic designer living in Kampala, Uganda.

He is an extremely talented artist with an established reputation. He specialises in portraits and paintings which capture the soulful and inherent beauty of East Africa.

Jimmy is a longtime supporter of 'MLISADA' children's charity, who will receive 40% of the sale of any of his paintings. 

MLISADA is an internationally acclaimed charity which supports vulnerable street children and offers rehabilitation through the power of music. You can find out more about MLISADA on their website and Facebook page:

We're excited to have one of Jimmy's wonderful paintings in the made4aid shop.  There are others, also for sale, direct from the artist.

Jimmy donates 40% of all proceeds from his artwork to MLISADA.

Please do not hesitate to ask any questions or to find out more...

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Bags by design - new donations in the made4aid shop!

We have some great new bags, made and donated by Gill Howdle.
All proceeds to go Medécins sans Frontiéres / Doctors without Borders.

Gill says :

Coming from a long line of needlewomen (one grandmother was a tailoress and the other a milliner) I have been sewing most of my life. There have been huge gaps in that (one patchwork quilt took 30 years to finish!) while I brought up two sons and worked full time. But now in semi retirement I have turned my hand to my needle once again. The inspiration for the current range of bags came from my grandmother's button box which contained a large number of vintage buttons, some of which feature in my bags. The fabric comes from a variety of places, sometimes I'll find something in a charity shop which is crying out to be upcycled (or reincarnated!). I use a fair amount of upholstery fabrics because they are strong enough for bags. Nearly every bag is unique, occasionally I have enough fabric and additions to make two but even those will have little changes incorporated.

We're really pleased to have Gill's lovely donations in the shop - they include handbags, shoulder and cross-body bags and shopping bags, bags for life.

They are all in the bags section of the shop, here are photos of some of them:

Do have a look in the Etsy shop - these and other bags, and some other lovely handmade items and supplies.

All proceeds go to Medécins sans Frontiéres / Doctors without Borders.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

New donations in the made4aid shop!

We have some lovely new donations in the made4aid Etsy shop - great greeting cards and gifts, so exciting to have new people getting in touch who want to get involved with made4aid.

We have some hand-painted blank greeting cards, wistful and whimsical watercolours by Puck, aka. Carmen

And we'll have some Christmas cards coming over the next few weeks.

And there is some fabulous jewellery made and donated by Jillian  - available with free shipping in the US, Canada and Mexico.  Jillian has used some beautiful hand-carved semi-precious stone in some of her jewellery, together with some great glass flower-power bead jewellery.

Here are just a few pics: 

You can see them all, with full details, in the Etsy made4aid shop jewellery section, where there are also some great donations from Sue, in the UK.

Thanks very much to everyone donating to made4aid.

Do look out for more items being added to the shop over the next few weeks as we approach Christmas!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Where the money goes....

This is where the money goes - all proceeds from made4aid  (excluding Etsy and paypal fees) go to Medécins sans Frontières  (MSF) / Doctors without Borders.

MSF send us thank you letters, telling us about particular aspects of their work which made4aid money helps, in a very small way, to support.  This letter says thank you for our most recent donation which was sent in January.

You can find out more about the work of MSF here.

And the total money raised by made4aid - and where it has gone - is updated on the sidebar of this blog.

Thank you to everyone who has donated items for us to sell, who has bought items - or who has told other people about us.

If you're interested in donating handmade items - or art and craft supplies - there is information about this on our website.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


Just listed in the made4aid Etsy shop, we have a whole load of de-stache new Lion Brand yarns, donated by Kris.  These are available only within the US - with free shipping! so if you're planning some autumn knits, do have a look.

Some are discontinued colours and/or yarn types, like the polarspun,

which knits into a scrumptious soft furry fabric - there is a great teddy knitted with it on Etsy at the moment and some adorable baby hats.

We have some handspun yarns too - not so much of that left at the moment, but I'm busy spinning alpaca, and experimenting with my new (actually quite old) drum carder, so there will be more to come over the next month or two.  Here are the first results from the carder, some gorgeous soft merino:

And I've also been experimenting with some lock-spun beautiful curly gotland fleece -some little bits of that will be listed on made4aid soon, ideal for hand weaving or for hair for dolls and toys.

Becky, who bought some handspun portland from made4aid, sent a photo of what she is using it for:
So lovely!

Next up for my drum carder is a lovely soft soft shearling Romney fleece, which I think may spin up a bit like the romney - but will be softer. I think it may well make a delicious yarn.

The handspun yarn we have in the shop at the moment is laceweight silk and some gorgeously sea-green and lustrous wensleydale.

Plus - we have some vintage knitting patterns for instant download, and more to come!

So do keep any eye on the made4aid Etsy shop for yarns and patterns - and we welcome donations of yarn or knitted items to sell!  all proceeds go to Medécins sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders.