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VOLUME 7 /N UMBER 2
The newsletter of the Seamen’s Church Institute’s Christmas at Sea Program
In this Issue
Dear Friends 2 Déjà vu? 3 A New Hat for Mariners 3 The 1898 Hat 4–5 Your Questions Answered 6 Calendar 6
You have heard the expression “Watch this space,” meaning exciting further developments coming soon. This winter, SCI asks you to #WATCHthisCAP. Between Thanksgiving and the New Year’s Day, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) asks knitters to help increase awareness of mariners’ contributions by making—and hiding in plain sight—mini mariners’ watchcaps. The hats draw attention to the fact that mariners, whose work is often hidden in plain sight, deliver more than 90% of all imported goods.
Small Hats Making a BIG Difference
SCI makes available a pattern for a miniature mariners’ watchcap (along with an informational tag to attach) so that people can educate the public about the world’s maritime workforce. As part of a nationwide activity called #WATCHthisCAP, knitters and their friends place completed knits in conspicuous places to spread awareness of the hidden maritime workforce. SCI’s #WATCHthisCAP movement will have folks discovering these handknit creations, revealing a fact that many don’t realize: much of what shoppers purchase on a day-to-day basis comes courtesy of the men and women of maritime commerce. Find the tag and hat pattern enclosed with this newsletter (contact email@example.com for more), and knit a mini mariners’ watchcap for your community.
Baby, it ’s cold outs ide!
Just as every stitch from every knitter contributes to mariners’ warmth during the winter months, every dollar you give to SCI upholds the valuable services we provide and on which the entire maritime community depends.
Part of the fun will be watching where these hats wind up. The hats fit bottle tops—from olive oil to wine—but can garnish other things, too, like gas pumps or bicycles. Where in your community would a mini watchcap belong?
The Seamen’s Church Institute
Track the placement of the mini hats and monitor their impact on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks using the hashtag #WATCHthisCAP. Watch this space for the project’s development.
Founded in 1834, SCI is a voluntary, ecumenical agency affiliated with the Episcopal Church that provides pastoral care, maritime education, and legal advocacy services for mariners.
When considering where to place your caps, remember that mariners do more than deliver imports. They also move goods within our own country’s borders. Inland river mariners and Gulf Coast workers could benefit from some attention, too.
eftovers. Often that word implies “second best,” a thing passed over for something newer, better. But we do well to remember that leftovers frequently come from something fabulous. Could you imagine Thanksgiving without leftovers the following Friday—sometimes more delicious than on the day itself. Moreover, Thanksgiving leftovers provide an opportunity to relive and savor again what was so excellent about the dinner in the first place! As stitchers, we know all about leftovers. It seems that every single project leaves us with just the tiniest bit of yarn—not enough for a new hat, but too much to (gasp!) throw away. I’m always so pleased when I find a good use for leftovers. I like making delicious Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce. I love the look of a sweater or a pair of blue jeans patched with a unique square of fabric. And I enjoy adding cute stripes to hats and scarves. The food, the fabric and the yarn leftovers are instrumental in creating something amazing.
Need help? Turn to your knitting friends for support. Check out Christmas at Sea’s Facebook page to meet new ones.
Come visit the Christmas at Sea knitting room in SCI’s Port Newark International Seafarers’ Center. Email psato@ seamenschurch.org to find out how.
This fall, I ask you to take a look at your leftovers—small scraps of yarn—to help SCI create something amazing, too—a planet with a better understanding of the work and world of mariners. Based on last winter’s TEAny hat project, we’re asking you, our legion of knitters, to think big, but knit small for our #WATCHthisCAP campaign. Knit up and tag new mini watch caps; and then between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, drop the cap off somewhere—at your library, on the bus, at your doctor’s office, at your church or in a restaurant. Put a cap on a wine bottle in your wine shop. Stick a cap on a toothbrush in your pharmacy, or top off a kiwi at your grocery store. (Probably best to ask The Inspiration for the 1898 permission before leaving your cap to make Hat sure the store owner welcomes the addition to “ The inspiration came from his or her merchandise.) The tags are loaded an illustration I saw in a with information about SCI and the work magazine published around of mariners. 1910. Unfortunately I cannot Like messages in a bottle traveling around the world, we wonder where these mini watchcaps will end up. We want to keep track of where you and your friends put them, so we ask folks— both organizers and finders—to send us photos and videos of the hats, sharing them online with the hashtag #WATCHthisCAP on sites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. With over 4,000 Christmas at Sea stitchers in our family, imagine if everyone left one hat in a public place this winter. Imagine the number of people learning about mariners. Imagine all that good, coming from simple leftovers. Imagine. Sincerely,
Looking for a PDF of this newsletter that you can read on your iPad or email a friend?
