Thursday, September 21, 2006

Do You Dulaan?

I do.

I'm usually not much for charity knitting. In general, I feel that the poor can use my pocket money more than my stockinette. But I find that The Dulaan Project is an exception. It's a way to turn some of the joy I get from the process of knitting into happiness for others. That works for me. In case it might work for you, too, here's a bit of information.

The Dulaan Project, in case you're a new knitter or have been living in a cave for three years, is the brainchild of two beautiful people: Ryan of Mossy Cottage Knits and Konchog of Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa.

The goal, in brief, is to send a dizzying number of warm, handmade garments and blankets to those who need them (especially children) in Mongolia, a place so cold that in February the wealthy inhabitants visit Chicago to lie out on the beach. Okay, I made that up. But it's cold there. Wicked cold. And a lot of people (especially children) face the winters with far less clothing than they ought.

For a much more complete, coherent description, visit Ryan's blog.

In addition to knitting my little bit, I'm also considering putting together a Dulaan Knit Night for Dulaan knitters in Chicagoland who'd like to congregate, most likely some time in early November. I have a beautiful venue at my disposal, and will post further details as they develop. If you'd perhaps be interested in attending, please speak up in the comments.

Dulaan Item Number One: Baby Surprise Jacket

Aside from selecting and attaching buttons, my first Baby Surprise Jacket is finished, and it's going to Mongolia.

This pattern, which I got from Elizabeth Zimmermann's The Opinionated Knitter, is legendary and it deserves to be. You knit the entire jacket in one, flat piece with weird shaping every so often. Before you know it, you have a symmetrical garter-stitch amoeba. You then fold this amoeba up just so, sew two short seams, and this is what you get:

Baby Surprise Jacket

I am so impressed with the creative genius behind this design that after I finished it I put EZ's picture on my altar and dedicated the merit of my morning chanting (such as it is) to her memory.

I used a heavier yarn (worsted weight) than the pattern suggests, in order to create jacket that would fit a slightly older baby. Or a baby that eats too many Big Macs, or likes to smuggle a flask of Jack Daniels in its diapers.

I loved everything about this project except the yarn, which is Lamb's Pride Worsted. The fabric is nice to touch, and it drapes well, but every time got up from a knitting session I was covered in mohair fluff. I looked like I'd been cuddling a nervous orange cat in my lap. Yecchh. Never again.

With different yarn, the Baby Surprise Jacket is going to become a mainstay whenever I want something fun but simple to knit up as a baby gift. In fact, if my female friends would please consider getting pregnant, I'd be much obliged. Thank you.

82 comments:

Maggie said...

Is that... a rolling pin in the sleeves? What is that? I feel oddly compelled to know how the hell it is staying between those two chairs.

Super cute jacket, love the colors. If you think knitting mohair is bad try spinning it.

Ruth said...

Lovely jacket ... I particularly like the color combination.

The sweater looks a lot like Cottage Creations' Babies and Bears Sweater ... which, I am now guessing (having never seen EZ's pattern) is based on this one, but is hooded and a tad shorter. It's my favorite baby knit.

Wily Jeneric said...

Looks like a fun knit. I'll have to consider that as I break out some yarn to knit a sweater for the next baby to arrive (mine!).

Gail said...

I'd be interested in a Dulaan Knit Night! I'm sure I could drag other western suburbanites out with me, as long as I promise to NOT drive.

(Apparently, I scare people when I drive. Who knew? I've decided to reclaim it as a major life skill, rather than see it as a negative. Thus, the babble.)

Lizzie said...

That's really nice - I like the colors too. And I think knitting for a bigger baby is good. They don't stay tiny for long.

I haven't done the Baby Surprise yet but did a couple of Tomten sweaters this summer for babies I know. They were fun and quick and of course adorable.

meg said...

I'd like to know more about the knit night, too. And so would the Fool.

Lynae said...

I KNOW I could get some of my North Shore girlies to join this fun get-together!

noricum said...

I love that baby surprise you made! I have a really strong urge to make one that fits me now...

