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SCI Knit Spots:
Near Field Communication
With the press of a button, we communicate with the other side of the planet. Thanks to technology, our list of buddies, associates and colleagues now includes people we may never see in person. As we multiply long-distance relationships, some people feel links instantly, and emerging NFC technology makes checking out at the store as simple as touching one device to another. All of this underlines the reality that even though we might enjoy connecting with people thousands of miles away, we also desire to nurture relationships with the people next door. As technology leaves some of us feeling more distanced from each other, others seek to reclaim high-tech advancements for the benefit of all. Similarly, as SCI grows its Christmas at Sea volunteer knitting program, we seek to foster the important one-on-one relationships of knitters in their own communities. SCI has started its own type of near field communication using oldfashioned networking in local communities and towns. Seeking to help you connect with knitters in your immediate area, SCI is establishing SCI Knit Spots across the United States. SCI Knit Spots foster true near field communication, exchanging ideas and sharing experiences, with

others who currently knit or would like to knit for SCI. If you are searching for a place to collaborate with knitters in your area, SCI Knit Spots provide the venue. Local yarn stores and other places designated as SCI Knit Spots have SCI patterns, stock the right yarn (or know where to get it), and can answer questions about knitting for Christmas at Sea. Read more about SCI Knit Spots on page 3 of this newsletter, and see the ways SCI is keeping the “warmth” in knitting. Finally, consider making a donation to fund this project. When tech startup companies seek funding for the implementation of emerging technology in new settings, they require the backing of venture capital firms and angel investors. We are looking for a few angel investors, too. Think of it as supporting a nondot-com “startup” entering a phase of development. Our one-sentence pitch? This project, SCI Knit Spots, can grow rapidly and yield a high return on investment … well, in terms of new knitter friends, that is.

The newsletter of the Seamen’s Church Institute’s Christmas at Sea Program

In this Issue
New Yarn Sponsors 2 A New Look to CAS Patterns 2 SCI Knit Spots 3 Introducing the Faces behind Maritime Commerce 3 Don’t Live Near a Yarn Store? 4 We Asked, and You Said … 4 Meet Mrs. Quintavalle 5 Collecting Toiletries 5 Want Help Talking about SCI? 5 A Trip across America 6

When you make a donation to SCI/ Christmas at Sea, we’ve got some goodies for you.
$50 • Christmas at Sea branded bamboo knitting needles (US size 7) $100 • hand-crafted silk-screened Christmas at Sea project bag $250 • SCI canvas tote bag $500 • 2 skeins of 100% cashmere yarn (enough to make two hats or one scarf) $1000 • all of the above

disconnected and wonder, “Can technology enhance the way we connect with people in our own neighborhoods and towns?” Looking for answers, software developers have focused on a technology called Near Field Communication (NFC). Using portable electronic devices, this technology allows people standing right next to each other to share photos, songs and website
The Seamen’s Church Institute

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.

Does technology sometimes leave you cold?

Become an


investor. Help SCI

New Yarn Sponsors
hristmas at Sea is unique among handknitting charities in that it provides yarn at little or no cost to its knitters and crocheters. Happily, SCI is pleased to announce that two yarn companies, Universal Yarn and Cascade Yarns, have stepped in as Christmas at Sea yarn sponsors to help us continue our tradition.

establish local knitting communities
across the United States. Make a financial contribution to


in solid colors, as well as tweed and variegated.

SCI Knit Spots today.

What does this mean? As Christmas at Sea yarn sponsors, both Universal Yarn and Cascade Yarns provide SCI with a “gift-in-kind” of yarn. SCI earmarks this yarn specifically for Christmas at Sea knitters and crocheters without means to obtain yarn from any other source or who live under severe budget restrictions. In return, both Universal’s and Cascade’s products are listed on Christmas at Sea patterns as the “preferred yarn.”

Cascade’s new product, Pacific, is also suitable for all Christmas at Sea projects (except socks). A 60% acrylic, 40% wool blend, Pacific comes in beautiful solid colors, with a tight twist. Pacific is also machinewashable, and the wool content adds warmth to our hats and scarves. SCI is pleased to bring both Classic Worsted and Pacific into the Christmas at Sea program. Washable wools and wool-blend yarns provide the perfect fiber for Christmas at Sea projects, which need to be water resistant and warm— two qualities inherent to wool. Universal and Cascade offer myriad other yarns, and you can typically find both companies’ products nationwide in your local yarn shops. If you have questions about SCI’s Yarn Sponsor companies, their yarns, and where to find them, please visit their websites (www.universalyarn.com and www.cascadeyarns.com) or contact Christmas at Sea.

