This year, I went to Stitches for the first time ever! Stitches West is a knitting conference held in Santa Clara, CA. Many other Purl Jammers make it an annual event (2011 report). I’ve wanted to join them in the past but decided to skip it to avoid the marketplace full of yarn that I want but do not need.
I was able to go this year and avoid temptation despite being in the marketplace all day because I volunteered at the Mother Bear booth. The Mother Bear Project is my favorite knitting charity. It sends hand-knit and crocheted bears to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations – over 85,000 bears sent to date!
It was busy but fun at the booth. I was delighted to meet Amy who organizes the project and to introduce knitters and crocheters to the Mother Bear project. Plus, my Purl Jam friends stopped by throughout the day which made me feel like part of the action. A very successful day of knitterly fun with no stash purchased whatsoever!
Shortly after Stitches, Amy went to Zimbabwe to distribute bears at schools, clinics, a hospital and an orphanage in villages around Victoria Falls and a wilderness camp for orphans and vulnerable children that live in rural areas.
One bonus of the Mother Bear Project is that the volunteers who distribute the bears also take photographs of the bears with their new owners. I’ve had the luck of seeing nine of my bears in the hands of children in Africa, five from Amy’s latest trip.
I was also excited to see that Marissa’s first bear which she dropped off at the Stitches booth has already made it to Zimbabwe!
All the children and bear photographs from Amy’s trip have motivated me to finish up the two bears that I was working on at the booth during Stitches. Next, I’ll send them to Minnesota where they will get their red hearts. From there, they’ll make their journey to Africa in boxes jam-packed full of bears and love.
Marissa and I are each planning to make 12 bears for the Mother Bear Project this year. Please join us! Although many bears have been sent, there is sadly still a great need and many more children affected by HIV.
Reported by Tracey, who hopes you will make a bear too.