Saturday, May 01, 2010

Anna Jarvis

Anna Jarvis Socks

Welcome to the first of May in the Free World. Have a cookie, yes?


I have a new sock pattern out today!

Instead of buying your mom flowers this year, why not knit her some instead? The Anna Jarvis Socks resemble a basket of flowers but last a lot longer.


Sizes: Women’s Small, Large

Foot circumference:
7 (9) inches 17.5 (23 cm) unstretched. Will stretch to fit 9 (11) inches 23 (28 cm).

Needles: 1 set US #1/2.25mm 32” circular needles (magic loop), 2 sets of 24” circulars or double pointed needles, or size to get gauge.

Gauge: 32 sts/48 rows = 4" in Stockinette St.

Yarn: Any fingering-weight yarn that gives you proper gauge. Sample shown: Crystal Palace Yarns Panda Silk [52% Bamboo, 43% Superwash merino wool, 5% combed silk; 204yd per 50gr ball]; color: 3020: 2 balls.

Notions: Cable needle, tapestry needle.

NOTES: This advanced sock is knit from the cuff-down using charts. One way to alter the size of this sock will be to change gauge: For an 8” circumference sock, work the Small at 7 sts per inch or the Large at 9 sts per inch.

Anna Jarvis Socks

Now, I'd like to tell you a story about Anna Jarvis, who is credited with creating Mother's Day in America and after whom these socks are named.

Mothers’ Day hasn’t always been about flowers, greeting cards or brunch with the family. In fact, this sweet holiday is a direct result of one of the most violent eras this country has ever known.

A Civil War battlefield was a brutal place, but the simple canvas tents that served for operating rooms weren’t any better. The Surgeon General of the Union Army suggested that the war was fought "at the end of the medical Middle Ages." Little was known about disease. Surgical techniques ranged from barbaric to barely competent.

Doctors and nurses worked in deplorable conditions, often surrounded by mosquito-infested swamps or piles of decomposing bodies. Without fresh water or method of sterilization, germs were passed from one patient to another. Civilians and enlisted soldiers on both sides were horrified by what they saw but helpless to do anything about it. The staggering death toll suffered during this era might have been even greater if not for the selfless work of a young nurse.

Ann Jarvis was a young Appalachian woman who was overwhelmed by the human suffering and answered a profound call to take action. Eventually Ann reached her limit and decided to take action. She created a program called “Mother’s Work Days.” Ann organized women to clean anything and everything. Her goal was to disinfect the entire nation… (And you thought your mom was tough?)

Ann and the women she inspired improved sanitary conditions on both sides. In many ways, Mrs. Jarvis’ efforts assisted in the development of modern medicine in the United States. The medical establishment and public at large gained a greater understanding of the relationship between cleanliness, diet, and disease. Ann Jarvis was a Very Important Woman who inspired thousands of people, but perhaps none more than her own daughter, Anna.

Anna Jarvis decided to establish the “work day” as an annual celebration in tribute to her mother. In 1907, she passed out white carnations to every mother in her congregation, marking the very first American Mother’s Day. The holiday gained in popularity each year and soon products were manufactured and marketed for the occasion. Clearly holiday consumerism is not a new concept.

Anna Jarvis Socks

Two decades later Anna became soured by the commercialization of Mother’s Day. Remarkably, in 1920 she was arrested for protesting the holiday she helped create. "I wanted it to be a day of sentiment,” she said. “Not profit."

Anna spent the rest of her life campaigning against the crass commercialization of Mother’s Day. Her New York Times obituary explained how she had become embittered by the popularity of the manufactured – not homemade – greeting card. "A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!"

This project is dedicated to the Anna Jarvis’ of the world. These are socks you can’t buy at a big box store. They must be hand-made by an intrepid knitter. By making things by hand, we are able to live a richer, more thoughtful life.

Anna Jarvis Socks

Oh yeah, pattern includes a bonus chocolate chip cookie recipe!

$3.99 for the pattern
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