About a year ago I got involved with The Mother Bear Project. This group sends hand-knit or hand-crocheted bears primarily to kids affected by HIV/AIDS in developing countries. (You can read more about this group and the horrors of the AIDS crisis in Africa for these children here.) Since some of these kids literally do not have one toy to call their own, The Mother Bear Project was formed to put lovingly made bears into their hands. Sometimes I wonder how much good I'm really doing. Obviously these kids' problems are not going to be solved by one grizzly in a skirt, but then I also think that if it can bring them a little joy, give just a trace of comfort, then it's worth doing.
I've donated twenty bears so far and have another six or seven ready to go in the next shipment of ten. The pattern, which is purchased through The Mother Bear Project website, is based on a WWII-era pattern. It's a simple design, originally used to make toys for English children being evacuated from areas most at risk for bombing during the war. The wonderful thing about it is that it's basic enough that any mildly proficient knitter/crocheter can make one. However, it can also be modified with hats, skirts, hoodies, headbands, flowered embellishments. If you want to be bowled over, check out some of the pictures in the Ravelry group here. There are some amazingly creative women there. My donations tend to be a little more basic:
|I'm wild about the hoodie! |
Directions on Ravelry here.
I've written previously about my relationship with a once-abused dog named Tristan and his rescuer mommy, Lori. I've been sending him handmade toys on holidays for three years or so and according to Lori he loves them. The problem has always been that I hate to make them. I found knitting dolls to be beyond painful and crocheting them was only slightly better. Still, I slogged along every holiday because they made him so happy. When I discovered Mother Bear I was suddenly blessed with a pattern that did not make me twitchy to knit and could be adapted to any theme or season or reason. He may never get another pattern again. And I think that's alright with him. Some recent examples:
|The vampire for Halloween.|
|An Easter ducky|
|Tristan's brother, Tully, had a recent|
medical emergency, so he needed
his own home health aide.
|Christmas bear gets the taffy-pull treatment.|
If you're interested in crafting for The Mother Bear Project (or making a monetary donation), you can check out the website here. If you'd like to know about Tristan and Lori, you can check out her dog-lbs. blog here.