A beloved family curmudgeon started grumbling about Kwanzaa a few days ago.
“It’s a made-up holiday!” he growled. “We never celebrated Kwanzaa when I was a youngster!”
I pointed out to him that he’s from a small Northern town, and none of his acquaintances celebrated Hanukah or Eid, either. “But you don’t have a problem with those holidays.”
“Those holidays have the weight of tradition behind them!”
“Then what about Canadian Thanksgiving? It was the result of an Act of Parliament in 1957. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966, which makes it almost as old as you are.”
“Humph! I still don’t like it!”
But just a few days ago when I accidentally interrupted one of his news programs, he said, “Hush, I’m watching this thing about Kwanzaa!”
“You’re interested in Kwanzaa?” I asked.
“I’m trying to be culturally sensitive here!”
I was tactful, and didn’t perform my victory dance in front of him.
For the complete pattern (and fun facts about Kwanzaa!):
MEDALLION PANTS SET
SIZES: Directions for size 8. Changes for sizes 10, 12 and 14 are in parentheses.
Body Bust size: 31 1/2’’ (32 1/2’’ – 34’’ – 36’’).
Blocked Bust size: 31 1/2’’ (33’’ – 35’’ – 37’’)
For Body Measurements, see page 26.
Children receive gifts of books for Kwanzaa to emphasize Africa’s ancient traditions of scholarship. In the spirit of Learning, therefore, I give you page 26.
After all, making sense of this chart will probably be a task on par with deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs.MATERIALS: Reynolds Parfait, (16 (16, 17, 17) 30-gram balls navy (N), 4 balls white (W), 2 balls raspberry (R), and 1 ball pink (P). Crochet hooks sizes F, G and H. (Or English sizes 8, 7 and 6.) Elastic cord. Three 1/2’’ plastic rings for buttons. Large-eyed needle.
The traditional colours of Kwanzaa are black, red and green, so you may want to substitute black for the navy yarn and green for the pink. The red yarn can stay as it is the correct color to symbolize the blood shed by the African ancestors of black Americans.GAUGE: 9 dc = 2’’; 8 rows = 3’’ (size G hook); medallion = 8 1/2’’ diameter (size H hook). See page 22.
Although choosing Reynolds Raspberry Parfait for your symbolic blood could be construed as tasteless.
See below! Another Kwanzaa gift to enhance your intellect!
Wow, that’s the most anal retentive gauge checking procedure I’ve ever seen. Just look at all those pins!To Bind Off: At beg of row, ch 1, sl st loosely across specified number of sts; at end of row, leave specified number of sts unworked.
But now we know what really destroyed the Ancient Egyptian civilization. The gauge on their pyramids was all wrong.
To Dec 1 Dc: At beg of row, ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), sk firsts dc, yo hook, draw up a lp in each of next 2 sts, yo hook and through 2 lps, yo and through 3 lps, work in pat across; at end of row, work to last 2 sts, yo hook, draw up a lp in each of next 2 sts, yo and through 2 lps, yo and through 3 lps.
To Inc 1 St: Work 2 dc in same dc.
PANTS: RIGHT LEG: (Left-handed crocheters: This will be your left leg.) Beg at lower edge, with N and size G hook, ch 96 (101 – 106 – 111).
I think making accommodations for lefties is very much in the spirit of Kwanzaa.Row 1 (mark for right side): Dc in 4th ch from hook and in each ch across – 94 (99 – 104 – 109) dc, counting turning ch as 1 dc. Turn each row.
Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), sk first dc, dc in each dc across – 94 (99 – 104 – 109) dc. Repeat row 2 until piece measures 30’’ from start or desired length to crotch, end wrong side. Mark end of last row for front edge. (Note: On left leg, mark beg of last row for front edge.) Check gauge; piece should measure 21’’ (22’’ – 23’’ – 24’’) wide.
Shape Crotch: Bind off (see To Bind Off) 5 (5 – 5 – 6) sts at front edge, 8 (8 – 9 – 9) sts at back edge of next row. Dec 1 st each side every other row 6 times, then dec 1 st at back edge every other row 5 times – 64 (69 – 73 – 77) sts. Work even until piece measures 10’’ above first row of crotch shaping.
Shape Back Waistline: Bind off 20 sts at front edge of next 2 rows – 24 (29 – 33 – 37) sts. End off.
After all, the seven principles of Kwanzaa are Self Determination, Purpose, Creativity, Unity , Cooperative Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, and Faith.LEFT LEG: Work same as for right leg, noting changes and reversing shaping.
