Category Archives: knitting

Knitting Rhymes and Mnemonics

childknittingIn a recent discussion on a Facebook knitting group I’m in, someone who is teaching knitting to a child asked what rhymes or mnemonics she can use to help the child remember the technique, noting that her mother taught her a rhyme but she’s since forgotten it. The answers were so awesome I just had to share. Here they are…

 

For the Knit Stitch:

  • Up, Round, Under, and Off
    • Or: In, Round, Through, and Out
    • Or: In, Around, Out, Off
    • Or: Up to make x round the top of T and pull off
  • Bottom up, left to right and around, slide the needle down, scoop, pull and off! (This one came with a comment about teaching this to kids of unspecified age at church: “It’s funny, alot [sic] of them think of knitting as ‘off’ and casting on as ‘over’. [T]eaching the right words is almost more trouble than it’s worth at this age.”)
  • In thru the front door / Go round back / Out thru the window / Jump off, Jack
    • Or: In through the front door / Run around the back / Out through the window / Off jumps Jack
  • Run in the front door, grab your scarf, run back out again before the cat throws up
    • Or: In through the door, wrap up, out the door, down the sidewalk
    • Or: In through the front door / Grab your scarf / Back out the front door / Before you barf
  • Stab him, strangle him, pull his guts out and throw him off the cliff. (This one came with a disclaimer: “I learnt a pretty gruesome one from Ravelry that I used to teach children at school to knit, they loved it!” I suppose sometimes it’s the really horrid/odd/gruesome things kids remember, like how they can’t remember the family patriarch/matriarch’s name—my daughter calls both of my husband’s parents “Grandpa”—no matter how many times you tell it to them, but the one time you cuss, they remember that word forever.)

 

For the Purl Stitch:

  • Dive down for pearls
  • Jack goes in / Puts on his scarf / Comes back out / And takes it off
  • Under the fence / Catch the sheep / Back we come / Off we leap!
  • Down the little bunny hole / Around the big tree / Up pops bunny / And away runs he
    • Or: In through the bunny hole / And round the big tree / And out through the bunny hole / And off goes she
  • In through the back way / Then rope the hog / Back out the gate / And jump off the log!

 

For the Standard Bind Off:

  • you have Pete and Repeat sitting on a log and Pete jumps over Repeat who’s left

 

Others recommended Kids Knitting by Melanie Fallick and Auntie Suzanne Blogs it All (http://auntiesuzanne.blogspot.jp/2006/10/knitting-rhymesold-and-new.html) as additional sources for rhymes.

 

じゃあまたね!

“Maxi” Pants Pattern For Babies and Toddlers (Sport Weight)

Previously, I wrote about a pants pattern I created to match Elena Nodel’s free Maxi Top/Dress for Babies pattern on Ravelry. Elena Nodel’s pattern calls for DK (8 ply) yarn, but I used sport weight (5 ply) yarn. I originally uploaded the DK instructions and promised to upload the sport weight instructions… so here they are!

It’s a casual shape, knitted top-down with minimal seaming (a tiny bit of the waistband and the crotch). I want to specifically mention that the pants are designed with the same fit and positive easing as the top/dress pattern. In other words, excepting differences in body shapes, if you knit the 24 month top, you should knit the 24 month pants to match.

Please note only the 24 month size has been tested.

So without further ado, here is the pants pattern, provided in sport weight yarn to match the original top/dress pattern and with the same gauge as the original pattern.

 

Maxi Pants pattern “MAXI” PANTS PATTERN

(I apologize for the formatting here. A pdf download of this pattern is available on Ravelry.)

  • Yarn Weight: Sport / 5 ply (12 wpi)
  • Needle Size: US 5 (3.75 mm)
  • Gauge: 6 sts and 7 rows per in or 24 sts and 28 rows per 4 in / 10 cm
  • Sizes Available: NB to 24 months
  • Errata: elastic band 0.5 inches or 1.25 cm width

 

MEASUREMENTS

(To match the original pattern, the hip has 1 inch / 2.5 cm positive ease, but for a very relaxed/casual fit on the legs, the thighs have 2 inches / 5 cm positive ease.)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

For NB (3 mo, 6 mo, 9 mo, 12 mo, 18 mo, 24 mo)

photo (3)

WAISTBAND

  • Holding two strands, CO 114 (114, 120, 122, 124, 130, 130) sts, turn
  • begin double knitting:
  • Row 1: (bring both strands to back, k1 MC, bring both strands to front, p1 CC), rep to end*
  • Row 2: (bring both strands to back, k1 CC, bring both strands to front, p1 MC), rep to end*

*Note: In double-knitting, if you desire a single fabric, you work in this manner, but use both strands to k2tog at the first two and last two sts; this connects the edges. However, if making a tube that is open on both ends, you simply work in the above described manner straight across. The holes on each end are important in this case because that’s where you’ll weave in the elastic for the waistband.

  • Continue until fabric measures 0.5 inches / 1.25 cm (approx. 4 rows)
  • ssk across
  • Cut elastic band to 17.5 (17.5, 18.5, 18.875, 19.25, 20, 20) inches or 44.5 (44.5, 47, 48, 48.9, 50.8, 50.8) cm. Weave through the waistband*. Overlap the ends of the elastic band by 0.5 inches or 1.25 cm and sew together.

*NOTE: You REALLY want to weave it through now rather than later so you can see whether you’ve accidentally crossed the yarns during your double-knitting, which would make it impossible to weave the elastic band through. If you don’t do it now and you find out after you’ve knitted quite a bit more of the garment, you’re not going to want to frog the whole thing to fix it. If you do it now, you won’t have to frog very much to fix the problem.

 

HIPS

  • join to knit in the round, pm (beginning of round or “BOR” marker)
  • k1 rnd while increasing 6 (6, 6, 8, 6, 2, 8) sts evenly and pm (hind marker or “HM”) after stitch number 90 (90, 95, 98, 98, 99, 104). Total: 120 (120, 126, 130, 130, 132, 138) sts.

 

Short Row Shaping

  • Row 1: k 11 (11, 11, 12, 12, 12, 13) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 11 (11, 11, 12, 12, 12, 13) sts, w&t, k to HM
  • Row 2: k 22 (22, 23, 24, 24, 24, 25) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 22 (22, 23, 24, 24, 24, 25) sts, w&t, k to HM
  • Row 3: k 33 (33, 34, 35, 35, 36, 38) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 33 (33, 34, 35, 35, 36, 38) sts, w&t, k to HM
  • Row 4: k 44 (44, 46, 47, 47, 48, 50) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 44 (44, 46, 47, 47, 48, 50) sts, w&t, k to HM

 

Hips

  • K 30 (30, 31, 32, 32, 33, 34) sts, pm (front marker or “FM”), k to end of rnd
  • Paper Diapers: Work St st until combined lengths of front and back* measures 12.75 (13.5, 14.75, 15.5, 15.5, 16.75, 16.75) inches or 32.5 (34.25, 37.5, 39.5, 39.5, 42.5, 42.5) cm.
  • Cloth Diapers: Work St st until combined lengths of front and back* measures 12.75 (14.5, 16, 17.5, 18.5, 20.25, 22) inches or 32.5 (37, 40.5, 44.5, 47, 51.5, 56) cm.

*Note that the back will be longer than the front due to the short row shaping, so you have to measure both to get the current total length of the rise.

 

Crotch Shaping

  • Rnd 1: k to FM, increase 1 st on each side of FM, k to HM, increase 1 st on each side of HM, k to end of rnd
  • Rnd 2: k around
  • Rep Rows 1-2 two more times.
  • Size 24 month Only: Rep Row 1.
  • Total: 132 (132, 138, 142, 142, 144, 154) sts.

 

Dividing the Legs

  • k to 2 sts before FM, BO 4 sts (removing marker as you come to it), k to 2 sts before HM (and place these sts on scrap yarn or stitch holders), BO 4 sts (removing marker as you come to it), k to end of rnd. Total: 62 (62, 65, 67, 67, 68, 73) sts for each leg. Remove BOR marker.
  • Note: the first leg you will work is the right leg. The left leg will remain on scrap yarn or stitch holders until you’re finished with the right leg.

 

LEGS

Joining & Decreasing

NOTE: You will work the decreases listed below, followed by St st, until 1.25 inches or 3.25 cm less than the preferred length as measured from the crotch. (See beginning of pattern for recommended lengths.) Especially for shorts for the smaller sizes like NB, you may find that in order to fit all the decreases, you have to knit a greater length than desired. In such a case, just work the decreases until you’ve reached the desired length and be sure to end with an even number of stitches. The circumference of the legs really isn’t that critical, so don’t worry about it!

Sizes NB to 9 mo only:

  • Rnd 1: k to 3 sts before inseam/crotch, sl1, k2tog, psso, pm (this is the new BOR marker), join to knit in the round. Total: 60 (60, 63, 65) sts.
  • Rnd 2: k3tog, k to end of rnd. Total: 58 (58, 61, 63) sts.
  • Rep Rnds 1 and 2: 2 (1, 1, 1) more time(s). Total: 50 (54, 57, 59) sts.

All Sizes:

  • Rnd 3: k to 2 sts before marker, k2tog. Total: 49 (53, 56, 58, 66, 67, 72) sts.
  • Rnd 4: ssk, k to end of rnd. Total: 48 (52, 55, 57, 65, 66, 71) sts.
  • Rep Rnds 3 and 4: 1 (2, 1, 1, 2, 0, 2) more time(s). Total: 46 (48, 53, 55, 61, 66, 67) sts.
  • Rep Rnd 3: 0 (0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1) more time(s). Total: 46 (48, 52, 54, 60, 66, 66) sts.
  • Work St st until 1.25 inches or 3.25 cm less than preferred length as measured from crotch. (See beginning of pattern for recommendations.)

Work hemline as indicated in original pattern, modified for a shorter hemline:

 

Hemline Option 1 (8 rnds, 1.1 in, 2.9 cm)
Change to CC:
(k1 rnd, p1 rnd) x 4
BO knitwise

 

Hemline Option 2 (9 rnds, 1.25 in, 3.25 cm)
Change to CC:
Rnd 1: k 1 rnd
Rnd 2: work 1×1 rib
Rnd 3: *k1, pbaf* to end of rnd
Rnd 4-5: work 1×2 rib
Rnd 6: *k1, pbaf, p1* to end of rnd
Rnd 7-9: Work 1×3 rib
BO in pattern

 

JOIN YARN AND REPEAT above instructions for second leg.

 

FINISHING

Use yarn tail from CO to seam closed the hole at the waistband and weave in the end.

Use yarn tail from joining yarn for the second leg to seam together the hole in the crotch and weave in the end.

“Maxi” Pants Pattern for Babies and Toddlers

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may have read my sordid tale of yarn ordering difficulty, in which I ended up with pink yarn (coincidentally, my least favorite color) where I had ordered orange yarn. I then owned 400 grams of pink sport weight yarn that I had no idea what to do with, and so began searching for patterns. When searching for a simple dress or tunic pattern I could easily edit for my daughter, I came across this adorable (and free!) “Maxi Top/Dress for babies” by Elena Nodel. The sizes go up to 24 months, which happened to be the size I needed, and the pattern creator explained that she specifically wrote this and one other baby dress pattern to provide people with a simple dress pattern they can easily edit for their own use. In other words, it was exactly what I was looking for! Of course, the pattern calls for double-knit weight yarn whereas I had sport weight yarn, so I had to do a little mathematical editing anyway in order to make up for the differences between our gauges, but I was very pleased with the end result.

(Well, I was pleased as far as design is concerned. The yarn itself still leaves something to be desired, having been 100% cellulose and therefore too heavy and stretchy for the type of garment for which I used it. It would have been better to use a different yarn, but the whole purpose of this exercise was to use up this yarn, as mentioned above, so I had little choice. In future, if using 100% plant fiber yarn, I would string along nylon thread to help the garment hold its shape. I just want to be very clear that the original pattern’s designer, Elena Nodel, can’t be held responsible for my poor yarn choice. Her pattern calls for animal fiber yarns.)

My only criticism (if you can call it that) of the pattern is that it comes out a bit bigger than one would anticipate, even with the correct gauge. This is not necessarily a bad thing or a fault with the pattern. Different brands will fit children differently—e.g., a “24 month” Gymboree might fit a certain child while a “24 month” Carter’s will not—and when gifting children’s or babies’ clothing to someone else, you never know whether the recipient is using the smaller-fitting brands or the larger-fitting brands. Therefore, when converting any handmade garments, whether sewn or knitted, to conventional sizes, you must always accept room for error. I usually use Craft Yarn Council standards and I find that their standards are very similar to the clothing my daughter wears—i.e., if my daughter is wearing 24 month clothing and I knit something to 24 month sized Craft Yarn Council standards, it fits her perfectly (note: my daughter wears clothing of many different brands from the U.S. and Japan, so I’m not comparing to just one or two brands when I make this statement). The aforementioned Maxi Top/Dress pattern comes out significantly larger than Craft Yarn Council standards for all of the sizes in question, and so the end result of the 24 month size, even adjusted for gauge, is that it’s more of a 3T size. Therefore, my daughter’s Maxi Top is a little too large for her at this time. It’s not really an issue as she’ll grow into it, but I just wanted to mention this in case it does make a difference for someone.

I ended up knitting pants to match and I loved the end result so much that I decided to share it here on my blog for anyone interested in creating matching pants to go with the top. It’s a casual shape, knitted top-down with minimal seaming (a tiny bit of the waistband and the crotch). I decided to use the same fit as the top, and therefore the 24 month pants I created are, in my opinion, really a 3T. Nevertheless, if you knit the 24 month top and the 24 month pants, you can trust that they will probably fit the recipient at the same time (allowing, of course, for differences in babies’ and children’s body shapes). At this time, the pants fit my daughter if I roll down the waistband, but because the top is too large, I’ve put the pants away for now as well. I’m glad I knitted her something that she’ll have to grow into—especially as compared to the risk that I might have knitted something too small for her—but I wanted to make note of the fact of sizing discrepancy in case it’s an issue for someone using this pattern.

I want to specifically mention that the pants are designed with the same fit and positive easing as the top/dress pattern. In other words, excepting differences in body shapes, if you knit the 24 month top, you should knit the 24 month pants to match.

Please note only the 24 month size has been tested.

So without further ado, here is the pants pattern, provided in DK weight yarn to match the original top/dress pattern and with the same gauge as the original pattern.