Need... Patterns? Yarn? Ready to mail?

Christmas at Sea

Universal Yarn offers Christmas at Sea “Classic Worsted,” an 80% acrylic, 20% wool blend that knits at a worsted weight gauge. Machinewashable, the wool content adds a nice softness to the finished product. You can find Classic Worsted

Paige Sato Program Manager 973-589-5828 cas@seamenschurch.org http://cas.seamenschurch.org

A New Look to CAS Patterns
The Christmas at Sea patterns have received a makeover! While the instructions themselves have not changed, their format has, creating a more unified look and feel. To see the new format, visit: http://cas.seamenschurch. org/pages/knitting-patterns. Available as PDFs, you can easily download all the newly formatted patterns.

Fall 2011 Published by the Seamen’s Church Institute seamenschurch.org The Rev. David M. Rider Executive Director Editor, Oliver Brewer Assistant Editor, Susannah Skiver Design & Production by BlissDesign This newsletter is printed on recycled paper.

2 • The Seamen’s Church Institute

The Knit Before Christmas

Fall 2011

SCI Knit Spots
Introducing the Faces behind Maritime Commerce
by the Rev. David M. Rider, President & Executive Director

Although knitting and crocheting are solitary activities, stitchers do like to congregate to share thoughts on projects, admire each others’ handiwork and simply keep good company. With this in mind, SCI has created “SCI Knit Spots,” and is partnering with local yarn stores, church groups and other local organizations to foster a sense of community among knitters. The goal: to provide a spot for CAS knitters and crocheters to meet each other, meet new people and even bring new stitchers into the Christmas at Sea fold. It’s a brand-new idea for Christmas at Sea, and we’d love to include your local yarn shop (LYS) or church/community knitting group. We have great SCI Knit Spot window clings to identify your spot, and all SCI Knit Spots receive packets of promotional materials, including patterns and posters. We encourage Knit Spots to post photos and narratives to Christmas at Sea’s blog and Facebook page as well. As the Knit Spot community grows, we will add locations to the Christmas at Sea blog (http://cas. seamenschurch. org/pages/sci-knitspots), viewable state by state. In your travels and adventures, you will have no excuse not to be knitting! And you may even be inspired by projects in other Knit Spots!


his year, SCI inaugurated a campaign to celebrate the human factor in maritime commerce, creating print materials and online resources at http://seamenschurch.org/iam. Each component in this series features a photo of a mariner introducing himself with the phrase “I am…” The dashboard of items on the website gives a glimpse into another world—a world that sometimes lies hidden from public awareness. Mariners, not propellers, are the real force behind maritime commerce. Their skill, stamina, and trained professionalism move the world’s cargo. We, as chaplains, have the privilege of sharing in their lives when invited aboard a vessel; however, not everyone gets to see what we see—the amazing spirit, the teamwork, and the camaraderie that characterize the estimable maritime workforce. SCI often calls mariners the invisible workforce, but they do not have to remain anonymous … if we can help it. I invite you to share the stories of mariners. Using SCI’s print and online resources, tell someone about the seafarer who “makes the mall interesting” or the mariner who “lights up your home.” SCI makes available large posters featuring these individuals, which we hope you will ask for and display in your communities. You can also visit or share the special section of our website at http://seamenschurch.org/iam. There, you will find mariner profiles, information about SCI, and virtual tours of maritime industry workplaces. Share our website and Facebook links with your friends, and raise awareness of mariners’ contributions.


