Monday, September 12, 2016

Backstory: Stitch N' Pitch

What with my interests in both knitting and baseball, it was inevitable that I become involved with Stitch N' Pitch, a fan organization that encourages fans to proudly work on their stitchery at ballgames. Many teams at all levels--MLB, Minor League Baseball, Independent Leagues etc.--have a "Stitch N' Pitch Day," with a special section set aside for participants and a stitchery-related giveaway. 

When I attended my first SnP at Coors Field in 2007, little did I realize the life-changing events that were being set in motion. At the time, I was working on a baseball-related sock pattern--not for publication, as it included team logos, but purely for my own use. However, when I discovered that SnP was holding a national design contest (with the blessing of MLB), I realized that here was a chance to show my socks to the world without fear of trademark violation. When I never heard back from the organizers, I assumed that I must have failed to even place...until a friend showed me the website with the contest winners. There were my socks at the top of the page!

(Note: Since publication, my last name has changed back to Wills.)
As a result, the pattern was published by CRAFT Magazine, and the triumph was even written up in Rockies Magazine. (In an interesting coincidence, the author of that piece was Paul Swydan, now managing editor for The Hardball Times and editor of FanGraphs. Looks like we've all come up in the world!)

The sock pattern is still available (for free!) at my old knitting website and through my Ravelry store. While the winning socks are Rockies-themed, the pattern includes logos for about 25 of the 30 MLB teams; looking on Ravelry, it appears that the Red Sox have actually turned out to be the most popular.

As if winning SnP's national design contest wasn't enough, in 2009 the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum asked me to donate my socks to their collection. They were put up in the "Rockies' Locker" in the spring of 2010, so as to coincide with the HOF's first "Stitch N' Pitch Day," and have been on display ever since. As of last September, they have been moved to the "Today's Game" exhibit, giving them even greater pride of place.

Pic credit: Todd Radom
If you remember from my previous blog entry, my father always believed I was destined to be a Hall-of-Famer. While I'm sure this wasn't the route he expected, it would appear the Fates have proven him right... :)

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