"Seasonal"

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Sponge Cake Shawl Kits in Wonderland Yarns’ Mad Hatter

Go "bonkers" for the delectable "Sponge Cake" Shawl!
Kits in Mad Hatter from Wonderland Yarns ... 20% Off!

This wonderfully simple "Sponge Cake" shawl combines the best of two worlds ... a strikingly colorful piece and remarkably fun and easy knitting! Anything but ordinary, the "Sponge Cake" shawl lets you have your cake and wear it too ... available in nine wonderful colorways!

Bonus: All Frabjous Fibers Wonderland yarns and Kits are 20% Off!

FiberWild Exclusive

Sponge Cake Shawl Kit
20% Off!

by Amy Loberg

Arftul color changes and bold stripes join together in squishy garter stitch to create this marvelous shawl. The center blocks are worked with the mini skeins in five different colors; the sides are then picked up to add long colorful stripes. Knit completely in garter stitch, this project is a piece of cake without any of the calories!

Finished Size 14″ × 65″ after blocking
Materials Sponge Cake Shawl Kit
Shown in Cats in the Coffee/Un-Birthday/Dreamworld
Needles
32″ or longer Size US 6 [4.00mm] circular needles or size needed to obtain gauge
Gauge 20 sts = 4″ in garter stitch
Care Instructions Care: Machine Wash, Cold, Dry Flat
Skill Level Easy

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"Sponge Cake Shawl"   |   Mad Hatter Kits ... 20% Off!

Shown in Cats in the Coffee / Un-Birthday / Dreamworld

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Yarn

Sponge Cake Shawl Kits ... 20% Off

Stephanie (at Frabjous Fibers) and Amy put theirs heads together to bring you five delicious colorways … so grab a cup of tea, some needles and let the colors do the talking!​

Each kit contains two full skeins of "Mad Hatter" yarn and one "Mad Hatter Mini Skein Pack" (and of course, the pattern). Mad Hatter is a sport weight superwash merino wool with excellent stitch definition. This yarn creates a super springy yet cozy fabric with lovely drape and flow. It’s hard not to lose your head over this curiously soft and wonderfully hand dyed yarn!​

Fiber Content 100% Superwash Merino Wool
Full Skein Yardage / Weight 344 yds in 113g
Mini Skein Pack Yardage / Weight 86 yds in 28g per skein - 5 skeins per pack (430 yds in 141g per pack)
Gauge 20 - 24 sts over 4″ on US 4 - 6 [3.50 – 4.00mm]
Care Instructions Machine Wash, Cold, Dry Flat

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Back to School Time!

It's Back to School time!  But why do kids get the summer off, anyway?  I'm guessing your boss didn't tell you to take three months off and come back in September!

The myth has always been that kids get the summer off because of the agricultural cycle.  Go to school in the winter when there's not much to do around the farm and take the summer off when they are needed at home to help with the farm work.  But that's not how farms actually work! The busiest times on a farm are planting season in the spring and harvesting in the fall - not summer.

From the early beginnings of our country, public education has always been a priority, starting with the Massachusetts Bay Colony's 1647 law mandating that every town establish a public school.

School Children with Teachers, 1850-1860.  Library of Congress 38823

School children with their teachers, 1850-1860.  Note that all of the teachers are men!

Why? In a monarchy it is important that your prince (the future king!) is well educated, but if the rest of the country is full of uneducated peasants, that's ok. But in a democracy it is important that all future voters be well educated so that we learn how to read, think independently and gather information so that we can make intelligent decisions in the voting booth.

"The boyhood of Lincoln—An evening in the log hut" painted by Eastman Johnson, 1868

"The boyhood of Lincoln—An evening in the log hut" painted by Eastman Johnson, 1868

Today most schools are open 180 days per year, but early schools were open nearly year-round with a short break between the four quarters.  In 1842 Detroit's school year was about 260 days, New York was 245 days and Chicago schools were open 240 days.  So with all that schooling those kids must have been geniuses, right?  Not really, because school attendance wasn't mandatory in most states until the 1870s.  Abraham Lincoln famously called his own education "defective" and it has been estimated that all of his days in school may have added up to less than 12 months of actual desk time.

So when did they go to school?  Generally farm kids went to school for a bit in the winter and summer and stayed home for the busy spring and fall planting and harvesting seasons.

Urban kids generally went to school in the spring, winter and fall, but not in the summer.  Why?  Well, it was hot.  In the days before air conditioning or even a simple electric fan, schools were hot!  But the complaints over hot schools had to do with more than just students' comfort.

