Charity Crocheting with Tamara Kelly of Moogly Blog!
We hope you have been having even a fraction of the fun that WE have been having with Yarn Heroes, Lion Brand’s campaign to inspire knitters, crocheters, and crafters of all kinds to make comforting items for charity. The X-Men have Wolverine, and we have MOOGLY, who should need absolutely no introduction. But in case you’re a yarn maven who has been living under a rock, Moogly (aka Tamara Kelly) is one of the guiding lights of the online crochet community, as well as one of the most generous souls you will ever meet.
We got a chance to catch up with Tamara to talk about her approach to charity crafting, and we are so thrilled to share her insights!
LB: Greetings, Tamara! We were so thrilled that you were one of the first people to sign up for Yarn heroes! Can you tell us a little bit about why you got involved?
Moogly: I love how charity focused the crochet community is! And it doesn’t have to be hats for babies or blankets for the homeless or any of the usual things – you can find a way to help almost any organization you care about, even if it’s a yarn bomb to help raise awareness!
LB: So your costume… Obviously amazing. Part Wolverine, part Frida Kahlo! Tell us a little about unleashing your inner Yarn Hero – What inspired your charity project?
Moogly: My middle child was born with a severe congenital heart defect, and after he was born he was flown by helicopter to the Children’s Hospital at the University of Iowa. It was a terrible, frightening time for all of us, but the people at U of I were wonderful, and I still have the little handmade hat he was given. I am so happy that I now have the opportunity to give back to the same program. And I’m also very happy to say that that same child is doing just fine today!
LB: Is this your first experience with service / charity crafting?
Moogly: Growing up I crafted for my family’s church quite a bit, and as an adult I’ve donated crocheted items to a number of charities, from cancer fundraisers to animal shelter auctions!
LB: Have you been involved in charitable work that doesn’t involve knitting/crochet?
Moogly: As a mom of 3 (and designer, author, etc) I don’t have as much spare time as I’d like, so when I can I donate money to several causes that are near and dear to my heart. As the children get older, I hope we can find time to all work together for charity!
LB: What issues facing the world keep you up at night? (note: no politics! Hehe)
Moogly: Medical care is a big issue for me – I sincerely believe that access to medical care is a human right, and it breaks my heart to hear when someone needs help and cannot afford it, or cannot access it.
(Sorry, that’s the best I can do without getting political. Everything is political!)
LB: It’s hard to imagine just how many people you have taught to crochet, or to improve their skills, through Moogly Blog. Your influence on the community is gargantuan. But how did you first learn to crochet? Did you have a mentor? Did you teach yourself? Did you travel back in time, creating a paradoxical time loop?
Moogly: I picked up finger knitting somewhere in grade school, from my friends, and fell in love with yarn crafting right away! But it wasn’t until I was a new mom that I met someone who taught me to crochet – my sister-in-law! Once she showed me how to chain and single crochet I was off and running, and teaching myself everything I could!
LB: What was your first yarn project? The first project you were really proud of?
Moogly: My very first project was a simple pouch bag. It was supposed to be a scarf, but I got impatient to do more, so I folded it in half, seamed up the sides, and added a strap. All just figuring it out on my own! It wasn’t groundbreaking or particularly good looking, but it was a lot of fun and I just kept going! Crochet gave me such a sense of satisfaction, I’ve been proud of everything – even the failures that taught me a lot.
LB: When did you decide to start a yarn craft blog?
When my youngest went off to preschool, I knew it was time to start something of my own. It grew slowly, but it turned out to be the start of a huge adventure!
LB: What do you get out of blogging that fuels you to be so prolific?
Moogly: I love what I do! When you are passionate about your “job” and excited about it, there’s no stopping you!
LB: Was there a moment when you realized Moogly Blog was becoming “a real thing”?
Moogly: I have received some lovely emails over the years from fans – some dating back to when I was wondering if I was just talking to myself. I have kept many of them in a special place, as well as in my heart.
LB: That is so sweet. Any particularly hilarious stories of a yarn project failure? 😉
Moogly: Oh my gosh. Before I actually learned to crochet, I did try to teach myself from a pamphlet. And I did everything wrong – I had picked up a small Tunisian hook and a super textured yarn, I couldn’t’ see my stitches at all (not that I knew what they were supposed to look like), and it was a hot mess! My “baby blanket” was more like a sad, rejected fishing net. I still have no idea what I was actually doing to get the result I did…. I might have invented a new stitch for all I know!
LB: So, even as accomplished as you are, there must be areas of yarn craft, or maybe blogging, that you want to work on?
Moogly: I am pretty happy with the direction Moogly is going, but I do hope to be able to expand a bit here and there. I’ve been having a lot of fun with paper crafting and machine cutting lately, and I am excited to share my journey there too! I’ve always been “multi-craftual” and I think lots of other people are as well!
LB: If we’re lucky enough to get a green light for “Yarn Heroes 2,” how will you top yourself?
Moogly: I don’t have a real plan yet, but hopefully something to do with lung cancer. My father passed away last year, very quickly, due to smoking related lung cancer. I have high hopes that with the new generation this will be less of an issue, but in the meantime I would like to find a way to help that cause as well.
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