About Us

OUR STORY

It all started when a friend, who had set up a shelter for abused women in Bertrams, asked me if I could teach the women some crafts that they could use to earn a living wage once they had to move on from the shelter. There was a group of about 8 women at our first meeting but, once they moved off, most of them started lives of their own and forgot about the knitting, crochet and sewing that they had learnt. Except for Blessing! She was a skilled crafts woman who could do anything with her hands – knitting, crochet, beadwork, basket work, pottery…… She and I began to design and make beautiful babies’ blankets and then moved on to babies’ jerseys. We used beautiful hand-dyed merino yarn which we sourced from the Eastern Cape and we concentrated on good old-fashioned quality. We sold our pieces to my friends who were becoming grannies for the first time and we started to send the word out that we would take orders.

Blessing always had a project on the go and ladies from the Bertrams area began to notice her walking to the shop with knitting under her arm or sitting in church with her crocheting on her lap. Slowly they began to approach her to ask her about her projects and, slowly, they began to ask if they could become involved too. When we had 4 ladies, we rented a space at Victoria Yards where they could meet each day to do their knitting. At this point, my daughter, who was pretty scathing about my social media skills, took over the Facebook and Instagram accounts and set up a website with an on-line shop. Then lockdown happened and we couldn’t meet at all. But we all carried on knitting and crocheting and by the end of lockdown, we had accumulated some stock. We had also accumulated some more ladies. Lockdown had been devastating for the community around Victoria Yards and there were so many ladies (mostly single mums) who needed to earn some money to keep a roof over their children’s heads and food in their tummies.

They were keen to learn and to try any new skill and were very excited that they could create beautiful things that could be sold for a decent sum of money. We now have a group of about 12 ladies – knitters, crocheters, seamstresses and bag-makers. They don’t all meet every day because some of them have small children but all of them have projects on the go that they can work on in their own time at home. The more they make, the more they earn and it is so rewarding for me to be able to give them their money at the end of each month. After she was given her first payment, one lady, with tears in her eyes said, “I can’t tell you what this means to me. The last time I earned any of my own money was 5 years ago”.

Covid has given us the opportunity to reach out into this amazing industrious and determined community and to meet exceptional women who continue to get out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm and to face even the most difficult of days with hope.