Saturday, October 04, 2014

Our community: Upcycle Ethiopia

Instagram user/friend Karri (@karriofberries) wrote me a very sweet and polite email the other day and asked if I could help spread the word about an organization that she is a part of. When she told me what the group was all about, there was no hesitation. I am amazed every day at the generosity and endless love that our community has. I always say that if quilters/sewists ran the world, there would be no war, no starvation, no hurt. We'd all be wrapped up in warm hugs (quilts). You can't have hugs AND war, right?? 

I would like to thank Karri for introducing me to Upcycle Ethiopia. And now, it is my turn to introduce all of you to it, as written by Karri herself:

n 2012 our Upcycle Ethiopia organizer, Meghan, was visiting her daughter in South Africa. She saw a beautiful bag at a local art shop made by “Wren” from an upcycled cement bag. Meghan got to thinking about the potential of asking her network of friends to create upcycled products to benefit non-profit organizations in Ethiopia, the home of her two small sons and the country where her own small non-profit, Roots Ethiopia, is located.

Meghan, not a seamstress herself, began networking with her friends, suggesting a theme of repurposed coffee bags as a strong and vibrant connection to Ethiopia, the land where coffee originates.

Upcycle Ethiopia was invented – with over 20 women sewing and creating with inspiration and purpose. “Sewing for Good” resonated with the women. A Facebook page was created to share, strategize, lament (burlap is a tough fabric to work with), and joke about hoarding coffee bags with beautiful graphics.  Each and every item made by our amazing team is donated; all time, all fabric, all notions, all the love and creativity. It’s a true giving event.

This is our third year --- each year we have represented a different non profit working in Ethiopia. This year we will benefit Roots Ethiopia, the non-profit Meghan founded. It’s a moment of symmetry for Meghan to bring together two great loves!

The official Statement of Upcycle Ethiopia:

A community of women has gathered together from across the U.S. (from New Hampshire to Oregon) to sew on behalf of women in Ethiopia. This is our 3rd year creating unique items to benefit organizations that promote sustainability for women and families in Ethiopia.

This year Upcycle Ethiopia has chosen Roots Ethiopia ( for their strong work with women and families in southern Ethiopia. Our ‘Upcycle for Ethiopia’ team is repurposing burlap coffee bags and other items to support hardworking mothers in Ethiopia who will receive small business grants funded by the generosity of your purchase! Mothers are ready to work and your purchase provides the needed financial resources to get started on the path to economic independence.  Our craftsmanship and your purchase makes a difference!

Anchoring our original work with upcycling coffee bags makes perfect sense to us; coffee originates from the beautiful country of Ethiopia. Our coffee bags come from all over, but resonate with the essence of Ethiopia. We’ve added more repurposed products this year, all sticking with our upcycle theme. Our hope is that ‘Upcycle for Ethiopia’ sells YOU an awesome product, and delivers economic opportunities for mothers and families in need. Thank you!


{I Spy Charm Pack example}

Karri has offered one of my readers a charm pack, 56 squares (a full yard's worth) of "I spy" charms. Please visit and have a look around. Come back and leave me a comment about what you read, saw or liked the most. One winner will be chosen from a drawing on Saturday, October 11, 2014.

Good luck!



  1. Such a great ministry! It's a wonder what can happen when people think ouside the walls of their own world and,share with others. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love that they are working with micro loans! It's always so eye opening to see what such a small amount to us can do in someone's life.