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….

 

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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!

Aranami :: when process and product align

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I am probably a little bit more of a “process knitter” than a “product knitter,” which is to say that the process of knitting is a little more important to me than the outcome. It’s not that I don’t like finishing something or enjoy wearing a handknit or want my handknits to turn out well, it’s just that the enjoyment of actually knitting is usually greater than the joy of actually owning whatever it is I’ve made. That’s why sometimes, no matter how much I might like the looks of a finished object, I would never knit it because I know from looking at it that it wouldn’t be enjoyable. And it’s why sometimes I might knit something for the sheer joy of knitting it, even if it isn’t something I’m going to get a lot of use out of.

For a long time, shawls fell into the latter category – I loved knitting them but rarely wore them. Of course most shawls aren’t like a pair of mittens – you just don’t have an occasion every day to wear them. Or at least I don’t. But I adore making them – they don’t come with all the anxiety over fit, they aren’t so big that you get bored before you’re done (okay, well, sometimes that does happen – but not as much as it happens for me with, say, blankets), and they are a great canvas for playing with color, texture, and/or lace.

This shawl, Olgajazzy’s Aranami pattern, was an absolute thrill to knit. It is one of the most inventive designs out there, yielding a knit that is almost zenlike in its balance between simplicity and complexity. The actual knitting is so simple and meditative, but the construction and the color changes keep the knitter so engaged and entranced. It was as close to perfect, process-wise, as I’ve found.
knitted :: Sunset Aranami
I selected colors (in Brooklyn Tweed LOFT) to look like a sunset, and it was such a delight to build each color on top of the last one.
in progress :: Sunset Aranami
I worked on it at the beach (this was summer 2012), where some of my favorite sunsets happen.
knitted :: Sunset Aranami

Those colors!

I knew I would enjoy knitting this one. What I didn’t expect was that I would also get so much pleasure out of actually wearing it. Two years after making it, this knit still sees a lot of action. I especially love wearing it with bright blue.
knitted :: Sunset Aranami
I don’t typically wear it as a wrap-type shawl (above). I usually wear it more like a scarf (like in the top picture). The yarn is deliciously wooly and slightly rustic. The colors are total perfection. And the design itself is a complete winner.

raveled

If you haven’t made an Aranami, I would highly, highly, recommend it.

And what about you? Would you consider yourself more process knitter or more product knitter?

Fashion Friday :: my favorite non-knit scarves

It took me awhile to follow the lead of my tweeps, who  have raved about Martha McQuade’s Scarfshop for a long time, but now that I have, I’m totally obsessed. I ordered my first one on Cyber Monday in November:

chocolate-y brown

chocolate-y brown

I got the square size and it’s perfect in every way. This yummy brown was November’s color of the month, from the Cotton Collection. I can’t remember the color name, but it is a gorgeous cocoa brown and I am totally in love with it.

This month’s color of the month is “Blush” – a very, very soft, subtle light pink – and I couldn’t resist it (also from the Cotton Collection). After it arrived, I realized it was lighter than I thought it was going to be, and I wasn’t sure what I thought. But once I got it on, I fell in love with it, HARD.

blush, February color of the month

blush, February color of the month

In some light, it looks more white with a hint of pink; in other light, it’s more obviously pink. This one is also the square size, and it is really an ideal shape for me. I find it super-easy to style it just right. And every time I wear this one, my husband compliments me on it – I guess the light shade perks up my face or something.

I’m obsessed with these scarves, y’all, and I want one in every shade.  I’ve got my eye on Robin’s Egg, Chartreuse, or Lavender for my next purchase. Something to give my winter wardrobe a spring-like lift. Because it doesn’t seem the weather is going to be spring-like anytime soon.

This deep in the season, what are your favorite ways for perking up your winter wardrobe?

 

Sneak Peek :: Spy vs. Spy, a reversible infinity loop

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Made with 8 ounces, 437 ounces handspun worsted chain-ply. Fully reversible (from stockinette to reverse stockinette). More details coming soon!