Crafts I Love: Kenana Knitter Critters #Kenya #fairtrade #sustainable #ecofriendly

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My son, Julian, gave me this hand-knitted monkey a few Christmases ago, and it’s one of my favorite crafts!  He got it at our local Whole Foods.  The company, Kenana Knitted Critters, that coordinates these crafts is one of the models I am researching as I expand the work I do (art/craft therapy).   What works?  What doesn’t?  Is it sustainable?  Well, there is no doubt that the quality and charm of the work is top notch.  And the overall message is beautiful.

Look at that face!

and that shape!


Kenana Knitters started in Njoro, Kenya 1998, to help rural women find some much needed form of income using their spinning and knitting skills.

Njoro is mainly a farming area – agricultural work for the men is easier to come by than for the women-folk, yet agricultural wages are insufficient to support large and extended families. What we produce helps us to support our farming communities here in Kenya and to build a secure future for our children.


We are a self-supporting knitting co-operative and pay ourselves a fair wage. In addition our sales fund a range of welfare projects here in Njoro, Kenya.

Knitting is ideal. It requires minimal equipment, can be done in snatches when time permits. When the rains come and the family crops and vegetables need tending, not much knitting gets done, but in times of drought and crop failure, when the family garden is bare of supplementary vegetables, money can now be earned to purchase the necessities of life.

The group generates two forms of income; buying the wool locally then creating more work by turning the wool into marketable products such as toys, bed-covers, scarves, hats and other accessories.

We promote the work of other local artisans such as the Ziwani Weavers, based in Nyahururu, helping to bring their beautiful hand-spun, woven shawls & blankets to a wider market.

From our Kenya knitting base, we export directly to our Distributors around the globe. Worldwide sales fund a range of welfare projects for the benefit of the knitters, their families and the wider community:

  • Education
  • Eye tests
  • Health
  • HIV/AIDS Counselling
  • Friends of Kenana

Kenana Knitter Critters Kenana USA

Kenana Knitter Critters in UK (and Kenya)

Kenana Knitter Critters Kenana Canada


Luxurious b.ella mens socks #sockmonkey virgin wool/angora/cashmere blend #todiefor @socksonhaight

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Absolutely divine B.Ella mens socks, bought at Sockshop on Haight in October 2010.  One of the most enjoyable sews!  The softness of these socks is beyond dreamy.  I kept the sock monkey simple to not take away from the beauty of the sock.


CRAFT: #ElizabethTheFirst tapestry/quilt

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The tapestry/quilt, begun in 1998, was inspired by the book ELIZABETHAN TREASURES- The Hardwick Hall Textiles:

have special care and regard to p’serve the same from all manner of wett, mothe and other hurte or spoyle therofe and to leave them so preserved to contynewe at the sayed several houses as a foresayed for the better furnishying them therewithall. – Bess of Hardwick, Dowager Countess of Shrewsbury, 1601

Example from book:

I was very influenced by this piece. "The figure of Penelope in the Entrance Hall, Hardwick. View of the central panel: one of Bess's favourite heroines...created in the 1570's."

My Elizabeth the First tapestry.  This was truly one of my favorite projects:

#Vancouver #olympicdepression sock birds dedicated to @annatfabulous @TommyD and @DesmondReid!

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On this one year anniversary of Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics, I dedicate this post to Anna T Fabulous, Tommy D and Des Reid.  I made the birds out of old souvenir bits.

These three amazing folk are more over-the-top than anyone else I know- and one year ago, our city finally reached the level of energy that suits this trio.  No matter what the controversy was beforehand and no matter what the Olympic legacy issues are now, for a few weeks these three were in ecstasy and so were we!

Anna T Fabulous!

Tommy D!


Sock bird from leftover bits of @Ozonesocks from fave shop @socksonhaight!

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I made (and sold) a long limbed cat from a pair of red OZONE FAIR ISLE SOCKS (bought in October 2010 from SOCKSHOP ON HAIGHT).   The green version is almost done!  Some bits were left over (a toe part from each sock)- too cute and valuable to throw away so I made a sock bird.  I used antique buttons bought in Fort Langley!


Crafts I love: buttons!

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Yahoo!  I got a message from WENDY, the maker of these beautiful handmade green buttons that I used on my scarf owl and sock cat and sock bird (bought at Knit & Stitch Shoppe in West Vancouver BC):

Wendy tells me that these particular buttons are called BUBBLE GUM BUTTONS.

Frog Pepper Bubble Gum Button

I can’t wait to get some more!


“My love for buttons has grown to a whole new dimension. It’s exciting to check the kiln each morning to see rows of little pieces of wearable art.”   – Wendy

Crafts I love: my Swedish grandmother’s wooden lunch box, 1910

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I treasure this little piece of family history.  My grandmother’s uncle made her this beautiful lunch box in 1910 either in Hudiksvall or Sigtuna, Sweden.  It was given to me when I was living in Sweden as a young child and I have used it ever since to contain treasures and trinkets.  It now contains the last remnants of my daughter‘s baby blanket, the infamous “tutta.”  The design is genius, a simple snap and lock lid.

As a comparison, a similar piece of Swedish folk art can be found at: Large Antique Lunch Box, Sweden