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!

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“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!!!

Crackerjack :: a few more notes for planning

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Opening Day is almost here!! Which means it’s also almost time to cast on for Crackerjack – woohoo! It’s been very fun to watch people’s knitting plans come together. As you know, the free downloadable worksheet is available now. But as you are making your plans, here are a few additional thoughts:

  1. Yarn yardage. I didn’t stipulate yardage in the worksheet – it’s difficult to know how to estimate when we are all using whichever yarn we prefer, and when some people are using four colors while others are only using two or three. The yarn I’m using comes in skeins of 250 yards (yet another thing to love about Stonehedge Fiber Mills!) and I’m using four colors. I think 1000 yards (light worsted) will be more than enough for this scarf, but I could certainly be wrong, especially, if, say, the Tigers go on a winning streak and I have to use up all my blue. I will happily order more yarn if that happens! I can tell you that with my handspun Spy vs. Spy, I used 8 ounces of yarn for a 55″ tube. Stonehedge Fiber Mills Worsted comes in skeins of 250 yards to 3.99 ounces. So 8 ounces of that yarn would come out to a little more than 500 yards. So you can see that my approach is to estimate things based on my experience with this yarn and this type of tube, but it’s not a very specific or mathematic approach – so if others want to ring in with  how you would estimate yardage for this kind of tube, let me know!
  2. Colorwork options. Janinga wrote in to say, “If the tube ends up a little short (as it might for a hockey season, say), one could add some team themed fair isle a la the “favorite things” cowl. I’m considering this for a red wings scarf.” WHOA – wouldn’t that be awesome?! It actually makes me want to make my loop smaller than I’d planned and then knit a big blue old English D on a white field to finish it off. Wouldn’t that be fun?
  3. Rav group. Kat start a Rav group for Crackerjack knitters. Yay! If you’re on Rav, come join us! I love that we have a place now to keep up with who is doing what, and what teams people are cheering for.

It’s still cold here, but with Opening Day almost here, I feel certain spring will show up soon!

Crackerjack :: free downloadable worksheet

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All right, y’all. Things are getting real up in here! I’ve got the downloadable worksheet already to go for you on Ravelry – you can check it out here (that link will directly download it). If you want to read more about this concept, you can check out my original explanation here.

The downloadable worksheet includes a color key to fill in with your team’s colors coded to wins, losses, home, and away. There is also a chart for you to plug in your gauge numbers and figure out your calculations for cast on and estimated length. I don’t actually do the math for you – you’re smart! you can do that part yourself! – but I do try to help you figure it all out. I’m happy to answer any questions if there are things that are confusing.

When I first had this idea, I didn’t realize how many teams had red, white, and blue as their colors! We are going to look like a very patriotic bunch!

I think I have sorted out my color conundrum (I had become undecided between “Creamsicle” – a light heather orange – and “Orange” – a brighter, truer orange), and I’ve gotten my gauge swatch done. Now I am going to wind the rest of my yarn and count the days till next Monday. I’m looking forward to cheering and knitting along with the rest of you!

 

Crackerjack :: A Conceptual Knitting Project (any baseball fans want to join me?)

I know that most sports fans right now have their minds on basketball, but not me. It’s officially spring now (WOOHOO!) and I can’t help it – I am leaning towards baseball season, hard. Please tell me I have some fellow baseball fans out there, yes?

I grew up as an Atlanta Braves fan, like my mama and my grandmother, and it took me more than a decade of living in Michigan to finally open my heart to the Tigers – I had a hard time making the switch from National League to American League love (thanks to that pesky designated hitter rule). But once I did, I became a fully committed fan. Now, I am ALL IN.

Comerica Park

Comerica Park

All my fellas are all in, too. It’s been great fun for My Old Man (a lifelong Cardinals fan) and me to introduce our kids to the love of baseball.

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Miguel Cabrera Bobblehead day at Comerica Park, 2013

What does any of this have to do with knitting? A lot, actually, but I will have to save most of my musings for another day. For now, I just want to talk a little about a conceptual knitting project I have in mind, and to see if anyone else might want to join me.

Are you familiar with conceptual knitting? The first conceptual knitting project I’m aware of was the Sky Scarf, by Lea Redmond. The idea is to knit a scarf that matched the sky – a different garter stripe each day based on the weather: rainy, cloudy, sunny. It’s a very cool concept, and it makes each project unique to the knitter, based on when and where s/he knits the scarf. A similar concept really took off last year, with the My Year in Temperatures scarf, each stripe representing the actual temperature of the day. I’m captivated by the idea of conceptual knitting not only because of the uniqueness of the finished project, but also because it’s a long-term idea executed in very small increments – if you keep up with it, you only need to knit a little each day, and at the end you have a kind of living document of that year or season.

I was thinking about conceptual knitting last fall, as I was eagerly cheering my team on in the postseason as well as wishing for a Tigers-colored handknit to keep me warm in October. The idea for Crackerjack took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. Now that this year’s regular season is about to begin, I am ready to make it happen.

The plan is to create an infinity cowl that I start on the first day of the regular season and finish on the last day of the regular season, with the hope of getting to wear it during the postseason while cheering my team on to the World Series (a girl can dream!). Here’s how it’s going to work. Detroit Tigers colors are navy blue, white, and orange. Since they wear grey uniforms for away games (as all teams do), I’m going to throw grey into the mix as well. So I’m going to work this project in those four colors – blue, white, orange, and grey – and I’m going to assign each color to a home win, a home loss, a win away, and a loss away. I’m going with white for home and grey for away since those correspond with the uniforms for those games. So here’s what I came up with:

Crackerjack stripe colors

Crackerjack stripe colors

Please to be ignoring my terrible writing.

And here’s how a portion of it would have looked if I had done at the beginning of last season:

colored pencil rendering of  a Detroit Tigers Crackerjack, 2013

colored pencil rendering of a Detroit Tigers Crackerjack, 2013

I think it’s going to be super-fun to see how the colors stripe and block, based on how the season goes. I hope there will be a LOT of blue and grey!

And here are my yarns:

Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd Worsted

Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd Worsted

The blue I’m going with is actually not a navy – I bought some navy last fall and it was so dark it looked black. Paired with the orange, it looked like I was getting ready for Halloween. I don’t want actual tiger stripes in this project, just Tigers stripes. But the blue I’ve got is not quite as royal as it looks in this picture (nor is the orange as neon as it might seem here). Stonehedge Fiber Mills is one of my favorite yarns, and it’s Michigan-made, which is a bonus.

I’m wondering if anyone else out there might want to try this with me? I would suggest going with white for a home game (either win or loss) and grey for away (either win or loss). If your team only has one additional color (like the New York Yankees, for instance, whose colors are navy blue, white, and grey), then I would suggest picking whichever color you like the best and assign that one to all wins, whether at home or on the road. So taking the Yanks as an example, you might do blue for wins both at home and on the road, white for home losses, and grey for road losses. Assuming a lot of wins, you would have a scarf with a lot of blue, interspersed with lines and blocks of white and grey.

Personally, I think this will be a fun way to chart the 2014 season for myself, not to mention that, by late September I will have a Detroit Tigers infinity cowl to wear while I watch the postseason.

I’ve created a pattern page on Ravelry.  It has the most rudimentary instructions there (essentially what I’ve already said here), but I will be updating it in time for Opening Day, with an actual (free) download – it will be more of a recipe than a full-on pattern, so that you can use whatever yarn you’d like at whatever gauge that works for you. I just thought I’d go ahead and post all of this now, in case anyone would like to join me – so that you have a little time to gather your yarn.

See you on Opening Day! RAWR!

See you on Opening Day! RAWR!