With all that creative cooperation going on, there’s no way the lefties will be left out of all the fun!
TOP: BACK: Beg at lower edge, with N and size G hook, ch 65 (69 – 73 – 77). Work as for right leg on 63 (67 – 71 – 75) dc until piece measures 3’’ from start. Check gauge: piece should measure 14’’ (15’’ – 16’’ – 17’’) wide. Inc 5 dc (see To Inc 1 Dc) evenly spaced across next row – 68 (72 – 76 – 80) dc. Work even until piece measures 7’’ from start, end wrong side.
Shape Armholes: Bind off 3 (3 – 4 – 4) sts each side of next row. Dec 1 st each side every row 9 (10 – 10 – 11) times – 44 (46 – 48 – 50) dc.
Divide for Back Opening: Work 22 (23 – 24 – 25) sts, drop yarn; with another strand of N, make lp on hook, dc in next st and in each st across – 22 (23 – 24 – 25) dc each side. Working on both sides at once, with separate strands of N, work even until armholes measure 6 3/4’’ (7’’ – 7 1/4’’ – 7 1/2’’) above first row of armhole shaping.
Shape Shoulders: Bind off 11 (12 – 13 – 14) dc at each armhole edge of next row. End off.
Fun fact: Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, who is not only still around, but has his own website! How cool is that?FRONT: Work same as for back until piece measures 3’’ from start – 63 (67 – 71 – 75) dc. Inc 11 dc evenly spaced across next row – 74 (78 – 82 – 86) dc. Work even until piece measures 7’’ from start, end wrong side. Check gauge; piece above inc row should measure 16 1/2’’ (17 1/4’’ – 18 1/4’’ – 19’’) wide.
Shape Armholes: Bind off 6 (6 – 7 – 7) sts each side of next row. Dec 1 st each side every row 9 (10 – 10 – 11) times – 44 (46 – 48 – 50) sts. Work even until armholes measure 4 1/2’’ above first row of armhole shaping.
Shape Neck: Work 17 (18 – 19 – 20) sts, drop yarn, sk next 10 dc; with another strand of N, make lp on hook, dc in next st, finish row – 17 (18 – 19 – 20) dc each side. Working on both sides at once, with separate strands of N, dec 1 st each neck edge every row 6 times – 11 (12 – 13 – 14) dc each side. Work even until armholes measure same as back. End off.
I’d love to be able to email the Ancient Roman bureaucrat who decided New Year’s Day would be on January 1st. What was wrong with March 1st? Doesn’t it make more sense to start the New Year at the beginning of Spring, when everything’s new, rather than in the dead of Winter?MEDALLIONS (make 10): Beg at center, and W and size H hook, ch 6. Join with a sl st to form ring.
Er, yes, curmudgeonly-ness runs in my family.
Why do you ask?
Rnd 1: Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), 15 tr in ring – 16 tr. Join with sl st in top of ch 4. End off.
Rnd 2: With R, make lp on hook, (2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr) in sp between any 2 tr, * sk 2 tr, (2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr) in next sp, repeat from * around; join with a sl st in first tr – 8 groups of 4 tr. End off.
Rnd 3: With P, make lp on hook, (2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr) in any ch-1 sp, * tr in sp between groups of 4 tr, work (2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr) in next ch-1 sp, repeat from * around, end tr in sp between groups of 4tr, sl st in first tr. End off.
Rnd 4: With W, make lp on hook, (2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr) in any ch-1 sp, * sk next 2 tr, (tr, ch 1, tr) in next tr, (2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr) in next ch-1 sp, repeat from * around, end sk next 2 tr, (tr, ch 1, tr) in next tr, sl st in first tr. End off.
Rnd 5: With R, make lp on hook, (2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr) in any ch-1 sp, * (2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr) in next ch-1 sp, repeat from * around, end sl st in first tr. End off.
Rnd 6: With W, make lp on hook, hdc in each tr and ch-1 sp around, end sl st in first hdc. End off.
Important Warning: Do not get your kinara mixed up with your menorah! Some people get very upset about that kind of thing.
How can you tell the difference?
This is a kinara!
Sure, menorahs sometimes have just seven candles in a row, but they are rarely red, black and green, and they absolutely never have a gold “Kwanzaa” carved into their base.PANTS BORDER TRIM (make 2): One size fits all: border will stretch to fit. With W and size H hook, ch 97. Work same as for right leg for 2 tows – 95 dc. End off; turn.