Germ Theory (the idea that disease is spread by microorganisms too small to see) is accepted by everyone today, but was just starting to be understood in the late 19th century. In the 1870s Joseph Lister (yup, the guy that Listerine was named after) advocated sterilizing surgical equipment and cleaning wounds with carbolic acid (now known as phenol) to prevent the spread of germs. Joseph Lister is the reason your doctor washes his hands between patients today - a crazy new idea in Lister's time!

So folks started to wonder if crowded cities, with streets littered with horse poop and the flies that go with it, were harboring disease-carrying germs.  In addition the manure smelled worse in the summer, as did dead animals in the streets.  The upper classes left the cities for the summer to vacation in cooler, less-crowded and better smelling country resorts, and the copy-cat middle class followed them. 

A horse creates an average of 22 pounds of poop a day plus a quart of urine, usually spread along the city streets on its route during the day.  Ugh! (sorry, that was a little graphic! ...)

School Children, about 1899

School Children, about 1899

With many of the urban kids gone for the summer, it just made sense to close the schools. When states started standardizing their school requirements (instead of the former system of letting each community decide) the urban schedule was set as the standard. And today, school is out for the summer.

For the knitter's annual seasonal calendar, "Back to School" means it's time for holiday knitting!  Sure, you can whip out quick stocking cap the week before Christmas, but if you are planning to gift a sweater, a  shawl, the Knit-Swirl coat or a dress - you had better get started now!  Give us a call if you need some ideas and inspiration!

Happy Knitting . . .  Scout

Can't get enough of horse poop?  Check out "The Centrality of the Horse to the Nineteenth Century American City" by Joel Tarr and Clay McShane. 

Football’s Beginnings and the Scoreboard Cowl KAL

Ball games have been played since ancient times, but the predecessor to our modern American football is the "Mob Football" played in Europe in Medieval times.  Mob Football was played between neighboring towns and involved an unlimited number of players each trying to move a ball using any means possible to markers at each end of town.  That's right, I said each end of town.  There wasn't a playing field, the players literally took the game out into the street, fighting to get the ball from one end of town to the other.  There were few rules, and the game was quite violent.  

​As Europeans came to America they brought their ball games, and as early American universities were established each university had their own traditional ball games.  But there was no standard set of rules, so intercollegiate games were difficult. 

That changed on November 6, 1869 when Rutgers University played Princeton University (then known as the College of New Jersey) in a ball game that used a set of rules suggested by Rutgers captain William J. Leggett.  The American rules were similar to England's Football Association rules.  Two teams of 25 players scored points by kicking the ball to goals at each end of the field.

The ancient Roman ball game of Harpastum.

The Ancient Roman ball game of Harpastum

Fresco painted between 100 BC - 400 AD.

Two teams of 25 players scored points by kicking the ball to goals at each end of the field. The rules of the game would go through many changes before becoming the football game we know today, but that 1869 game is still regarded by football historians to be the very first American football game.

So why is it called "football" when they throw and pass with their arms more than they use their foot to kick it?  (Perhaps it should be called "arm-ball"?)  It is called football today because at the historic 1869 game the players were not allowed to throw or pass the ball, it was kicked from end to end. 

Walter Camp, father of American Football

Captain - Yale football team 1878-79

In 1876 representatives from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia met to create a new code of rules for college football.  Although still called football, the new rules were more similar to rugby than to the English Football Association rules. 

Walter Camp, known today as the Father of American Football, was part of the 1876 convention and other rule setting conventions that continued to tweak the rules of the game over the next decade as the game became the modern football we know today. 

Note that in Walter Camp's photo his football tunic does not have buttons, instead it laces up the front like a corset ... though men's coats in the 1870s always buttoned and were never laced.  Early football games were extremely violent, and buttons would likely be broken off during a struggle.  Missing buttons would cause your tunic to flap around during the game and would give  your opponent something to grab onto, but a laced tunic would be held tightly in place.

So what's your opinion of football?  Are you a true fanatic ... or do you yawn during the games? Would you rather be knitting?  It doesn't matter, because anyone - fan or not - can knit the Scoreboard Cowl KAL.  The premise is simple - you knit in the main color when your team scores or makes a play, and knit in the secondary color when the opposing team has a score or a play.  Check out the details on our Scoreboard Cowl KAL informational page ... which includes list of Simplicity yarn colors your favorite team!  And just as exciting as a game winning touchdown, the pattern is free and the Simplicity yarn is 20% off

Happy Knitting (and scoring!) ... Scout

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