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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

In this place, items with a soul come to life. Soft, warm buffs for the military, practical adaptive socks for the wounded in hospitals, and – charming, amusing, and endearing knitted toys that you just want to embrace.

“Everything is made with love,” the artisan says with a smile.

Daria, from Kyiv, Ukraine, the mother of a young son, manages to find time and opportunity to assist the defenders even while on maternity leave. For two years now, she has been knitting warm items for the military and soft toys, donating the proceeds to the army.

knitted toys

A touch of warmth for the ukrainian defenders

When the full-scale invasion began and bombs fell on Kyiv, her son was only two years old – still very young… She recalls the terror, how they struggled to overcome the initial shock. To be honest, they are still frightened. But Daria knows that she can contribute and hasten victory!

“I hold a degree in psychology and have been trying to assist the military in that capacity since 2014. When the full-scale war erupted, I immediately started knitting warm items for the military. My hands ached, but it was somewhat of a distraction. I wanted to support the defenders, both men and women, to be useful, to offer them warmth. I knitted warm buffs for friends who stood up in defense of Ukraine from the first days of the invasion, sending them out, and later their comrades began to order handmade warm items as well.

When the guys write “thank you, received,” it brings me joy! And when they express appreciation, it’s truly inspiring and uplifting! My buffs and snoods are particularly popular among female soldiers: they say they’re very soft and comfortable, and incredibly pleasant – like embracing a soft toy. I knit with special yarn, the same kind I use for my knitted toys, which makes the products soft and pleasant to the touch.”

knitted toys-01

Previously, Daria was an avid embroiderer. But with a little one who’s always on the move, working with a needle and thread is quite challenging. Therefore, she turned to knitting. She knits buffs and adaptive socks for the military – these unique socks are essential for the wounded. Regular socks can’t be worn over a cast or when bones are fixed with a device. And now, with the cold, walking barefoot isn’t an option – hence the adaptive socks with buttons come in handy, easy to fasten and adjust on the leg, like warm slippers. The thread is thick and soft, ensuring comfort while preventing the foot from sweating… Daria developed the pattern for these adaptive socks herself, tailored to the threads she uses. She knits several pairs and sends them to the hospital for the military, who express their gratitude, finding them comfortable and warm.

knitted toys

Knitted toys – crafted with love and soul!

“I’m happy to be able to knit. It brings me joy, especially when I’m knitting for others. For the military, I make socks, snoods, and buffs. For friends, it’s toys and baskets, and for family, cozy blankets and scarves. Each piece carries a bit of my love. Every item is unique – even with the same pattern, they all turn out differently.”

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Daria prefers plush yarn because it’s gentler on her eyes. She dedicates four to five hours a day to knitting, balancing this with caring for her young child and handling household chores. Creating soft toys is her most time-consuming and labor-intensive task, but she finds deep inspiration in it. She started making knitted toys at her friends’ request and quickly developed a passion for it. The plush ‘sleepy’ animals, perfect for cuddling, quickly became favorites among the little ones.

Initially, Daria just gave away her knitted toys, but then she realized that even the toy bunnies could be useful for our ‘cat’ soldiers in the Ukrainian Armed Forces! Now, she either raffles off soft toys for donations or sells them, with the proceeds going to support the Ukrainian military. She also takes custom orders for toys – using the proceeds to buy treats, warmers, and hygiene supplies for the Ukrainian military, which she then dispatches to the front lines.

“My little son, almost four, is my first tester and art critic – if he likes a toy, then it’s truly a hit! Sometimes, if I’m knitting on order, I have to make two – one for him too. He loves playing with all of it, even just a ball of yarn – they’re so soft and pleasant to the touch. For knitting, I use hypoallergenic holofiber and soft plush yarn. When I knit adaptive socks for the boys in the hospital, my son helps me with their lacing. We knit together and pack them in boxes – our little “volunteer project.”

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

knitted toys

Contribution to our victory

Crafting soft toys is an art form that demands time, imagination, talent, and a strong desire. The most challenging aspects of toy-making are the small details, tiny clothing elements, and decorations. It’s crucial that the craftswoman creates toys only when she’s in a good mood, as this influences their character – they’re designed to bring joy and smiles.

“There hasn’t been a single day that I haven’t knitted,” Daria says with a laugh.

Now, primarily, it’s buffs and socks for the defenders, as it’s cold now, and they need to be warmed. I knit toys during breaks from knitting buffs and socks – it’s a way to distract myself and shift my focus. One week I knit up to fifty buffs, the next – several pairs of adaptive socks or a blanket for the military, and then I start on the toys. Daria’s knitted toys are even recognized internationally – she recounts how a woman in Germany ordered them as gifts for her nephews back in Ukraine. She says the boxes with toys were opened even before the holiday – and the children loved everything!

The toys she knits are often large and voluminous. Small toys are hard for her to knit due to vision problems. Making one soft toy takes several days. This isn’t continuous work, as she’s frequently interrupted by household chores and caring for the little ones.

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To the intricacies of her knitting technique, she adds a personal touch – a pinch 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 grow wings – you just soar with happiness from being able to bring such joy to others. It’s always pleasant for me, and I understand that it’s a small but significant contribution to our victory.

I want to knit more and more! The plan is to experiment with new and interesting patterns. And, of course, to continue helping the Armed Forces of Ukraine. After all, each new day we have is a testament to the protection provided by our Ukrainian warriors. We must not forget this for a moment.”