Thursday, September 8, 2016

Backstory: Not One of the Usual Suspects

Yep, I agree. If you were to picture someone who designs and knits vintage baseball regalia, it wouldn't be me. In fact, the question I get most often has nothing to do with knitting at all:

"So, how does an astrophysicist become interested in baseball anyway?"

Allow me to set the record straight.

My dad was a ballplayer all the way through college. He grew up in Wisconsin, and lived and died with the Milwaukee Braves. When I was born, not only on Opening Day, but the day that the Braves' Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's home run record, my dad took it as a sign that I was destined to be a Hall-of-Famer. He went out and bought me a baseball bat that very day--my only "true" birthday present. I was three weeks old when I went to my first ballgame; it was at Veterans Stadium, Steve Carlton was pitching, and I still have the Phillies' batting helmet that was the fan giveaway.

While I was never much of a player, I've been keeping score since before I can remember and have been an official scorer in some capacity since high school. I've even designed and copyrighted my own scoring system. 

In other words, I was born into baseball. I only became an astrophysicist in college.

Even my knitting predates astrophysics. As with scoring, I feel like I've always known how to knit. (I guess you could say that was my mom's contribution, while baseball was my dad's.)

My interest in design came in pretty early. Originally, it was clothing. A la "Pretty in Pink," I designed my senior prom dress, though in that case I built it around a 1920's outfit that I found at a thrift store. I also became immersed in costume design in high school. (It turned out to be a great way to get out of class. "Sorry I wasn't there this morning. I was finishing one of the dresses for 'Gypsy.'" ;) That carried over to college, where--due largely to the fact that so few people sew anymore--I was designing for the "Main Stage" by the end of my freshman year. (By the way, I don't recommend this. Being the lead designer for "Cabaret" while working an astro research job and trying to keep up with your classes is guaranteed to cause burnout...)

My shift to knitting design started in grad school. I wanted projects that were portable--hence mostly socks and gloves--and knitting lends itself to a mathematical way of thinking that sewing does not. Also, I discovered that if I knit during meetings and conferences, I pay more attention and asked better questions. So yes, if you see me knitting at a sports analytics conference, it means I'm interested in the talk and not slacking off. :)
Source: Cast On Magazine

I've had patterns published in a number of magazines and have even been interviewed for a few. In those cases though, the question was, "How does an astrophysicist become interested in knitting anyway?" *sigh*

Anyway, there you go. I'm a baseball person who also happens to be a knitting designer. Oh, and somewhere along the line, I got a Ph.D. in Astrophysics.

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