Episode 42: The Science of Christmas

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to record, so I’m happy to be back with Episode 42.  This episode features some interesting research on various aspects of Christmas, including a newly-published MRI study of Christmas Spirit.  Before we get to the classroom, though, I announce our November prize winners, report on some swap packages that I recently received from several sweet knitter friends, tell you about some new yarn I have acquired this month, and review an audiobook that I just finished and adored.  I haven’t done all that much knitting lately, but I talk about that as well.

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our amazing Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  It’s always a pleasure to connect with listeners online as well as via snail mail.  I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned handwritten correspondence.  If you’re interested in writing to me, all of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Andre Sue Knits.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

Listen to the show:

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

  • As always, post your finished objects in our monthly graduating class thread on Ravelry for a chance to win prizes.
  • We finished 2015 as The Year of the Sheep, but I will continue to include segments about breed-specific wool in future episodes as time permits.
  • At Ewe University, our 2016 theme is The Year of Willa Cather.  We’ll be reading all of her novels (one per month) and making items inspired by her or her books in some way.  There is a discussion board already started for our first month.

Awards and Scholarships

In this episode I announce the two valedictorians for our November graduating class as well as the winner from our November Year of the Sheep thread.  Listen to the show to find out if you won!

Around Campus

I haven’t talked to you since before Thanksgiving, so in this segment you can catch up with my holiday events (briefly).  I also talk about several swaps that I did with (1) Heidi, the dyer behind Undead Yarn and host of the Undead Yarn Podcast; (2) Regina of the Herbstblatt Regina Podcast; and (3) Lucy, my swap partner over in the Creating and Swapping with Love group on Ravelry.

Every Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm Central Time I do a live broadcast on Periscope called Ewe University Live.  You can join me live or watch a replay on Periscope (for 24 hours after the broadcast).  I also record a video of each broadcast and upload them to my YouTube channel if you want to watch them there.

I received my first skein of sock yarn from my Nicole C. Mendez subscription, and it is awesome! I highly recommend this dyer — go check out her Etsy shop right now!

I’ll be attending the Timber Ridge Knitting Retreat on Saturday, January 16.  If you are interested in coming, PM me on Ravelry and I will give you directions for getting there.

I was recently interviewed by Andi, host of the Andre Sue Knits podcast.  I’m excited to announce that she is going to include my interview on one of her upcoming podcast episodes!  Her podcast is one of my absolute favorites, so you should start watching regularly if you don’t already.

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

Graduated:

  • Four Hour Hat–Bulky by Marilyn Clark
    Yarn is Alpaca with a Twist Highlander, color #1014
    Needles are US size 11 (8mm)
  • Sophie’s Hat by Sophie Scott
    Yarn is Fancy Tiger Crafts Heirloom, Radish colorway and Natural colorway
    Needles are US size 8 (5mm)
  • Grandmother’s Favorite Dishcloth (I made a lot of these for gifts)
    Yarn is Lily Sugar ‘n Cream
    Needles are US size 6 (4.25mm)

Freshman:

  • Happy Feet Vanilla Socks by Kimmies-Knits
    Yarn is my own hand-dyed MCN in the Modern Yuletide colorway
    Needles are US size 1 (2.25mm)

Year of the Sheep

Our sheep of the month for December is Romney, and I give an overview of this sheep breed and its wool.  Listen to the show to find out all about it!

At the Library

In this episode, I review the audiobook The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens, which I recently finished.  I liked it a lot and gave it and the audiobook reader both 4 stars.  Find out more by listening in!

In the Classroom

For the classroom segment, I talk about a number of studies which have been conducted on various aspects of Christmas.  One study scanned people’s brains and discovered a neural network representing the Christmas Spirit.  Another study sought to measure Christmas Spirit.  Other research investigated Black Friday shopping rituals and the effects of scents and music on consumer behavior at Christmastime.  My favorite Christmas study is a well-known one (in social psychology, anyway) where the researchers sent Christmas cards to perfect strangers.  What would you do if you received a card from someone you had never met?  Listen to the show to find out what happened!

