Iraqi Bundles of Love

on August 24 | in Sew Good (Charity Sewing) | by | with 64 Comments

When I hear the news from Iraq, I often don’t register the politics.  I honestly think about Iraqi mamas trying to raise Iraqi children in chaos. I can’t help it–I’m a mom and I have it pretty darn good. I know it, recognize it. My heart goes out to people trying to live every day in the midst of uncertainty. There are things that I wish I could do to help, and definitely things my heart would like to say. I think about it, but then I get busy. You know…

Last week I heard about Iraqi Bundles of Love. This relief project really spoke to me because it is small effort (turning big!) started by a US soldier who, in the spirit of Three Cups of Tea, saw a need and decided to do something about it.  It is a project intended to help people who are just trying to get on with their lives–clothe their children, make a living, create something beautiful. And best of all, it is in a language I totally speak–the language of fibers.

Art La Flamme started Iraqi Bundles of Love because he saw that local families were desperate for sewing supplies. In addition, sewing co-ops were in need of fabric and yarn. Luckily, Art knows a few fiber addicts at home in the US. Art’s wife, Kristin La Flamme, is an artist, sewist and blogger and many of his other family members are quilters. He knows that many of us have more fabric, yarn and notions than we need, and he also knows that when asked, we are happy to share. So he asked, and Iraqi Bundles of Love was born.

Art and his unit are collecting self-contained bundles (an IBOL) of fabric, notions and yarn, which will be distributed to Iraqis. The bundles must be in the mail by September 7 in order to reach Art’s unit before they depart from Iraq. If you have an abundance of sewing and knitting supplies in your home and you’d like to put together an IBOL, Art has some guidelines on his blog. I encourage you to donate!

In one of his blog posts, Art asked if any fabric stores would be willing to sell supplies for IBOLS at cost or below. This would give people a chance to participate even if they don’t have a craft room with a mountain of fabric. Well, I do have a fabric store and I love this project, so I emailed Art and told him I’d see what I could do. I got in touch with one of our suppliers, Pat Malone at Marshall Dry Goods, who agreed to supply us with lots of gorgeous new fabric at a fabulous price. What’s more, he shipped it out the same day! I also called on Marshall Collins at Petersen-Arne and told him what we needed. Within half an hour, Marshall had put together an order of essential notions at an amazing discount. (Our suppliers are the generous sort, indeed!) Thanks to them, we’ve been able to build IBOLs of our own, which we’re offering in the shop.  For your contribution of $15, we’ll send a bundle on your behalf. The Sew,Mama,Sew! IBOL will include:

  • 5 yards of new fabric
  • 16 sewing needles in a case
  • 32 pearlized pins on a wheel
  • 1 tomato pincushion
  • 1 pair folding scissors
  • 1 150-yd spool white thread

The cost of shipping is included in the price! It is a great deal and a very useful bundle of goodies for the individuals, families, sewing co-ops and small businesses of Iraq. Even if you’re going to send your own IBOL, we encourage you to pass this information on to all your friends and family. We’d like to send 150 bundles asap, so please help us spread the word. Email your friends, talk about the project on Facebook and Twitter (please include #IBOL), write about it on your blog.  Take one of the buttons on this page. Here are some tiny URLs to link to.

Iraqi Bundles of Love Blog:

IBOL for $15 in the SMS shop:

This post:

Peace!  Tomorrow we’ll be back to our regularly-scheduled hand-sewing programming!

UPDATE:  IBOLs sold out in about 48 hours!  Thank you all for your generous contributions!  There is still plenty of time to send your own IBOL so please visit Art’s blog for details.

UPDATE 2:  We have 10 more to sell…

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64 Responses to Iraqi Bundles of Love

  1. Erin al-khazali says:

    Are you still doing these donation? my in-laws are irqi’s. I think it is great!!! Shuquron (thank you for thinking of the other side of the war 😉

  2. Walte Call says:

    Thanks a lot for this useful post. But I had difficult time navigating around your site because I kept getting 502 bad gateway error. Just thought to let you know.

  3. This is an amazing cause and its wonderful to see how people get involved and how I myself can get involved and help.
    This is a wonderfully informing post and is a great idea!

  4. Sheree says:

    You ladies just rock! I am just learning about this and am blown away and how you all put this together! Keep up the fantastic work!!!

  5. lisa Swan says:

    PPPPlleease sell mooorree!! Im in IRAQ with the “MAJ” and would love to contribute a bundle too! 🙂

  6. Java Jane says:

    Hats off to Sew Mama Sew for alerting us of this wonderful project! So often people look at two cultures and see differences. I love how the sewing/quilting/knitting community is reaching across borders with our commonality.

    Peace to all.

  7. Brooke says:

    Thank you for letting us know about this!