Angie said...

Adorable Baby Surprise jacket. I am a good ways (about 80 miles) from the suburbs, but I would be interested in a Dulaan knitting day.

Judy said...

You really cannot make baby clothes that are too big. You just start with the sleeves rolled up and extend them as the baby grows. It's nice to have something the baby can wear for a while. I love this jacket. It is pretty, and so practical!

Debbie said...

I've been looking for a quick, easy, non-blanket thing to make for my new neice. This is perfect! Thanks!

And it seems like blogland is one step ahead of your request in the knocked-up department. Seems like lots of people are sporting fashionable baby bumps. Babies are the new knitting. :)

Maybe it's some kind of computer virus. *crosses legs and backs away from the laptop*

KnitNana said...

That is positively adorable and I *heart* the color combo!
(((hugs)))

pacalaga said...

That is adorable, as is the image of the nervous fluffy orange cat. (It's Dolores's fault.)
I will be Dulaaning this year, but as I am in Arizona, perhaps I will have to organize my OWN Dulaan-a-thon.

DAWN said...

That is a fantastic jacket! (love the Dulaan project, by the way). I am running to find the book and pattern now. Well, not "running" but you get the idea. . .

Amy said...

As my partner Joy said, we're a ways west of you, currently propagating the queer race. And we read your blog religiously and quote each other bits all the time. Does this get us counted as friends deserving of baby knits? Hell, we'll even read Dolores's letters to our unborn baby! We're shameless!

But we'll settle for baby items we can buy from your CafePress collection.

That's a great jacket. I have some EZ books but the designs always look so drab. In color on the web, it's a different story.

Jenn said...

Great colors! I've been wanting to get an EZ book for a while, and your sweater just put me over the edge.

Lise said...

EZ's Surprise Jacket is my absolute favourite pattern. I have made a number for various and sundry babies in my life, using different colour combinations and yarns. It's a fun pattern to help use up small amounts of the same size yarns. I have also made myself one. I get so many compliments when I wear it. Thank you for sharing!

LaurieM said...

Be careful what you wish for.

Lisa said...

I'd love to join you for a Dulaan night - I've already got four hats and three scarves in my Dulaan 2007 pile. ::grin:: I'm a bit obsessive with the knitting.

Isela: Purling Sprite said...

I do Dulann :)
Love the jacket--especially the color combination.

Daphne said...

It's very cute. I'm sorry to hear you didn't like the yarn -- it's one I like a lot. More for me, then!

brooklyn tweed said...

great jacket!

i'm with you on the lambs pride - horrible stuff. too bad, because its so economical and comes in so many colors.

mohair just aint my cup o' tea

David said...

For those of us who don't knit, is there anyway to contribute, like underwriting the yarn for a blanket or just buying a blanket and sending it?

KnitMongrel said...

Hey - I hear the fluff. I swore off Lamb's Pride after I made several bags (later felted) and had more hair on me then usual (golden retriever in the house). Ick.

I'm definiely in for a Dulaan knit night... just gimme the when and where!

Jennifer in Oak Park said...

I would be interested in participating in your Dulaan gathering. I have already started my Dulaan 2007 mitten binge.

Angela said...

I'd love to do a Dulaan Knit Night if my calendar permits. (No, my life is not THAT exciting; I just have a job that never ends...)

Ryan, The Dulaan Project said...

Franklin, thank you for this posting in support of Dulaan. I've received at least one email as a result, and I see that many of your other commenters are expressing an interest as well. Kewl!

In answer to David's question, and to clarify, the blankets we are requesting are actually a non-knitted item. They are made out of two pieces of fleece cloth (the kind used to make fleece jackets) which are fringed and then knotted together. Here is a pattern: http://www.bfranklincrafts.com/CraftIdeas/CraftIdea-FleeceBlanket.html

Of course, you can send knitted blankets as well but the fleece blankets are a fun item for folks who want to participate but don't want to knit. The organization that distributes the items in Mongolia say that the blankets are perhaps their #1 most important item.