 

Episode 41: Why do we worry?

In Episode 41 I make some announcements, catch you up with what I’ve been doing, introduce you to a couple of new podcasts I’ve been enjoying, review two fantastic books I’ve recently finished, and talk about my knitting.  In the classroom I cover a lot of research that’s all about why people worry and what they worry about.  It’s not all bad!  :)

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our amazing Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  It’s always a pleasure to connect with listeners online as well as via snail mail.  I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned handwritten correspondence.  If you’re interested in writing to me, all of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Andre Sue Knits.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

Listen to the show:

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

  • Remember to post your finished objects in our Graduating Class thread on Ravelry for a chance to win valedictorian prizes!
  • We also have a monthly Year of the Sheep thread on Ravelry where you can chat and post your projects involving breed-specific wool each month this year.
  • In addition, there is a Year of the Sheep: Random thread where we are discussing sheep breeds other than the 12 “official” ones on our list for 2015.
  • I announce the Ewe University theme for 2016:  The Year of Willa Cather.  We’ll be reading each of Cather’s 12 novels (one each month next year) and crafting projects inspired in some way by Willa Cather or her novels.  Look for a new thread on Ravelry with more information.

Awards and Scholarships

  • Listen to the show to find out who won the October valedictorian prizes and the October Year of the Sheep prize.  Congratulations to our winners!

Around Campus

  • I talk about my day at the Bishop Hill Spin-In back in mid-October.  It was a fun time!
  • This week I received my latest Plucky Classics subscription yarn, and it’s another yummy one.
  • I recently updated my Etsy shop with some Christmas bags, but they have already sold out.  So I am making more and will put those into the shop asap.
  • I’ve had a lot of fun exchanging swap packages with people lately, and I talk about some of the items I’ve received.  Let me know if you’re interested in a swap with me, and we’ll make arrangements.  (PM me on Ravelry.)
  • I’m continuing to do live broadcasts on Periscope every Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm Central Time.  I hope you can join me sometime!
    • Here is my Periscope Channel where you can watch live or a replay for 24 hours after the live broadcast.  Follow me if you want notification when I am broadcasting live.
    • Here is my YouTube Channel where I post the broadcast videos.  Feel free to subscribe so that you get notified when I post a new video.
  • There are a couple of new podcasts that I’ve been enjoying, and I recommend them to you:
    • Six Bits Storybooks with Melissa and Melody — audio podcast on iTunes
    • Yarn Talk with Heidi, Leah, and Allyson — video podcast on YouTube

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

  • Graduated:  French Outlander Shawl (pattern by Tanya Anderson); yarn is Plucky Primo Fingering in the Heartstrings and Paris is a Good Idea colorways.
  • Senior:  Antler Hat (pattern by Tincan Knits); yarn is 100% Polwarth,  handspun and hand dyed by Timeless Dog Studios
  • Freshman:  Dusk into Twilight Shawl (pattern by Romi Hill); yarn is Gnome Acres House Gnome Fingering in a Doppelganger set of 5 skeins in Olde Christmas colorway

Year of the Sheep

  • I provide information about the Polwarth and Icelandic sheep breeds, our sheep of the month for October and November.

At the Library

  • In this episode I review two audiobooks that I recently finished listening to:
    • The Martian by Andy Weir (5 stars)
    • The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami (5 stars)

In the Classroom

In the classroom today I talk about the scientific underpinnings of worry, including why we worry and what people worry about.  You might be surprised at some of the characteristics of worrying, especially when you find out that there are actually some positive things associated with worrying.  Listen to the show to find out more!

 

Episode 40: The Science Behind Tidying

I’m back with Episode 40 after a needed break.  This episode is chock full of prize drawings, information about two sheep breeds, a book review, and knitting projects I’ve been working on.  In the classroom you’ll learn about the psychological and physical benefits of cleaning and organizing your space.

