Children in Common
(frequently Asked Questions)
1. "Why do I have to use wool? I really like acrylic better."
This is not a "wool snob" issue. CIC has asked for at least 60% (they actually prefer at least 75%, and I always use 100%) wool or other animal fiber simply because it's significantly warmer. It's cold, indoors and outdoors, where these kids live. Imagine an indoor temperature of 45 Fahrenheit (that's about 7 Celsius) in the winter. If you're worried that wool might shrink: (1) if you consider the fact that some kids don't even have hot water for baths, it's clear that it won't be used for laundry; (2) given the price of energy and the poverty of the orphanages, no one's going to put anything in a dryer; (3) wool is still used quite commonly in Europe, so most people are more familiar with caring for it; and (4) if all else fails and the socks do shrink, a smaller child will be able to wear them. Also, if you send socks that don't meet this request, Karen has to do extra work finding a place that needs them (she never throws anything away, but she does redirect contributions that aren't quite right for CIC.) Note: If you must use acrylic, write to me and I'll give you some addresses for alternate organizations.
2. "How will I know my socks got there?"
When you mail your package, either include a self-addressed stamped postcard for Kathy to return to you, or purchase a delivery confirmation sticker at the post office, which will allow you to find out if/when your package was delivered.
3. "Can my friends who aren't on the CIC list at Yahoo participate?"
Yes, please!! We call these socks-in-law, and they are most enthusiastically welcomed and included in our tally. Spread the word to your friends and relatives, your knitting buddies, your yarn store, anyone! And report to the list so we can add those to the tally. Yarn store owners, feel free to run a challenge in your shops!
4. "Do I have to use a certain pattern?"
No, use whatever pattern you like, your favorite old faithful, or something you've never done before. Periodically a list of suggested patterns is posted to the CIC list, but thatís just for reference, or in case you need a new idea.
5. "Where should I send my socks when they're ready?"
They go to Kathy Graziani, 9124 Flamepool Way, Columbia, MD 21045. This address is sent to the list automatically at the beginning of each month, and itís in the Files section as well.
6. "When should I send my socks, vests, etc?"
Any time! Some people set a goal and send a box when they've reached it; others send a pair or two every month or so. Sometimes we have challenges with deadlines, and then you should try to send your items in time to be included (just for fun). I tend to mail a package as soon as I have completed 3-5 pairs; it gives me a sense that I'm moving ahead. Whatever works for you works for CIC. For the current challenge, send socks by August 31.
7. "What sizes are needed?"
This year we're focusing on the younger kids, aged about 1 to 6 years. So little socks (up to about 6 inches from back of heel to tip of toe) are needed first. (A heel-to-toe length of 4 to 6 inches is the most useful.) There are bigger kids in the orphanages, too - up to age 16 - so if for whatever reason you prefer to send larger socks, they will get to someone who needs them. Infant sizes are NOT needed.
8. "Everyone else is doing such great things that I feel that my knitting
just isnít good enough."
OK - do they look like socks? Do they hold together? Are both the same size? Basic socks (or vests, or sweaters) are every bit as warm as those made with magnificent advanced techniques. Marvel at those messages, and go ahead and make warm socks. I usually knit heavy, plain (although often bright), wool garments, figuring I can send more individual items that way. And - the great thing is that you don't have to aim to fit a certain person; as long as they're within the "normal" range, they'll fit someone and be used and loved. Oh - and those of you who are making those beautiful intimidating socks? Don't stop!
9. "Do I have to report when I send something in?"
No, of course not. We've found, though, that when people see how many socks are being made for the kids, and watch the total inching upward, sooner or later their fingers start itching to participate. If, however, you prefer to knit socks without any public acknowledgment, even as "Anonymous," we still welcome your participation.
10. "I live in Europe/Australia/Papua New Guinea, and it's expensive to mail socks to the U.S. Is there a collection point closer to home?" No, I'm afraid not. Because the socks are hand-delivered, in the luggage of parents going to bring their newly adopted children home or via one of CICís occasional big trips, everything has to start out from Baltimore. And because nothing is mailed (that tends to be unsuccessful, and things "disappear" when mailed to some of the countries involved, whether from the US or Europe), they have to come here first. However -- there's probably a group closer to home that could use your socks. They won't count in the CIC total, but you're still making life better for children somewhere, so the end result is the same. Or maybe you have a friend traveling to the U.S. who'd be willing to mail them here.
11. "Doesn't CIC have a website?"
Yes; it's www.childrenincommon.org. And you can learn a lot about them there. The knitting project, though, is kind of a wild card, fueled by the goodwill of knitters, so you won't find information on knitting there.
These socks were made by Socknitter members for Children in Common in 1999