Crackerjack Socks :: Free Worksheet

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This is not an April fools joke! The free Crackerjack Socks worksheet is available now in my Ravelry store.

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These are toe-up with an afterthought heel and optional calf-shaping. As we go through the season, I’ll be posting updates on my own knitting, including some detailed photos and explanations when I get to the afterthought heel. In the meantime, feel free to ask any questions you might have.

Let the games begin!

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Reporting for Duty Today :: Pitchers, Catchers, and Yarn

Today in Ann Arbor, we are under a severe weather alert because of the wind chill. When I woke up this morning, it was 6 degrees below zero, with a windchill of -15. Baby, that’s COLD. Of course you know I am not complaining, because:

  1. I am a knitter. Therefore, I am covered in wool.
  2. I am a knitter. Therefore, I am happy to be “forced” to stay inside and knit.
  3. Spring is officially in sight as of today, because today the Detroit Tigers pitchers and catchers report for spring training. HECK YEAH!

That means this yarn is also reporting for training:

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Hazel Knits Artisan Sock

 

And by training, I mean swatching. I will soon be swatching for my next Crackerjack conceptual knitting project.

My yarn this time is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in “Nekkid,” “Nickel,” “Collegiate,” and “Carnelian.” To create this set, I actually bought a Seattle Seahawks-themed kit (this was right after the Super Bowl) – it had all the colors I needed minus the orange, in the smaller quantities I think I’ll need for a pair of socks. Then I bought a full skein of the orange to complete my set. Now I have a sweet small skein of “Hawkeye” (lime green) leftover for some other fun use. It’s been awhile since I’ve knit with Hazel Knits, and I’m really looking forward to it. The yarn has a great feel, and the hand-painted semi-solids are just perfect.

This time around, I’m going to be making… SOCKS. For anyone who has been following my Instagram feed, this should come as no surprise, as I am apparently all about knitting socks lately. It’s funny, I’ve never really considered myself a sock-knitter (though, in truth, I’ve knit my share of socks), but some kind of switch has been flipped in my brain, and all of a sudden, all I want to make it socks. Also, every time I go to Comerica Park to watch the Tigers play, I wish for some Tigers socks, and the souvenir shops have every imaginable thing for sale – except socks. So I’ll just make my own, with stripes keyed to the Tigers wins and losses. I am really excited about this project!

I’ll be putting together a worksheet in advance of Opening Day, for anyone who would like to play along, with your team colors. Spring is coming, y’all!

 

A Bit of Cheer in the Off-Season :: Crackerjack, Completed

It’s been a little more than three months since my beloved Detroit Tigers flamed out in the postseason. I was pretty sad, of course, (and all the more so when the Tigers chose not to sign Torii Hunter for one more season), but there’s no crying in baseball. Now a new season is on the horizon and hope springs eternal. Precisely one month from today, the pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

In the meantime, I have something cheerful and warm to wear:

Crackerjack!

Crackerjack!

It’s about time I finally showed you my completed Crackerjack!

As you may recall, this was a conceptual knitting project. Using a worksheet I created, I determined how many stitches to cast on, and then I knit two rounds per game. Blue for home wins, white for home losses, grey for road wins, and orange for road losses.

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single loop

 

The finished product was a long infinity loop, the perfect size for wearing loose or wrapping double.

doubled up

doubled up

I knit mine in Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd’s Wool Worsted (a Michigan yarn) (yes, I know I point that out every time I mention this yarn – it makes me happy!), on size 6 needles. Due to diligent swatching and calculating, it came out exactly the size I’d wanted (will wonders never cease?). It is 6 inches wide (12″ circumference, since it’s actually a tube) and 49 inches long.

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It is soft, cozy, warm, and cheerful. I’m so happy with it!

winning!

winning!

Even though the Tigers didn’t make it to the World Series, they and a fantastic, winning season, and I am so thrilled to have my own wearable document of it. And now I have something to wear not only in the off-season, but to one of their early season games, when it’s bound to still be chilly.

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future’s so bright, gotta wear my shades

While the rest of the sports world is getting hype for the Super Bowl, I’m busy making plans for a different sort of Crackerjack for the 2015 MLB season. THIS IS GOING TO BE THE YEAR OF THE TIGER. Or at least the year I get another new Tigers-themed knit done.

 

This is what a jinx looks like…

Detroit Tigers Crackerjack

Detroit Tigers Crackerjack

I suppose I shouldn’t have gone on at such length and with such enthusiasm about how the Tigers were doing, because as soon as I did, they hit the skids. OOF. And UGH. And YUCK. All those white and orange stripes are losses. I couldn’t stomach knitting them, actually, and until last night, I hadn’t picked up my Crackerjack since knitting that last beautiful swath of grey (i.e., win streak).

Last night was a win, though, with Rajai Davis coming up clutch and stealing third base like a boss. So I happily got back to knitting.

Catching up with Crackerjack

I always forget how blindingly busy May can be around here, and all the more so this year. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s put it this way: I’m watching very little baseball. I’m still keeping up with my Tigers, of course – thank you MLB At Bat app! – but I’m getting to watch precious little actual play. I think I’ve caught only about two innings in the last week or so. I hope that changes soon.

