Monday, January 31, 2011

IBOL 3: Revenge of the Zombie Yarn

Okay, so I made that subtitle up myself. But you may remember me talking about "IBOL" last year. "IBOL" stands for "Iraqi Bundles of Love," a creative way that a U.S. soldier serving in Iraq managed to connect American sewers and knitters with their Iraqi and Afghani counterparts. The first IBOL took place in 2009, when Major Art LaFlamme leveraged the power of the internet and the enthusiasm of the crafting community to collect sewing and knitting supplies to distribute in Iraq. The first IBOL collected over 3400 bundles of supplies and distributed them in three Iraq provinces. Part of the charm of IBOL was that it was completely grassroots: the program wasn't technically sponsored by the Army, so soldiers volunteered to help with collection and distribution, and bundles were created and mailed by American crafters who relished the idea of making a connection to Iraqi women. Major LaFlamme also figured that a program like this one was a perfect way to implement the Army's desire to make greater connections with Iraqi citizens by providing a friendly reason for soldiers to interact with Iraqis.

The response was so great that Major LaFlamme coordinated a second IBOL, which took place in late summer 2010. This time the State Department did officially sponsor the program, but it was scaled down to match the more limited resources of the group distributing the bundles. Over 900 bundles were sent and distributed.

Now it's time for IBOL 3. The goal right now is to collect 500 bundles that will be distributed in a first "surge." (More bundles will be collected later in the year, too.) So if you've got leftover fabric, thread, sewing supplies, yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, buttons, or anything that an enterprising crafter can use in a world without a Joann Fabric or LYS or A.C. Moore nearby, please consider pledging to send a bundle or two. You just get a priority mail box (free at your local post office), fill it with fabric, yarn, whatever you're sending that's on the list, bundle it together and mail it out.

The IBOL blog is here, the IBOL FAQs are here, and directions for how to bundle your bundle are here.

Thanks for considering it.

1 comment:

Elizabeth D said...

I've had so much fun making these bundles. . . why is it that I keep finding it possible to make a very nice one (or two) with no apparent dent in my holdings??

I always put in a package of needles or pins, and sometimes even scissors. I figure the women in town can share, as long as one of them gets that stuff.