Sunday, September 12, 2010


Iraqi Bundles of Love II
In August 2009, in Northern Iraq, a Soldier with the 25th Infantry Division set
up a blog and called it Iraqi Bundles of Love, or IBOL for short. He didn’t
ask for nor was he given permission; instead, he set about to receive and
distribute bundles of fabric, yarn, and other sewing, knitting and quilting
supplies across the Salah ad Din, at-Ta’mim / Kirkuk, and Sulaymaniyah
provinces. He thought that maybe a few people would want to help support
counter-insurgency efforts during the all-important period of Ramadan,
which was about to start. If people sent bundles, made according to some
simple instructions he put together and posted to the blog, he promised to
receive them and have them delivered. The goal was to have things in the
mail and arrive in Iraq, in time for delivery during Ramadan.
Word spread like wildfire. Emails, blogs, newsgroups, guild meetings – people shared the link and passed along the contact information, and the boxes flowed in from around the world. Bundles were sent from all across the US, but also from all across Canada, Europe, and as far away as Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam. Some heavy hitters chimed in with support, from the online fabric store Sew, Mama, Sew! to Karey and crew at and the Houston International Quilt Festival.
IBOL Guy, as he called himself, received 3445 bundles, which he ball-parked as being about 30,000 lbs. Ramadan ended, IBOL guy shipped off the last of the bundles for delivery, and then he himself headed home to see his family. IBOL was closed.

But that was then. This is now. IBOL Guy has two volunteers, one of whom is ready to receive and distribute boxes. IBOL II is open for business.
IBOL II, like the original IBOL project last year, is intended to be a short-duration project. And like last time, it’s intended to surge fabric and sewing (and knitting!) materials into Salah ad Din, in northern Iraq. The general premise is the same. Willing contributors can send a flat-rate box of sewing / quilting / knitting supplies, all bundled up. Once it’s there, someone will open the box, pull out the fully-contained bundle, and hand it off (with others) for distribution in the SaD area. The stated intent of this operation is to put sewing and quilting and knitting supplies into the hands of two types of recipients: locals who desperately need such things, and local sewing co-ops and other small businesses who have received grants or loans (typically to purchase sewing machines, rent space, etc).
It’s a chance for all of us to go into our stashes — our fabric, our yarn, our needles, our thread — and find some stuff that we’re willing to share with our partners in Iraq. No one expects you to empty your stash —
it’s a chance to give a little.
Here’s the most important thing: Packages need to be in the mail not later than 01 October (that’s a Friday). Do you think you can do that? In the mail, not later than 01 October. That’s just over a month from now.
Want to know more? Stop by the website.

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