 

Maxi Pants pattern “MAXI” PANTS PATTERN

(I apologize for the formatting here. A pdf download of this pattern is available on Ravelry.)

  • Yarn Weight: DK / 8 ply (11 wpi)
  • Needle Size: US 6 (4.0 mm)
  • Gauge: 5.5 sts and 7.25 rows per in or 22 sts and 29 rows per 4 in / 10 cm
  • Sizes Available: NB to 24 months
  • Errata: elastic band 0.5 inches or 1.25 cm width

 

MEASUREMENTS

(To match the original pattern, the hip has 1 inch / 2.5 cm positive ease, but for a very relaxed/casual fit on the legs, the thighs have 2 inches / 5 cm positive ease.)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

For NB (3 mo, 6 mo, 9 mo, 12 mo, 18 mo, 24 mo)

photo (3)

WAISTBAND

  • Holding two strands, CO 105 (105, 110, 112, 114, 118, 118) sts, turn
  • begin double knitting:
  • Row 1: (bring both strands to back, k1 MC, bring both strands to front, p1 CC), rep to end*
  • Row 2: (bring both strands to back, k1 CC, bring both strands to front, p1 MC), rep to end*

*Note: In double-knitting, if you desire a single fabric, you work in this manner, but use both strands to k2tog at the first two and last two sts; this connects the edges. However, if making a tube that is open on both ends, you simply work in the above described manner straight across. The holes on each end are important in this case because that’s where you’ll weave in the elastic for the waistband.

  • Continue until fabric measures 0.5 inches / 1.25 cm (approx. 4 rows)
  • ssk across
  • Cut elastic band to 17.5 (17.5, 18.5, 18.875, 19.25, 20, 20) inches or 44.5 (44.5, 47, 48, 48.9, 50.8, 50.8) cm. Weave through the waistband*. Overlap the ends of the elastic band by 0.5 inches or 1.25 cm and sew together.

*NOTE: You REALLY want to weave it through now rather than later so you can see whether you’ve accidentally crossed the yarns during your double-knitting, which would make it impossible to weave the elastic band through. If you don’t do it now and you find out after you’ve knitted quite a bit more of the garment, you’re not going to want to frog the whole thing to fix it. If you do it now, you won’t have to frog very much to fix the problem.

 

HIPS

  • join to knit in the round, pm (beginning of round or “BOR” marker)
  • k1 rnd while increasing 5 (5, 6, 6, 4, 4, 8) sts evenly and pm (hind marker or “HM”) after stitch number 83 (83, 87, 89, 89, 92, 95). Total: 110 (110, 116, 118, 118, 122, 126) sts.

 

Short Row Shaping

  • Row 1: k 10 (10, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 10 (10, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11) sts, w&t, k to HM
  • Row 2: k 20 (20, 21, 21, 21, 22, 23) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 20 (20, 21, 21, 21, 22, 23) sts, w&t, k to HM
  • Row 3: k 30 (30, 32, 32, 32, 33, 34) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 30 (30, 32, 32, 32, 33, 34) sts, w&t, k to HM
  • Row 4: k 40 (40, 42, 43, 43, 44, 46) sts, w&t, p to HM, p 40 (40, 42, 43, 43, 44, 46) sts, w&t, k to HM

 

Hips

  • K 27 (27, 29, 29, 29, 30, 31) sts, pm (front marker or “FM”), k to end of rnd
  • Paper Diapers: Work St st until combined lengths of front and back* measures 12.75 (13.5, 14.75, 15.5, 15.5, 16.75, 16.75) inches or 32.5 (34.25, 37.5, 39.5, 39.5, 42.5, 42.5) cm.
  • Cloth Diapers: Work St st until combined lengths of front and back* measures 12.75 (14.5, 16, 17.5, 18.5, 20.25, 22) inches or 32.5 (37, 40.5, 44.5, 47, 51.5, 56) cm.

*Note that the back will be longer than the front due to the short row shaping, so you have to measure both to get the current total length of the rise.

 

Crotch Shaping

  • Rnd 1: k to FM, increase 1 st on each side of FM, k to HM, increase 1 st on each side of HM, k to end of rnd
  • Rnd 2: k around
  • Rep Rows 1-2 two more times.
  • Total: 122 (122, 128, 130, 130, 134, 138) sts.

 

Dividing the Legs

  • k to 2 sts before FM, BO 4 sts (removing marker as you come to it), k to 2 sts before HM (and place these sts on scrap yarn or stitch holders), BO 4 sts (removing marker as you come to it), k to end of rnd. Total: 57 (57, 60, 61, 61, 63, 65) sts for each leg. Remove BOR marker.
  • Note: the first leg you will work is the right leg. The left leg will remain on scrap yarn or stitch holders until you’re finished with the right leg.

 

LEGS

Joining & Decreasing

NOTE: You will work the decreases listed below, followed by St st, until 1.25 inches or 3.25 cm less than the preferred length as measured from the crotch. (See beginning of pattern for recommended lengths.) Especially for shorts for the smaller sizes like NB, you may find that in order to fit all the decreases, you have to knit a greater length than desired. In such a case, just work the decreases until you’ve reached the desired length and be sure to end with an even number of stitches. The circumference of the legs really isn’t that critical, so don’t worry about it!

Sizes NB to 12 mo only:

  • Rnd 1: k to 3 sts before inseam/crotch, sl1, k2tog, psso, pm (this is the new BOR marker), join to knit in the round. Total: 55 (55, 58, 59, 59) sts.
  • Rnd 2: k3tog, k to end of rnd. Total: 53 (53, 56, 57, 57) sts.
  • Rep Rnds 1 and 2: 2 (1, 1, 0, 0) more time(s). Total: 45 (49, 52, 57, 57) sts.

All Sizes:

  • Rnd 3: k to 2 sts before marker, k2tog. Total: 44 (48, 51, 56, 56, 62, 64) sts.
  • Rnd 4: ssk, k to end of rnd. Total: 43 (47, 50, 55, 55, 61, 63) sts.
  • Rep Rnds 3 and 4: 1 (1, 2, 2, 0, 0, 1) more time(s). Total: 41 (45, 46, 51, 55, 61, 61) sts.
  • Rep Rnd 3: 1 (1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1) more time(s). Total: 40 (44, 46, 50, 54, 60, 60) sts.
  • Work St st until 1.25 inches or 3.25 cm less than preferred length as measured from crotch. (See beginning of pattern for recommendations.)

Work hemline as indicated in original pattern, modified for a shorter hemline:

 

Hemline Option 1 (8 rnds, 1.1 in, 2.9 cm)
Change to CC:
(k1 rnd, p1 rnd) x 4
BO knitwise

 

Hemline Option 2 (9 rnds, 1.25 in, 3.25 cm)
Change to CC:
Rnd 1: k 1 rnd
Rnd 2: work 1×1 rib
Rnd 3: *k1, pbaf* to end of rnd
Rnd 4-5: work 1×2 rib
Rnd 6: *k1, pbaf, p1* to end of rnd
Rnd 7-9: Work 1×3 rib
BO in pattern

 

JOIN YARN AND REPEAT above instructions for second leg.

 

FINISHING

Use yarn tail from CO to seam closed the hole at the waistband and weave in the end.

