Not So Innocent Little Hats

Innocent Smoothies run an annual campaign where they ask knitters to make little hats to go on top of smoothie bottles. In return they donate 25p for each hat to Age UK. In case anyone doesn’t know Innocent are owned by Coca Cola – a huge multinational company with profits in the billions each year.

Let me start by saying that I think businesses donating to charities is a fantastic thing. Age UK seems like a great charity.

So what’s my problem?

There are lots of things wrong with this model.

Innocent proudly says that since 2003 it’s raised over £2 million for Age UK. On average that’s just over £140,000 a year – for 560000 hats a year.

Let’s start with a little look at the value Innocent puts on the time of the knitters who make these little hats.

Innocent make a 25p donation for each hat. The national living wage in the UK is £7.50 an hour. That means that Innocent put a value of 2 minutes worth of minimum wage work onto a knitted hat. I know some pretty speedy knitters, but none that wouldn’t starve to death on that rate. I know that knitters are doing this for free, and because it’s for charity – but it devalues knitting in the most horrible way.

Then let’s look at what happens to these hats afterwards. I suspect that a few will be treasured and kept, but that most will end up as landfill. Saying that Innocent have helped contribute 5,000,000 extra items to landfill since this started doesn’t have quite such the same feel good vibe. I suspect that quite a bit of the yarn used is acrylic, and that doesn’t break down in a hurry. I’ve seen several different dates, and there are lots of variables – however 30-40 years seems like a reasonable figure.

I also have an issue with this yarn being wasted. I live in the UK and fuel poverty is a real and worrying issue for many people, including some who are target users for Age UK. Wouldn’t it be better to have used the yarn from 5,000,000 bits of landfill to makes hats, socks or squares for blankets – something which could have a positive and lasting effect?

Then back to the numbers. In order to get your hat to Innocent it has to be posted (unless you live locally to Innocent Towers and can pop round). 2nd class post for a large letter is 74p. So with a penny for your envelope it’s cost you 3 times what Innocent are going to donate just to get the hat to them. The madness continues, as Innocent say they hand write and post thank you notes to every knitter. I’m sure they get a great deal on postage, but even so that’s likely to be the value of at least another couple of donations. It’s a massively inefficient way to support a charity.

Innocent say that they donate 10% of their profits to charity, mostly through the Innocent Foundation. I can’t find evidence of any other charity they support that’s being asked to exploit knitters in order to receive donations.

One final lot of numbers for you. Remember the £140,000 average donation each year? I was channel hopping last night and caught the Innocent smoothie Big Knit ad in the middle of the X Factor. I suspect that prime time Saturday night advertising doesn’t come cheap – and google suggests between £10k and £30k for one 30 second ad. That’s just to air the ad. So by the time you’ve added up the cost of making the advert plus the cost of showing it, plus cots for print media it’s likely that Innocent will have spent more on their adverts than they will have donated to Age UK.

I’d love to see Innocent address these issues. I’d like to believe that this just hasn’t been thought through as well as it might be, and that once someone looks at the costs against the benefits they’ll realise there’s a better way to do things. Until then? Just don’t ask me to knit little hats.

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Pre Order Advent Calendars

Our original batch of advent calendars have sold out. We have enough of the mini skeins to make another 20 calendars – and once those have been sold there will be no more this year.


Before we can send the new batch of advent calendars out we need to print and sew bags, wrap and number the mini skeins and pack everything up into one beautiful little bundle.


Therefore we’d expect to be able to post the next batch of advent calendars on Friday 27th October.

If you’d like add anything else to your order we’ll post everything at the same time – so if you’re looking for yarn for Socktober then that would be best put through as a new order.

We’ll keep you up to date with how close we are to being ready to post your calendar, and – post permitting- they’ll be with you well before the first parcel is due to be opened.

You can pre order your advent calendar here.

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Shop Update 045.10.17

I love self striping sock sock yarn. There’s something about watching the colours change that makes knitting speed by.

There are 10 colours being added to the shop this evening – all are dyed on our 4ply superwash BFL and nylon base so hard wearing socks are guaranteed.


The samples above are knitted with 64 stitches on 2mm dpns .

The colours above go on sale at 1900 this evening, so you won’t see them in the shop before then.

Advent calendars go on sale today – all the details are here

Finally – newsletter subscribers should check their messages at 1400 as we’ve got a special offer for you. Not a subscriber yet? – sign up now

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Advent Calendars

Advent calenders will go on sale at 1900 BST on Thursday 5th October 2017.


The perfect countdown to Christmas.

Our rainbow advent calendar contains

24 x 5 g skeins of yarn, individually wrapped and numbered

Screen printed project bag

Card for crossing off the days

Instructions for controlling and choosing colours – so you can go for the random approach or plan your project.


The yarn is 4ply Bluefaced Leicester and nylon blend – so 75% superwash BFL and 25% nylon. Each little skein is 5 g / 19m and you’ll receive 120g / 470m of yarn in total. The yarn comes from UK flocks and is processed and spun in Yorkshire before being hand dyed.


This yarn is hard wearing and will work beautifully for socks, yet it also manages to be soft enough to make it ideal for shawls.


The project bags are printed onto Fair Trade organic cotton with eco friendly water based ink, and will provide years of yarn carrying service.


We wanted to offer an advent colour where the skeins formed a beautiful set which would work in many ways and in many patterns. We haven’t included a specific pattern in this kit as there’s lots of fun to be had in planning how you’d like to use your colours. We’ve provided plenty of help with this, so you can have as much control over your advent calendar as you’d like.

The yarn comes from UK flocks and is processed and spun in Yorkshire before being hand dyed.

Advent calendars cost £50 plus postage  and will be on sale at 1900 BST on Thursday 5th October.


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Shop Update 22.09.17

One Farm Yarn in a range of beautiful colours. Each skein is 100g / 400m and costs £18

Single colours.

Multi Colours

The yarns shown above will be available at 1900 this evening -what’s your favourite?

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Update Highlight

almost a rainbow

One Farm Yarn will be in the shop at 1900 BST on Thursday 28th September.

We launched this yarn at Yarndale last weekend, and it was great to see so much enthusiasm for a really local wool. You can read the full story of this yarn here.


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Crochet the Rainbow

Earlier in the year we published Knit the Rainbow, giving you 6 patterns which worked beautifully with our mini skeins.

We’ve just added Crochet the Rainbow to our pattern collection – 4 designs which showcase colour wheels.

Crochet the Rainbow front cover

There are 4 designs in the booklet.

rlsc 2 rgb

rbg rmc2rgb srs 2

rgb zzs 2

We’ll have all of the samples at Yarndale this weekend (find us on stand 93).

If you’d like a digital copy of the book you can buy it on Ravelry.

buy now

If you’d like a paper copy (which comes with a digital download code) then head over to the shop.

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