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our amazing Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  It’s always a pleasure to connect with listeners online as well as via snail mail.  I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned handwritten correspondence.  If you’re interested in writing to me, all of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Andre Sue Knits.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

Listen to the show:

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

  • Next Saturday, October 17, I’ll be at the Bishop Hill Spin-In.
  • During the month of October, the Ewe University Ravelry group is doing a spooky read-along.  We’re reading Summer of Night by Dan Simmons.  Please join us and participate in the discussion!
  • In 2015 we’re celebrating different breeds of sheep by doing a year-long knit/spin-along for the Year of the Sheep.  This month we are working with Polwarth wool.  Please join us and post your progress, finished objects, and comments on the Ravelry board.
  • We also have a thread called Year of the Sheep: Random where we are discussing other sheep breeds that aren’t on our “official” list for the year.
  • I still have some Ewe University Year of the Sheep buttons, so PM me on Ravelry with your name and mailing address, and I’ll send you one for free!

Awards and Scholarships

I draw for a ton of prizes in this episode!  Listen in to find out who are the valedictorians for July, August, and September as well as who won the random drawing for the Year of the Sheep for July, August, and September.  Congratulations to our winners!  If you are a winner, please PM me on Ravelry with your full name and mailing address, and I’ll get your prize out to you right away.

Around Campus

In this segment I catch you up on what I’ve been doing for the past couple of months.  School started and I’m having a good semester.  I finished a major house decluttering and organizing project, which took me way longer than expected.  I also talk about my day trip to Stitches Midwest.

For the past six weeks I’ve been doing weekly live broadcasts called Ewe University Live.  These broadcasts are on Periscope, a relatively new platform from the Twitter company.  You can get the free app for your Apple or Android phone by going here.  The links to the apps are at the bottom of the page.  With Periscope you can broadcast live (and watch live broadcasts of other people), but the best thing is that you can interact with the broadcaster in real time.  I’m broadcasting Ewe University Live on Sunday afternoons at 2:00pm Central Time.  You can watch live or watch a replay of the broadcast on Periscope for 24 hours afterward.  You can also watch live on the web, like on a desktop computer: My Periscope page is here.  Additionally, I’m putting the recorded video of my broadcasts on my YouTube channel for those who want to watch there.

My birthday was last month, and thank you to everyone who sent cards, packages, and gifted me patterns.  I truly appreciate all of your love and support!  In this episode I talk about my annual birthday adventure, which didn’t turn out so well this year.

I also mention a brand new podcast that I am really excited about:  Unraveling with Greg and Joey.  I have known Greg (KnittingDaddy on Ravelry) for several years, and I am happy that he has jumped into the podcasting world.  I think it is long overdue!  This is an audio podcast.  So far there is only one episode, and you can subscribe on iTunes or their web site to get new episodes.

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

The only projects which graduated off my needles lately are a bunch of dishcloths that I sent as housewarming gifts.

I’ve been a monogamous knitter for the past month, only working on the French Outlander Shawl by Tanya Anderson.  It is a gorgeous crescent shawl pattern that is well written and not too challenging, which is perfect for me at this time.  I’d say this is probably in junior status.  I only have a few more rows before I switch to the contrasting color for the edging.  The yarn is Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering (MCN–merino/cashmere/nylon) in two different colorways:  Heartstrings (light gray) and Paris is Always a Good Idea (sapphire blue).  I started with a US size 4 (3.5mm) needle and then switched to a US size 6 (4.25mm), as the pattern calls for.

For our October Year of the Sheep project, I just cast on an Antler Hat by Alexa Ludeman (TinCan Knits).  It is a free pattern on Ravelry and a nice, cabled hat that is gender neutral.  The yarn I’m using is 100% Polwarth worsted weight from Timeless Dog Studio in the colorway Cornucopia.  I’m using US size 8 (5 mm) needles.

The Year of the Sheep

In this episode I catch up on our Year of the Sheep by talking about two sheep breeds:  Cheviot for August and Cotswold for September.  Listen in to find out some interesting information about these two breeds and their wool.

At the Library

I’ve listened to a number of audiobooks over the past couple of months, some I enjoyed and some not so much.  Today I review one that I really liked:  The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.  Listen to the show to find out the details.

