Located in Njoro in Nakuru County of Kenya, Kenana Knitter supports women in the local community by providing them with a direct source of income. .
Currently, Kenana supports 573 employees, 300 knitters as well as over 200 spinners, who hand spin the wool into yarn using recycled bicycle wheels made into spinning wheels. They use high quality organic products – cotton and wool that are environmentally friendly, producing distinct hand crafted toys, ponchos, scarfs and other apparel items. .
Wool is sourced from local area sheep farmers however, high quantities of quality wool is limited in the local market as most of it is exported. Natural wool yarn (cream/grey in colour) is dyed on site at the dying kitchen. . “We use natural dyes for our knitting wool. We boil each dye fibre to get the colour”, explain Patricia and Susan, the founders. Vegetables (beetroot and red cabbage), leaves (moigoya, kei apple, and plumbago) and flowers (various dhalia) provide a range of colours. Environmentally friendly AZO based dyes are used for darker colours like dark brown, grey and cassia. .
Kenana is keen on the “farm to fashion” concept and it strives to make its products sustainable by ensuring nothing is damaging to the environment. The hope is to have local certification as obtaining global fair trade certification is expensive. .
The full report for this research project funded by British Counsel Kenya will be available soon