Oslo Strikkefestival
A fest for fiber-lovers and yarnaholics in the heart of Oslo

The OSF Blog

Knitting for Victory : Yarns and Companies doing good in the world

One of my favourite things about the knitting world is how much love and thoughtfulness are bursting out of it. Maybe it’s something to do with our do-it-yourself attitude, or the hours we spend in an almost-meditative state, but knitters just seem to want to do good in the world, and it is so inspiring!

Being a hypocrite-with-a-busy-schedule myself, I don’t do as much as I could, but thought that I’d share these companies that I love with you, in case anyone out there is better at time-management than I and can do some more good themselves.

The best thing with these companies & initiatives is how easily anybody can get involved and contribute. And it needn’t even cut into your knitting time! ;)

Innocent' s The Big Knit
The Big Knit started popping up in 2003, when I was still back in the UK. Anyone can contribute, from all over the world, and the premise is so simple and so lovely:

You knit a teeny tiny hat, or a whole army of them (which already is super fun and adorable!) and send it into Innocent Smoothies, who put them on their bottles, and then give 25p of every bottle sold to Age UK, the country's largest charity dedicated to working with the elderly. Last year they raised £215,000, and they’ll be doing the whole thing again this year!

This year I will be sending in some hats - having missed out every year so far - if anyone wants to join in give me a shout!

Darn Good Yarn
I love everything about Darn Good Yarn, and am dying to give some of their recycled silk a try. They specialise in yarns made from manufactured waste, and repurpose them into incredible art-and-artsy-yarn.

Darn Good Yarn's recycled Sari Silk Ribbon

Darn Good Yarn's recycled Sari Silk Ribbon

But what I particularly like is that their employees, women in Nepal and India, can work and support their families from home, which means they can make a living without disrupting the rest of their lives and habits.

If you want to give something different a try, and buy some yarn with less of a guilty conscience, A Darn Good Yarn is definitely worth a try.

Zpagetti Jersey yarns
Yay for doing awesome things with manufactured waste! The fashion industry is horribly wasteful (if you don’t believe me take a look at Fashion Revolution and their great work!), and in recent years lots of companies have started producing awesome yarns from the industry’s scraps that would usually be going to landfill.

Check out Hoooked and their Zpagetti yarns, Wool and The Gang’s Jersey Be Good, or you could just make your own (double the environmentally-friendly points for you!)

Knit Aid
Knit Aid was set up as a response to the refugee crisis in Europe, sending handmade donations to refugees in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesbos and Greece. 

From Knit Aid's Instagram feed

From Knit Aid's Instagram feed

They host workshops, organise collections, and have even helped taking knitting to schools, where pupils themselves have all knitted something to be sent to the refugee camps in Europe.

Closer to home
Norwegians are some of the loveliest people, and I can say that because I'm (technically) still not one of them! It feels like there’s somebody doing something amazing all the time over here, but here's two organisations dear to my own heart.

Warm Greetings
Warm Greetings is about making something that will warm the body and the heart. Much like Knit Aid, they give you the resources you need to make something for a refugee newly arrived in Europe.

They also include a personal label you can attach to your donation, written in English and Arabic, to wish the receiver welcome to their new country.

The Warm Greetings team joined us at last year’s festival, and went home with several kilos of donations made by you, our wonderful attendees!

Solidaritets Nøster
Solidaritets Nøster (skeins of solidarity in English, although hopefully somebody else will provide a more elegant translation than mine) do amazing work in several refugee centres in Oslo. They organize knitting cafes at the different centres, where everybody can sit and knit together. I can only imagine the difference it must make to be new in a foreign country, and meet these amazing women who help you form a bond with (what will hopefully be) your new home.

Solidaritets Nøster also need yarns and needles to keep doing their great work (although as of now they have more than enough - I did say Norwegians were lovely!), so if you have a few spare skeins at home, why not put them to the best use, and make somebody else happy? 

Now it’s your turn! What have I missed? I’d love to hear what do-gooding companies and yarns you enjoy and support :)

Woolly wishes,
Katie  x

Katie Zissou