Each month, we feature an organization that is knitting and crocheting for a good cause. This month's organization is the Seamen's Church Institute (SCI), founded in 1834, and its "Christmas at Sea" program.
Over 17,000 gifts are knitted and crocheted by over 4,000 volunteers across the United States and distributed to seamen and mariners who are at sea during the holiday season by SCI. Life on the seas can be isolating and the weather can get quite harsh. The handmade gifts from volunteers include hats, scarves, socks, vests, and helmets. In addition to the Christmas at Sea program, each year, SCI visits almost 3,000 vessels and provides social services and pastoral care.
If you're interested in donating to Christmas at Sea, you can use any pattern of your choosing. A variety of patterns can be found at SCI's website; other easy patterns include Ed's Hat and the Basic Sampler Scarf. Yarns used should be machine-washable. Four-ply yarn should be used for all garments except socks, which should be a 3-ply sport-weight yarn. (Wool-Ease is a good, machine-washable choice, with a lot of color options.) When choosing your colors, please keep in mind that most mariners are men. SCI also asks that you do not mix yarns within a garment. For variety, it recommends that you use ombre, variegated, tweed, or flecked yarns. For more information and guidelines, please see their participation guidelines.
Although Christmas is 6 months away, gift packing begins not long after Labor Day. Therefore, SCI encourages volunteers to send donations in the fall, although donations are accepted throughout the year. If you would like to donate items, you can send them to:
For more information, visit SeamensChurch.org.
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