January 31, 2005

Announcing The Dulaan Project!

(Friday Update: Word is starting to get out about the Dulaan Project. I was thrilled to see comments from knitters in the UK, and today I received an email from the leader of a Girl Scout troop in Arizona who read about the project in a local paper (Cuzzin Tom is sending out press releases, doncha' know).

I've started a "Dulaan Knitting Brigade" list in my sidebar. If you're participating and want your name added, just let me know.

Question: Would anyone who is going to Stitches West be willing to take a stack of flyers? If you photocopy them, I'll be glad to reimburse you. (Susanna has volunteered to shuttle flyers to Stitches West. Thank you bunches, Susanna! I'll be in touch!) If you know of any other upcoming knitting or fiber fairs where we can distribute information, Dear Readers, please let me know.

I've finished my horrendously ugly aquamarine, red and purple Psychedelic Pscarf for the project. Photo on Monday.

(Update to the Update! Cuzzin Tom actually has an interview on Tuesday with someone from his local NPR station about this project. I had no idea that press releases actually work. Huh.)

As you know, Dear Readers, our Cuzzin Tom* will be moving to Mongolia soon. Over the last few months, this planned move has blossomed into what I think is an inspiring charity knitting and crafting opportunity. It is my pleasure to introduce:

The Dulaan Project!

DulaanOrphangirl-1.jpgDid you know that in Mongolia, in the winter, temperatures rarely go above 0° and frequently fall as low as -40°? In fact, the temperatures for this week are predicted to go as low as -30°. This is not public relations hooey; see for yourself (select "low temperatures" from the drop-down list).

Did you know that in Ulan Bataar, the capital city of Mongolia, there are thousands of homeless children who, in order to survive in the winter, live in the heating ducts under the city? And that, in other parts of Mongolia, livestock herders, impoverished by drought and natural disaster, struggle to survive?

Did you know that there is a wonderful non-profit organization in Arizona called the Flagstaff International Relief Effort (F.I.R.E) that dedicates all of its efforts and resources to helping the impoverished people of Mongolia? In fact, every year they send 6 tons—an entire shipping container—of supplies and clothing to Mongolia, and then travel to Mongolia themselves to distribute the shipment.

And now this, Dear Readers, is where we come in...

Dulaanyoungchild.jpgCuzzin Tom and Kunzang Palyul Chöling (KPC), his Buddhist community, have partnered with F.I.R.E. to ship to Mongolia any knitted items or fleece blankets that the national and international knitting and crafting community is willing to provide.

What You Need to Know

  • The project is officially called the Dulaan (doo-lahn′) Project. Dulaan means “warmth” in Mongolian and accurately represents, we feel, the essence, the heart, of what this project is all about. F.I.R.E.'s official site for the project is located here.
  • You may use whatever yarn and colors you like. There is a need for hats, mittens, socks, neck gaiters, scarves and sweaters for all ages from babies to adults—especially for children ages 3-10. Think warmth and simplicity. For pattern ideas, go here or use any of your favorites.
  • F.I.R.E. also says there is great demand for a certain type of no-sew, no-knit, fringed fleece blanket. For instructions on how to make these blankets, go here.
  • Important! When packing your items, write your name and address, as well as the number of and types of items in the box, on a piece of paper. Put the paper into an envelope and tape the envelope securely to the box. This allows the FIRE volunteers to keep track of what has been received and send you a tax receipt without having to unpack the box.
  • Send your items to The Dulaan Project, F.I.R.E., 107 N. San Francisco St., Studio 4, Flagstaff, AZ 86001. All items received by July 1 will be shipped to Mongolia on July 15. F.I.R.E. volunteers will personally distribute them in Mongolia this fall. Items received after July 1 will be sent in 2006.
  • Tell your friends! Give this flyer (color) or this flyer (b&w, both designed and contributed by our very own TMK!) to other knitters; place take-away copies at your local yarn shop; email the project link to your address list; post the link to your favorite knitting blog; publish information about the project in your guild’s newsletter; and encourage everyone to pass it on!
  • Check here for progress reports! I will be creating permanent links to the F.I.R.E. web site, Dulaan page, and pattern list, and will post any updates that are shared with me!

DulaanGirls.jpgI have already knit a regrettably and unintentionally ugly hat and the Sideways Garter-Stitch Scarf that I mentioned Friday is destined for this project as well. I know there are other knitters out there who are already working on projects so Cuzzin Tom, F.I.R.E, and I thank you!!