In the Classroom

Back in August I took about a month to tidy up, declutter, and organize my house.  I originally didn’t think that I had that much clutter around, but after I purged things we never used and put the rest of it away, I realized that my house was more messy than I thought.  And getting things organized seemed to lift a big weight off my shoulders, and I feel much happier in my living space now. This project motivated me to delve into the scientific research on tidying up, decluttering, cleaning, and purging, and I thought I would share that with you today.  Listen to the show to hear all about it.

 

Episode 39: Effects of Color on Behavior, Emotions, and the Brain

Episode 39 covers a lot of research on the physical, emotional, and behavioral impacts of exposure to different colors.  Before going into the classroom, though, I talk about some upcoming events, announce some prize winners, and recap my recent visit to Nevada.  You’ll also hear about my recent yarn purchases, a couple of great new podcasts that I’ve been enjoying, books that I’ve read this summer, and interesting information about Cormo sheep.  I’ve finished several knitting projects, too!

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our amazing Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  It’s always a pleasure to connect with listeners online as well as via snail mail.  I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned handwritten correspondence.  If you’re interested in writing to me, all of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Andre Sue Knits.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

Listen to the show:

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

Upcoming Events:

  • Stitches Midwest — I’ll be there on Saturday, August 8.  There is a podcaster meetup from 1-2pm in the Nirvana B Room on the second level of the Convention Center.  Come say hi, and I’ll give you a Ewe University podcast button, too!
  • Timber Ridge Knitting Retreat — I’ll be there on Saturday, August 1.  PM me for directions if you want to come.

Post your finished objects in the Graduating Class thread on Ravelry for a chance to win valedictorian prizes.

Join in the discussion of the Year of the Sheep breed-specific wool on Ravelry for a chance to win YOTS prizes.

PM me on Ravelry if you want a Year of the Sheep button, and I will send you one (free)!

Year of the Sheep Button2Awards and Scholarships

In this episode, I announce our June valedictorians and our YOTS winner for June.  Listen to the show to find out if you won a prize!

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the graduating class and year of the sheep discussion.

Around Campus

I talk about visiting my family in Reno, Nevada at the beginning of July and then the tornado we had here at home two days after I got home.  I also talk about my yarn and needle purchases at Jimmy Beans Wool:

Simplicity

Bottom two skeins are Hikoo Simplicity which I got to go with my Hikoo Abracadabra (two skeins on top).

My mom picked out this Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Seawash colorway for me to make a shawl for her.

Twist Light

Madelinetosh Twist Light in the Mexican Grilled Street Corn colorway

Knitters Pride Marblez, US size 4

Knitters Pride Marblez, US size 4

New Podcasts I’ve been enjoying:

 The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

Graduated:  Heirloom Tomato Socks

  • Yarn:  Dorset/nylon blend from Solitude Wool in the Heirloom Tomato colorway
  • Pattern:  Picot Edge Socks by Betty Balcomb
  • Needles:  US size 2 (2.75mm)

Heirloom Tomato Socks

Graduated: Sock Blank #2 Socks

Sock Blank Socks #2Graduated:  Kool-Aid Hand Painted Socks

  • Yarn:  BFL/nylon fingering weight that I hand-dyed myself
  • Pattern:  The Perfect Fit by Rebecca Homick
  • Needles:  US size 1 (2.25mm)

Kool-Aid Dyed Socks

Sophomore:  Hocus Pocus Striped Socks

Hocus Pocus Striped Socks

Projects to be Frogged:

I also talk about a couple of projects that are just not working out.  I will keep you posted as I figure out what that yarn wants to be.

Year of the Sheep

In this segment I talk about the history of Cormo sheep and also discuss the characteristics of its wool for knitting and spinning.

At the Library

I briefly summarize two audiobooks that I recently finished.  Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly like either one of them.

  • Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (2 stars)
  • Old Earth by Gary Grossman (2-1/2 stars)

In the Classroom

In an earlier episode I covered human aesthetic preferences like what people’s favorite colors are.  For this one, I read a lot of research on how exposure to different colors affects people emotionally, physically, and behaviorally.  You might be surprised at some of these research results.  Listen to the show for all the details!