  8. Kim D. says:

    It’s wonderful that you brought this to everyone’s attention. I read Kristin’s blog occasionally and already saw this and I’m participating with a group of my friends. It’s a great way to pay it forward. Thanks

  9. susan says:

    Thanks for the link to the blog — I’m heading that way now to check out the details!

  10. Margaret says:

    Thanks for making it so easy to participate. ~M~

  11. Minh says:

    I wanted to send a bundle but I’m a knitter, not a quilter so I didn’t have any fabric. Thanks to Sew Mama Sew for offering these bundles, that way I can send one fabric bundle through you and one yarn bundle from my stash 🙂

  12. We’ll paint “Sew, Mama, Sew!” (In Arabic, of course!) on the side of the chinook ‘copters!

    All of you at SMS deserve a huge hand. I predict these last 14 bundles will vanish before midnight.

    Between us, me and my mom have sent 10 bundles so far and seen several in pictures. One of mine was in the FIRST batch to arrive. It was a huge thrill to see that it made it safely. My daughter has become very interested in this project and insists that we read Art’s blog posts aloud every day.

    Today, we got a huge surprise, a REAL letter all the way from Iraq from Mr. IBOL himself. I’m telling you, Kristin LaFlemme is one lucky lady. She married quilters GOLD ina husband. Fabric appreciation and manners? Sign me up!

  13. Ramona says:

    I plan on sending a bundle. Thanks for making it easy. This is an awesome project.

  14. Lisa says:

    Thanks for posting this my son was stationed there twice (first time was the being of the war), he was always so considered about the Iraqi people especially the women and children…

  15. georgia says:

    rock! this is totally awesome!

  16. Grace Wong says:

    That’s a cool idea!

  17. Georgiann says:

    Wow. And wow. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Things like this are what make peace happen.

  18. Liz says:

    Thanks for doing this – one of the bundlles you are snding is from me… and I posted your website as well as IBOL on my blog…. I don’t have many readers, but some quilters have already clicked to these sites. So, every little comment and posting does help spread the word!

  19. Robin says:

    Thank you and thanks to your suppliers for their help in making it possible for your fabulous deal! I sent 3.

  20. Kathleen says:

    Thanks so much, Sew Mama – I’ve send a few bundles already, but was so immensely proud to see you harness the power of your store and your distributors – what a great bundle! I love this project – thank you for helping!


  21. LaceLady says:

    I think it is absolutely fabulous that you put together these wonderful packages. I’ve already sent “bundles”, but yours would be my choice if I hadn’t! Joyfulstitching, and good health to you and yours!

  22. Lorna says:

    I’m building my bundle now! And I posted a note on my blog to help spread the word. I have to say that Art’s “about me” on the blog almost got me weepy. So simple but so touching.

  23. Michele says:

    Thank you for your participation. It really made it easy to contribute. Go Art! I hope he makes 500 bundles! Quilters and sewers are such giving people, so I’m sure he will!

  24. Joy says:

    Great idea!
    I am a member of a charitable sewing group from Eagle Brook Church in White Bear Lake, Minnesota and we are purchasing 6 bundles. We are thrilled to help our sister stitchers in Iraq!
    Thank you for being a part of this!

  25. IBOL is SUCH an awesome project ~ Art deserves MAJOR KUDOS for what he is doing! And SMS ~ YOU ROCK!! I’ve shipped three boxes from my stash, just ordered an SMS IBOL, and am packing up the 5th IBOL tonight at home. Thanks for a beautifully written piece describing IBOL and especially WHY it touches so many of us…

  26. Krystina says:

    This is such a great project. I love that you are giving women the materials to make something rather than just sending something pre-made. I’m so glad I found your blog!

  27. Elizabeth says:

    This is a wonderful project, and you’ve given everyone a great and easy way to help! Thanks so much 🙂

  28. Margie says:

    Such a sweet idea & it sure makes it easy for others to help.

  29. Tasha Adams says:

    Its too late, I am tired and I have a migraine, I really want to be part of this, I have TONS og supplies, but I didn’t see a list of what they want or need. Can you please give me some direction? I have a bo allready.
    Thank you for this opportunity!
    Tasha Adams

  30. Kelley says:

    I cannot wait to get my bundles packed…I have plenty of supplies to share and will gather donations at work tomorrow to help pay for shipping~thanks for the heads up on such a wonderful project ~

  31. Great idea to help others in need, we always have extra supplies.


  32. Kadybug says:

    This is such an incredible project! Thank you so much for sharing this and for putting together some bundles for purchase in your store to donate! You ladies at sew mama are really a wonderful group. I am so glad I found your site.

  33. Amber says:

    OK this is seriously an amazing idea – just bought mine! Thanks so much for allowing us to participate in this way!!

  34. nikki in virginia says:

    Wow, I have already sent my bundle but at this great price….I will send another one of yours!

    Super effort! Thanks,

  35. Julianne says:

    Great project! Thanks for getting the word out!

