For as long as there has been handicraft, the stitches have told a story…the needlework samplers that young girls created to perfect their skill…the colors and embellishments used in a Navajo blanket…the quilts made from scraps of worn out dresses and other fabrics of a household…a yarn that was discovered on a favorite trip…

A bit of the stash to send...

These days many crafters are swimming in supplies/stash – how many of us have said “I’m not going to buy anymore yarn/fabric/etc. until I use some up” at least once in the last year? As I look at my spare room and the supplies of yarn and other crafting supplies sometimes it is overwhelming. Imagine not having the the basics for your craft or very limited supplies? Late last week I came across a “quick” web initiative that I knew I had to join in – Iraqi Bundles of Love. The concept is simple – pack a flat rate box with sewing/fiber supplies and send it for distribution in Iraq. What began as a simple request to a few friends quickly exploded – currently 500 boxes have been received and an Army warehouse has been assigned to receive the boxes.

Quite the helper!

I was headed home to the ‘Ville for the long weekend so I sent the link to the Artisan family and suggested it be a family activity. Everyone agreed. Dad went to the Post Office and picked up boxes. When I got home on Saturday, one of the spare beds downstairs was covered with remnants from Mom’s stash. We then went to Hobby Lobby to pick up some basic sewing tools and also a bit of yarn and some knitting needles. (It didn’t work to bring home some of my yarn stash…no room in my carry-on). On Monday morning, we pulled all the supplies together & got busy creating 3 bundles of love. (And even the kitties had to help.)

Loading the boxes...

As we sorted the fabrics into 3 piles and Mom rolled them tightly, it was a bit of a walk down memory lane…the warm flannels that have been Mom’s cold weather robes, the whimsical lightweight prints that have been her warm weather robes, shiny satins from bridesmaids dresses that Mom was “commissioned” to make, leftover lace from a former neighbor’s high school reunion dress, tapestry from recovering the piano bench, the green print from when I sewed sculpted Christmas trees for gifts (20 years ago!) and so many more. The notions that we gathered told stories as well – ribbons from trimming dresses, vintage buttons, snaps and zippers and more that we had picked up when a friend bought a house & contents over 15 years ago and more.

Maggie Helping Mom

As Mom expertly packed the 3 boxes to full, we joked that the packing skills she acquired from all of Dad’s military moves were being put to use. On Monday afternoon, Dad & I trekked to the 24 hour post office which is always open & always had people working the counter…umm, yeah they now have the Automated Postal Center station available for use so Mom & Dad shipped the boxes on Tuesday.  Soon these boxes will join thousands of other bundles in a warehouse in Iraq.

Boxed & ready to go!

Before long these bundles will be distributed to Iraqi women for use – some are small businesses and sewing co-ops, some will just be for family use. And someday soon these bits of fabric and notions will be part of new stories in a land that is rebuilding.

(The deadline for sending packages has passed…now we all watch to see what happens as IBOL Guy receives all the boxes & begins to distribute them…)