 

Episode 38: Lavender

Episode 38 is chock full of information, from the weather and evapotranspiration at the very beginning of the show to a discussion of the medicinal and insecticide properties of lavender at the end.  Along the way, I talk about my quite numerous knitting projects, review a good book that I listened to, announce a plethora of prize winners, and provide an overview of a couple of breeds of sheep for our Year of the Sheep year-long knit-along.

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our amazing Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  It’s always a pleasure to connect with listeners online as well as via snail mail.  I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned handwritten correspondence.  If you’re interested in writing to me, all of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and A Riot of Color.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

Listen to the show:

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

  • Stitches Midwest is coming up at the beginning of August, and I’ll be going up for the day on Saturday, August 9.  PM me if you want to ride along on the bus.  The cost is $72 and includes admission to the Stitches Marketplace.  I’ll be at the podcaster meetup from 1-2pm at a location to be determined.
  • Post your finished objects on our June Graduating Class thread on Ravelry for a chance to win valedictorian prizes.
  • In celebration of 2015 as the Year of the Sheep, we have a couple of threads open on Ravelry:  One is for our June Sheep of the Month (Dorset) and the other is for Random Sheep breeds that aren’t on our list for this year.
  • I have some Ewe University Year of the Sheep buttons to give away — let me know if you want one and I’ll send it to you!

Year of Sheep Buttons1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have to be a member of our Ravelry group to participate in our giveaways and other activities, so go over and join if you haven’t already.

Awards and Scholarships

In this episode I announce prizes galore, including:

  • Two valedictorians for April
  • Two valedictorians for May
  • Year of the Sheep winner for April
  • Year of the Sheep winner for May
  • Recipient of Yarn Grant #2

Listen to the show to find out if you won!  Here is the beautiful Japanese Knot project bag prize that someone wins for the Year of the Sheep.  It was made and donated by a Friend of the Podcast, Kym:

YOTS Prize from Kimbuktu

Around Campus

I go over what I’ve been up to (lots of sewing, knitting, and some yarn dyeing) and things that have been going on in my world.  I also talk about some yarn acquisitions, including my Plucky Knitter Classic Subscription.  I get one skein of Primo Fingering (MCN blend) every other month.  This month the colorway is a brilliant blue colorway called Paris is a Good Idea.

Primo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other yarn I got is a fun color-changing yarn called Abracadabra by HiKoo.  It turns from white to purple when it is in the sun and then turns white again when you go inside.  I got two skeins of it and am thinking of making a colorwork hat where it looks all white but then when you go outside the design pops with the yarn turning purple.  Let me know if you have any suggestions!

abracadabra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I also got a set of Knitter’s Pride Knit Blockers.  This is a cool new product designed to make blocking your finished knitted objects a lot easier.  I’m really looking forward to trying them out.

Knit Blockers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m heading out to Nevada in a couple of weeks, so if you’re in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area, PM me and we will meet up!

Thank you to everyone who has sent me a card in snail mail over the past few weeks.  It’s awesome to hear from you!

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

Graduated:  Cladonia Shawl

  • Pattern:  Cladonia Kristin Kapur
  • Yarn:  Mrs. Crosby Hat Box in the Golden Butter and Squid Ink colorways
  • Needles:  US size 1 (2.25mm)

Cladonia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduated:  Bath Puff

bath puff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Junior:  Picot Edge Socks

  • Pattern:  Picot Edge Socks by Betty Balcomb
  • Yarn:  Dorset blend from Solitude Wool in the Heirloom Tomatoes colorway
  • Needles:  US size 2 (2.75mm)

Picot Edge Socks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophomore:  Sock Blank Socks #2

Sock Blank Sock #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophomore:  Hand-Dyed Sock

  • Pattern:  The Perfect Fit by Rebecca Homick
  • Yarn:  BFL/Nylon base that I hand-dyed myself
  • Needles:  US size 1 (2.25mm)

HandDyedSock

Year of the Sheep

I tallk about the Dorset sheep and its wool, as it is the sheep of the month for June.  Then I provide some interesting information about the Navajo Churro sheep, as one of the “random” breeds we’ve been discussing on the Ravelry board.