Thank you everyone who has expressed an interest!! Please email me at rymorriss@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

Anonymous said...

If you organize a Dulaan knit night I'd love to take part!

Andrea

Darinka said...

yes, yes, yes to Dulaan project and a knitting night here!!!! Just let us know....

Oh, and re yesterday's post and consumerism, etc, here is something wry that came to my attention today. The kind folks at Dover bring us the Dalai Lama Paper Doll http://store.doverpublications.com/048645181x.html

Gayle said...

That is a very cute sweater! Something to keep in mind for the next baby shower.

I would be interested in attending your knit night.

Beth said...

I love the colors and the way you arranged them. I love knitting this jacket andit looks different every time because of color placement. I used baby cashmerino befoer and that is by far my favorite so far for a little size jacket.

msubulldog said...

I just became aware of this pattern (gee, where have I been?) last month at my SnB. I really love your use of color and stripes. Incredibly cute!

Anonymous said...

I think charity knitting is a Good Thing. Charity knitting for those children within the U.S. that don't have socks, mittens, or blankets, is a bigger Good Thing. Think of some of the poorer Indian tribes in the Dakotas, that suffer through almost the same kind of temperature extremes, as the Mongolian children do. I realize that some Indian tribes are making money hand over fist, due to tribal gaming. Those tribes don't share with the have nots.

How about having a Dakotas Knit Night as well as a Dulaan Knit Night?

Sean said...

I'm always so happy to see on my blog line that I see a new post from you! It was this very pattern that opened my eyes to the genius that is Elizabeth Zimmermann. I did one out of Kureyon. I loved how the self-striping Kureyon was the star in this pattern and what kind of mind came up with this? I think almost every knitter should try this just to get a glimps into Elizabeth's mind.

You did a GREAT job and I really love the colors...well done. Now are you willing to try the Adult Surpise Jacket? I'm not sure if I am.

Carson said...

Nnnnnnoooorrrr*

(* Onomatopeia for goo-goo-gaa-gaa-ish noise elicited from spying something very small and cute)

i love it.

and i have to say i love lambs pride too. i used it recently and i didn't get the shedding problem..unlike a certain peruvian alpaca i could mention...

Konchog said...

Writing in from the Dulaan motherland, I can tell you that the Mongols are fruitful and they multiply. Thus, baby stuff is at a premium. The only problem with that Surprise Jacket is the fights that are going to break out among the parents over who gets it! Ya'll better knit a bunch.

I'm so touched by how this project has fired people's compassionate imagination. The reality here is pretty stark -- Ulaanbaatar is the world's coldest capital (I'm talking average high in January of -17!), and the li'l sweater you knit can literally form the difference between a child being able to attend school and not.

Bless you all. I just got an email from F.I.R.E. director. She's coming October 5, with volunteers arriving in the first week of November. I'll be on the scene to help, and document on my blog with photos and stories.

BTW, if you're so inclined, F.I.R.E. is still trying to raise $10,000 by September 30. You can throw a few shekels their way here: http://www.fireprojects.org/donate.htm

And you can also watch an excellent 5 minute video about their activities in Mongolia here: http://www.channelg.tv/video.php?project_id=44

Pink said...

That is a cute jacket - thank you for bringing the Dulaan project to my attention, I make lots of things for charity, and will be making as many of those jackets as I can.

Mary B in Seattle said...

I'm a 2-year veteran of the Dulaan Project out here in Seattle. It's a marvelous project, and I wish you could all meet Ryan herself 'cuz she's the best!!!

Hope your Chicago Knit In happens and is a blast--we love knitting together out here in Seattle.

You must know, too, Franklin, that TMK's CHOCOLATE TOFU PIE is a requirement for these knit ins. I'll ask her if she'll send you the recipe.

For any of you not in Chicago or Seattle--host a Dulaan Knit In in your town! I prefer "community" knitting to the term "charity" knitting, because it is so cool to form the community at both ends. Those who knit and those who get the knits. Hugs to all, Mary B

DK said...

