In 1898, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) started what would become America’s longest continuously operating knitting charity, providing handknit hats and scarves to merchant mariners working during the holidays. Known as Christmas at Sea, the handknits—still created by volunteers to this day—symbolize a land dweller’s appreciation of mariners’ hard work, dedication and sacrifice.
In celebration of its 115th year, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) sponsors a competition for a knitted hat design to outfit a new generation of mariners working on the world’s waters.
On the open water, temperatures get pretty chilly. Garments like wooly hats form part of a mariner’s fixed apparel, and hats like the ones handmade by Christmas at Sea volunteers find a much needed home on the head of a hardworking mariner. Each year, SCI delivers over 20,000 handknit scarves and hats.
SCI publishes a variety of patterns from which knitters choose to knit a special gift. For years, many have enthusiastically knitted SCI’s iconic seafarer’s watch cap—a pattern as old as seafaring. Today, SCI seeks to add a fresh new pattern to its repertoire to celebrate its heritage and magnify the opportunities for doing good.
SCI invites knitters to submit a design for a new mariner’s hat called the 1898 Hat. The successful pattern, published by Christmas at Sea, should incorporate elements that creatively reflect knitting’s historic place in seafaring and synchronize with a mariner’s harsh work environment.
- Entrants submit an original, unpublished pattern.
- The finished hat should include ear-flaps, a feature specifically requested by mariners this year, and the historic garter stitch.
- For safety, mariners cannot wear garments with tassels, braids, loose string or pom-poms. Designs must exclude these elements.
- The pattern should call for worsted weight wool or wool-blends, knit up at 4.5 st/in (approx.) and use any color or combination of colors (excepting pastels), remembering mariners work in mucky environments.
- The hat should knit up to fit an average-sized man’s head (18” – 20”).
Submit this form with your pattern for the 1898 Hat along with a knitted sample by April 30, 2013, to the Program Manager, Christmas at Sea, 1898 Hat Contest, 118 Export Street, Port Newark, NJ 07114. (Winner announced May 21, 2013.)
A brand new iPad mini (Wi-Fi 16GB)*
* Yarn Store Owners, ask how to get your customers involved, and you too can win an iPad Mini if your customer submits the winning design. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.