The Knit Before Christmas

Fall 2011 • 3

Don’t Live Near

In a perfect world, every knitter would have a local yarn store (LYS) at her or his beck and call, a place to pop in for that visual and sensory experience of “stash building.” Sadly, that’s not always the case, especially in rural or otherwise far-flung communities. However, the Internet helps to level the playing field, and for knitters, Jimmy Beans Wool (www.jimmybeanswool.com) offers a place to find yarn for Christmas at Sea projects online—and at a discount!

a Yarn Store?

time, you’ll receive a 5% discount. Once your project is complete, send it to SCI with your Jimmy Beans Wool receipt included in the box. (This is important.) Here at CAS, we’ll verify with Jimmy Beans that we’ve received your completed The rules are simple. Visit the Jimmy project using yarn purchased through Beans Wool website, and create an them, and you’ll receive 20% off your account. Go to the page set up specifically next order. The 20% discount applies for Christmas at Sea with the yarns only to Christmas at Sea-appropriate yarn appropriate for our projects at www. (not needles, notions, or books or other Jimmy Beans Wool is an SCI virtual Knit jimmybeanswool.com/christmasatsea. goodies). Spot (see the article about Knit Spots When you place an order for the first

elsewhere in this newsletter). Christmas at Sea knitters and crocheters without access to an LYS (or even for pure convenience) receive a discount on Christmas at Sea project yarns, including yarns from our sponsors, Universal Yarn and Cascade Yarns.

We Asked, and You Said …
The Spring 2011 newsletter offered a survey for volunteer Christmas at Sea participants to complete. The goal: to learn more about our stitchers, to see what aspects of the Christmas at Sea program they enjoyed and where we could improve. have yet to try either the sock or vest pattern. Several of the questions dealt with how knitters and crocheters learned about Christmas at Sea—22% read about the program in either a newspaper or magazine, while another 17% heard about it from a friend or relative. And once involved in the projects, 31% of you stay involved because of your love of knitting, and 24% because of the opportunity to use your knitting for charitable service. When asked what you like about SCI and Christmas at Sea, 36% responded that it’s the mission of the organization that keeps you involved, and others participate because of the personal connection with the organization, the satisfaction you get from helping, and the scope of the projects.

Here’s what we learned:
The survey was sent to nearly

Overwhelmingly, respondents asked for more patterns and photos. And we are
more than happy to oblige! The Christmas at Sea blog (http:// cas.seamenschurch.org) is the best spot to check out new photos. And we would love to see you on Facebook, too. (It links directly from the blog.) Patterns take a little longer, but rest assured, your voices have been heard and new patterns will be forthcoming! Thank you all for responding; your input is valuable!

4,300 knitters and crocheters, and slightly over 200 people responded, representing 30
states. The average Christmas at Sea participant has volunteered his/her talents for 9 years!

It goes without saying that the two most popular patterns are flagship patterns: the watch cap seafarer scarf (46%). Not so (49% say its their favorite) and

surprisingly, 41% indicated the

sock pattern is their least favorite. And

61% of the respondents

4 • The Seamen’s Church Institute

The Knit Before Christmas

Fall 2011

Meet a CAS Knitter: Mrs. Quintavalle


t’s always a treat to open a box and see not only the handknits but also a letter or photo from a knitter. Last March, such a box arrived from David Quintavalle, on behalf of his mother, Mary.

and living on Staten Island. I scheduled a visit, and went out to Staten Island in late April.

Bettina and David welcomed me warmly, and my colleague Jennifer Koenig and I spent a marvelous 3-hour lunch with both of them. In addition to He wrote: “I’m sending these on behalf knitting, Bettina is a wonderful painter, of my mother, Mary E. Quintavalle, or Bettina. She is now 94 years old and has and her home is decorated fully with her watercolors and oils. We learned been knitting for SCI for more than 60 how entwined Bettina’s life has been or 70 years. Her father, Trevor Barlow, with SCI. From her baptism through held various posts at SCI including entertainment director, so her association her childhood and young adult years, with “the Institute” goes back to her her memories of holidays and special childhood. In fact, she was baptized at occasions all include “the Institute.” the Institute by Reverend Mansfield in Bettina regaled us with stories of her 1916 when it was on South Street.” memories of Mother Roper (responsible for reuniting hundreds of lost seafarers Immediately, I reached out to David and with their families) and the many skits learned that his mother is in good health and shows put on at SCI.

Mrs. Quintavalle continues to knit every day, and her preference is to knit complete hat/scarf sets. Her cat Percy is known to guard her knitting.

Collecting Toiletries
While handknits are clearly the highlight of Christmas at Sea gifts, seafarers really appreciate the toiletries and other sundries placed in the packages. Collecting sample-sized toiletries is a simple way to stay involved with Christmas at Sea when you’re not knitting. You can collect them by placing a box in your church entrance, team up with a student looking for a school or church service project, or host a party and ask guests to bring toiletries as their “admission.” You can imagine how awful it would be to run out of anything while at sea, but seafarers most commonly ask for: sunscreen, disposable razors, toothpaste and brushes, hand/face lotion, and lip balm.