(Note to Big Sister: Please tell Little Niece that the fleece pillow she made and sent me has been the object of much scrutiny as I prepare to make a fleece blanket using the same...er..."technology.")

*For new readers, Cuzzin Tom really is my cousin and has been a Buddhist monk for 11 years. Over the last year or so, he has become a permanent part of this blog, and no matter how many times we have changed the blog name or moved to a new web address, we haven't been able to shake him. Which is why I've made arrangements to have him sent to Mongolia where, I hear, Internet access is a lot less reliable. :-)

Posted by Ryan at January 31, 2005 02:29 PM

What a wonderful project! Count me in!

Posted by: laura on January 31, 2005 02:57 PM

Absolutely fabulous! I'll email the link to everyone I know!

Posted by: Kristen on January 31, 2005 03:29 PM

I'm supporting this one !

Posted by: Emma on January 31, 2005 03:43 PM

Ryan, dear. Wow! This is just fantastic. I have a whole stack of hats to ship to them. I'll wait a little bit until I get a few more things made and then away they'll go. Thank you for putting this out there and giving us the opportunity to help. Good karma, baby. Way good karma.

Posted by: Nathania on January 31, 2005 03:51 PM

this is WONDERFUL and I am IN. And I know of two celebrities who have personally witnessed the children living in the underground in Ulaan Bataar, Ewan MacGregor and his buddy who is also an actor but whose name escapes me at this moment. I just finished their recently published book about going round the world on motorcycle including going straight through Mongolia and Ulaan Bataar. They were very affected by the conditions of the street children and the book has pictures of them in the underground with them. How about approaching them for some P.R. and support? I bet they'd help in a hot minute. Both have young children themselves.
Thank you so much for bringing this to the knitblogging world's attention.

Posted by: caroline on January 31, 2005 04:25 PM

Finished my first child's sweater for the Dulaan Project yesterday. I will be starting another one tonight. I'm so glad you're getting this project underway. Ryan, have you contacted Karen about putting something in the Guild newsletter? Mary

Posted by: Mary B on January 31, 2005 05:00 PM

Do you think someone can make up one of those fabulous buttons for linking? This is a great idea, and thank you. And thank you to Cuzzin Tom!

Posted by: perclexed on January 31, 2005 05:23 PM

Ryan and Cuzzin' Tom: This is awesome, simply awesome. I'm in...and so excited about it I can't sit still!

Posted by: Lisa in Oregon on January 31, 2005 05:23 PM

What a great project. Thanks for the info Ryan!

Posted by: Angela on January 31, 2005 05:23 PM

Yeah! There's nothing like the energy of knowing that you can help one little starfish! (You know the story, right? On a freak tide, thousands of starfish are washed up on the beach above the tide line. One person goes out and begins tossing them back into the water. Another person says, "Look at all these starfish! There's no way you can help them all. Why do you bother?" And the tosser person says, "Well, I made a difference to THIS starfish."
And a button would be great.

Posted by: Janine on January 31, 2005 06:00 PM

Julia Roberts also went to Mongolia-to learn about the wild horses, she lived with the families who lived on the plains and told her story on PBS-here is a link to her story -http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/mongolia/ - She might help also-especially since she knows first hand about the cold temperatures there.


Posted by: Renee on January 31, 2005 07:27 PM

Ooooooh! I am so terribly excited!

Okay, so I found an address for Julia Roberts' production company, Red Om Films. Many of us may remember that Julia Roberts is also a knitter ...

I am so happy and just tickled to spread the word. As far as a button, I used the header off the website (shrunk it a bit) and then linked it as usual. Looks pretty nice on my site.


*Oh, and everyone else that helped to make this possible.*

Posted by: Sara* on January 31, 2005 07:49 PM

Oh pshaw!
Not when you have something like this going on.
(you're quite entertaining all by yourself)

Posted by: Aarlene on January 31, 2005 08:26 PM

My little boy's class made easy fleece hats for the local school for homeless kids - I know he'll be into making more. They cut a rectangle, sewed up one side to make a tube, then cut a fringe on one edge and cinched it up.

This is a great idea, thank you for doing this! Regards to Cuzzin Tom - wonder what the temples are like in Mongolia? I was in Korea for a while years ago, and have indelible images of the temples there, all dark wood and big gold Buddhas, amazing and peaceful.

Posted by: Patti on January 31, 2005 09:25 PM

OK, it's official. I'm in love with all of you. I knew you had good hearts, but I'm touched to tears.

You have unconditional permission to propagate this project far and wide. You can steal images and put links on your sites like Sara, post the links to other blogs, put flyers in your LYS (like how I'm hip to the lingo?), bug your email lists, pass out flyers to your knitting circle, etc. etc. No limits! I'm visualizing boxes of warm, well-knit goodies spilling out F.I.R.E.'s doors (btw, this is not just an alliance of convenience; I met personally with those folks and they're sincerely well-intentioned and effective).

A big, chaste *MWAH* all around!

Posted by: Cuzzin Tom on January 31, 2005 10:25 PM

Geez Ryan! You sure are going to a hell of a lot of trouble to get rid of Cuzzin Tom!! What did he ever do to you??!! Remind me not to take you up on it if you offer me a trip to outer Tazmania to knit for endangered devils!

Naturally, I'm also in. I have a few hats ready to go and would be happy to keep knittin' away. Would the org also be interested in the coats my kids have grown out of?

Posted by: Kim on January 31, 2005 10:37 PM

What a wonderful idea! How good-hearted you are! Count me in -- I'll be telling my knit group at work all about it. Just got a shipment today from Knitpicks -- they are offering their own brand of yarn from Peru and very low prices, and so far, the colors I've ordered look wonderful. I was just wondering what to do with them, and now I know!
Thank you for pulling all this together.

Posted by: Yvette on January 31, 2005 11:07 PM

What an incredidbly worthy call to action!
Thanks to you, TMK and C.T. for spreading the word and coordinatting this effort.

Can't wait to get started!

Posted by: candace on February 1, 2005 04:55 AM

I found a pattern I like and will make some hats. With a July deadline I ought to be able to follow through...

Posted by: CarolineF on February 1, 2005 05:30 AM

Yup. I'm in. good stuff.

Posted by: anne on February 1, 2005 06:16 AM

I. Am. So. In. And now I know what to do with all of the scrap yarns and the major stash my grandmother left me when she passed away last year.

I know several knitters and crocheters here at work and those that don't knit or crochet are interested in making the oh so easy fleece blankets. It will be interesting to see just how much comes of this call to action from Ms. Ryan's little blog!

A huge thanks to Ryan, TMK and Cuzzin Tom! Great work on the organization of all of this. I am in awe.

Hope everyone has a great day!!!

Posted by: Stalker Angie on February 1, 2005 07:44 AM

Cuzzin' Tom: Do they eat chickens in Mongolia?

Because, honestly. How fun would it be to send a bunch of these hats to Mongolia? It would be adorable!

Here's the Link:

Posted by: Sara* on February 1, 2005 08:31 AM

after spending countless days cleaning my computer from viruses.. I come back to find out I'm WAY behind. thanks for the info. copies have been printed and I will drop them by the yarn stores today.

I am so in I'm far out.

Posted by: anj on February 1, 2005 09:30 AM

I am soooooo in.
Thank you Ryan and Cuzzin Tom for letting all of us be a part of your good works:)

Posted by: Devin on February 1, 2005 10:42 AM

It's a blessing. I was just thinking, I've never knit for a child and wouldn't it be fun and you drop this on us. Thank You

Posted by: Debra on February 1, 2005 03:05 PM

Hi! I found this at Emma's blog. Sounds like fun - I'd love to do this.

Posted by: Karen M on February 2, 2005 06:34 AM


You have tagged for the sheep sheep alpaca game. Check out my blog for the rules.

*Okay, really don't know where the title came from. Got any ideas?*

Posted by: Sara* on February 2, 2005 09:05 AM

Thank you everyone for your interest in this project! See today's update for the latest activity.

Sara, I see you tagged me, but I won't be able to get to it until Monday. And my theory is that "llama llama alpaca" is just a fiber-y version of "duck duck goose."

Posted by: Ryan on February 2, 2005 09:59 AM

Can knitters here in Great Britain help? My Mum and I were knitting 'Teddies for Tragedies' here (Mum knit the bears, I made the cloth bags to put them in), but your project sounds so worthwhile and great for those of us who can knit simple things best (that's me!).

Posted by: Teresa on February 2, 2005 11:25 AM

Teresa, of course people from Great Britain can participate! A million, million times of course! I would LOVE to have people from all over the world participating in this project. The only thing to be careful of is that F.I.R.E. would need to receive your contributions by July 1 since their container of goods will be shipping on July 15. If your items arrive after July 1, no biggie; they will just become part of the 2006 shipment.

I'm SO glad you left a comment! Keep us posted on what you're knitting!

Posted by: Ryan on February 2, 2005 01:21 PM

I'm in as well. This should also work well in conjunction with my stash busting project. What a wonderful thing to organize!

Posted by: jenifleur on February 3, 2005 12:23 PM

How fabulous! I'm totally in. This goes perfectly with my yarn diet for charity. Another way for me to do something nice for someone else! yay!!!

Posted by: abby on February 3, 2005 06:17 PM

I'm in too! I've added the button to my knitting blog.

Posted by: Jenn on February 4, 2005 10:59 AM

I'm in.

Posted by: Christy on February 4, 2005 11:05 AM

I would be happy to bring flyers with me to Stitches West next week. Email me so we can set it up.

Posted by: Susanna in Seattle on February 4, 2005 11:16 AM

I found out about this project on another blog and have a scarf and hat ready to go. Also have some leftover yarn that I plan on making mittens and hats out of to send, too. Wonderful stuff! To be honest, I have never knit for charity before and am very excited about this one! I have put the link to the Dulann Project website on my blog. Hopefully we can round up more support.

Posted by: Sheri on February 4, 2005 11:35 AM

I've already heard from a number of Bay Area knitters who are ready and willing to come to my Knit In for Dulaan! Let me know if you (that is, any reader) wants to join us on February 25th.

Don't overlook the Gig Harbor Retreat for flyer distribution--I'll be heading there Wednesday night and can deliver a pile (although maybe someone can get them to Suzanne early to be included in the participant handout file--now there's an idea!).

Of course, Karen is working on the Seattle Guild Newsletter as we speak (correspond?).


Posted by: Janine on February 4, 2005 11:38 AM

Wow. I'm overwhelmed by how into this all of you are. And I've been checking out your blogs and am so tickled by each of your unique brands of fabulousness!

One more note of good news: I just got a call from the Northern Arizona NPR affiliate about the Dulaan Project and am scheduled for an interview on Tuesday! So if your ears are burning later next week, you'll know why.

Posted by: Cuzzin Tom on February 4, 2005 11:41 AM

I'm going to tell the womyn at the Spinners and Weavers Guild meeting tomorrow morning ... and bring flyers.

Just love this ... just love it.

Posted by: Sara* on February 4, 2005 12:44 PM

Hi, Ryan,

I can make a stack of flyers for SW. Need to post about it on my blog too. Looking forward to Janine's Knit In for Dulaan. Are you coming down?

Posted by: Nathania on February 4, 2005 05:20 PM

Ryan, please count me in on this. I followed Ewan McGregor's trip on Bravo and this really speaks to my heart after seeing the kids in the ducts. Now I'll have to hit up my crafter co-workers!

Posted by: Gina on February 4, 2005 07:05 PM

Ryan, I've been enjoying your blog for some weeks and just have to comment today. Congrats on initiating this wonderful project, your organisation and TMK's desktop publishing is just awesome!
Heaps of good wishes to you and all that join you in this incredibly worthwhile project.
I knit for a Romanian mission/village already so would be stretched to join you. But I will go through my patterns and see if I can offer anything different from the great collection at F.I.R.E.'s site.
On ya mate!
Rose in Australia.

Posted by: Rose on February 5, 2005 05:29 PM


This is a really great idea and I will certainly be getting involved, I've been talking about it on my blog and will be taking the details along to my next Stitch N' Bitch Meet-Up (this Tuesday) as I know one of my fellow SNB'ers has expressed an interest in doing something as well now she knows about it. I'll spread the word amongest all the knitters I know as most of them would be quite keen to do somethign as well I'm sure.

Posted by: Suzi on February 5, 2005 10:38 PM

count me in! My own personal knitting is at a stand-still and I'd like nothing better then to be knitting for a cause, especially one that involves kids. Thank you for spreading the word!

Posted by: Kristen on February 6, 2005 08:08 AM

Please add me to the list of folks who are knitting for the Dulaan Project.


Posted by: Carol on February 7, 2005 09:44 AM
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