Use yarn tail from joining yarn for the second leg to seam together the hole in the crotch and weave in the end.

Christian Traditions 018: St. Joseph’s Day

Von Trapp Follow-Along: Maria makes no mention of this event.

INTRODUCTION

St. Joseph’s Day is a feast day that commemorates the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus. It is far more recent in origin than most major saints’ days, and gained popularity among Italian/Sicilian and Polish immigrants to the U.S., holding the same importance to them that St. Patrick’s Day does to the Irish.

redCOLOR

Red. In Italian/Sicilian and Polish communities within the U.S., the wearing of red is as traditional on this day as is the wearing of green on St. Patrick’s Day. (See Footnote 1.)

fava_beans_pile_570SYMBOL

Fava Bean. In the Middle Ages, legend holds that there was a severe drought in Sicily and that the people prayed that Joseph would send them rain, promising that in return, they would prepare a large feast to honor him. The rain came, and the Sicilians prepared a feast in his honor and made him their patron saint. The crop which saved the population from starvation was the fava bean, and so the fava bean is now traditionally added to the St. Joseph’s Day meal.

Hollyhock. St. Joseph is also associated with the hollyhock, a flower from China which was introduced to the Holy Land by travelers on the Silk Road.

Carpentry Tools and Saw Dust. For obvious reasons.

19 March 2015WHEN IS IT?

St. Joseph’s Day is held 19 March every year; this year, that’s Thursday. If it falls on a Sunday other than Palm Sunday, it’s observed the next available day (usually Monday 20 March) unless another feast falls on that day. In 2006, an additional rule was added (and has been observed since 2008) that if St. Joseph’s Day falls within Holy Week (the week prior to Easter Sunday), it is moved to the closest possible day before 19 March, which is usually the Saturday before Holy Week. In Italy and Spain, 19 March is also Father’s Day.

stjosWHAT IS IT?

This event commemorates Joseph, the husband of Mary and, by extension, stepfather and foster father of Jesus. Because Joseph was given the responsibility to protect and care for Jesus (and Mary), he is considered the patron and protector of the entire Church. His day has been celebrated in the Western church since at least the 900s AD and was established in Rome by 1479 AD. Today, St. Joseph’s Day is a feast day. However, it was a solemnity until 1955 (see Footnote 2).

As we know from Scripture, Joseph was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3) who descended from Bethlehem. As told in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2, Joseph was betrothed to Mary, and upon finding out she was pregnant, he decided to quietly divorce her so as not to make a spectacle of her or put her at risk of death as a punishment for adultery. However, an angel told Joseph that Mary was pregnant by the power of the Holy Ghost and that she carried the Messiah. Joseph then married her but did not sleep with her until after she had given birth to Jesus (Matthew 1:24-25). Because he was descended from Bethlehem, he had to take a very pregnant Mary with him to Bethlehem to be registered for taxes, wherein Jesus was born. Joseph also took Jesus and Mary to the Temple in Jerusalem for their ritual presentation and purification, respectively (see my post about Candlemas for more information). When King Herod sought to kill Jesus, Joseph took his family to Egypt under the command of an angel to wait until it was safe to return. After Herod died, Joseph again moved his family under the command of an angel, this time back to Israel. However, upon their arrival, he learned that Herod’s son, who was just as evil as Herod, now reigned in Israel, so—again, upon the instruction of God—he moved to Galilee and settled in a city called Nazareth. Joseph took his family to Jerusalem every year at the Passover and, the year Jesus was 12 years old, he and Mary discovered on their way back that they had accidentally left Him in Jerusalem. Although Joseph’s words to Jesus upon finding Him are not recorded (only Mary’s are), he was apparently just as worried as was Mary, according to her words, “…Son, why have you dealt with us this way? Your father and I sought you anxiously.” (Luke 2:48) If we are to take Mary’s words literally, it seems that Joseph considered himself as much Jesus’ father as Mary was His mother, and loved Him as his own child. Joseph and Mary had at least six other children after Jesus (see Footnote 3), but Joseph is not otherwise mentioned except as the father of Jesus (e.g., Matthew 13:55). The Scripture implies that Mary was a widow at the time of Jesus’ death (John 19:26-27), but the exact time of Joseph’s death is not mentioned. Although Scripture references to Joseph are few, we see a picture of him as a very merciful, understanding, and loving man; a man who put God first; a protector; and a good father and husband.

feastofstjosephpaintingBecause St. Joseph’s Day falls within Lent, the meals on this day are traditionally meatless. A food traditionally added to St. Joseph’s Day meals in Italy and Sicily or Italian and Sicilian communities is the fava bean, as discussed above regarding the legend of famine and salvation from starvation by fava bean. Because of this legend, it is also traditional to give food to the needy on this day. Foods are also traditionally served containing bread crumbs to represent saw dust since Joseph was a carpenter. Other foods traditionally eaten on this day include a Neapolitan pastry called zeppola/zeppole, Maccu di San Giuseppe (which is primarily maccu, a soup dating back to ancient times wherein fava beans are the primary ingredient), and Sfinge di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s Cream Puffs).

Because New Orleans, Louisiana (USA) was a major port city for Sicilian immigrants in the late 1800s, St. Joseph’s Day is an important event in the city. As in other countries, an altar is often prepared in honor of the saint, where the people of the church contribute food items like a potluck. However, the food from the altars in New Orleans is generally given to charity after the altar is dismantled—that is, the churchgoers don’t eat it—in contrast to most other locales, where the churchgoers eat the meal together. The altar or table is decorated with many symbolic items, such as carpentry tools. After the eating is done, the altar is smashed and three children dressed as the Holy Family (Joseph, Mary, and Jesus) perform a re-enactment called “Tupa, Tupa” (“Knock, Knock”). In this re-enactment, the three children go knocking on three doors asking for shelter. They are refused at the first two and welcomed at the third. This re-enactment is held in commemoration of the Holy Family’s seeking hospitality in Bethlehem before Jesus’ birth. At the end of the day, participants take home a bag filled with various gifts (bread, fruit, pastries, cookies, a blessed fava bean, a medal of St. Joseph, etc.).

Another tradition is for children to give gifts to their fathers on this day.

calendarLOOKING AHEAD

Another event commemorating Joseph, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, occurs on 1 May. It is discussed in Footnote 1. Because it is such a minor observance, I don’t think there will be a blog post on it.

STANDARD ACTIVITIES

Most of the traditional activities involve food.