  36. Virginia says:

    Wow, what a touching project. Thank you for doing this!

  37. Alice S says:

    Thank you for notifying us of this project and for doing so much to organize your own bundles too. I’ve just packaged up a bundle from my stash that will be mailing out tomorrow. It makes me happy to think that an Iraqi woman can use my surplus.

  38. PenguitoSmile says:

    This is an amazing cause and its wonderful to see how people get involved and how I myself can get involved and help.
    This is a wonderfully informing post and is a great idea!

  39. Hi Kristin,
    So glad that I was able to help and kudos to you for being part of this awesome movement!

    Happy Crafting!

  40. Amy Rochelle says:

    How wonderful! Thanks for putting the bundles together and helping to spread the word!

  41. Melissa says:

    What a great project! Thanks for spreading the word.

  42. Kristin L says:

    Hi, my name is Kristin and I’m a fabric addict! 😉
    Thank you so much for your generosity and thanks so much to Pat and Marshall as well. You guys are great! I’m having so much fun watching your inventory counter going down knowing that with each number, there’s another IBOL on it’s way to a sewer on the other side of the world.

  43. Mrs. JP says:

    As a military mom I’m always happy to see people see our service men/women in a positive light. I love this idea.

  44. Missy says:

    Way to go SewMamaSew. =) Big high five for being compassionate!

  45. Wonderful idea! I agree that we are so blessed just because of the random coincidence that we were born American. We have so much luxury compared to millions of those suffering. Thanks so much for offering a way for us to help in a way that is close to our hearts!! Viva SMS!!!

  46. Kelli says:

    I just heard about this program this weekend and already have my bundle ready to ship! I was wondering who I could spread the word to, but you’ve already done it for me! Just more proof that y’all are awesome!

  47. Stacy says:

    That is really awesome! I think that I need to do a little cleaning out and sharing. That is so touching. Thanks for letting us know!

  48. emtdlb says:

    I saw this on someone’s site earlier and was so proud of our soldiers. This proves that American soldiers are not the aggressors that we are made out to be. Such a great idea and so wonderful. Too bad someone else can’t take over after their group leaves. This could go so far for the civilians in that country to get back on their feet. Good job!!!!!

  49. Alice S says:

    I just picked up my box at the post office this morning. Now to clean out my stash!

  50. Beth says:

    Thank you for leveraging my giving and helping me help others.

  51. becky says:

    My bad! I just caught up with the IBOL blog and he has arranged a continuing presence with a group that is staying longer. Goodie!!!

  52. becky says:

    I got off a huge package Friday. They have a time limit in that they are heading home in September, so “speed is of the essence! ” Hope someone comes up with an ABOL for Afghani crafters.

  53. Shogun says:

    Thanks for letting me know about this. I will go to their blog and check out the details. Thanks again.

  54. jacquie says:

    i’m putting my bundles in the mail today, but what a GREAT way to help. Please pass on our thanks to your suppliers…bundles of love right back at ya!

  55. Lyn says:

    I just got my flat-rate box from the post office this morning, but might also send one of your boxes, too.

    This is so wonderful, and it is one of the ways we can help other Mom’s. Thanks for sharing!

  56. Elizabeth says:

    Love it! Will pass it along – thank you!!

  57. Jennifer says:

    what a great bundle you’re offering and it makes it even that much easier for people to donate. i sent my IBOL to art early last week and included several yards of fabric, both in big pieces and smaller ones, buttons, zippers, 2 kinds of yarn with knitting needles and very pictoral knitting instructions, and 25 6.5 inch quilt blocks that came from several swaps.

  58. angie harris says:

    Oh, this is really great that you are doing this.

  59. April says:

    This is an amazing project, and you at Sew Mama Sew are amazing for helping out. As soon as the man set’s me free (or, you know, I get off work) I can’t wait to help, too!

  60. Lauren says:

    As an Army wife and accumulator of fabric I’m very excited about IBOL. What an easy way to make another woman’s life easier and happier! Hopefully these efforts can be continued even after Art’s unit leaves Iraq.

  61. Nima says:

    good to read about this…..thank you for sharing this information

  62. Sheridan says:

    Thank you so much for putting together some bundles! I have been wanting to participate, but the shipping from Australia is fairly prohibitive. This is a perfect way for international readers to take part. Thank you so much!

  63. scribblearts says:

    Thanks so much posting about this. The need in Iraq is great, as I learned from my cousin’s husband, a medic who was stationed there twice. (He did something similar with medical supplies, by the way.)

    One of my worst middle-of-the-night-and-I-can’t-sleep thoughts is of being in a war zone with my children. With any luck, I’ll never experience that directly–but I know that millions of parents do. It’s something I try to keep in mind when deciding what to do with my resources.

  64. IBOL Guy says:


    You totally win. This is just awesome.

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