Goodacity – Dare to be Good

Olha Sahal
Written by
Olha Sahal
Written by
Technical Writer at United Thinkers

I am the author of the Goodacity blog, a journalist, and a translator. For 16 years, I have worked in professional journalism, contributing to regional and national publications, both in print and online media. I have written reports, conducted interviews, reviews, articles on cultural, social, and charitable topics, as well as materials in the style of "solution journalism" and communication materials.
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Yulia Didyk
Reviewed by
Yulia Didyk
Reviewed by
Culture Manager at United Thinkers

I am a manager of cultural affairs and a project manager with over 14 years of experience at United Thinkers. I have participated in the organization of numerous successful social and charitable projects and have implemented informational campaigns and communication cases.
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Love in Every Stitch

knitted toys

Here, things with soul live. Warm balaclavas for Ukrainian soldiers, comfortable adaptive socks for the wounded in hospitals, and – adorable, funny, and cute knitted toys that you just want to hug.

“Everything is made with love,” the craftswoman smiles.

Daria from Kyiv, Ukraine, a mother of a young son, finds the time and opportunity to support Ukrainian defenders even while on maternity leave. For the second year now, she has been knitting warm items for Ukrainian soldiers and soft toys, the proceeds from which are donated to the Ukrainian army.

knitted toys

A Bit of Warmth for Defenders

When the full-scale invasion began and bombs were falling on Kyiv, Ukraine, her little son was just 2 years old – still very small… It was terrifying, the woman recalls, and it took them a long time to recover from the shock. Even now, they feel scared, to be honest. But Daria understands that she can help and bring victory closer!

“I have a degree in psychology, and since 2014, I’ve been trying to assist the military as a psychologist. But when the full-scale war started, I immediately began knitting warm items for the soldiers. My hands were sore, but it was somewhat distracting. I wanted to help our defenders, to be useful, to give them warmth. I knitted warm balaclavas for friends who had joined the defense of Ukraine in the very first days of the invasion, sent them over, and later their comrades also started ordering handmade warm items.

When the guys write ‘thank you, received it’ – that’s a joy for me! And when they praise it – it’s truly inspiring and uplifting! Especially my balaclavas and snoods are liked by the female soldiers: they say it’s very soft and comfortable, and incredibly nice – like hugging a soft toy. I knit with special yarn, the same one I use for my knitted toys – that’s why the products turn out so soft and pleasant to the touch.”

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In the past, Daria did a lot of embroidery. But with a little fidget, working with needles and threads was not practical. So, she took up knitting. For Ukrainian soldiers, she knits balaclavas and adaptive socks – these are unusual socks that are very necessary for the wounded. Regular socks can’t be worn over a cast or when bones are fixed with a medical device. And it’s too cold to walk barefoot now – this is where adaptive socks with buttons, which can be conveniently fastened and adjusted on the leg, come in handy – they are like warm slippers, the yarn is thick and soft, comfortable, and the foot doesn’t sweat. Daria developed the pattern for such adaptive socks herself – according to the yarn she knits with. She knits several pairs and sends them to the hospital for Ukrainian soldiers, who thank her, saying they are comfortable and warm.

knitted toys

Knitted Toys – Knitted with Love and Soul!

“I’m happy that I know how to knit. It brings me pleasure. But I’m especially happy when I knit for people. For the military – socks, snoods, and balaclavas. For friends – toys and baskets. For family – warm blankets and scarves. And each piece contains a part of my love. Every item is unique – even though I try to follow the same pattern, all the works turn out different.”

Daria works with plush yarn because it’s easier on her eyes. She dedicates four to five hours a day to knitting, on top of taking care of her young child and household chores…

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Knitting soft toys is the most time-consuming and labor-intensive activity. But for her, it’s such an inspired task! She started making knitted toys at her friends’ request and got hooked. She crafted several toys as gifts for acquaintances – they were received with genuine excitement. Plush animal “sleepy toys,” which children love to fall asleep holding, immediately became the little ones’ favorites.

Initially, Daria simply gave away the knitted toys, but then she decided that even toy bunnies could be useful for our cats from the Armed Forces! So now, she raffles off soft toys for donations or sells them, and the proceeds go towards the needs of Ukrainian soldiers. She also knits toys to order – and with the money raised from their sale, buys treats and goodies, warmers, and hygiene items for the Ukrainian military, sending them to the front. Additionally, if someone wishes, they can donate to send a handmade warm balaclava to Ukrainian soldiers with a card and a signature from them.

“My son, who will soon be four years old, is my very first tester and artistic critic – if a child likes it, then the toy is indeed a success! Though, sometimes, if I’m knitting to order, I have to make two copies – one for him as well)) He loves playing with all of it, even just a ball of yarn – because they’re very soft and pleasant to touch. For knitting, I use hypoallergenic hollow fiber and soft plush yarn. And when I’m knitting adaptive socks for the guys in the hospital, my son helps me with their lacing. We knit together and pack them in boxes – our little ‘volunteer contract.’

It’s incredibly inspiring when people donate, when they help – because they understand that the military is currently protecting our lives. Yes, times are tough for everyone now, but let’s not be indifferent!”.

knitted toys

Contributing to Our Victory

The art of making soft toys isn’t simple; it demands time, imagination, talent, and a significant desire. The most challenging part of creating toys are the tiny details, small clothing elements, and decorations. But the result is worth it: their main advantage is the naturalness of materials, originality, and positive energy. Importantly, the craftswoman only creates toys in a good mood, because this affects their essence – they are meant to bring joy and evoke smiles. They can even be considered stress-relieving, as they are pleasant to the touch and carry positive energy.

“There hasn’t been a day when I haven’t knitted,” laughs Mrs. Daria.

Currently, the focus is on balaclavas and socks for defenders, as it’s cold now, and they need warming. Toys are knitted in the breaks between knitting balaclavas and socks – to distract and shift focus. One week she knits up to fifty balaclavas, the next a few pairs of adaptive socks or a blanket for the military, and then she starts on toys.”

Daria’s knitted toys are known even abroad – the craftswoman shares a story about a woman living in Germany who ordered them as gifts for her nephews here in Ukraine. She says the box of toys was opened before the holiday even arrived – and the children loved everything!

The toys Daria knits are quite large and voluminous. Small toys are challenging for her to knit due to vision problems. Crafting one soft toy takes several days. 

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Of course, this is not continuous work, as she is distracted by household chores and caring for little ones. To the intricacies of toy knitting technique, the woman adds an authorial component – a sprinkle of love in every stitch.

“You always put a piece of your soul into this toy. And when you receive words of praise and gratitude, it’s as if you’ve grown wings – you soar with happiness because you can bring such joy to others. It’s always a pleasure for me, and I understand that this is a small but significant contribution to our victory.

I want to knit more and more! In my plans are to try new interesting patterns. And, of course, to continue supporting the Ukrainian Armed Forces. After all, every new day we have is thanks only to the protection by our Ukrainian warriors. We must never forget that, not for a moment.”