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The Bandage Brigade

Are you looking for an unusual way to help others with your crochet? Here is one I just recently learned about from a reader.

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The D.O.V.E. Fund is a non-profit organization, founded in 2000, whose goal is to provide humanitarian and developmental assistance to impoverished areas of Vietnam. Their projects are wide ranging and are carefully chosen to provide the greatest benefit and value to those in need. Their Current Projects are an evolving series of programs that include Micro-Finance, Medical and Dental Care and help for the Lepers of Vietnam. The D.O.V.E. Fund is also committed to Education and has assisted schools by providing Mobile Books for Learning, Computer Centers, Scholarships and aid for teachers.

One of the wings is called the Bandage Brigade. Its volunteers provide hand-knitted (or crocheted) bandages to the various leper colonies banished to the mountainous areas of the Asian nation.

The “Bandage Brigade” began in 2005 as a volunteer group working with crochet thread to create bandages for those suffering with leprosy in Vietnam. Since 2008 the D.O.V.E. Fund Bandage Brigade has delivered over 12,000 bandages to the lepers in Vietnam. If you would like to help make bandages for the lepers in Vietnam who desperately need them, the crochet pattern is listed below.

Finished Size: approximately 3 ½ to 4 inches wide by 4 feet long. If it shrinks up to be a bit smaller when washed…don’t worry that is fine. They are used to wrap everything from tiny fingers to the stumps of lost legs and feet. No two applications are the same so our bandages can vary a bit as well.

Material specifications: 100% mercerized crochet cotton or polyester – size #10 – white, cream or ecru (no irritating dyes). This is commonly called “bedspread cotton” (1 ball/skein will usually make two bandages.)

Suggested brands include: South Maid D54, DMC Traditions, Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Thread, Cro Sheen and JP Coats. You can find these online as well as at your local Wal-Mart, fabric or craft store.

The bandages should be medium-tight, not strangling, but fairly close, with breathable holes If yours look Mesh-like they are too loose – please switch to a smaller crochet hook (size D) or knitting needle (size 2). These are tighter and made with smaller thread/yarn (no worsted weight) than the ones Global Health used to send to India as the climate and needs are different in Vietnam.

Crocheted Leprosy Bandage:
Use size D (3.00 mm = UK 11) or E (3.50 mm = UK 9) crochet hook (loose tension desirable).
Chain enough stitches to measure about 4″ in width, plus 1 ch for turning.

NOTE: They used 23 chs and an E hook, and it took about 6 rows to equal one inch. Because I crochet tightly, I needed to start with 26 chs and an E hook, and it took about 8 rows to equal one inch. So in short, it’s not an exact science. Experiment with what works for you to have a 4″ or plus width bandage before you wash it.

Row 1: Sc into 2nd ch from hook, sc in each chain across. Chain 1 and turn.
Row 2: Sc into each sc across. Ch 1 and turn.

Repeat Row 2 until bandage measures 48 inches long.

PLEASE DON’T FORGET: Secure thread end by pulling thread through last loop, secure with a knot and weaving the end back through the stitches. A sewing needle works well to do this.

Finished Bandages
AFTER you have woven the ends back into the stitches, wash the bandages, roll them and secure with a large safety pin. Put in plastic bag (several to a bag if desired), remove air, and seal.
NOTE: The bandages do NOT have to be “perfect”, so if you are afraid yours are not “straight” enough or you dropped a stitch 5 rows before, don’t let that stop you. Relax and have fun making them.

Please enclose in your box of finished bandages a sheet of paper (8 ½ x 11) with your name, address, phone and e-mail contact information (to save us postage). Mail your package to one of the following addresses:

Linda Stocker
The D.O.V.E. Fund Bandage Brigade
171 Mulkey Lane, Ariel, WA 98603
Roland and Celeste Southard
115 East Back Bay Road
Bowling Green , OH 43402

For more information about the non-profit visit: www.dovefund.org what we do, current projects, bandage brigade.


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