At the Library

I recently finished listening to the audiobook, The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley.  I liked it a lot and gave it (and the reader) 4 stars.  My least favorite part was the ending.  Listen to the show to find out my specific thoughts on this book.

In the Classroom

I have been thinking about the lavender plant because a lot of fiber artists use little lavender sachets to keep moths away from their yarn and fiber stash.  And I wondered if it really works for this purpose.  So I looked into the science of lavender and found that it has some interesting medicinal properties.  You might be surprised by what the research says about its bioactivity as an insecticide.  Listen to the show to find out more!

 

Episode 37: Play

I recorded Episode 37 at our cabin in Northern Minnesota on a lovely day with the windows open, so you will hear birds chirping as well as some loons calling in the background.  All was not so peaceful, though, as you’ll also hear boat motors running for quite a while in the middle of the show.  Nevertheless, I wanted to record an episode on play while we’re here on vacation.  I’ve been enjoying a lot of productive knitting time lately and have been having fun coloring in my adult coloring books, which I also talk about.  On the way to the classroom, I review a couple of excellent audiobooks I recently finished and give some interesting information about Rambouillet sheep, which is our sheep of the month for May.  I’m uploading this episode at an internet cafe, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that it works!

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our amazing Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  It’s always a pleasure to connect with listeners online as well as via snail mail.  I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned handwritten correspondence.  If you’re interested in writing to me, all of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and A Riot of Color.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

Listen to the show:

SHOW NOTES

I’ll update the show notes with pictures and links re everything I talk about when I get home.

Episode 36: Textile Therapy

I recorded Episode 36 tonight because I really, really wanted to squeeze in a show before the end of April and before I leave for a conference tomorrow morning.  In this episode we revisit arts, crafts, and psychological well-being as I review new research on Textile Therapy.  Before we get to the classroom, I announce some prize winners for March and give a little update on Yarn Grant #1, as well as announcing a new yarn grant competition. In celebration of National Card and Letter Writing Month, I talk about some new postage stamps and discuss several other snail-mail related items.  You’ll hear a little bit about Targhee, our sheep of the month for April.  I finished a couple of knitting projects, one of which is a world record for me!  If you are looking for a new book to read, try The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain.  I review it on the show and really liked it.

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our amazing Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  It’s always a pleasure to connect with listeners online as well as via snail mail.  I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned handwritten correspondence.  If you’re interested in writing to me, all of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and A Riot of Color.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

Listen to the show:

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

  • Post pictures of your finished objects to the April Graduating Class thread for a chance to win valedictorian prizes.
  • Join in the discussion in our Year of the Sheep thread for April — our sheep of the month is Targhee.
  • Find out about other sheep breeds that aren’t in our regular Year of the Sheep list; look at the Year of the Sheep: Random thread for that.
  • Let me know if you want a Year of the Sheep button — I’ll send you one!

Year of the Sheep Button2

 

Awards and Scholarships

March Valedictorians

  • Post #108 — TWINIMAMA (Sabine from Austria) — wins a drawstring project bag from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories
  • Post #93 — WINDYBROOKSPINS (Cayenne from Utah) — wins a skein of yarn from PHD Yarns

March Year of the Sheep Winner

  • Post #24 — KIMBUKTU7 (Kim from New York) — wins a skein of 100% Corriedale yarn from HPKY

Yarn Grant News

  • WUPPERSTRICKER (Steffi from Germany) won our first yarn grant and is now a celebrity knitter.  She has been posting her progress on the Persistence is Key cardigan.  You can go over to the Reporting for Yarn Grant #1 thread and cheer Steffi on as well as see her beautiful sweater progress.
  • Proposals are being accepted through the end of May for Yarn Grant #2, which is for 8 skeins of Misti Cotton — 10-ply worsted weight yarn in a blend of 83% Peruvian pima cotton and 17% silk.  Each skein has 191 yarns or 175 meters, for a total yardage of 1531 yards or 1400 meters.

