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:  http://bit.ly/y55uo

IBOL for $15 in the SMS shop:  http://tinyurl.com/nz2jps

This post: http://tinyurl.com/lrqb7n

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…