  • Readings. Read the story of Joseph in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2.
  • Fashion (Recent Traditional). Wear red.
  • Food (Traditional). Several traditional recipes can be found at Fish Eaters. In general, any Italian/Sicilian food and some Polish foods are traditional for St. Joseph’s Day.
  • Joseph’s Table (Traditional). As discussed above, both churches and private homes would set up a table with various traditional foods and have a feast. In some churches, the food would be donated to charity, though most churches ate the food as a potluck. Traditional décor for the table included symbols associated with Joseph (such as carpentry tools and a statue of Joseph). You may do this at home or host a potluck in your church. The following prayer said over St. Joseph’s Table is traditional. It’s a little Catholic (it refers to a saint praying for us, which is not supported by Scripture), but you may adapt it if you are Evangelical.
    • “All-provident God, the good things that grace this table remind us of Your many good gifts. Bless this food, and may the prayers of St. Joseph who provided bread for Your Son and good for the poor sustain us and all our brothers and sisters on our journey toward Your heavenly kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
  • Skit (Traditional). The “Tupa, Tupa” skit, described above, is traditionally performed in church by three children dressed as Joseph, Mary, and Jesus on this day. If you have children in your family, small group, or church, consider re-enacting this skit.
  • Charity (Traditional). As discussed above, it is traditional on this day to donate food to charity. You may consider donated canned goods to the local charitable food pantry or even hosting a dinner for the homeless at your church.
  • Goody Bag (Recent Traditional). As discussed above, when the church celebrates St. Joseph’s Day with a potluck dinner, after the event, participants take home a bag filled with various gifts (bread, fruit, pastries, cookies, a blessed fava bean, a medal of St. Joseph, etc.). If you are celebrating in a family with children or in a small group or church setting, consider creating goody bags.

KNIT AND CROCHET ACTIVITIES

You may create any of the items traditionally associated with Joseph. As discussed above, these include the fava bean (which looks like a string bean in the pod or just a plain green-colored bean out of the pod), the hollyhock flower, or carpentry tools. Most of these patterns will have to be significantly adjusted for size.

  • Knitting Patterns.
    • “Tiny Bean” by Tokkyu2222 (here) (note: knit it in green, like the fava bean)
    • “Stuffed String Beans” by Kim Engelmann (here) (note: although these are technically string beans, they have the appearance of a fava bean in the pod)
  • Crochet Patterns.
    • “Green Bean Amigurumi” by Jessica Evans (here) (note: although this is technically a green bean, it has the same appearance of a fava bean in the pod)
    • “Glam up Your Hexipuff – Hollyhock” by minja (here) (note: this pattern will have to be significantly altered for size if you do only the flower)
    • “Hammer” by Myshelle Cole (here)

 

じゃあまたね!

 

FOOTNOTES

Footnote 1: Red as the Color of St. Joseph’s Day. In my research on this topic, I mostly found people asking the same question—“why do Italians [or Polish] wear red on St. Joseph’s Day?”—and others trying to answer but not fully answering the question.

One explanation seemed to be a slight confusion of the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker with St. Joseph’s Day. The best I could piece together was that 1 May was the national holiday of the Communist Party in Italy, called “May Day” or “Festa Del Lavoro” (basically, “Labor Day”). On this day, some people wore red for communism. However, Pope Pius XII added a celebration of “San Giuseppe Lavoratore” (“St. Joseph the Worker”) on the same day in 1955. His stated reason for doing so was to accentuate the dignity of labor and to bring a spiritual dimension to labor unions, which is completely contrary to others’ claims that he created the observance to contrast communism. In fact, previous popes (most notably Pope Leo XIII in 1891 and Pope Pius XI in 1931) specifically decried harsh conditions in the industrial workplace and exploitation of workers. I could not find information on how red came to be associated with the 19 March commemoration of St. Joseph’s Day in accordance with this explanation—in fact, when giving this explanation, the authors usually falsely claim that Italians and Polish do not wear red on St. Joseph’s Day at all—so I think it may not be the true reason for the association of red with St. Joseph’s Day (19 March), though it offers a good explanation for the association of red with the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (1 May).

Another explanation for the association of red with St. Joseph’s Day (19 March) that makes more sense to me involves the interplay of Italian and Polish immigrants to America with the more established Irish Catholic immigrants in the 1890s-1930s. The Italian and Polish immigrants found themselves in a new land where Catholic dioceses were mostly run by Irish immigrants and people of Irish descent, who looked down on Southern and Eastern European Catholics. The Italians and Polish felt unwelcome and judged, and mostly ended up creating their own culturally-specific parishes and religious societies. In Chicago, the two groups expressed their disagreement most vividly. In this city, St. Patrick’s Day (17 March) was very visibly celebrated with such demonstrations as a massive parade and turning the Chicago River green. In multi-ethnic Catholic schools, kids of Irish heritage demonstrated their Irish pride with “the wearing of the green” on this day. Therefore, probably mostly if not entirely in reaction to St. Patrick’s Day, St. Joseph’s Day (19 March, just two days after St. Patrick’s Day) became more important to the Polish and Italian communities. Both national flags of Poland and Italy have red, which contrasts very sharply to the Irish green, and so Polish and Italian Americans took this day to celebrate their patron saint and their cultural heritages with “the wearing of the red,” especially among kids in Catholic schools. Simultaneously, many Polish traditions were adopted by the Italians, and many Sicilian and Italian traditions were adopted by the Polish. Eventually, many of these Italian/Sicilian and Polish traditions were adopted by the Catholic Church of Chicago as a whole. You can read the historical account plus some traditional activities for this day here.

Footnote 2: St. Joseph’s Day as a Solemnity. This day was once considered a solemnity, which is the highest ranking level of liturgical commemoration and commemorates an event in the life of Jesus or Mary or celebrates a saint who is important to all Christianity or to a local community. (That is, a celebration of a particular saint may be a memorial or a feast in the world in general but a solemnity in the area for which that saint was especially important, such as Saint Patrick’s Day, which is a feast day around the world but a solemnity in Ireland.) For examples Evangelicals would understand, other solemnities include Christmas and Easter. When a solemnity falls on a Sunday (except in Advent, Lent, or Eastertide), it supersedes the Sunday itself—that is, it is celebrated in place of the Sunday. However, because St. Joseph’s Day falls within Lent, if it fell on a Sunday, it would be moved to another day.

Footnote 3: Joseph and Mary’s Other Children. In other places in Scripture, we find that Jesus had siblings, presumably younger siblings (since older siblings are not mentioned in the accounts of His birth) who were therefore the children of Joseph and Mary. For example, in Mark 6:3 (and also Matthew 13:55-56), the people in the synagogue who heard Him preaching questioned, “Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and of Jude, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?…” (In Matthew 13:55, He is referred to as “the son of the carpenter.”) This demonstrates that Joseph and Mary had at least six children after Jesus, the four sons named in this verse plus at least two sisters. Other passages also refer in passing to His siblings, only once more by name (see Mark 3:31-35, John 7:3-10, Acts 1:14, and Galatians 1:19). Further evidence in support of this idea is that the oldest son is given the father’s name where later sons may get the grandfather’s name; however, the oldest of Jesus’ four brothers is named James, after his grandfather (Joseph’s father), rather than being named after his father (Joseph), as was typical for firstborn sons.

The word used to describe Jesus’ siblings is adelphos, which originally comes from a-delphys (“of the same womb”) but came to mean people born to the same parents, extended family, and brethren in the wider sense of a community. Nevertheless, the earliest scholars (and many modern scholars as well) agreed that the most natural inference is that they were the children of Mary and Joseph born after Jesus, and this view was accepted by Christian writers from as early as the first and second centuries. In fact, the Greek word adelphos (“brother,” as described above) is distinct from the Greek word for “cousin” (anepsios), and both were used carefully by a second-century Christian writer named Hegesippus to distinguish between Jesus’ cousins and His brothers.

