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Get KnitHacker Alerts! Sign up for weekly updates! A fine, springy wool, like an Australian Merino, would liven it. The construction of the baseball, essential to game play, was a choice of fiber craftsmanship.
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Even now, a century later, with the advancements in technology that have allowed us to measure the physics of baseball to shocking degrees of precision, every single major league ball is hand-stitched. With all the innovations that have changed the way the game is played, someone has yet to develop a satisfactory method of mechanizing the process of ball creation.
Any tiny mistake or discrepancy — a difference in tension, a slight change in the thickness of the fiber — could make the game fundamentally different. The integrity of every game of baseball relies on the winding of yarn and the stitching of thread. Promotions at major league baseball parks are often a rotating door. There are the stalwarts, like bobblehead giveaways and fireworks nights, but part of the appeal is in keeping things fresh, making sure giveaway items have both a broad appeal and novelty value.
For the last 14 seasons, though, the Seattle Mariners have been running the same promotion each year, and each year it keeps drawing people. There are knitting bags, and yarn and needles to be had, and a group ticket discount. It seemed so directly targeted toward me that it was almost frightening: Before this summer, I worked at a local yarn store, selling materials for knitting, crocheting and needlework, helping people with their projects, teaching classes for beginners.
I have designed knitting patterns and distributed them on the internet. I am rarely seen in any situation without some kind of yarny project in my hands. The summer I learned how to knit was the same summer I started watching baseball again, and the process of learning that skill is inextricably entangled in my memory with the process of remembering how much I love the game.
There was a mutual benefit to my ability to focus on baseball games and my ability to focus on knitting when I combined the two. My first real project, a purple jacket that has held up to three years of near-daily winter wear, was begun the day the Jays were eliminated from the postseason.
Over the winters of and , as I sat watching archived games, reading baseball books, absorbing all the information I could, I sat almost always with a ball of yarn beside me and some winter item producing itself between my fingers. When I began to learn how to design my own knitting patterns, one of the first charts I made was of the Blue Jays logo. This intersection of interests, though, has always been something of a lonely pursuit for me. The idea of not only being around others who shared both of my primary interests, but a lot of people who did, was irresistible.
I was not prepared for the volume of people who were actually participating. The yarn market on the third deck was almost impossible to move through. Everywhere were vendors of fabric and notions, rolls of unspun silk and wool roving in bright colors, Mariners-themed yarns. Everyone was talking to someone; everyone was in a group. A group from Bellingham had taken a bus down for the event. There were knitting circles with shirts printed seemingly especially for this occasion.
For many — including the extremely busy vendors, some of whom had been attending the event for over a decade — this was clearly a highlight of their year, an event to which they dedicated a significant amount of planning and expectation.get link
"Mosaic Knit" Bat Pattern
Even more jarring than the sheer number of people at the event, though, was the simple strangeness of seeing that many women all together at a baseball game. The crush gathered, the vendors selling their teal-and-blue yarns, the volunteers ushering people toward giveaways and collecting donations of hats and scarves for charity — almost all were women.
Older women, mostly, though with a fair number of younger women mixed into the crowd. In the context of fiber arts, it was a familiar scene; in the context of a baseball game, it was almost shocking. I was more adjacent to the crafters than among them. I could still see the projects, in rows below me and rows above: stuffed animals, the beginnings of sweaters, socks, shawls — a lot of shawls. I saw people logging into Ravelry, the online nexus of the fiber arts community, on their phones; I saw the printed-out charts, with their numbers and symbols, being annotated by people with needles in one hand and pens in the other.
There were a few people doing cross-stitch and embroidery, and a lot of people wearing Edgar Martinez jerseys. I settled into my seat with my own project: a hat in a particularly thin and delicate garnet-colored yarn that I had just begun to make on the bus ride down. The pattern required the use of minuscule 2.
Batty Knitting Patterns - In the Loop Knitting
They first whispered about a girl beside them who was weaving something; then, with a dawning horror, they realized that almost everyone around them was making something. This, for some reason, bred hostility. They began picking certain people among the crowd out for mockery, based on what they were making or what colors they were wearing or what their faces or bodies or hair looked like. It was a game between the division rival Brewers and Cardinals, and a woman in the front row was crocheting. There are at least 3, kids doing the floss dance.
What is it about knitting, or crocheting, or any other innocuous activity that baseball fans might do, that makes it worth picking out for shaming? What standards are we trying to hold each other to?
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The people behind me eventually left, after the Mariners blew the lead. Hundreds of others, needles and hooks and yarn in hands, remained, their creations growing by the minute. Knitting is very like baseball. Knitting shares a slow, sure fancy with the pastime. It is mathematical, methodical, and pattern-based.
It is also whimsical, colorful, and often silly.