Down to the Sea in Ships with 1200 Teany Hats

Shipmates!  I like saying that, since I’m reading/listening to Moby Dick, the great unread american novel.  A personal project of mine for the past  year or so has been listening to audiobooks of classics that I’ve never gotten around to reading.  Gulliver’s Travels, Our Mutual Friend, The Woman in White, a bunch of Trollope, the sort of books that are too big to haul around.  Many of these books were published in serial form, so listening to a chapter as I walk home, or head and tail green beans for freezing, (or knit, of course) works wonderfully well. I also can get them free for my Kindle, so I can alternate between reading and listening as the mood takes me.

The mood has taken me to the sea lately.   This is timely, and linked to knitting, because I received a little kit to make a teany hat on behalf of the Seamen’s Church Institute 1200 Hats project.

Most knitters know about the Seaman’s Scarf, but may not be aware that the pattern originated with the Christmas at Sea program of the Seaman’s Church Institute.  The 1200 Hats project is aimed at raising awareness of the continued role of merchant seaman in commerce, and therefore our daily lives.  The nice part?  These really are teeny weeny hats that take 12 yards of yarn and almost no time at all to knit. The hats will be put on bottles of tea in Starbucks in northern NJ and NY where so many sailors work.  If you are in the Twin Cities and want to make a hat, bring it into the Yarnery and I’ll mail them all by the end of October.  I’ve asked them to send me more tags, so you can put one on your hat, too.

One more really timely item: just yesterday, I discovered that there is a project to make Moby Dick more widely read, The Moby Dick Big Read.  Various actors and visual artists have donated their time and talents:

‘I have written a blasphemous book’, said Melville when his novel was first published in 1851, ‘and I feel as spotless as the lamb’. Deeply subversive, in almost every way imaginable, Moby-Dick is a virtual, alternative bible – and as such, ripe for reinterpretation in this new world of new media. Out of Dominion was born its bastard child – or perhaps its immaculate conception – the Moby-Dick Big Read: an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome: each of its 135 chapters read out aloud, by a mixture of the celebrated and the unknown, to be broadcast online in a sequence of 135 downloads, publicly and freely accessible.

So check it out, shipmates.  Chapter One is read by Tilda Swinton, a big favorite in our house. I’m off to listen again, as she tells of how  the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open…

7 responses to “Down to the Sea in Ships with 1200 Teany Hats

  1. Listening to those heavy books sure would make time doing household chores more palatable, and a nice change from music.

  2. I have often thought I am a good candidate for audio books, especially considering I have not read anything in a dog’s year except a lineup of directions.

  3. Oh, what a clever and cute idea re: the wee hats! :)

    LOL – I was going to do something similar with the classics on audiobooks… but I started (and thus ended) with Wuthering Heights. Whoops! :D

  4. I listened to Moby Dick, too. I find that I can listen to them but not read them. Attention span = too short.
    What sweet little hats! I might make a few, too.

  5. I heard about this on NPR and was thinking that I should listen! This is one of the (many) classics that I haven’t read – maybe it’s now time…

  6. We have a similar project in the UK, hats on Innocent Smoothie bottles to raise money for the elderly in need.

    Apologies for the belated comment, you never show up in my reader so I’m always slow to find your new posts. And now I’m off to check out Moby Dick, Tilda Swinton you say …

  7. I’m greedily enjoying the Moby-Dick Big Read. It’s such a fantastic idea to do one chapter at a time in different voices.

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