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Mama bag project

Calling all knitters!!!

To all “Fish and Chip” knitters,

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and dedication of all who knit fish and chip vests for babies in Africa.

These were originally designed, some say by Mother Thresa, for babies born with AIDS. The babies life expectancy was very short, an “AIDS” vest was the only garment they needed for their short lives.


Now the good news!

More and more babies are being born in Africa without AIDS, they have a normal life expectancy, so they need what they think of as normal baby clothes.

To try and reduce the mortalilty rate of babies and mothers in childbirth. The pregnant mothers are encourages to attend 3 antenatal classes (where they are also tested for AIDS). They are then entitled to a Mama bag in their last month of pregnancy.


A Mama bag consists of:

  • A cotton baby vest,
  • A cotton baby grow,
  • A knitted hat,
  • A knitted cardigan or jumper (Fish and Chip vest acts as a jumper)
  • Knitted bootees/socks
  • A knitted blanket


Greenfields Africa is currently working with our jiggers and clinic programme in the Kakamega region of Kenya as well as with a Women’s empowerment and Employment  group in Uganda, and our ‘Tools for Africa’ venture in Uganda.

The Mama bag project in Uganda is in addition to these projects, hence our need for help with shipping costs.

 We would like to say thank you again to all those who contribute to our Mama bag scheme.

We hope you understand that we are deteremined to meet the needs of babies and mothers reflecting the changing circumstances in Africa.


Baby Jumper knitting pattern (Knitted all in one)

Approx. 50g DK wool
Use double knitting wool and 4mm needles, cast on 44 stitches.
Work 18 Rows in K2, P2 rib
Work 30 Rows stocking stitch (1 row plain, 1 row purl)
Cast on 12 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows and at the same time change to K2,P2 (for sleeve)
Rib 22 more rows.
Next row: Rib 21, cast off 26 stitches, rib 21    (Please cast these stitches off loosely in rib, to allow the neck to stretch over a baby’s head)
Next row: Rib 21, cast on 26 stitches, rib 21    (Please cast these stitches on loosely, using one size bigger needles if necessary).
Work 22 rows in K2, P2 rib
Cast off 12 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows
Work 30 rows stocking stitch
Work 18 rows, K2, P2 rib
Cast off. Sew side and sleeve seams.
Baby Beanie Hat Pattern (Approx. 20g DK wool)
Using double knitting wool and 4mm needles cast on 64 stitches and work 14 rows in (K1 P1) rib.
Work 18 rows in stocking stitch or until work measures 11cm from cast on edge
Shape crown as follows – Row 1: *k6, k2tog. Repeat from * to end of row (56 stitches)
Row 2 and every alternate following row: Knit
Row 3: *k5, k2tog. Repeat from * to end of row (48 stitches)
Row 5: *k4, k2tog. Repeat from * to end of row (40 stitches)
Continue decreasing in this manner until (k1 k2tog) has been completed and 16 stitches remain.
Knit 1 row. Break yarn and thread through remaining 16 stitches. Pull up tightly and join SeamJumpers and Hats for the Fish-and-chip Babies in Africa
Knitting  for the fish and chips babies in Africa. These are really poor babies, many of whom are born with Aids and that is about all these little souls come into this world with. They are so poor that they are sent home wrapped in newspaper which is why they are called fish and chip babies.
The jumpers themselves are very easy to knit and they are knitted in one complete piece. For most knitters they take an afternoon or an evening to complete. They are very important because in Africa, the nights are cold and these babies have no clothes.
The only real stipulation is that they are knitted in  bright dark colours rather than the pastel shades we may use for babies, (bright stripes look good and use up only small bits of wool).  This is because these little garments may never be washed.

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