Opening Day

Despite what the thermometer is telling me, spring has sprung. And that means that as sure as Carl Pavano has been placed on the 60-day DL, baseball is back in the Bronx. I’m looking forward to my second year of providing the sort of hard-hitting knitting analysis that can only be found on a baseball blog. And baseball isn’t coming back a moment too soon. I was actually extremely happy to hear Joe Morgan’s commentary tonight, which is surely a sign of how deep my withdrawal was. I don’t expect that to last very long, though.

I never have been able to score tickets for an Opening Day game, but I will be getting to catch my first game of the season this Saturday. The first weekend homestand of the season is “calendar day”, when the team gives the fans in attendance an April-March calendar filled with team photos. My parents went to their first calendar day by accident, while I was still living up in Massachusetts, but since I’ve moved back to New York, it’s become a family tradition to go. As I learned last year, there’s a definite risk of chilly weather at these early-season games, but I’m hoping that things are slightly less frigid this weekend. As of right now, Andy Pettitte (pictured warming up in the bullpen last season) is scheduled to come off the DL to pitch that game, but that could always change on short notice.

In honor of the team’s last year in Yankee Stadium, my next project after my “stashbuster” purple socks will be pinstriped socks, based on the Yankees home jerseys. I didn’t know of a source for self-pinstriping yarn, so I decided to make my own, from some Louet Gems Opal (purchased at The Loopy Ewe) and some Jacquard Acid Dye in Navy, purchased at Lee’s Art Shop on 57th St. Up to now my total dyeing experience has been one skein of laceweight dunked in pink lemonade flavored Kool-Aid, so I decided to try my hand at dyeing the solid-colored yarn for the heels, toes, and cuffs of my socks. If I could manage that without turning myself or my apartment navy blue, I’d move on to the stripey portion.

The process was pretty simple. I knitted a mock sock toe and weighed out the yarn. Using those measurements, I skeined off enough yarn for the contrasting portions of the sock (after double-checking my estimates of 20% of the total weight against Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks). Then I soaked the yarn in water and simmered it in dye solution, in my dedicated dyepot and mason jar.

While I was dyeing, the dyebath was alarmingly purple, but I needn’t have worried about it. After rinsing out and drying my yarn, I had a pretty nice semi-solid dark navy blue with no oddly shaded sections.
After getting the yarn for the toes, heels and cuffs dyed, I then moved on to the self-striping portion of the socks. I followed the tutorial for dyeing self-striping yarn on Eunny Jang’s old blog pretty much to the letter, only modifying the lengths of yarn that’d be necessary for the stripes. After making a skein on two chairs spaced 10 feet apart, I cooked the batch of yarn using the same basic setup as the first one, with the minor changes of keeping the yarn I wanted to stay white in a separate mason jar, and wrapping the start of the white yarn in plastic. The plastic wasn’t 100% effective at preventing wicking of the dye up into the other portion of yarn, and more dye transferred when I washed out the excess dye, so the stripes won’t be quite as crisp as I had hoped they’d be, but the flaw won’t be too noticeable from a distance. I’m not sure what the best way to avoid having dye settle where I don’t want it to, so any suggestions for the future are very welcome.

One other thing that I learned was that there’s no way to make a 20 foot long skein of yarn look photogenic, no matter how you try to fold it up. So I wound it off into a ball:
(posed next to my Sal Fasano autographed ball. He was a backup catcher for the Yankees for part of the 2006 season, and is very nice to fans) Next I skeined up the yarn to something a bit more manageable for storage and further picture-taking.

My original plan was to knit these socks only at the games I attend this season, but I’m not sure I can stick to that resolution. I’m a real sucker for self-patterning yarn (if this actually works as such), and have a hard time putting them down. I’ve also discovered how much keeping score cuts into my knitting time, so if I stick to my plans I won’t get very far during the regular season. At any rate, it’s a rather pleasant conundrum to have, and it’s a long season, so I’ve got plenty of time to make my final decision.


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