Need… Patterns? Yarn? Ready to mail?
Christmas at Sea
118 Export Street Port Newark, NJ 07114 Paige Sato, Program Manager 973-589-5828 firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall 2013 Published by the Seamen’s Church Institute seamenschurch.org The Rev. David M. Rider Executive Director Editor, Oliver Brewer Assistant Editor, Susannah Skiver Barton Design & Production by BlissDesign This newsletter is printed on recycled paper. The Knit Before Christmas
find the magazine again, despite much searching, but the construction (bottom portion knit vertically, then horizontally in the round for the top) made an impression. When I saw the contest for the 1898 hat, that old picture came back to me as a way to add the shaping required by earflaps, though the original didn't have earflaps. I started to experiment based upon that basic idea of construction and came up with doubling the bottom portion for added warmth. The fact that it would fit under a hard hat didn't occur to me but I am glad that the men who will wear it find that feature so useful!” —Kris Byrnes, Designer of SCI’s 1898 Hat
Paige Sato Program Manger, Christmas at Sea
Fall 2013 • 2 seamenschurch.org
The History Behind #WATCHthisCAP
SCI designed the TEAny Hats to mirror a life-sized watchcap, a hat design that has protected mariners traveling on cold waters for hundreds of years. Customers at New Jersey Starbucks who went to purchase tea last winter discovered their bottles topped with a mini watchcap. The colorful wool on top of each tea might have drawn some strange looks, but customers examining the tag affixed to each hat soon understood: “From smartphones to blue jeans to the ingredients that make this beverage so tasty, seafarers bring us the comforts of our daily lives.” The project inspired knitters from across the United States to craft the miniature tea-topping hats, which helped spread the news of mariners’ arduous labors to deliver overseas products to American shores and garner support for North America’s largest mariners’ service agency, SCI. But many felt the message did not travel far enough. Passionate knitters expressed a desire to enlarge the project’s reach to locations in their own communities.
ast year, Starbucks coffee stores surrounding Port NewarkElizabeth Marine Terminal, the largest container port in the eastern United States, adorned some of their refrigerated beverages with miniature seafarers’ caps. The project, called 1200 TEAny Hats (because the hats topped Starbucks’ TAZO-brand tea bottles),
helped SCI reach consumers to talk about the work of mariners who deliver most of their consumable merchandise, including the tea found at Starbucks. Over 175 knitters participated in the endeavor, making some 2,173 hats for bottles sold at 12 New Jersey Starbucks, spreading the word about mariners and SCI to thousands of shop visitors.
A New Hat for Mariners
What’s fashionable on the high seas this winter? Some mariners will sport a new hat designed by Kristine Byrnes of Allentown, NJ, winner of SCI’s contest to keep seafaring ears warm. SCI debuts new garb for mariners this winter. Earlier this year, we asked the world to outfit the next generation of mariners with an original knitted hat pattern based on feedback chaplains received while visiting vessels in port. Mariners said their ears were cold. Curiously, while visiting ships this past winter, SCI’s intern, 24-year-old Jania Billups, lost three hats. The wind did not take them nor did the sea. Rather, seafarers—seeing her wooly hat—asked Jania if they could have it … because it had earflaps. SCI’s Christmas at Sea Program Manager Paige Sato took this as a directive for the 4,000+ volunteer knitters she coordinates from across the United States. Sato inaugurated a contest for a new mariners’ hat pattern to supplement the watch cap—a special design that would meet workplace safety requirements and also incorporate the ear-warming features that mariners requested. Called the 1898 Hat (in honor of the founding year of the Christmas at Sea volunteer knitting program), the winning
The Knit Before Christmas
design of the contest features a double-knit earflap that stays put without tying below the chin. Chosen from a pool of 12 submissions, the hat should keep mariners’ ears sheltered from the cold. Seafarers themselves evaluated the various designs, trying them on and offering feedback to the contest judges. They told the judges they liked the design because it looks good on, and, “The hat feels warm over my ears,” said one seafarer of the MV Ever Refine, traveling up the East Coast of the United States. The 1898 Hat pattern is now in circulation to the joy of mariners everywhere. We have printed the pattern in this newsletter, and you can also download it from our website. This winter, SCI hopes that, while providing a new, warming style for seafarers, its interns get to keep their own hats.
