Ujamaa score!

Have you ever heard of the Ujamaa Gramma’s? A Calgary, Alberta (Canada) initiative, they do massive work to help support a very worthy cause and solution.

Approximately 14.8 million children under 18 have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In many African countries, 40 to 60 percent of these children now live in grandmother-headed households.

As part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, UJAMAA GRANDMAS works to raise awareness for these tens of thousands of African grandmothers who are struggling to raise their orphaned grandchildren.

Since 2004, this dedicated local group of (mostly) women has raised a lot of money for the Foundation through an annual stash busting sale: donations of anything textile related from the surrounding area crams an entire large church basement, and people eagerly and happily wait in line for up to 2 hours to get in. (Gotta follow fire code regulations for occupancy!) It sounds like small potatoes in a way, but when you realize that the dollar bags of threads, the fabrics at a dollar a metre (except for higher priced quilting items, still a grand deal though!), yarns, notions, crafting supplies, tools, books and patterns raised $42,000 last year alone, that’s a lot of metres and miles of yarn and threads!

(With no way to snap pics as i was shopping,  i “borrowed” these from the FaceBook site) Imagine these spaces with huge knots of gridlocked shoppers too! What you don’t see, is all the little side and back rooms crammed with stuff as well.

Last year, i spent the magnificent sum of 37.00, this year a mere 12.00–not because i couldn’t find anything, but because A. i was overwhelmed by the amount offered, B. overwhelmed by the number of people and C. (unfortunately) overwhelmed by all of the perfume! I also had a specific list this year, and finding alternatives to items on that list was not a Thing. (Part of both those amounts included a $2 dollar admission fee, and a small “keep the change” donation as well.)

I bought 3 bags of embroidery threads at a dollar a bag–and even with some of them being short ends, i figure i saved at least 96bucks, by not buying “new” or from a retail operation. I fooled myself again, and do this frequently–i always get excited by the look of the “variegated” threads in the bag, which always turn out to be specific colours knotted together for someone else’s defunct/fuhgeddaboudit projects 🙂 You’d think i’d be more on the ball by now, but no-ooo-oo-ooo. Quite happy regardless! Some of the colours that i won’t likely use will be for overdyeing, so not a waste at all!

Edit next day: Untwangled everything, and discovered i have 102 skeins, counting some of the shorts as one—that works out to a wee bit less than 3cents per!

A bag of tassels for a buck:

A Maggie Grey, and a Jan Beaney/Jean Littlejohn, both hardcovers, both a measly 1buck each:

(The Beaney/Littlejohn book is signed by Beaney, but so what? 😉 )

Another (small) bag of threads for dyeing:

I say “small” because i COULD have crammed the bag full with three times this amount, and still have been charged only a buck!

Lace bits for a dollar:

One chunk of fabric i want to cut into small bits and play with, again only a dollar:


And my best score to date. As we stood in line to get in, we noticed there was sidewalk length of “free items”, mostly weaving frames, tapestry frames, and a few tapestry/embroidery stands. I poohpoohed the idea that i “needed” any of it. However, since i finished an hour before my friend Susan whom i’d gone with, i was sitting on the bench outside and thought “Hmmmmm…” So i pulled a stand over by my sit spot and looked at it, sneaking glances out of the corner of my eye, hoping it wouldn’t bond with me. When Susan came out, she reminded me that it’s FREE, sensibly mentioned that it’s wood so i could burn it if i didn’t need it and give the metal attachmenterthings to the Greyman, and that if it was semi wobbly, Greyman could fix it, and reminded me again that it’s FREE. How can i argue with that logic?

Never mind the mess behind–it’s “creative exploration” 🙂

I did a bit of research this morning, and the closest model i could find online sells for $195US (PLUS the shipping of course). Miss Susan was correct in her logic therefore.


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