However, beginning in the 3rd century, a new doctrine arose suggesting that Mary was always a virgin (contrary to Matthew 1:24-25, which says Joseph didn’t have sex with her until after Jesus was born—in other words, pretty plainly stating that they started having sex after Jesus’ birth), and if true, that would make it impossible for Mary to have had other children. Therefore, certain groups (primarily the Catholic Church and a few Protestant churches) which hold to the theological construct of Sacred Tradition (see my earlier post on that topic) reject the possibility that these children were Joseph and Mary’s natural children and engage in all sorts of mental gymnastics to explain where they came from, most often insisting that they were His cousins (a view, as described above, that was very specifically rejected by the earliest Christian scholars) or that they were Joseph’s children from a previous marriage (which, as stated above, does not explain why this rather large family of six children was not mentioned at all in the records of the events surrounding Jesus’ conception and birth).

Christian Traditions 016: Laetare Sunday

Von Trapp Follow-Along: As stated in the previous blog post, Maria makes almost no mention of this period.

INTRODUCTION

Laetare Sunday, also known as Rose Sunday, is a joyful interruption to the solemnity of Lent and is characterized by celebration with flowers, rose-colored vestments, and music. Also known as Mothering Sunday, it is the precursor to our modern Mother’s Day.

rose-pink-color-backgrounds-for-powerpointCOLOR

Rose. The color of Lenten penance is violet while the color of feast days is white. Rose-pink is the color of this day allegedly because it’s the mixture of violet and white. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you are probably saying, “But the mixture of violet and white produces lavender, not pink!” Yeah, I agree…

pinkroseSYMBOL

Roses especially, but flowers of any kind generally.

15 March 2015WHEN IS IT?

Laetare Sunday occurs on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which may be anywhere from 1 March to 4 April. This year, Laetare Sunday falls on 15 March.

Because this day occurs about halfway through Lent, Easter is finally in sight. That is, if you picture Lent as a hill, where Ash Wednesday is the bottom of one side of the hill and Easter Sunday is the bottom of the other side of the hill, Laetare Sunday marks the time when you are at the top of the hill and can finally see Easter. Technically, the exact middle of Lent is the Thursday prior to Laetare Sunday, and it was originally commemorated as such, but at some point the commemorative practices of the day were switched to the Sunday following the middle day of Lent.

image004WHAT IS IT?

For the first six or seven centuries, Lent started on the Sunday following Quinquagesima Sunday (now called Quadragesima Sunday), which meant Lent lasted only 36 days. By 714 AD, an additional four days were added to make the number 40 days, so that Lent started on the Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday, now known as Ash Wednesday. When the start of Lent and its accompanying traditions were moved to Ash Wednesday, the middle day of Lent became the Thursday before the fourth Sunday. As mentioned above, it was celebrated as such for a while, but the practices were moved to the Sunday following that Thursday, which became known as Laetare Sunday. I couldn’t find information on when Christians began celebrating on the fourth Sunday as opposed to the true middle day (Thursday) and therefore also could not find information on when it came to be known as “Laetare Sunday.”

Laetare Sunday acts as a joyful interruption to the solemnity of Lent. “Laetare” means “Rejoice” and comes from the first line of the introit said on this day, which is “Laetare Jerusalem” (“Rejoice, Jerusalem” or “O be joyful, Jerusalem,” which is taken from Isaiah 66:10). It is also known as Rose Sunday (discussed below), Refreshment Sunday, Mid-Lent Sunday, and Mothering Sunday (discussed below). It is also called the Five Loaves Sunday in honor of the miracle found in the Gospel reading for this day (John 6:1-15).

On Laetare Sunday, priests may optionally change their vestments from Lenten violet to rose, the church is decorated with flowers, and an organ accompaniment to singing or chanting is permitted. Also on this day, the Pope blesses the church, that it would “bring forth the fruit of good works and ‘the perfume of the ointment of the flowers from the root of Jesse.’ ” Furthermore, most things normally banned in Lent (such as meat at meals and wedding celebrations) are permitted on this day.

papal_golden_roseRose Sunday. In either 716 AD under St. Gregory II or in 740 AD under St. Gregory III, the custom of sending Catholic rulers the Golden Keys from St. Peter’s Confessional once per year was introduced. However, the tradition switched from golden keys to a golden rose at least by 1050 AD (and possibly as early as Charlemagne [742-814]), with the first record of the rose from the words of Pope Leo IX in 1051 AD. This Sunday marked the day the pope would bless the golden rose and give it to Catholic sovereigns, distinguished persons, governments or cities notable for Catholic spirit and loyalty to the Holy See, or illustrious churches and sanctuaries. Hence the alternate name for this day, Rose Sunday. The golden rose may occasionally have been used as a bribe, one example being when the pope gave the rose to Elector Frederick the Wise in an attempt to curry favor with him so as to have him extradite Martin Luther out of his lands and into lands where he could be tried and burned at the stake. The golden rose has come to symbolize Christ’s Kingly Majesty and references Solomon 2:1-7, where the shepherd/king (the Messiah) refers to himself as the rose of the field and the lily of the valleys (see Footnote 1).

Mothering Sunday. On Laetare Sunday, people in ancient times would visit the cathedral (the “mother church”), inspired by Galatians 4:6, which refers to Jerusalem as our mother (and also allegedly in reference to our right to be called sons of God as the source of all our joy). Later, beginning in England but spreading all over Europe, children living away from home took this day to return home to visit their mothers and give them a gift. This was the precursor to our modern Mother’s Day. On this day, mothers allegedly baked a special cake using equal parts sugar and flour called Simnel Cake in expectation of their visiting children. The recipe is in Maria Von Trapp’s book.

calendarLOOKING AHEAD

Similarly to Laetare Sunday, Gaudete Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent) is a day on which priests may wear rose (or in Anglican and some Lutheran churches, blue) instead of violet. Also similarly to Laetare Sunday, the readings on and focus of Gaudete Sunday switch from solemn penance to a brief respite of celebration and the first word of the day’s introit (“Gaudete”), from which the day gets its name, means “Rejoice.” Although both “laetare” or “laetitia” and “gaudere” in Latin are translated “rejoice” in English, the prior (“laetare”) means to rejoice manifestly (that is, openly) while the latter (“gaudere”) means to rejoice internally.

STANDARD ACTIVITIES

There are many traditional activities for this day. Many of them are specifically related to the church, but you can easily adapt them to your own home.

  • Readings (Traditional). The Scripture readings for this day include the introit said on this day.
    • John 6:1-15 (which tells the account of the miracle from which this Sunday gets the name Five Loaves Sunday)
    • Galatians 4:22-31 (which tells of how Christians are sons of God and from which this Sunday allegedly gets the name Mothering Sunday)
    • Isaiah 66:10-11 and Psalm 122:1-2, 6, 8, with their accompanying introit, from which this Sunday gets the name Laetare Sunday: “Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. Psalm: I rejoiced when they said to me: ‘we shall go into God’s House!’ ”
  • Decoration (Traditional). If you have décor in your home or small group meeting place indicating the liturgical colors, switch from Lenten violet to Laetare rose for this day only, and change back to violet on Monday.
  • Decoration (Traditional). Add flowers to the décor in your home or small group meeting place, especially roses if possible.
  • Food (Traditional). Bake a Simnel cake! This cake was traditionally baked by mothers in anticipation of their visiting children. Two locations where you can find the recipe:
    • Maria Von Trapp’s book
    • Fish Eaters blog
  • Food (Traditional). On this day, the typical Lenten fast is broken. Families may choose to eat an Easter-like feast with flowers on the table to commemorate the joyfulness of the day.
  • Gardening. Plant a rose bush on this day. You don’t have to plant it in your own yard. You may choose to plant one as a gift for someone in need.
  • Mother’s Visit (Traditional). Traditionally, people took this day to visit their “mother church,” the church where they were baptized, and to visit their mothers.

