Swatching for Crackerjack Socks

I know, I know! Baseball’s Opening Day is next week, and I’ve promised you a worksheet for Crackerjack Socks. It’s coming, I promise! I’m just still tinkering with it a last little bit. But my plan is to make it available in the next couple of days. Because this is one of the busiest weeks of my year professionally, and it makes all kind of sense for me to be putting together a knitting worksheet on top of that, right?

In the meantime, I’ve been swatching:

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Even on my usual size zero needles, these are somehow knitting up a bit loose. The garter ridge indicates where I changed needles from one brand to another (but the same size). My knitting did tighten up a bit once I found my favorite size zero dpns (Darn Pretty brand), but it’s still pretty loose.

I’ve decided to knit two rounds per game. I just like the way that looks. For comparison, here’s how it looks with one round per game:

20150331-123937.jpgMore of a zigzag stripe. So instead, I’m going to do two rounds per game. In other words, more knee socks for me!

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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.

 

Crackerjack :: all done but the weaving, the wearing, … and the winning

After getting three months behind in my Crackerjack, I managed to finish up this week, just two days after the baseball season ended. I could not be more pleased with how it has turned out!

2014 Detroit Tigers Crackerjack

2014 Detroit Tigers Crackerjack

What I do regret, however, is that I didn’t make myself weave in the ends as I went along. Oy! There are so many ends y’all! I wish I had gotten a picture to show you of the scarf guts. I started weaving them in last night, but I think I still have about a hundred to go. Guess I know what I’ll be doing during Game 1 of the ALDS tonight!

I’m super-excited that my team has made it to the postseason! I briefly considered continuing to knit my Crackerjack through the playoffs, but it is right now the perfect length, so I’m calling it done. After I finish weaving in the ends, I’ll unzip the provisional cast-on, join the ends of the tube, and maybe do a very light spritz blocking (I’m hesitant to do a full washed block for fear the orange might bleed onto the white). I hope to have full finished shots to show you soon!

Let’s go Tigers!!!

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 :: 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!