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Miou's New Women's Knitted Collection

Posted on January 31, 2017 by Rebecca Hendry

 

The wait is over! Miou’s line for women has arrived.
 
Wrap yourself in the timeless beauty and elegance of Miou's new knitwear collection for women. Fair-trade and eco-friendly, this line features the same exceptional quality of hand-knitted, luxurious alpaca wool and classic European style as our popular children’s clothing.

Browse our selection of cozy and versatile knits, sweaters, elegant and cozy capes and accessories like velvety soft hats, gloves, scarves and leg warmers that will add a feminine flair to any outfit.

Miou's clothing with a conscience: made by hand, with love, just for you.
 

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A New Home for Lola!

Posted on January 16, 2017 by Rebecca Hendry

Last year, Mioukids launched a new initiative to help our valued knitters overcome some day-to-day challenges. Our knitters live in a poor region of Peru, and while their wages allow them to support their families, some of them face other issues as well. We decided partial proceeds from a particular knitter’s work would go toward overcoming those challenges, and we started with Lola (see more about Lola's story here).

Lola is a single mother who had been living in a makeshift home with two of her three daughters, Flores and Milagros. Her eldest daughter is away at school. Part of the house was only protected from the elements by a tarp, so the wind and rain could easily get through and make living conditions far from optimal for the three of them.

 

With help from the Miou initiative, and your purchases of the items Lola knits for us, this lovely family now has a safe and structurally sound new home!

Here is the house under construction...with a tiny helper:)

 

The finished home!

 

We are so thrilled for Lola, and so are her fellow knitters, who came by for a housewarming get-together:

 

Congratulations, Lola, Flores and Milagros! May you have many happy years there together.

Thank you, dear customers, for your continued support, and for helping improve the lives of our knitters with every purchase from Miou.

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New Alpaca Knits Designs for Fall

Posted on November 03, 2016 by Rebecca Hendry

Bundle your child in the warmth of lovingly handmade, one-of-a-kind clothing with a conscience from Miou this fall! The leaves are changing, Halloween treats are in the stores and there's a chill in the air; it's time to put away the summer dresses and sandals until next year. But the silver lining is that it's the perfect weather for Miou's deliciously soft, fresh new hand-knitted fall line for children.

From our unique take on overalls a staple wardrobe item for babies and toddlers that never goes out of style, to fun yet practical rompers that are perfect for playtime, to an exciting new collection for newborn featuring classic neutral colours, we have your kids covered this season!

Always fair-trade, always eco-friendly: when you buy from Miou, you are supporting a better life for our knitters in Peru and a better planet for the generations to come.

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How Giving Kids More Freedom Can Boost Their Confidence!

Posted on June 20, 2016 by Rebecca Hendry

 

As a parent, you might think it’s not possible to "over" parent. When our precious, miraculous first child is born we often feel like it is our duty and privilege to do everything in our power to make that child happy and healthy.

 

Fast forward a few years and some of us are running around in a frenzy, driving kids to countless playdates and ballet lessons and sporting events-- and maybe even driving them to the schoolbus stop instead of letting them walk the two blocks. It likely wouldn't occur to us that we were doing too much for them; in fact, many parents feel they aren’t ever doing enough.

 

We want to keep our kids close, because we love them and we’re afraid of anything bad happening to them. It’s only natural. Signing them up in countless after-school activities and planned playdates might keep them "safe," but giving them lots of time to roam and explore outdoors and have unstructured playtime can do wonders for building self-esteem and helping them learn to be independent. 

 

The older generation often laments “the good only days” when kids as young as seven or eight roamed free in their neighbourhoods, going out to play in the morning and not coming back until dark. They climbed trees, built rafts and floated on the river, skated on frozen ponds, rode their bikes down hills at breakneck speeds. Some of these activities would give a modern-day parent cause for concern. Yet somehow, miraculously, the vast majority of these wild and free children survived. There were accidents, of course, as there are today as well. But not so many to validate our fear of our kids “free ranging” away from the house.

 

Today’s parents are also afraid of crime, worrying their child might be kidnapped or hurt by strangers, but actually we can rest easy, because statistics say the danger of these types of crimes is lower than it used to be. For example, according to Statistics Canada, violent crime in Canada in 2013 was lower than it had been in 1969.

