Knitting Out In The Wide, Wide World

I'm not much of a sports person (most of you have figured this out by now!). But I have gone with friends to sports events, because being with lots of people, watching men and women run around after small objects, eating junk food (I ADORE hot dogs), shouting yourself hoarse when someone makes a point (or a goal, or a home run) is really a lot of fun even if you have no clue what is really going on.

However, baseball has been a special challenge to me. To the uninitiated (that would be me), the game is a bit…well…slow. The first few baseball games I went to, I was–I shall tell the truth, even if it makes the commenters explode at me–bored. The home runs were exciting, and the SMACK of the bat hitting the ball is a great sound when you're actually in the ballpark, but all that time in between…I kept thinking, "I could be knitting. I wish I had brought my knitting." Those first few games, I would come home feeling as though hours of perfectly good knitting time had been wasted, because of course, I was too shy to bring my knitting to a sports event in a ballpark full of rabid fans.

Thank goodness those days of being too shy to bring my knitting out of the house are at an end. Now, I bring my knitting with me EVERYWHERE, and I do mean everywhere. If my husband and I are driving to the local shopping center, well, that's fifteen minutes of perfectly good knitting time each way (because, of course, I make him drive). There's always a project with me, even if I KNOW I won't have any time to work on it, because, well. You just never know. You could get marooned somewhere. You could end up in the world's largest traffic jam. You could have to actually (gasp!) WAIT. And so there's always yarn and needles in my bag now.

I'm not alone in this crafty habit, of course. Knitters nowadays love to take their craft out of the house. (Crocheters, too; my spinning friends even take spindles and fiber everywhere they go! How about the rest of you needlefolk?) We have KIP (Knit In Public) days, we have weekly knitting groups in yarn shops, we have knit-ins and knit cafes and even Sticks N' Stitches (take your needlework to a hockey game). And so, predictably, when the temperatures start rising and the umpires start yelling "Batter UP!" we also start to see needlefolk at baseball games. Hooray! Now I can go to a baseball game and not feel as though I am gnawing my fingers to give myself something to do.

However, I have learned a thing or two about what kind of knitting to carry along with me in my rattlings-about-town. It must be simple–no charts, no complicated repeats, no extensive counting. It must be put-down-able and pick-up-able at a moment's notice, meaning that it must be really easy to figure out where I am in the pattern at all times (it's no good if you have fifteen minutes in the car to knit, only to spend the entire fifteen minutes counting and muttering to yourself trying to figure out where the heck in your sock you are!). It's got to be small, and not have more than two colors (one is far, far preferable). Usually, once all these factors are calculated, the end result is that my travelling projects are either (a) socks (Ribby Retro Socks, anyone? Don't they just look like the kind the old-timey baseball guys used to wear?), or (b) some larger project that is in an Extended Stockinette Stage that is too long to be endured by mere TV watching. My travelling projects are kept in a separate bag that can be grabbed up on my way out of the house at any time; the travelling bag has its own little pouch complete with scissors, stitch markers, and all the paraphenalia one could possible ever need for a knitting project.

After all…remember: You could end up marooned somewhere. For HOURS. Be prepared.

— Sandi

P. S. Do you knit in public? What kinds of projects do you take along with you on your life's journeys? Share your stories with the rest of us (because it might give us some good ideas for our own crafty lives!).

The National NeedleArts Association is partnering with local yarn shops and needlework groups to bring you Stitch N' Pitch 2008. These games are a perfect opportunity to play with your needles in public. Knitters, crocheters, needlepointers, embroiderers, you’re all invited! Stitch N’ Pitch is a family event, all ages, sexes, and skill levels are welcome. Let’s show off our knitting during the 7th inning stretch, eat cracker jacks, and scream and holler for every strike out, home run, and double play.

You can now purchase tickets for Stitch N’ Pitch games in your area and download free baseball-themed patterns online at Stitch N’ Pitch has also added minor league baseball teams to the event, so be sure to check the website for minor league teams if you aren’t located near a major league team.

Free Sparkly Wristband Pattern!
Show your team colors! When you’re called to bat, be ready in sporty, yarn-obsessed style. Download the free pattern for the Sparkly Sweatbands and customize them to show your team’s colors. Add embroidery to showcase your team’s logo or the number of your favorite player. And send us pictures of you sporting your original sweat bands at the games.

Grab your needles and cheer on your favorite baseball team!

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

 What's on Sandi's needles? Shoulders of the Drawstring Raglan. What's on Sandi's spinning wheel? Awesome handpainted alpaca fiber that badly wants to become a shawl when it grows up. What's in Sandi's sink? A brand new Corriedale fleece, being scoured and rinsed!

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