Founded in 1920, the Newfoundland Outport Nursing and Industrial Association (NONIA) was incorporated as a non-profit business (social enterprise) in 1924.  It was established to assist Newfoundland outport communities to access health services, by raising money from the sale of handknit garments to pay the salaries of public health nurses.  In 1934 the health care portion of NONIA’s operation was taken over by the government, but the industrial side was maintained and continues today in much the same tradition as when it was founded.

Today NONIA is still a non-profit organization managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and a staff of 4-6, depending on the season, at its retail location in St. John’s.  NONIA's well-known handknits are created by approximately 140 knitters across the province.  They produce sweaters, socks, hats and mitts for infants to adults.

NONIA is unique in a world dominated by mass-produced and mass-marketed goods, a world of chain stores and global brands.  Our products are handmade by Newfoundland and Labrador women, in busy homes and lively kitchens around the province.  Some of these women have been knitting for NONIA for over 60 years!  We continue to recruit new knitters who supplement their family income through this traditional method.  (For more information on becoming a knitter for NONIA, see our "Knitting for NONIA" page).

The NONIA label is your assurance of high quality and customer satisfaction.  Each knitted garment is individually produced to exacting standards.  Almost all of our products are available through this website, but please feel free to call and speak to our friendly, experienced staff about anything you don't see here, or about a special order.

We welcome you to the story of NONIA and look forward to serving you!


These videos about NONIA tell more of the story….

  • This delightful video was produced by Campaign for Wool Canada, and features one of our knitters: https://youtu.be/C822Ll_qnuk (4 minutes)
  • This in-depth video is presented by Terry Bishop-Stirling, professor of History at Memorial University: https://youtu.be/iVjZ2IkDYZc (90 minutes)