KNIT AND CROCHET ACTIVITIES

For Laetare Sunday, or Rose Sunday, we will craft a rose.

  • Knitting Patterns. You may knit a very 3D somewhat closed rose bud with or without a stem, or a relatively flat, open rose. Unfortunately, none of the below patterns give a finished size, so I can’t vouch for the sizes.
    • Closed Rose Buds. “Rose” by Jessica Goddard (here) OR “Rose” by Libby Summers (here) OR “Knitted Rose” by Lesley Arnold-Hopkins (here)
    • Flat, Open Roses. “Rose” by Kim Haesemeyer (here) OR “Rose Corsage” by Alison Hogg (here) OR “Rose” by Lesley Stanfield (here)
  • Crochet Patterns.
    • Closed Rose Buds. “Roses by Sandra Ahlberg (here) OR “Valentine’s Roses” by Crochetqueen (here) OR “Simple and Beautiful Rose with Stem” by Maggie McGhee (here)
    • Semi-Open Rose Buds. “Realistic Rose” by Lisa W. (here)
    • Flat, Open Roses. “Rose” by Rachel Choi (here) OR “Rose Ring” by Janette Williams (here) OR “Rose and leaf” by Annemaries Haakblog (here)

 

じゃあまたね!

 

FOOTNOTES

Footnote 1: Messiah as Rose of the Field and Lily of the Valley. I stated above that in Song of Solomon 2:1-7, the shepherd/king (who is understood to symbolize the Messiah) refers to himself as the rose of the field and the lily of the valleys. Earlier Christian scholars considered this to be the proper interpretation of the passage, which is how this passage came to have this meaning for Rose Sunday. However, it should be noted that later scholars consider it to be the woman who is speaking in verse 1, not the shepherd/king. For this reason, the femininely modest and less definite “A rose of Sharon… A lily of the valleys” is used in place of the more definite, kingly “THE rose of Sharon… THE lily of the valleys” in some versions of the Bible. Nevertheless, the Messiah is referred to as a rose or flower that springs up from the line of Jesse (father of King David) in Isaiah 11:1, so the rose of Rose Sunday can still be understood to represent the Messiah.

Yarn Company Review: GSC Tekstil

I’ve never written a review of any yarn or yarn company before, but I didn’t want others to share my experience. Also, I made a promise. And so, without further ado, here it is.

I live in Japan and have had difficulty finding yarn for a reasonable price. Extremely low quality yarn is available for about the same cost as decent yarn like Lion Brand or Caron in the U.S. on a dollar-per-gram basis, while decent yarn here costs about double what decent yarn in the U.S. costs. I’m sure a large part of it is the cost of importation. At any rate, the yarn here is pretty darn expensive, especially if you have to buy a large quantity. Furthermore, when purchasing a large quantity, you can’t be sure you’ll be able to find enough skeins of the same yarn, much less in the right color, and there are often no dye lots (well, never, as far as I’ve seen). I’ve been given one recommendation that I have not yet checked out, but so far all of the other recommendations have been a bust, and so I’ve relied on purchasing bulk yarns over the internet.

On two occasions, I’ve purchased a large quantity of yarn from a Turkish company called GSC Tekstil (Yarn Paradise, ICE Yarns, KUKA Yarns). Altogether, I spent about $300 on their yarn in less than 6 months. In my experience so far, their yarn seems to be of decent quality for the price and their overseas shipping rates (to Japan) make the overall expense very reasonable, especially compared to the overseas shipping rates of the American and British bulk yarn companies I looked into.

The first time I purchased yarn from them, the “orange” yarn I bought turned out to be something between peach and pink (I called it peach, my husband called it pink). But it was a pastel orange to begin with, and pastel colors can appear very similar, so I figured the internet picture was just not very reliable, as is often the case anyway, and left it at that. I wish I had remembered that experience when I made my next yarn order!

The second time I ordered from them, I again needed to buy orange yarn. Ironically. In my selected yarn, a bamboo sport weight called “Jazz,” there were two very different colors that ended up causing the issue. One was titled “Light Orange” and was described as “light orange” but was accompanied by a photo of very pink yarn. The other was titled “Light Salmon” and was described as “light salmon” but was accompanied by a photo of very orange yarn. (I’ve included photos of the product pages below since the company may change the photos or titles and descriptions at a later date. Also, if you’re not sure what constitutes “salmon,” run a Google Images search for “salmon color” and you’ll see they’re all either pink, pinkish-orange, or pinkish-red. As you’ll see from the product page screen shots, there’s absolutely no doubt about it, one yarn is very, very pink and the other is very, very orange.) Naturally, I figured the orange picture belonged to the “Light Orange” yarn and the pink picture belonged to the “Light Salmon” yarn. I ordered the “Light Orange” yarn. Before making the purchase, I checked my basket carefully to be sure I had added the “Light Orange” yarn and verified the product number (32879) to be extra sure. The payment confirmation that came to me by e-mail, which I checked carefully to be sure again that I had ordered the correct yarn, told me I had ordered “Light Orange” with the correct product number (32879). I figured that was that.

"Light Orange" (product code 32879)

“Light Orange” (product code 32879)

"Light Salmon" (product code 32446)

“Light Salmon” (product code 32642)

Then I received the shipping confirmation—by which time, of course, the item has already shipped and is no longer at their warehouse and they therefore have no control over it. The shipping confirmation gave the correct product number (32879) but gave the name of the yarn as “Light Salmon.” I immediately contacted the company, explaining the issue and letting them know the yarn had not yet arrived but that I wanted them to be aware of what was going on so they could fix it when it did arrive. After a delay of several days, they wrote back, politely asking for pictures.

IMG_0913Then the yarn arrived, and the plot thickened even further. The yarn had the correct product number (32879) and was obviously very pink in color (see the photo I included of the pink yarn next to yellow yarn for reference), but it was labeled “Light Salmon Light Orange.” What the heck??? Is there only one product, not two? And if so, does that mean the orange yarn in the photo on the “Light Salmon” product page doesn’t exist? (In which case, why are there two separate product pages and two separate product codes?) Or did they get the two colors mixed up in the factory? Or did the tech team put the wrong product codes and photos on the product pages? I even briefly entertained the idea that their English translation department had incorrectly translated the pink yarn as “orange,” but that doesn’t explain why the yarn I received had both names on the label or why the payment and shipping confirmations had different names attached to the same product code.