Me! Me! Me! Count me in! (For the Chi Dulaan-a-Thaan, not the getting pregnant just to enable your knitting of small things).

Kate

Mary said...

Cute EZ jacket. Yep, Lamb's Pride is awful stuff. I like Sean's idea of Noro. Yumm-o.
For a summer baby, Silky Tweed is cozy, but not hot.

Kim said...

Count me as interested in a knit-in. I'll try to get my knitting pals to join in.

Katy said...

I'd be interested in a Dulaan Knit Night. Keep us posted

gerald said...

Yes, I Dulaan. And several other knitters in Columbus, OH Dulaan'd as well...including Sallie you met at "camp."

I do like the Baby Surprise jacket. A quick knit that has many options.

aliassak said...

Delurking to comment on how wonderful the baby surprise jacket looks. I realize that the Lamb's Pride does shed quite a bit (Samus anyone?), but I'm quite partial to it. Great drape, decent enough hand, felts wonderfully, and well... it's local.

Mel said...

Well, I'm a bit too far off for a Dulaan night in Chicago, but progress continues apace on the Black Bunny roll cuff raglan sweater, and it looks as though I'll have enough left over to do matching hat and mittens. I've also got another large & thick hat that's languished nearly finished for a while. All that one needs is another 15 min. or so of decreasing at the top. I think I do more Dulaan knitting than for most anything else, really, but it seems the need is greater.

Flossie said...

FANTASTIC colour combination. Love it!

Laurel said...

I would absolutely love to come to a Dulaan knit night! Say the word, sir.

dragon knitter said...

i've got knitting without tears, but i think i'm going to have to invest in the opinionated knitter. i've seen the baby surprise jacket on many blogs, but i think i like your version best. off to amazon i go!

dragon knitter said...

oh, and it must be the orange that sheds so badly. i use lambs pride worsted for my felted bags, and while there is a small amount of shedding (to be expectged with the mohair content) i don't look like i've been cuddling with my cat & my knitting at the same time. i havne't used the orange.

junior_goddess said...

Your baby surprise turned out well. I love that pattern (Knitters printed it in the late 90s also.) And look at how quickly you got the Dulaan ball rolling!

Your morning chant was pretty effective-you should probably dedicate it to EZ more often, because you are doing GOOD knitting stuff today!

Becky Clark said...

Love your baby surprise jacket! It is a very popular baby shower gift and the pattern never gets boring. I've also knitted a couple of the adult versions, but they turn out sort of "boxy". As most babies are a little portly by nature, the proportions seem to work better on them. Great way to use up leftover yarn too!

Lulu said...

this is gorgeous

Michelle, Schoolhouse Press said...

Franklin,
I love the name of your blog; I hadn't noticed it before (I had only checked out your camp pictures) but feel thrilled to actually "get" a reference to well, anything...thanks to my grad class on Revolution and the required readings.

I'm happy to see that you've knit the baby surprise. Meg and Cully are filming a baby surprise DVD, hopefully to be released before the holidays. Cully (mathematical whiz that he is) has re-done the numbers to give another option for a larger sweater. And, Molly Greenfield is including some original EZ baby surprise jackets in her exhibit at the University of Wisconsin, opening Oct. 27 in Madison. Meg will be at the opening reception for Q&A on the 29th, if any of you want to join in the fun. We've found some great archival letters, scrapbooks and other things to add to the garments by EZ/Meg and other designers.

Andrea Rusin said...

I'll Dulaan with you ;) Let me know when the date is.

marie in florida said...

my younger DD is due in early april.
i make crochet buttons for the EZ BabySurprise. soft and foldy little bows for the lady babies, they work great.
could crochet other little shapes for the guys i guess. LOL... or go with the current craze for pirate skulls, which i just put on crochet boots for the baby. glow in the dark skulls.
your dulaan night will be a great success, i'm sure of it.

Liz said...

That is going to be one sophisticated stylish Mongolian Baby, I just love the color combo. I'm obsessed with knitting hats, I've knit them for all my kids, hubby, sisters, etc, now I'll start knitting them for the Dulaan Project, thanks.

junior_goddess said...

