Friday, May 8, 2015


I often go around saying I do a lot of knitting for charity because my desire to knit is disproportionate to the number of folks who actually want to wear my stuff.  Besides the people who have enough hats/scarves/mittens, there are those (like my husband) who don't understand why you'd bother to knit a pair of socks when a six-pack of Hanes costs less than the skeins of yarn.  I consider him a man with a complete lack of culture.  And his son adores my knit wool socks and has to be forced to stop wearing them when the weather tops 80 degrees.  I also try to make him understand that striped knee socks don't go with shorts.  But I digress...

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


Nancy said...

Besides just being incredibly cute the way you dress them, the bears look like they're just ACHING to give a big hug. That probably appeals to kids as much as anything fancy (and your bears are plenty fancy in a neat kid-appealing way).

Anonymous said...

I like all of them, but I especially enjoy the ones you make for Tristan.