Strike One, Knit Two, Strike Two, Purl Three!

comments (0) August 29th, 2007     

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MichaelaMurphy Michaela Murphy, contributor
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Knit Lites are the first knitting needles that glow in the dark. They are perfect for ourdoor activities like camping.
Here I am knitting away at the Seattle Mariners annual Stitch N Pitch.
These crafty ladies are some of my Stitch N Pitch neighbors.
Knit Lites are the first knitting needles that glow in the dark. They are perfect for ourdoor activities like camping.

Knit Lites are the first knitting needles that glow in the dark. They are perfect for ourdoor activities like camping.

Photo: Greg Snodgrass

The Seattle Mariner's may have lost the game but they scored big time with their third annual Stitch N’ Pitch on Thursday, July 26th, 2007. Stitch N’ Pitch is the brainchild of a smart Seattle Mariner’s marketing exec who suddenly realized that the group of women from the Mariner’s front office who would meet up in the lunchroom everyday to knit were on to something. Surrounded by posters of Mariner star players like Ichiro and Richie Sexson these nimble ladies crafted beautiful sweaters and scarves and literally brought together two great American pastimes: baseball and needle arts.

The first annual Stitch N’ Pitch was held in the summer of 2005 and while the Mariner’s marketing team were confident that several hundred baseball fans who liked to knit would show up they were stunned when almost two thousand tickets were sold for the inaugural event! Since 2005 Stitch N’ Pitch has steadily grown and as of this summer twenty five major league baseball teams are hosting the program with The National Needle Arts Association (TNNA). Check out their site for a complete schedule of upcoming games: TNNA.org.

The scene

The Stitch N’ Pitch at Mariner’s Safeco Field was just heavenly. I grew up in a baseball household and have been a life-long fan of the Boston Red Sox. I’ve also been knitting and stitching since I was about nine-years old. It was incredible to be up in the stands at a beautiful baseball park, on a lovely summer evening and find myself sitting amongst hundreds and hundreds of people stitching! (That's me at top left. The ladies at right are some of my Stitch N' Pitch neighbors.)

There were husbands and wives, groups of young women and men, whole families—it was amazing. The game started off with Debbie Macomber, the New York Times bestselling author of Blossom Street Pattern books, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Then the game proper started off with a bang: two ground rule doubles by and the Mariner’s Richie Sexson got the crowd jumping with a homer at the top of the second. Stitcher’s put down their projects and cheered him home and then sat back down to the task at hand. There were some amazing projects being executed up in the Safeco stands: gorgeous afghans, richly colored sweaters, intricate scarves and a whole lot of wildly patterned socks.

While the needle artists in my section seemed riveted to the game, I felt compelled to go and check out the thirty-one plus stitching vendors out on the Safeco concourse. There were booths selling yarn, needles, hand creams, and a group from the Ashmead Massage School offering relief for muscles all tensed up from stitching. I could have spent several hours and lots of cash checking it all out. Most of all it was so exciting to see all of this happening at a baseball game.

Making connections
I was also able to meet and mingle. Debbie Macomber was positively glowing as fans swarmed her to sign her newest book. And her adoring grandchildren were having a grand ol' time. How many grandkids get to watch their grandmother throw out the first pitch at a major league baseball game? Or get a special baseball card with her picture and stats on it?

Roxy Goetz and Elizabeth Brown over at the Pacific Fabrics booth told me that they had been very busy during the beginning of the game getting some novice knitters set up. Pacific had a table set up next to their booth where some area experts guided the very first stitches of a few newbies. And if you’re wondering, not just female newbies. “There are a lot of guys who are really interested. We just got a few started tonight,” said Brown.

Lauren Lindeman, owner of So Much Yarn in Seattle said that in addition to the guys there were many mothers and daughters stopping by and a whole busload of stitchers who drove up from Portland Oregon for the event. This was the second year for Lindeman and she too was enthusiastic about the overwhelming response and camaraderie.

Blue Flower Knits had many incredible project patterns but the biggest buzz that night was over an adorable felted tote bag with bas relief baseballs all along the top edge. Just one look at the table for Trendsetters Yarn with so many colors and different fibers and I knew that I had to go and visit their store. The same goes for Acorn Street Shop and Wild Fibers, both booths were packed several people deep with stitcher’s ohhing and ahhing over their wares.

And a cool new tool
A huge roar from the Safeco fans beckoned me back to the game. The Mariner’s were getting creamed. No matter, I had my knitting. But when I got back to my seat it was a little too dark to be able to see. The woman in front of me, Bridget Mohs, was prepared. In the dwindling light I watched Bridget as she used these needles that light up—they are called Knit Lites and Bridget says that they are great for camping trips! They really were the perfect Stitch N’ Pitch accessory. Bridget and her husband echoed what everyone I spoke to at the game said, “This is so great and I can’t wait until next year!” Now, how many times has a true baseball fan said that?

posted in: tools, stitch n pitch, knit lite

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