I too had "Make Way for Ducklings" on the brain-I can just see them all huddled at the cross-walk, waiting for the light to change.

You are in big trouble if Ms. Van H ever takes them to Marshall Fields. Fifty-three dollars will seem like candy money.

junior_goddess said...

ooops, soory, wrong spot!

Dee said...

I'd love to Dulaan with you but Gail is right she can drag us just not drive us...either Laurel or I will take the wheel :)

Stephanie said...

I have a really sick obsession with that sweater. I buy yarn to knit it all the time. I've only actually knit it once, but damn, it's interesting.

(and yes. What the hell do you have whacked through it?)

doulicia said...

geeeeee-reat colors! I want to make this now. I'm going to get Opinionated Knitter asap.

And thanks for the tipoff to the Dulaan knitting project. I am one of those people who didn't know about it. So feel justified in your explanation.

Laurakeet said...

I do not Dulaan yet, but I will with you! I'm in your neck'a the woods neighborhood-wise -- I think I met you once when Stephanie P-McP came to Arcadia. Just name the date and I'll knit like charity pays well.

Ccil said...

I lOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOve this little jacket. But sadly i try to find the book inb France and they don't seem to know about it. Do you think you could give me the explication by mail?

thanks a lot

linda said...

I love the BSJ! I really love your color combination. I've made several - turned 2 into pull-overs, and added hoods to all but the first one. It's a very easy pattern to mess around with. Besides being available in the Opinionated Knitter - about $30.00 - it is also available as a one page leaflet from Schoolhouse Press. I think it's $3.00 + postage. BTW - I just discovered your blog - and I love it! What a great sense of humor and view on life you have!

merete said...

i am so envious. i am living in denmark. but i would love to come to the dulaan night in chicago and meet knitters. seldom meet any in copenhagen anymore. except when shopping for yarn. am knitting the surprise sweater myself right now. looks cute and is a surprisingly fun knit.

susie said...

zI absolutely love the sweater. Since I am new to EZ, can you tell me which book has the pattern for the sweater? Any suggestions for good washable yarn as I'm sure dry cleaning would not be an option for most.

Anonymous said...

I love the surprise baby jacket, I've been searching online but I can't find a pattern for less than 17$ - which I think is crazy for one sweater pattern!! Could you email me a copy? Please let me know if you can't!!sweedish_berrie@hotmail.com
Thanks so much!

Grumpy said...

Please Franklin, if you have time, will you give me some advice about the surprise baby jacket? I’m knitting this jacket too at the moment and have hit a snag. I reached 152 stitches and cast of 5 at beg of next two rows for neck as instructed. The next instruction happens at 158 st. but as you are increasing 4 in a row, 152+4=156, not 158?

When you come to pick up your stitches again after working 10 ridges on the centre 90 st, it instructs you to pick up 34 st from your needle. I don’t have 34 st on my needle becuase I just cast off 5! I’m so hoping you’ll have time to help me. I’ve put maxium effort into thi jacket, I would hate to fall at the last hurdle. Many thanks.

Grumpy said...

It's okay - the penny has just dropped. Thanks anyway!

Rasquachi said...

I would go...

niecy said...

Out of all the BSJs that I've seen, and I seen about 2000 of them, this one is the best looking one by far.

Anonymous said...

bonjour hello
désolée ; je ne connais pas l'anglais : est-ce-que une gentille personne pourrait me traduire comment tricoter le baby surprise jacket : j'aimerai tellement pouvoir le tricoter : si c'est possible ; je vous remercie mille mille fois pour votre gentillesse. et encore merci
à bientôt, j'espère françoise
boussenaute@free.fr

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Jackie said...

Thank you so much for answering an unvoiced question - can one make a Baby Surprise Jacket for a larger baby/use worsted without losing integrity?! :)

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Black Thumb said...

I LOVE your baby surprise jacket!! The colors and striping are excellent.

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