Knit Aid

Meet Shahnaz Ahmed, Gang Maker extraordinaire and the brains behind Knit Aid, a charity that helps knitters help others in need.

How did the idea for Knit Aid come about?

The idea of Knit Aid developed naturally this year after I had my first baby. Soon after, my sister also had a baby but he was critically premature and in neonatal care for many months. As few clothes fit him, I made him some handmade clothes using quality cotton yarn (Shiny Happy Cotton by Wool and the Gang in fact!) and I think it made a huge difference. The quality of the few knitted donations the hospital had already received wasn’t as high as it should be and so a seed was planted in my mind. Could I knit the same for other premature babies? Could this be extended to hand make quality gifts for other people in need? When the scale of the refugee crisis came to light later on in the year, it didn’t take long to come up with the idea to start knitting for them. Quality is key to what we do at Knit Aid and we believe that everyone deserves to have access to clothing of the quality we’d make for ourselves, so I only knitted donations with the best yarn I had. I opened the idea out to my knitter friends who were keen to join in and so it began..!

Tell us a little about what you’ve been up to to date…

We set up in September this year so haven’t been around very long. We’ve just had our first successful donation drop off for refugees in Europe, after we’d received lots of donations from knitters all over the country. Some of them included personal messages which we really encourage. We’ve really been blown away by the kindness of knitters.
We also held our first Knit Aid workshop making chunky snoods at Comic Relief in London a few days ago using yarn generously donated by Wool and the Gang and it was a great success! We hope to do more workshops in the future, so watch this space.

Sounds great! How can people help out?

We are accepting knitted donations for our next drop off (deadline TBC) and would very much like the help of more knitters! If you’d like donate, visit our website where you can download knitting patterns and find the address to send your donations to. If you’d like to learn to knit, come and join us at one of our upcoming workshops.
Visit our website for more details:

Knit Aid 3

Knit Aid

Knit Aid 8

Knit Aid - Messages

Photo credit: Tom Tranter


Like Knit Aid’s Facebook page to keep up to date with all their latest news.

UK Maker

Read more about Shahnaz and her Gang Maker exploits here.


  1. This is great! Would it be possible to use your patterns to throw a knitting party for refugee donations elsewhere in Europe? I live in Austria and we have so many people in refugee centers here that are probably getting colder as October gets older…

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