Maura Moore may have invented meeps, but meeps have been responsible for reinventing Maura Moore. “I sometimes have to pinch myself when I think about all meeps have done for me and for others,” she says.
Moore’s meeps, named so by one of her students, are “crocheted emotional support orbs.” Based on a knitted “black hole” orb she saw about 10 years ago on Etsy, Moore’s meeps are small and plush—about the size of a Mandarin orange—with shiny, black eyes.
She gave her first crocheted orb to her husband when they were going through difficult times. Moore wanted him to know that he was more than the actions that led to their troubles, and the little orb was to remind him of that. She was surprised to see it always in his pocket or in his hands, not tucked away forgotten in his sock drawer as she had imagined.
Moore, a Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) teacher, crocheted a few more and brought them to school. When one of her middle school students was struggling with “life-y things,” Moore gave her a yellow orb named “Sunshine” as a pick-me-up. Like her husband, Moore’s student was always holding her orb, carrying it around everywhere.
Moore knew she was onto something when another student asked if she could hold one while she took a test to help relieve her performance anxiety. When Moore later asked if the orb helped, the student said yes, calling it her “meep.” Moore, an avid Beatles fan, loved the name and christened her movement “All You Meep is Love.”
Since this all began in March of 2019, Moore estimates that she has made and handed out more than 1,000 meeps, which she crochets at night while watching TV or riding in the car on family trips.
After her meeps were featured on a local website, Moore’s co-workers in other MCPS locations joined in the creation of these crocheted orbs. They distribute them to students, teachers and administrators—anyone in need of a boost or a pat on the back.
In each of her 6th grade English classes, Moore names a “Meep of the Week,” and the honored student gets to select their own orb from a small collection she keeps in her classroom. Recently, Moore has started choosing a “Meep of the Week—Teacher’s Edition” from nominations she receives to acknowledge of all the extra little things teachers do throughout the day.
Since learning to crochet in 2008, the majority of Moore’s handwork has been gifted to others. “It was years before I even made myself a scarf,” Moore says. She loves crocheting Christmas ornaments as small gifts or birthday party favors for her children and once made a crochet owl for a student who was moving away as reminder to continue working hard on her studies. At her previous school, Moore started a crochet club for students to make hats for premature babies in the NICU at Montgomery General Hospital, a way of giving back to the unit where her oldest son spent time after he was born.
Moore’s “All You Meep is Love” movement continues to spread with support from her community. Donations of yarn, Poly-fil and black eyes show up at her school and in her mailbox on a regular basis. Her meeps are the inspiration for an annual student-created opera at another MCPS school, and Moore is working on a children’s book inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” about her crocheted orbs.
Moore gets great pleasure in seeing her meeps in action, brightening someone’s day and spreading kindness, and is frank about her own transformation because of them. She speaks of rising from the ashes like the phoenix she wears on a chain around her neck and notes the symbolism of the pearl necklace that hangs alongside it—oysters make something beautiful out of the grit in its shell. It’s the lesson she wants her three young sons to learn as well as all those lucky enough to receive one of her meeps.