When I sent the pictures, they argued that the yarn I received is the same color as the yarn in the photo on the “Light Orange” page from which I ordered. They later said the yarn must have been accidentally mislabeled. However, these arguments don’t hold up for a few reasons…

  1. The yarn is labeled both “Light Salmon” and “Light Orange” on the same label. Furthermore, the label has the correct product code for “Light Orange” (32879). Therefore, it’s not an issue of them accidentally slapping a “Light Salmon” label on the “Light Orange” yarn, it’s apparently an issue of all their pink yarn being labeled with both names and the same product code.
  2. Both the yarn label and the shipping confirmation use the term “Light Salmon,” and both the yarn label and the payment confirmation (and the product page) use the term “Light Orange,” so there was obviously a mix-up somewhere on their part.
  3. Finally, the product is not as described. It is described as orange, and pink is vastly different from orange. It’s not like I ordered a product called “Under the Sea” or “Tropical Sunset.” I ordered “Light Orange,” for goodness’ sake. Again, I don’t know whether this is an issue of poor English translation, a single product being advertised as two separate products with two separate photos and two separate product codes, or what, but it’s definitely not orange. They argued that it matches the photo. Though true, if I had had the opposite issue—that is, if I had ordered according to the picture—they would have argued that the product is as described, which legally covers their butts. In other words, there’s no excuse for the product page being wrong.

At any rate, there were one or more major errors on their part in one or multiple of their departments, leading to one yarn being not only incorrectly labeled and incorrectly described, and not only described differently in the payment and shipping confirmations, but also somehow labeled with both colors’ names. I wonder what the label would have said had I ordered “Light Salmon.”

the blazeAt some point, when I brought up the fact of the label discrepancy, they quit responding. I then recalled a February Facebook post by Matt Walsh, a popular blogger now at The Blaze, in which he describes how, having been in the service profession and knowing how much flack the unfortunate people at the bottom get for others’ mistakes, he is always polite when he has an issue to complain about. However, he was recently billed for a five-day stay in a hotel where he stayed for two days, and he and his wife both called multiple times, speaking politely, in attempts to fix the problem, even speaking to numerous managers. They kept being told, “I’m sorry, but we can’t do anything about it.” Finally, he called in quite a huff and was rude to the person on the other end of the phone. They fixed it right that moment. Walsh made a point about the American work ethic and said he now understands why some customers are sometimes rude in some situations—because they’ve been taught by experience that that’s the only way to get things fixed.

Well, I couldn’t quite bring myself to be rude, but I thought maybe some threat was warranted. After several days of silence on their part (they had been responding daily up to then), I concluded at the end of my next e-mail that if it was not corrected, this fact would be reflected in my eBay rating, my blog, and the knitting forums of which I am a member. They immediately responded! However, they continued to argue that the yarn must have been mislabeled, though they were unable to explain why the payment and shipping confirmations contradicted each other, why the label had both names on it, or why a pink yarn was called “orange” in the first place. I quickly gave up and, after some hesitation, followed through on my threat.

So here it is. I can’t trust that their photos reflect the true colors of their items (as described in my first ordering experience); I can’t trust that their product descriptions are correct; I can’t trust that they have correctly translated their products’ names into English or that they know the fundamental difference between very different colors; I can’t trust that their yarn will be labeled correctly; and I can’t trust that the various parts of their computer system are interacting correctly (as evidenced by the differences in my payment and shipping confirmations). I can’t even trust that they care about a customer who spends literally hundreds of dollars in less than half a year on their products. What sense does that make? And most importantly, I can’t trust that they will make it right when they make an error—or, as in this case, probably multiple errors.

I will never buy from GSC Tekstil again.

How to Knit Plaid

Plaid is awesome and a plaid knit item is even awesomer. But the idea of carrying yarn across the back for miles and miles is not very appealing, and the tension on a single-stitch-wide vertical stripe would be very difficult to maintain. So how do we knit plaid? In my research, I found many different methods. I’ve put them in order of my favorites to my least favorite.

  1. Crochet Slip Stitch or Duplicate Stitch Vertical Lines. Knit horizontal rows of different colors for plaid stripes, simultaneously purling vertical rows where you want the vertical color lines to be. Then go back over it with the crochet hook, crocheting slip stitches of preferred color into the purl stitches. The knitted version that does not require a crochet hook is to duplicate stitch. This is my favorite method for single-stitch vertical lines. Example: http://blog.yarn.com/tuesdays-tip-easy-knitted-plaid/
  1. Slip Stitch Intarsia. Basically, for vertical lines, [k1 CC, k1 MC] and repeat until the vertical line is the desired width. If using more than one color, you may alternate with the three-plus colors as needed. This is ideal for multiple-stitch mixed-color vertical lines and/or vertical lines with a faded appearance. A variation of this is, if knitting a scarf, to knit it from side to side (that is, sideways along the long sides) rather than from end to end so as to reduce the number of color changes and intarsia yarn carry-overs. *CC = Contrast Color (the color of your stripes). MC = Main Color (the background color of your garment). Example: http://web.archive.org/web/20080830080545/http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/na_knitting/article/0,2025,DIY_14141_5311852,00.html
  1. Weave Vertical Lines. Knit horizontal rows of different colors for plaid stripes. When complete, weave long strands of yarn to create vertical stripes. A variation of this is to knit horizontal stripes and use YO’s (Row 1: k1, k2tog, yo, etc… Row 2: purl). When complete, weave a single strand of yarn through the YOs. This method results in tiny stripes and may make the fabric not appear knitted, which may or may not be desired. Example: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEw13/FEATw13SIT.php
  1. Double-Knitting. In double-knitting, you basically knit a two-sided fabric simultaneously. When you knit a stitch, it becomes a stitch on the side you’re working; and when you purl a stitch, it becomes a stitch on the opposite side (where it appears as a knit stitch). It’s extremely easy to knit with two colors, wherein the pattern on one side is exactly reversed on the opposite side. It is not ideal for more than two colors, which is possible but difficult with double-knitting. Double-knit fabrics, by virtue of the fact that they are double-layered, are stiffer than single-layered fabrics, which may or may not be desired.
  1. Slip Stitch or Mosaic Knitting. In slip stitch knitting, a stitch may be slipped with yarn in front, wherein the yarn carried over the front of the stitch is visible on the finished product; these yarn-in-front lines create tiny horizontal stripes. Alternatively, you can use mosaic knitting, which is a type of slip stitch knitting. If you want a vertical stripe of a color from the horizontal row below, slip a stitch from the line below. This won’t create long vertical lines; usually, the stitch is only carried up one row, maybe two. The end product will be stiffer than without mosaic knitting and the vertical lines will be very short.
  1. Modular Knitting. Modular knitting, in which smaller pieces are knitted individually and either seamed or knitted onto the edges of other smaller pieces, may be adapted to create plaids. You can do it in such a way that it requires little or no seaming and very few ends to weave in, as in domino knitting. However, I still think this method creates far more work than it is worth. It might be fun to try it out for a single blanket square or a dishcloth, but not worth it in my opinion to use it in any other capacity.
  1. Argyles. Argyles are those diamonds you sometimes see on (mostly men’s) socks and sweaters, made famous way back in the 1800s. When knit with thin, intersecting lines across an entire fabric, they could essentially form diagonal plaid. However, the typical method of creating the thin lines found in argyles—which is the part you want to copy—is to duplicate stitch, as already suggested above. Furthermore, in the meantime, you’re knitting a ton of these tiny diamonds with lots of yarn ends to weave in, so you’re creating far more work for yourself than you need to. Furthermore, it would be far more difficult to adapt this method to, say, a shirt or sweater than almost any other method listed above. Finally, as stated above, argyles would form a diagonal plaid, which may not be desirable and would be much more easily done with any of the other methods listed above.

 

じゃあまたね!