Row 3: With R, make lp on hook, sk first 2 dc, (2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr) in next dc, * sk 4 dc, (2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr) in next dc, repeat from * across – 19 groups of 4 tr. End off; do not turn.
Row 4: With W, make lp on hook, dc in first tr at beg of row 3, dc in each tr and ch-1 sp across – 95 dc. End off; turn.
Row 5: With P, make lp on hook, hdc in each dc across. End off; turn.
Row 6: With R, make lp on hook, hdc in first hdc, * ch 1, sk next hdc, hdc in next hdc, repeat from * across. End off; turn.
Row 7: With W, make lp on hook, 2 dc in first ch-1 sp and in each ch-1 sp across. End off.
Neckband Border Trim: With W and side H hook, ch 72 loosely.
Row 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook and in each ch across – 70 dc, counting turning ch as 1 dc. Ch 3, turn.
Row 2: Sk first dc, * dec 1 dc over next 2 dc, dc in next dc, dec 1 dc over next 2 dc, dc in each of next 2 dc, repeat from * across, end last repeat dc in last dc – 50 dc. End off; turn.
Row 3: Work same as for pants border trim – 10 groups of 4 tr.
Rows 4 – 7: Work same as for pants border trim.
Top Border Trim (make 2): With W and size H hook, ch 67.
Row 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook and in each ch across – 65 dc.
Rows 2 – 7: Work same as for pants border trim.
The younger members of my family have all been taught in school that Kwanzaa is an “African Canadian” celebration. And you thought only Americans committed cultural appropriation!
But hey, if we’re helping ourselves to this holiday, then we need to go all the way and make it a Cold Weather Kwanzaa.
FINISHING: Block pieces (see page 25).
And here is the text from page 25!To Block Knitwear: Smooth pieces out, wrong side up, on a padded surface. Using rustproof pins, place pins at top and bottom of each piece, measuring to insure correct length. Pin sides of piece to correct width. Place pins all around outer edges, keeping patterns straight. Do not pin ribbings. For flat pressing technique (stockinette st, flat rows of crochet, other smooth surfaces): Cover with damp cloth. Lower iron gently, allowing steam to penetrate knitted fabric. Do not press down hard or hold iron in one place long enough to dry out pressing cloth. Do not slide iron over surface. For steaming technique (mohair and other fluffy yarns, raised pattern stitches): Support weight of iron in your hand;
I wonder if the Kwanzaa penguin brings gifts to good little bloggers?
Ouch!...hold as close as possible to piece without touching it and move slowly over entire piece, making sure steam penetrates knitting. If yarn is extra heavy, use a spray iron or wet pressing cloth to provide extra steam. When blocked pieces are dry, remove pins and sew garment together. Steam-press seams from wrong side, using a steam iron or damp cloth and dry iron.
We now return you to your Kwanzaa Kraft Extravaganza already in progress.Pants: Pin border trim across lower edge of each leg; sew in place. Pin 4 medallions to center of each leg, first medallion at top of border trim; sew medallions in place.
Sew front, back and crotch seams; sew leg seams.
Waistband: From right side, with N and size F hook, work 1 rnd hdc around upper edge of pants; join with a sl st in first sc.
Rnd 2: Working over elastic cord, sc in each st around. Adjust elastic to waist measurement; drop elastic.
Rnd 3: Hdc in each sc around.
Rnd 4: Repeat Rnd 2. End off. Fasten elastic securely.
Top: Block pieces. Sew side and shoulder seams.
Neckband: From right side, with N and size H hook, work 5 rows dc across neck edge, holding in to desired fit. Pin neck border trim over neckband; sew in place.
From right side, with N and size F hook, work 1 rnd sc around each armhole edge, holding in to desired fit.
Pin 2 pieces of border trim around lower edge of top; join side edges; sew in place. Pin a medallion to center front and back; sew in place.
And speaking of Kwanzaa Krafts, a mere pantsuit isn’t nearly enough bling for this season. You need some festive handcrafts to go with it.BUTTONS (make 3): With N and size F hook, work sc tightly around plastic ring; join with a sl st in first sc. End off, leaving a long end; thread needle. Turn sts to center of ring; draw sts tog. With N, work 1 row sc around back neck opening, working 3 ch-2 lps evenly spaced on neck border on left side of opening. Sew buttons opposite lps.
Make one of these Hamsa Good Luck Hands, and I guarantee that the Burt Reynolds wannabe who crashed your Kwanzaa party will back right off.
She’s thinking, all I have to do is pull out my Hamsa hand and this jive turkey’s going to wet his polyester pants.
Click here for the printable pattern.