 

It’s true that very young children, like infants and toddlers, of course need our constant care and supervision. They don’t have the ability to make rational decisions or protect themselves from danger, because their brains haven’t developed yet. They are at our mercy and depend on us to make all their decisions for them.

 

But for older children, there is strong evidence to suggest that giving them some freedom, rather than  “helicopter parenting” (hovering too close), could really benefit them in the long run.  

 

So what’s the answer? If you are an anxious parent, you won't feel comfortable letting your nine-year-old go off to play outside for six hours alone. In all likelihood, your child might be fine, but you might be a nervous wreck. Baby steps might be the way to go. Perhaps you could let your daughter ride her bike all the way around the block instead or just to the end of the street.

 

By allowing your children to explore and learn on their own in these gentle ways, slowly but surely you will gain confidence in their ability to survive in the world without you. In turn, you will be giving your kids the gift of learning from their mistakes and feeling the joy that comes from making good decisions.  

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New Spring Organic Cotton Knits!

Posted on May 18, 2016 by Rebecca Hendry

It's springtime once again, and we're surrounded by beauty. Flowers sweetly blooming, new leaves on trees and longer, brighter days mean it's time for picnics in the garden, strolls along the beach and playtime in the park. Whatever your activity, Miou has everything you need for your child’s warm-weather wardrobe. Our new line features delicate and lightweight hand-knitted 100% GOTS certified cotton bunting bags, beautiful vintage lacy bonnets, classically stylish lacy dresses and long booties.

From gorgeous and feminine to practical and comfortable, Miou has your child covered!

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Introducing a very special new initiative from Miou

Posted on March 08, 2016 by Christine Dubin

Lola’s Story

 

 

When Christine Dubin first dreamed up the concept of designing and selling hand-knit clothing for children, she knew she wanted to fulfill her passion for clothing design while somehow benefiting the larger world. Employing women who were struggling to make ends meet in an impoverished part of the world seemed like a natural fit.

 

When she discovered the incredible talents of the Peruvian women who would become Miou’s knitters, she knew she had found the connection and collaboration she was looking for.

 

Christine believes part of the responsibility that comes with operating a fair-trade business is making sure, firsthand, that her employees are being treated well and are receiving the benefits of working with her company. During her trips to Peru, Christine has had the opportunity to meet her knitters in person and see the supportive community they have created for each other.

 

But lately Christine has been trying to find a way to broaden Miou’s involvement in these women’s lives. She knows that many of Miou’s knitters are single mothers who have been abandoned by their husbands (a common occurrence in that part of the country) and left alone to raise their children in poverty. Working for Miou helps them feed, clothe and educate their children, but sometimes they are facing extra challenges like poor housing and expensive dental work.

 

On Christine’s most recent trip to Peru she stayed several weeks, bringing two of her five children along for the journey. She was invited into the knitter’s homes and told stories about their lives and their families. She was struck and saddened by some of the hardships they were enduring, and she came up with a new plan.

 

Miou will now be featuring individual knitters on www.mioukids.com and telling their stories.  For a period of time, 100% of profits from the clothing that particular knitter creates will be used to help the knitter and her family accomplish a goal she would otherwise not be able to accomplish.

 

With that, let us introduce you to Lola, the first of the Miou knitters to receive the benefits of this exciting new program.

 

 

 

 

LOLA QUISPE is a 38 year old woman who was born in the district of Plateria – Puno in Peru. She now lives near Arequipa, where she is raising her daughters alone. 

 

When Christine visited  Lola in her small wooden hut she was immediately taken by her grace and hospitality. Lola didn’t have much to offer, but she fed Christine and her children and gave them tea.  The one-room shack has flimsy walls protected with a tarp, and a dirt floor that creates dust everywhere. She lives with her two younger daughters, Milagros and Flores, while her eldest daughter is away trying to raise money to study.  Lola’s biggest dream is to have a proper house with more space and protection from the elements.

 

 

Lola told Christine she learned how to knit when she was twenty years old and hopes to teach her daughters so they can make a living one day as well. She loves getting together with the other Miou knitters to talk and laugh; she says it helps her forget her problems.