Want Help Talking about SCI?
SCI has put together a PowerPoint presentation on maritime commerce. Originally designed as an educational tool for youth groups, this interactive presentation is suitable for all audiences, and prompts children and adults alike to consider what professional and personal life is like as both an ocean-going seafarer and inland river mariner. SCI’s Maritime Commerce presentation is available as a free download at http://smschur.ch/nVrqKh.


The Knit Before Christmas

Fall 2011 • 5

A Trip across America
Last fall in my first newsletter as the new Program Director for Christmas at Sea, I paraphrased Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and commented on how much I was looking forward to the adventure of steering the Christmas at Sea program. What an understatement! Little did I know that the “places I’d go” would include all the states along US Route 80 from Oakland, California to Newark, New Jersey. The purpose of the trip was two-fold: first, the SCI minivan at our center in Oakland needed to return to its home in New Jersey. Second, what better way to visit the country than state by state, yarn store by yarn store, recruiting them to become SCI Knit Spots? The journey was a success. The van made it home in one piece (as did my 13 year old and 7 year old daughters and my mother, who came along for the ride). And several shops along the way were eager to be part of Christmas at Sea. But, even more than the practical errands, there is one part of the trip that really struck home for all of us in that minivan—we gained a tiny bit of perspective as to what life might be like on board a merchant vessel. How? Well, consider this…. The four of us were hurtling along US Route 80 for 7–8 hours a day. Like seafarers, we only had each other for company. Aside from Sparkle (my 7 year old’s “lovey” rabbit), we had few comforts of home. Each night we were in a different motel; each day, we were stuck with ourselves for entertainment and conversation. And those conversations started repeating themselves in Nevada. On day 2. But unlike the crew on a merchant vessel, we were able to leave the van for pit stops and meals (and let me tell you, we DEVOURED the company of random strangers and waitresses), and we knew that our trip had no contract extensions. Once we hit New Jersey, we were done. This short, three week experience made all of us appreciate fully the freedom in our daily lives. As a land-dweller, I am able to get up and move around, visit with people on a whim, and make my own schedule. When my day is over, I can surround myself with the comforts of my home and completely relax. The life of a merchant mariner is so different, so constrained and so sequestered. Now I truly understand the impact of our Christmas at Sea gifts—they symbolize a connection to the outside world and to people who care for and support mariners. Sincerely,

Christmas a

t Sea C A L E N D A R

Interested in meeting the SCI/Christmas at Sea team? We may be visiting a town near you, or, if you prefer, come and visit us in Port Newark or the Port of Oakland.
Close Knit Knitting Group, Noble Maritime Museum, Staten Island, NY Oct. 7 Fanwood Presbyterian Needle Night, Fanwood, NJ Oct. 8 Christ Church Alameda packing day, Port of Oakland, CA Oct. 8 NJIT day of service, Port Newark Oct. 15 St. George’s-by-the-River, Rumson, NJ packing day, Port Newark Oct. 24 Learn to Knit an SCI Helmet, VISIONS/ Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired, NYC Oct. 25 Port of Oakland packing day, Oakland, CA Oct. 26 St. David’s Cranbury packing day, Cranbury, NJ Oct. 27 St. Clement’s, Hawthorne, NJ packing day, Port Newark Oct. 29 Trinity Church Woodbridge packing day, Port Newark Oct. 30 Visit to St. Andrew’s, Scotch Plains, NJ Nov. 5 Port of Oakland packing day, Oakland, CA Nov. 9 Grace Church Broadway packing day, Port Newark Nov. 11–12 Diocese of Long Island Convention Nov. 13 Visit to St. Luke’s, Montclair, NJ Nov. 19 St. Luke’s, Montclair, NJ packing day, Port Newark Nov. 19 Diocese of New York Convention Nov. 20 Visit to Calvary Episcopal Church, Flemington, NJ Oct 6

Paige Sato, Program Manager


Christmas at Sea SCI–PORT NEWARK CENTER 118 Export Street Port Newark, NJ 07114

Non-Profit U.S Postage PAID Newtown, CT Permit No. 100


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