Sunday, 24 January 2010

Quite a few things, actually.

 As of today, you have helped me raise £111.40 for Haiti relief. THANK YOU!

In Pattern news, I released two (yes, two) patterns this week. Unfortunately I now have nothing in testing, but we'll see how the next months goes!

Anyway, I present:

Combining cables and two-color knitting, these mittens are a fun, quick knit in aran-weight yarn. Make them show-stopping in dramatic black and white, or a bit more subdued in more similar colors.

Comes with directions for either a traditional pointed finish or a flat finish (shown here), and both written and charted directions.

Finished Measurements
7.5” (9”, 10.5”) around palm above crook of thumb
8 (9.5, 11”) around base of palm and thumb

Aran-weight yarn, 109-150 yards MC (black), 109 yards CC (white)
US 8 (5.00mm) needles

Night River Mittens are available as a Ravelry Download for £3.00.

And also Etchings Socks

Reminiscent of etchings in jade, these elegant and deceptively easy-to-knit socks are a quick knit in soft, sturdy Handmaiden Casbah. They also use up very little yardage, and are perfect for smaller skeins of sock yarn.
This pattern includes charts only, but is a perfect way to learn. Includes picture tutorial on required special sts.

Finished Measurements
6in/15.25cm leg circumference relaxed 9”/23cm leg circumference stretched
4.5in/11.5cm length from cast on to beginning of heel flap

Made with only 255 yards of Handmaiden Casbah.

 Etchings Socks are available as a Ravelry Download for £2.50.

And, as always, for the rest of January 50% of pattern proceeds are going to MSF/Doctors without Borders.

Speaking of Haiti, I was touched by this story from my old hometown. I can't imagine how frightened they must be, moving to an albeit beautiful but still relatively cold place, with the big cars and buildings and roads. Even for myself, going back to the US is always a bit of a culture shock, but to come from Haiti to the US, especially just after what's happened, I can't even imagine. My hopes and prayers are with the family as they settle into their new home after that horrible experience, and hoping that the kids can settle in well, make friends, and learn English easily!

In other news, we managed to snag a Fairtrade Kit Kat bar at Tesco last night. It manages to take away a bit of the sting from Cadbury being bought by Kraft, but only a little. I'm completely aware that Nestle's motivation for making Fair Trade is questionable (as most of Nestle's motives are), but the fact is that lots more farmers are actually being paid fair wages for all of their cocoa genius and hard work, so that's pretty awesome.

1 comment:

Mike Brady said...

I'm pleased you acknowledged that Nestlé's involvement in Fairtrade is questionable, even if 6,000 farmers will benefit from Fairtrade KitKat.

For anyone wanting further information on the background, this involves just 1% of its coca purchase and is being used for Public Relations purposes to divert attention from the following facts.

Nestlé has been taken to court in the US for failing to act on a 2001 agreement to end child slavery in its cocoa supply chain and in the past has boycotted a meeting by Senator Harkin (co-sponsor of the Harkin-Engel Protocol in the US) called to examine lack of progress. There are 11 million people dependent on cocoa farming in West Africa, many of them dependent on Nestlé. The KitKat products involved in this scheme will benefit only 6,000 farmers. There is a danger that the improved conditions for these farmers will divert attention from the many others outside the scheme, and be used deliberately to this end by Nestlé.

Stop the Traffik, founded by Steve Chalke, the United Nations Special Advisor on Community Action Against Human Trafficking, said in response to the announcement that ‘two finger’ Kit Kats and all of Nestlé's other chocolate products "“will continue to exploit the chocolate slaves of the Ivory Coast from where Nestlé source most of their cocoa”." See:

It is interesting to note that the amount Nestlé will pay on the Fairtrade premium for the cocoa it is due to buy in 2010 (less than £400,000) is less than 1% of expenditure on its current UK Nescafé advertising campaign (£43 million). For its money, Nestlé has generated unwarranted good news stories around the world.

This is a similar situation to its Fairtrade coffee, which involves just 0.1% of the coffee farmers dependent on it, but is used to suggest it is making a huge difference, providing cover for continued unethical practices.

In addition, Nestlé is the most boycotted company in the UK and one of the four most boycotted companies on the planet according to GMIPoll because of the way it pushes its breastmilk substitutes. Nestlé systematically breaches the baby milk marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly, undermines breastfeeding and contributes to the unnecessary death and suffering of babies. According to UNICEF, 1.5 million babies die around the world every year because they are not breastfed. Even Nestlé's Global Public Affairs Manager, Dr. Gayle Crozier Willi, admitted in 2007 that Nestlé is 'widely boycotted'.

Fairtrade KitKat will be added to the boycott list. The boycot has forced some changes in Nestlé marketing practices and policies, but the company, the market leader, refuses to make all necessary changes and is still the worst of the baby food companies. At the present time it is being targeted for practices that include claiming its infant formula 'protects' babies - it does not, babies fed on it are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and in conditions of poverty, they are more likely to die. See:

Perhaps most disgraceful of all is that the UK Minister for Trade and Development, Gareth Thomas MP, brushed aside a question at a UN press conference about Nestlé's record in developing countries by citing the benefits to the farmers supplying cocoa for the Fairtrade KitKat. For what I think he should have said see:

Nestlé's Fairtrade product should be seen in this context. According to a recent report the Fairtrade mark has already been damaged through its association with Nestlé. See: