April 20, 2005

Why My Knickers Are in a Knot

I was shocked to learn from a reliable source recently that there is at least one person (local, but I donít know who it is, and donít particularly want taí) who thinks the Dulaan Project is a total and complete crock. I donít mean a crock in the sense of a polite, Sheila-like, ďCharity knitting? Thanks, but no thanks. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt,Ē but a crock in the sense of, ďThere are no homeless people in Mongolia. There are no orphans in Mongolia. There are no children living in heating ducts. This project is a scam.Ē Iím running a scam, people! Who knew?! Pretty soon itíll turn into one of those pyramid thingies and Iíll ask you to knit, and ask you to ask your friends to knit, and ask you to ask your friends to ask their friends to knit... Oh, wait; I really am doing that.

I suppose I wouldnít be quite so peeved if I hadnít received this this week:


This picture, Dear Readers, taken by our very own Cuzzin Tom, is of a five-year-old Mongolian boy who brings himself, alone, to a soup kitchen every day to get food. Cuzz reports that, of necessity, this little boy is ferociously independent and refuses to let anyone at the soup kitchen help him get his utensils or his food, find a place to sit or to eat. Yep, Iím runniní a scam all right. And somehow, from 10,000 miles away, Iíve managed to get a Buddhist monk, a bunch of Buddhist nuns who run a Mongolian soup kitchen, and a little Mongolian boy to help me with my fiendish plans. Which, by the way, haven't added a sou to my bank balance, damn it.

That being said, I have something for you, DearDear Readers, the latest Dulaan number as reported to me by Meredith at F.I.R.E.:


1,021 ITEMS!!!


Only 979 items to go to reach MaryB the Inspirerís goal of 2,000, although Dear Reader Daisy has made a good dent by mailing a box containing 29 items. Iím on something twelve-ish or thirteen-ish, although Iíve sort of lost track since I actually removed one of my hats from the box, it was so bad. Yes, so bad that a freezing, homeless, orphaned child would have looked at it and said, ďWhat the hell is that?!Ē

And, here in all of its half-finished glory, is that twelve-ish or thirteen-ish item, another hat from ďHats On!Ē (This hat is unusual in that it was a cooperative effort since I threw all of my leftover, half-used balls of Cascade 220 in front of The Mysterious K the Graphic Designer and demanded, "You! Graphic designer! Help me pick some colors! Help me figure out what order to put them in!" And she did.)


Oh, and last but not least, Happy Blogiversary Minus One Day to Mossy Cottage!! Who knew, on April 21, 2003, that Iíd still be writing two years later, that the blog and my Dear Readers would become one of the central delights of my life, and that even I would start referring to my partner as TMK?

What the hell, let's throw in a little more confetti:


Posted by Ryan at April 20, 2005 09:42 AM

(I'm getting hauled out of my lurking cave again agk!)

I have no idea why anybody would think there are no hungry and cold kids in Mongolia. Somebody's in denial about the existence of poverty. I wonder if they know about the hungry kids here in our own (rich!) country? And I wish I could say that more elegantly, but it's hard to do from up here on this soapbox!

(back to my cave and this time I'm staying in for a while!)

Posted by: lurking? Gwen on April 20, 2005 10:05 AM

Do you mean to tell me I got back into knitting to knit things for the one damn country in the world without homeless people or orphans? Why are we sending warm clothing to the one place on earth that has a perfect society?? I want a name. And an address. I'll find my own place to dump the body. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I am so peeved about this it is insane.ARRGGHHH.

And with that out of my system, YAY!! Over 1,000 items!!! That is one ginormous scam, Blog Mistress. I am in awe of your very dear readers.

Happy Blogiversary, love the hat, love love love the hat, the hat is nice, and that person should be shot. But I'm a Texan. We shoot everyone that disagrees with us. Oh, and I like that hat.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Posted by: Stalker Angie on April 20, 2005 10:07 AM

Do you have a "Happy Blogversary" song? Can't be any funnier than the birthday versions from Monday!

Why would anyone want to invent a knitting scam? I mean if we were sending money I might be able to understand, but knit hats!!? I have friends that worked in Mongolia for several years and your description of the children is accurate. The government doesn't like to have foreigners know about their problems. None do that I have found. Keep knitting!

And congratulations to us, by the way!!

Posted by: laura on April 20, 2005 10:08 AM

OK, lemme at 'em! I got a credit card that (remarkably) has enough left on it after a stash enhancement trip to air lift the jerk to Mongolia and parachute him into a heating duct to count the kids! Bargh! Some people are really into their conspiracy theories.

Anyway, enough of the bad news--happy anniversary, blog mistress! I've certainly enjoyed the ride--thank you!

Posted by: Kristen on April 20, 2005 10:09 AM

Hi Ryan,
I am on my 10th item for Dulaan,and still loving it! Soooooo glad I found you!
Hope the weather in Seattle is as glorious as here in Vancouver!

Posted by: Ann on April 20, 2005 10:18 AM

Thanks for this post, Ryan... it gave me the fire to knit MORE and MORE for the Project. Thanks for posting that pic and story about the little boy too.

Posted by: Lolly on April 20, 2005 10:39 AM

There are always people who seem to feel it makes them look brilliant to insult the efforts of others. Make it your practice to avoid them the minute you sniff their presence.

I may add another hat to the total, I ran across one that I knitted 2 years ago and belongs in the what-was-I-thinking category because it doesn't fit me and won't suit Emily's demand for soft.

Posted by: CarolineF on April 20, 2005 10:48 AM

I think the blog-versary song should have llamas and ducks in it....and I second CarolineF's comment about avoidance of "those people". They are not good for the soul. Knitting and giving are.

Posted by: joan on April 20, 2005 11:26 AM

Bwahahaaaa! I get these great visions of a really evil Ryan rolling in heaps of kid-size hats and mittens which she has piled up just to mock gullible people... Seriously, a knit-scam? Wow. Take it as encouragement - if you're ticking people off, this thing is really getting noticed!

Posted by: Monika on April 20, 2005 11:32 AM

To the scam nonsense, I roll my eyes and yell "WHATEVER!!" (I am, after all, a member of Gen X). I just inherited a stash from a recently deceased friend of the family, and I've determined that many of the odd balls and half finished items in it will become Dulaan Project items. I am sure Betty would have liked to know her knitting was going to a good cause.

Posted by: Emily on April 20, 2005 11:44 AM

WTF? Sweet deity on a pogo stick, people. What kind of twit thinks up this nonsense? To snag a phrase from someone else's blog (preposterousuniverse.blogspot.com), maybe she should look in to loosening the elastic on her tinfoil hat. Cripes.

This just reminds me to wash 'n pack my Dulaan offerings for the Pyramid Scheme of Warm Knitted Goodness.

Congratulations on the Blogiversary.

Posted by: Melanie on April 20, 2005 11:45 AM

Well, if you believe in karma, that person has not done themselves any favors. Here's to fierce independence, survival skills no child should need, and compassion. There's a knot in my throat.

Posted by: Becca on April 20, 2005 11:48 AM

Ryan, we need to have a talk. You are, apparantly, the worst scammer in the world. To scam, you have to actually be getting something from the rubes. This means you are either manically trying to collect all the kids knits in the world to enhance your stash or you plan on selling all of these which should reap you enough to visit Portland for the weekend and maybe a dinner out.

You are going to have to do better than that.

I think some people can't handle some of the grief and sadness in the world so for their own sanity they have to deny it exists.

We know, and we are doing a wee thing about it as we can. That is what is important.

2000 here we come!

Posted by: Laurie on April 20, 2005 12:15 PM

a box of 50 items will soon be on its way from this isolated knitter to continue the scam- i say, let's just all have a big 'scamathon' and show the world that those dear little faces coming to us courtesy of ct have inspired us-

happy blogiversary and long may you write-

stay happy-

Posted by: barb in texas on April 20, 2005 12:28 PM

I have nothing to add that has not already been eloquently expressed by earlier commenters. It's a good thing you do, Ryan. Let the nay sayers be less than nothing. Clearly they do not comprehend the power of the knitting fellowship. Happy Anniversary!

Posted by: Holly on April 20, 2005 12:34 PM

You know, in the past I've known knitters to say that they don't "do charity knitting" because they don't always know the recipient, and they don't trust that their "hard work" will get to someone "truly in need." They don't ever search out someone "truly in need" themselves (and what's the definition of "truly in need" anyway?), so they are content to not do anything at all. It's this sort of distrustful, stingy person that drives me to distraction. All the posts above echo my sentiments on this EXACTLY. Scam, indeed!

However, my personal goal was 25 items, but I see that Barb has sent 50! The competitve nature in me is saying, "you can do 50, Mary! Common!" So, I'll be knitting for Dulaan for a while longer.

I realize some people don't have the resources or time to commit to more than one item--and I don't think Ryan, you've ever implied that even just one item isn't going to be gratefully accepted. We all do what we can, with the resources we have. I can only repeat that I'm having such a source of satisfaction knitting for this project, I can hardly express it in words.

Mary B

Posted by: Mary B on April 20, 2005 12:44 PM

oh, i think one item made and sent with love equals any other number- i'm just able to spend time doing this because 1) i work from home and 2) having an invalid husband cuts down on a lot of 'go time'-

umm, i wasn't trying to sound all 'look at me' here so apologies if i did-

however, i do say 'go, mary' as the more cold little bodies we can help, the better for those who are going to be 'scam recipients'-

Posted by: barb in texas on April 20, 2005 01:10 PM

Some of the projects are so nice that it might be tempting to pretend to be a homeless Mongolian orphan to get one; in fact doesn't it seem likely that little boy is scamming just so he can get today's hat?

Some people are stupid Ryan. Don't let them bother you.

Congratulations on your Blogiversary!

Posted by: Susanna in Seattle on April 20, 2005 01:49 PM


Happy Blogiversary Ryan, and congrats on the cleverness of the Dulaan Project Scamathon - long may you scheme!


Posted by: Childe on April 20, 2005 02:16 PM

This is a test to see if it'll take my comment, because, it appears, not only are you running a sc*am (maybe that was the offending word, because it appeared so often?), but you're also blocking me from the comments, you sc*ammer, you!: Happy Blogiversary, too!

Posted by: Norma on April 20, 2005 02:24 PM

Happy Blogiversary, Ryan. I've been lurking without posting much, but now that I've got my life back (post 4/15), I'll chime in & start my Dulaan knitting, too.

Everyone knows that there are no homeless or orphans in Mongolia. In fact, I'll bet that the photo of the kid is actually your neighbor's tyke eating his Cheerios at his kitchen table. It's a conspiracy, I tell ya!

Sheesh. The nerve of some people.

Posted by: Samina on April 20, 2005 02:26 PM

Some people are such idiots it's unbelievable! There are homeless people everywhere around the world! This person needs to get a life.

Hooray for 1021 items! Way to go everyone!

Posted by: Sheri on April 20, 2005 03:09 PM

WELLLLLLLL that just lights my Duulan fire! I'll be knitting up a storm this weekend cause that kid in that picture needs some warm clothing. As for a conspiracy theory, is that person smoking something? This charity knitting is quite a conspiracy if it were one!

PS Happy Blog birthday! AND I am so proud to have known you for almost that long!

Posted by: Rebecca on April 20, 2005 03:10 PM

Congratulations Ryan! - the knitting world is a brighter and friendlier place for the presence of your blog.

As for your local cynic, I didn't know my father had been to Washington? Some people just don't "get" charity. If they are very lucky, they will never, themselves, be in need of any.

Posted by: Robbyn on April 20, 2005 05:45 PM

Congratulations on your blogiversary and the fantastic success of the Dulaan project!

Posted by: Nancy on April 20, 2005 09:34 PM

*singing* have a happy, happy, happy blog-a-versary! Onto my 16th item now for the Dulaan-"scam"-a-thon. Geez the.nerve.of.some.people! Shell

Posted by: shell james on April 21, 2005 05:29 AM

Hey...isn't that kid your nephew Jimmy?

(just kidding. I'm still knitting hats over here. I do appreciate the complexity of the scam though.) Happy Blogiversary.

Posted by: stephanie on April 21, 2005 05:35 AM

Just wanted to say hello from my little (sunny today) island in England and to tell you that I have sent off my knitted items. I always believe that whatever you do should help you grow and this project has seen me make a pair of mittens, a scarf and a hat for the first time, and to get to know the huge community of caring knitters out there. I've knit all my life and I find the most enjoyable bit of it is in the giving. So take no notice of the synics out there (they can always find their own folk in need and knit for them - I suspect they actually do nothing for nobody)and enjoy your knitting. I wish you and Ryan and all involved with the Dulaan project peace, joy and happiness! (oh and happy bogversary, too!)

Posted by: Teresa on April 21, 2005 06:13 AM

Un-lurking myself for this post :)

Paranoia at its finest! Logically, this makes no sense - what the heck did this person think you were going to do with all of these items?

Now, if you had requested everything to be knit in cashmere and silk, they MIGHT have a leg to stand on...

Keep up the good work. We need more people with good ideas like this out in the world.

Posted by: Jean on April 21, 2005 08:12 AM

I'd like to take the time to comment, but I've got to hurry--I can get rich by helping this Nigerian prince who needs help with a bank account or something....

Posted by: Natural Born Sucker on April 21, 2005 08:56 AM

Happy Blogversary! My box of 'leventy-something or so items for the Dulaan Scamathon will be on its way as soon as a few of the items finish their bath and block. Greetings to Cuzzin Tom and TMK (great color choices! can't wait to see the finished hat).

Posted by: Tish on April 21, 2005 09:14 AM

Dulaan Project a scam??!?!?!

Right. And the Holocaust didn't happen either.


Happy Blogiversary! I'm still on my first project [scarf] for TDP, but I'm plugging away! Thanks for the inspiration!

Posted by: Margot on April 21, 2005 09:35 AM

I can't believe someone would think this project is a scam. I applaud you, Cuzzin Tom and everyone else who is helping with this wonderful project. We have so much in this country that we forget how difficult things are in the rest of the world. I am very excited about the little hooded sweater I am making for the project - will take a picture of it as well as the other things before I send them. And happy anniversary!

Posted by: donna on April 21, 2005 11:30 AM

I can't believe it....

My first Dulaan hat is almost done. (I knit slowly. I may get another hat done...)

Posted by: melissa on April 21, 2005 01:17 PM

Happy Blogiversary. Long may you write and scheme :) as you seem to do it with such warmth and caring.

Posted by: Angela on April 21, 2005 01:50 PM

Well, I'll be scammed!! Box of ten scarves and six hats to be shipped tomorrow. What is the saying, "you can scam some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time"? ~HAPPY BLOGVERSARY~ ;D

Posted by: Lana on April 21, 2005 07:15 PM

That little tyke just made me tear up. How could anyone think it's a scam? We're doing good, folks, by helping these kids and if that s-o-b can't find a tiny, miniscule generous spot in their heart, well then too bad -- his/her life is just going to be so much the poorer. (Now I'm getting mad.)

By the way, Happy Blogaversary! Keep going -- lots of us readers out there who can't do without their thrice-weekly Ryan.

Posted by: Yvette on April 21, 2005 09:03 PM

people are so dumb. I spent 4 weeks doing manual labor and teaching children in the Dominican Republic. When you say that, people thing resorts and waterskiing or something, but I was in the middle of nowhere with no running water, sporadic electricity, etc. I LOVED it, but when I talk to certain people about it, their eyes glaze over. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I'm cooking up some things for the Dulann project as well. Is it you who is keeping the list? Do I need to tell someone else? I think I have the info about where to send them all.


Posted by: Mia on April 22, 2005 04:27 AM

Uhm, er, Ryan? Dontcha know that Mongolia really is a tropical island in the South Pacific, and all those kids? They are just beach bums well fed by all the tourists that come. All those photos were staged, with costume designers, make-up artists and all. Really. I swear. I saw it on teevee. You scammer, you.

Happy Anniversary, too.

Colleen (a sort-a local lurker)

Posted by: Colleen on April 29, 2005 08:34 AM
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