Beautifully hand knitted from certified organic cotton yarn and natural jute plant fibre. Produced through a fair trade project in India which is making a difference by empowering women to take charge of their own destiny. Packed in recyclable card sleeve with the handwritten name of the woman who knitted the cloths.
These cloths can be composted at the end of their life or repurposed as potting mesh.
Each cloth measures approximately 19cm x 19cm. As in all hand made products, minor variations in shape and colour may occur.
Supplied as a set of 2.
The brown cloth is made from natural jute. Jute plants are easy to grow, have a high yield per acre and, unlike cotton, have little need for pesticides and fertilisers. Jute grows during the rainy season in India which is from June to October. The plants are ready to harvest in four to six months, after the flowers are shed.
The fibres lie beneath the bark around the woody core. To extract the fibre, the jute bundles are submersed in water and left for a few days until the fibres come loose and are ready for stripping from the stalk, then washed and dried. The remaining jute stalks can be used in a similar way to wood pulp, or work well as a renewable source of cooking fuel.
Jute plants help to clean the air. During growth they take in three times more CO2 than the average tree, converting this CO2 into oxygen. Jute plants also enrich the soil. As these plants grow fast, they are often used in crop rotation. The leaves and roots left after harvest enrich the soil with micronutrients, maintaining soil fertility. Jute is 100% biodegradable.
The natural cream cloth is made with cotton yarn from a GOTS certified organic mill in India.
The Toockies Project has opened an unimaginable door of opportunity for knitters. In Nababpur, over 230 women desperate for a dignified way to earn a living, are mobilised and trained to create Toockies products. A community centre provides these women with a central location for training, picking-up yarn and dropping off finished product, though most knitters choose to work from home (as is culturally required) allowing them to work flexible hours.
When Anna married, moved to the US and became a homemaker herself, her mother-in-law introduced her to knitted dishcloths, better known as "Toockies". Anna very quickly became dependent on these "Toockies" to clean her home, her car and even her children! She soon wondered why everyone hadn't heard of these amazing little cloths that worked hard and lasted for years! They were cost effective because they out-performed the disposable cleaning products she had always used and they did not need to be replaced every week.
Anna began to think about how she might start a home business, with the help of women who could use a bit of extra money, just like her mother did. A couple of years and a few pregnancies later, she saw a documentary on the plight of young women in India who were forced into slavery and prostitution. She wondered how desperate the need to survive must be, that someone would give up their child to some unknown fate for money to buy food to eat? In the documentary a group of people were trying to rescue some of these young women, but they were in need of funds to support them because the young women did not have any skills that they could use to support themselves.
This was the final push for Anna in her plight to make a difference and in answer to her prayer, she met Mrs Jaya Basu who had recently started a non-profit programme to help children in India. They exchanged ideas and information about their mutual interest in the “greater good” and decided it was time to build a business plan.
Today, Jaya Basu is Anna's partner at Sinko Corp in the US and Lavinia Trade is now the international distributor for The Toockies Project. Collectively they are working hard to make a difference for women and their families in Nababpur, India using a fair trade system very similar to the embroidery co-operative her mother belonged to. The Project has also given their knitters the opportunity for them to learn how to write their own names, enabling them to sign the packaging of each product they have skilfully hand crafted.
In recent travels to India, Anna visited the 9 villages they are currently working with in West Bengal and was heartened to see how well the children of the women they work with are doing. They are thriving!