The 1898 Hat supplements SCI’s traditional watchcap. Download all of our patterns online at seamenschurch.org/ cas.
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The Knit Before Christmas
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With its clev er construction (k the brim vert nitting ically, then folding over to a double-kni create t earflap), the 1898 Hat ca tricky when co n seem m typical knit ha pared to ts. If you need help, ch ec YouTube vide k out the os linked from SCI’s w eb seamenschu site at rch.org/cas. seamenschurch.org
The Knit Before Christmas Fall 2013 • 5 seamenschurch.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I send my completed knits?
Although SCI has many centers across the United States, there is only one address to which knitters and crocheters should send completed projects: Christmas at Sea, 118 Export Street, Port Newark, NJ 07114. Sadly, handknits sent to other addresses may get returned, undelivered and unloved by mariners across the world.
Christmas at Sea packing days are in full swing. If you’re interested in coming to Port Newark to pack, or having Paige come visit your knitting group or church, please email email@example.com or call 973-589-5828.
Oct 15 (Tue): Packing Day at Trinity Reformed Church, Plainfield, NJ Oct 26 (Sat): Packing Day at Pompton Valley Presbyterian Church, Pompton Plains, NJ Nov 2 (Sat): Packing Day at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Summit, NJ Nov 7-10: Stitches East, Hartford, CT; CAS booth Nov 12 (Tue): Packing Day at Grace Lutheran Church, Somers Point, NJ Nov 14 (Thu): Packing Day at St. David’s Episcopal Church, Cranbury, NJ Nov 16 (Sat): Packing Day at St. George’s-by-the-River Episcopal Church, Rumson, NJ Nov. 19 (Tue): Packing Day at Trinity Reformed Church, Plainfield, NJ
AT SEA READY CHRISTMAS TO MAIL? 118 EXPORT ST
I have my own favorite hat/scarf pattern. Can I use that instead?
SCI has made available patterns for garments that meet workplace safety requirements and match mariners’ needs; however, we welcome others, too, with a few caveats: 1. Please use worsted weight yarn. Hats cannot be bulky, as they need to fit under hardhats; and scarves need to fit under jumpsuits. 2. No embellishments. (See previous question.)
What colors can I use?
Just about any. Mariners, just like you and me, love colors. Keep in mind, however, that a large proportion of the seafaring population is male and mariners work in messy environments. Best to stick with bright or neutral colors, shying away from pastels.
What about sewn fleece hats or scarves?
Christmas at Sea is really all about the handknits. If you enjoy sewing, check out our ditty bag, an excellent project and much appreciated by mariners.
I have lots of small bits and pieces of yarn—not enough for a complete project. Can I use those odds and ends?
Yes. Throw in a stripe or two (or three) on any of the projects. If knitting a hat, try knitting the brim in one color and the body and crown in a second. For scarves, color blocking works nicely. (The seafarer’s scarf looks awesome with the garter stitch in one color and the ribbing around the neck in another.)
I want (or my group wants) to do more. How can folks help in addition to knitting?
Some ideas: 1. Include Christmas cards with your knits. 2. Add some sample-sized toiletries (e.g., lip balm, hand lotion, toothpaste, etc.) to your box. (If you belong to a church, suggest the church host a toiletry drive to supplement your knits.) 3. If you live close enough to Port Newark, come help pack the gifts. 4. Make a financial contribution to SCI’s Annual Fund in honor of Christmas at Sea.
What about pom-poms or tassels?
Although they may look cute, we cannot accept knitted garments with embellishments like pompoms, tassels, fringe, braids or buttons. Mariners work in dangerous environments around huge equipment. These extra bits present a workplace hazard.
Can someone from SCI come to my group or church to speak?
Absolutely. If you are close enough to any of the locations from which we operate (Port Newark, NJ; New York, NY; Paducah, KY; Houston, TX; New Orleans, LA; and Oakland, CA), we would love to visit. Our staff often travel, too, so ask if we’re likely to be in your area soon.
Fall 2013 • 6
PORT NEWARK, NJ 07114
The Knit Before Christmas
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