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23rd November 2011

History of our vegetable rattles

We’ve been making knitted vegetables since Hathay Bunano began in 2004. The knitted carrot rattle was one of the very first toys that we made. At the time, a wonderful woman, Jo Hanley, was posted in Dhaka as an expatriate with her husband and she made most of the patterns for the early vegetables. My children had a set of plastic vegetables in a basket when they were little and they loved them. They carried them around the house and would periodically stop and take them all out of the basket before putting them all back in and toddling off again. So when I started Hathay Bunano I felt sure that a set of vegetables which were knitted would appeal even more to small children because the knit is just so much more tactile and cosy than a plastic toy. Jo was amazing. She never questioned the obscurity of the things I wanted to make but would go off with the yarn and come back a couple of days later with a completed pattern ready to teach it to our samplers.

In those early days the first vegetables we made were smaller than the ones that followed. I thought that it would be nice to combine our knitting with the basket industry in Bangladesh. Bangladesh makes great baskets and yet sadly the export market from here has never really taken off and I thought it would be nice to showcase the baskets alongside our products. So the earliest vegetables we made were small and came in a basket. You can see one of those very early pictures below in the picture gallery.

Later that year, responding to customer ideas and suggestions we started to make the vegetables larger and add a rattle into them so that each vegetable was a toy in its own right. The range continues to develop and for January 2012 we are adding a broccoli and a beetroot to the range. For 7 years the knitted vegetables of Hathay Bunano have been a bestseller. They are a lovely way for children to learn about vegetables and colours and a perfect addition to their ‘five a day’.

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