 

It was clear to Christine right away that Lola needs a better home so her children can have a safe and clean place to live. There are inexpensive (by North American standards) options for housing in her region, so Miou’s new initiative has a very real chance of making a significant difference in Lola’s life.

 

Now, more than ever, when you buy clothing from Miou, you are contributing to helping women like Lola  rise above the challenges life has thrown at her. Thank you for your continued support.

 

 

 

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Cultivating Gratitude: How noticing the good things can make you happier

Posted on January 20, 2016 by Rebecca Hendry

Knitted kids clothing 

It seems like common sense that if you focus on the positive, you will be a more joyful person. While having a sunny outlook is something we may strive for, sometimes it can feel challenging to notice the good. When your teething toddler is having tantrums every five minutes and you’re battling a cold and your husband is away on business, it can seem impossible to be grateful.

 

And yet, it could be the most helpful thing you do for yourself.

 

It is exactly in these dark times that it’s important to focus on gratitude. In fact, there is scientific proof that it will benefit you to look on the bright side and give thanks for the wonderful things in your life.

 

According to the Harvard Medical School online journal, two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California and Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done a lot of research on gratitude.

 

In one study, they asked a group of people to write about things they were grateful for during a one-week period. Another group wrote about things that bothered or irritated them. A third group just wrote the facts about their day-to-day lives, without a negative or positive spin.  

 

They found, not surprisingly, that at the end of the study, the group that wrote down what they were grateful for every day felt happier and more optimistic. They were taking better care of themselves and exercising more than other groups as well.

 

So how can you cultivate gratitude in your life?

 

1. Take metal note of the people in your lives who love you and support you.

This can be as simple as noticing when a friend sends a sweet text asking you to go for a tea, or your child tells you she loves you, or your mother-in-law comes over to let you have a nap.

 

2. Look around you at the “things” that make up your daily life.

Notice that every single thing in the room has been made by someone else. Just for you! The chair you are sitting on was made by people, even if they were operating a machine in the factory. People transported it to a store, where other people unpacked it and displayed it. The salad you’re eating has vegetables that were grown by people, watered, picked, packed and trucked to the store for you to buy. The clothing you wear had people involved in all the steps between taking the cotton off the plant to the sweater that is now keeping you warm. In the case of handmade clothing like Miou’s, you can think about the woman who sat and knitted the clothing with her own two hands, checking the stitches, trimming the wool. This will help remind you that we are being help up and supported in invisible ways all the times.

 

3. Say thank you 

Is there anyone you can think of who you could express gratitude to for something they have done for you? Do it! Sometimes just writing down how much you appreciate someone can make you feel happy

 

4. Meditate

Focussing on the present moment without judging it or clinging to negative thoughts can help cultivate gratitude for just being alive. If you become flooded with anger or bitterness or self-pity, try to let those thoughts dissipate, even for a moment.

 

Gratitude can become a practice, just like any other habit. Noticing what is wonderful about your life will help push aside the other, less positive feelings we all get. As parents, showing our children how to walk through their lives counting their blessings instead of focussing on their hardships will give them a gift that lasts them their whole lives.  

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The power to change: How to set intentions and actually follow through

Posted on January 05, 2016 by Rebecca Hendry

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

 

The busy, joyful and sometimes stressful holiday season is over. Children are back to school, and many of us are stepping into our usual routines. The start of a new year is often a time to reflect on what we've achieved, and also on which areas of our lives we might like to change. This is a natural thing to do--it's actually coded into our genes. Making New Year's resolutions reportedly began when Babylonians made promises to the gods to improve their behaviour and actions so they could receive good favour. 4000 years later, we’re still keeping the tradition alive.

 

But is changing our actions, thoughts or habits as easy as just…wanting to?

 

Some of us make resolutions only to find that within a week or two things are right back where they were before. A resolution to eat less sugar might work for a few days, but then during a difficult afternoon at the office it becomes impossible to resist sneaking cookies from the break room. A resolution to run a mile a day could be going fine until that dark, dreary morning when the skies open up while you’re jogging through the park, sending you back to the warmth of your bed. A resolution to be more patient with your children can dissolve instantly after a sleepless night with a restless toddler who demands every ounce of your attention the next day. Often after feeling we have failed to keep our own expectations, we give up and go back to our old ways.