In case you aren’t a Tigers fan, let me bring you up to speed. They are KILLING IT right now. They have the best record in baseball at the moment! I could go on and on spouting various happy things about how they’re doing (7 games ahead in their division! haven’t slipped out of the top spot in their division since opening day! haven’t lost more than two in a row all season! best start since 1984, when they won the World Series! have won 11 road games in a row!), but I’ll spare you. Don’t want to jinx my Motown Kitties by going on too much.

I’ll just let my Crackerjack tell the story so far:

blue/grey=win, white/orange=loss

blue/grey=win, white/orange=loss

I have to say, I love how this knit is shaping up….

 

Coming back to Crackerjack

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Look at all those wins!!!

I was out of town last week and didn’t take my Crackerjack with me since the Tigers were only playing two games while I was away; I needed to save my packing space for things I could get a little more knitting out of. I finally caught up in my Crackerjack yesterday, and it was a thrill to have nothing but WINS to knit.

I am pretty much ridiculously happy with how this knit is going so far.

Work-in-progress Wednesday :: Crackerjack, two weeks in

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The Tigers road trip yielded three losses (orange) and two wins (grey). Here’s hoping the home stand yields anther nice block of navy!

Crackerjack :: One week in

We got to go to our first Tigers game of the year this weekend.

Ready for the game!

Ready for the game!

The boys wore the jerseys my parents gave them for Christmas. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Fifty degrees is still a little chilly, but after the winter we’ve had, it felt like a real spring day. It was actually a perfect afternoon for taking in a game.

RAWR!

RAWR!

Hello, Comerica Park! It’s great to see you again!

Miggy!

Miggy!

The day before we went, Miguel Cabrera made his 2000th hit, the second-youngest player ever to reach that milestone. We were hoping to see him his number 2001, but it was not to be. We did, however, get to see my guy Torii Hunter hit a 3-run double and a 2-run homer. Over the weekend, he hit three homers in three games. Love that guy!

 

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Yeah, baby!

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Chillaxin’ in the sun

The Tigers entered the top of the ninth up 7-1. But then Phil Coke took the mound, and all I’ll say about that is that by the time the game was over, the score was 7-6. It was a nailbiter. A win is a win, though!

After the game

After the game

We left the stadium happy! And then we saw a guy propose to his girlfriend in front of this giant tiger stadium, so that was cool. Also, after four games, the Tigers were the only undefeated team in the MLB!

Of course, nothing lasts forever. And sure enough, the Tigers lost against the Orioles yesterday afternoon. Which means:

4 wins, 1 loss

4 wins, 1 loss

I knit my first white stripe on my Crackerjack.

I’m not crying, though. At .800, the Tigers are currently leading the league. I’ll take it! Hmm, how about a wire-to-wire season, boys?

I hope that regardless of how you’re team is doing, you’re enjoying working on your Crackerjack! It has been so fun to see everyone’s projects in the works. I find I’m not only keeping up with my own team, but I’m more aware than ever of how the other teams are doing. This first week of the baseball season has been a blast!

Crackerjack cast-on :: a WIN

I promise I won’t be reporting on each and every Detroit Tigers game and each and every Crackerjack stripe, but of course for the season opener I can’t help but photo-document:

Win, baby!

Win, baby!

I didn’t get to watch the game, but I did obsessively check MLB.com. I was out running errands last night after the game ended, and it was super-fun to see so many people in their Tigers gear. It was also 60 degrees out, so it actually felt like a real Opening Day. Meanwhile, I got myself a new Tigers sweatshirt, because I’m going to the game on Saturday and it will not be 60 degrees then.

After much angst about my yarn options, I finally went with my original selection – Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd’s Wool in Worsted – on smaller needles than I originally planned. After swatching, I determined that my new gauge is 4.75sts/inch. I totally forgot to measure my row gauge before unraveling my swatch, but it will be something less than my original calculations yielded, which is great. That orange (Stonehedge, in “Creamsicle”) is not the orange I’m using for the actual stripes, that’s just waste yarn for my provisional cast-on. And as I keep saying, the blue, though not a true navy, is not quite as royal looking as this picture might lead you to believe. I cast on 60 stitches on size 5 needles and am knitting two rounds per game.

We’ve got over 60 knitters in the Crackerjack Knitters Ravelry group now, with many (but not all) teams represented. If you are knitting along, you might want to come on over and join us!

“Dear Baseball” – a poem for Opening Day, from my 9 year-old

 

WOOHOO!! Opening Day, y’all! I won’t get to watch the Tigers game this afternoon, but I’ll check the score later and cast on for my Crackerjack tonight. In the meantime, I’m not the only one in this household excited about the start of baseball season. My two fourth graders have been writing a lot of poetry for school; here’s a piece Tiny Dancer wrote on Friday in praise of baseball:

Dear Baseball

Dear Baseball

Baseball you are
really great!

to go to games
I cannot wait!

I love how you send
ball to bat!

I love your fancy
baseball caps!

I love how the ball dances through
the air!

How far it goes?
I do not care!

Let’s face it. You’re great!
You know it’s true!

You should know, baseball,
people love you!

 

sweet slugger

(This is my little slugger in 2011, when he played on his first baseball team, the Red Sox).

(Trust me, we are TIGERS fans!)

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PLAY BALL, Y’ALL!!!