 

Lately there have been many blogs and articles about the value of setting intentions instead of resolutions. A resolution sounds binding; something you must do. It’s a fact of being human that some of us will rise up against ourselves when faced with something we feel we must do, not unlike a defiant child. An intention is gentler, calmer. Not something that has to be done, but something you would like to do. You could intend to be kinder to your cranky neighbour, or intend to do more charity work.

 

But do intentions work any better than resolutions? Not if you don’t put in some real effort. Forming new habits is not as simple as just wanting to, at least not for most of us.

 

There is a wonderful article written by Dr. Sarah McKay for the Chopra Centre about the neuroscience behind how we form and break habits. According to her, when we have negative thoughts like “I always give in to my sugar cravings,” or “I’ll never get fit and healthy” or “I’m just impatient by nature. I can't change,” and we think those thoughts on a regular basis, our neurons keep firing until they create a circuit. Eventually our brain wires itself to accept those beliefs. 

 

Just like that, our thoughts become habit. Now, whenever we are triggered by something like a tiring day at the office, a rainy morning or a tough night with the kids, our brain goes into default and accesses the place where the negative thoughts are stored, allowing us to continue our undesired habits.

 

The good news is, if we know that bad thoughts are wired into our brains by repetition, it goes without saying that good thoughts are too. According to Dr. McKay, if you learn to recognize your triggers, you can wire in a healthy habit. The trick is to be mindful of what leads you down a path you don’t want to be on, and to tell yourself different stories, over and over again, until you override the old habits.

 

So how long will it take?

 

One study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology examined the habits of 96 people over a 12-week period.  The researchers analyzed the data and discovered that, on average, it takes more than 2 months and up to 8 months before a new behavior becomes automatic, depending on the person and the circumstances.

 

So if you want to form new habits and have them stick, be patient and kind with yourself. If you slip up and revert to an old, unwanted behaviour, remember that it’s not a failure on your part. It just takes awhile, but it will be well worth the wait. 

 

Here’s to a brand-new year filled with light, love and all the positive change you desire!

 

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Gorgeous Handmade Christening Gowns from England

Posted on November 17, 2015 by Rebecca Hendry

 

Here at  Miou we're always excited when we find out about another children’s wear company that shares our own dedication to quality craftsmanship. That’s why we were so thrilled to discover Mandy at First Blessings Christening Wear.

Mandy designs and creates exquisite christening and baptism wear for children, as well as formal clothing for weddings and other special occasions. She began the company when she couldn’t find quality traditional clothing for her own sons’ baptisms and decided to make their outfits herself. It turns out many other parents are looking for the same thing she was. First Blessing is now in its ninth year and growing stronger all the time. She makes every stunning, one-of-a-kind piece in her own workshop in Dorset.

Mandy's gown, suit and accessory designs are steeped in the classic styles of European history, so you can buy a christening gown inspired by royalty or a baptism romper inspired by the Victorian age. These pieces are truly meant to be cherished, not only as the clothes your child wears for that special day, but as heirlooms that can be passed down and beloved through the generations.

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Meet Our Knitters!

Posted on November 03, 2015 by Rebecca Hendry

 

Miou's talented knitters from Peru are the heart of our company, because each bonnet, sweater, dress, booty and accessory has been created patiently and lovingly by their hands. Many of them come from impoverished areas where parents can't afford to send their children to school, and steady work from Miou at a fair wage is crucial to their families' health and well-being.

 

But we aren't just making a difference in their lives; they're making a difference in ours too. The art of knitting is passed down from mother to daughter in Peru, so each item of Miou clothing holds in its stitches the knowledge and attention to detail of generations of skilled artisans.

 

Warm thanks to all of our knitters. We couldn't do it without you! We're excited to introduce you to a few of them here: 

 

Lourdes, aged 50

 

Delia, aged 31

 

Gregoria, aged 78

 

Lucrecia, aged 42

 

Luz, aged 26

 

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