Misti Cotton Yarn

 

Around Campus

In this segment I talk about all the reasons why I haven’t recorded an episode earlier this month.  I have three graduate students finishing their theses and two honors students finishing their honors thesis.  I am headed to Chicago for a conference and will be gone from Thursday-Saturday.  My car has been in the shop for three weeks getting a new transmission.  :(

In brighter news, we have a finch nest on our front porch.  Here is a picture of what house finches look like (male in front with red head and breast):

House_Finch_Male_and_Female

In snail mail news, April is National Card and Letter Writing Month.  This week is National Stationery Week, too.  In celebration, check out the new stamps which are available at the U.S. Post Office called “From Me to You.”  In addition to the postage stamps, they include little stickers around the edge of the sheet which say things like “happy birthday,” “thank you,” and “congratulations.”

stamps

I also talk about how I organize my correspondence in a correspondence register.  Here is a picture of it:

Correspondence Register1 Correspondence Register2If you want a copy of the Correspondence Register page that I created (pdf format), you can download it here:  Correspondence Register.

Here is how I display the cards I receive from friends in my craft room:

Card Display

In the correspondence theme, I talk about my new favorite pens, the Uniball Signo BLX (black infused colored ink):

BLX Pens

 

Lastly, it’s never too early to think about Stitches Midwest.  We are once again doing a bus trip up to Schaumburg for the day on Saturday, August 8.  Contact me on Ravelry if you are interested in joining us!

Year of the Sheep

In this segment I provide some historical and descriptive information about the Targhee sheep and their wool.  Listen in for the details.

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

Since the last episode, I graduated two projects:

  • Kaleidoscope Socks
    Pattern is Vanilla Socks by Elizabeth Suarez
    Yarn is Vice Blurred Lines in the Family Jewels colorway
    Needles are U.S. size 1 (2.25mm)

kaleidoscope socks

sock blank sock

One completed sock alongside the beautiful sock blank

Completed Socks

Completed Socks

Freshman Status

SummerFlies1

At the Library

In this episode I review an audiobook that I recently finished entitled The Silent Sisters by Diane Chamberlain.  I thought it was really good.  Listen in for the details.

In the Classroom

Today’s topic is Textile Therapy, which was inspired by an email I received from my BFF Gail which linked to a popular press news story about new studies on Textile Therapy and the mental health benefits of knitting.  After I read that article, I went and found the original research reports from those studies as well as some others.  So in this segment I revisit arts, crafts, and psychological well-being.  Listen to the show to find out about the research on the therapeutic benefits of the textile arts.

 

Episode 35: Superstitions, Magic, and Paranormal Beliefs

Episode 35 was inspired by the recent Friday the 13th, Ides of March, and St. Patrick’s Day, all of which have some kind of bad luck or good luck associated with them.  I finished recording this episode a couple of days ago, but this is the first chance I’ve had to upload it!  On our way to the classroom, you’ll hear about signs of spring, snail mail news, new podcasts that I’ve been listening to or watching, knitting projects that I’ve worked on, and Corriedale sheep, our sheep of the month for March.  I’ll also review a couple of books that I’ve finished listening to lately.  And then you’ll find out about the history and interesting research about superstitions, magic, and paranormal beliefs.

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our amazing Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  It’s always a pleasure to connect with listeners online as well as via snail mail.  I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned handwritten correspondence.  If you’re interested in writing to me, all of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and PHD Yarns.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or you can listen on the audio player below.

Listen to the show:

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

  • Post your finished objects in our Graduating Class thread for March for a chance to win valedictorian prizes.
  • Post your comments and questions about Corriedale sheep/wool in our Year of the Sheep thread — one prize will be drawn from this thread at the end of the month.
  • We also have a Year of the Sheep: Random thread for discussion of sheep breeds that aren’t on our “official” list for this year.  We’ve been having some fun and interesting discussion of Babydoll Southdown sheep.
  • Thank you to SOBAHIME and MISSKNITS for helping to lead the Year of the Sheep discussions.  And thank you to VDIMILIA for leading the discussion of our read-along of the book Quiet last month!

Awards and Scholarships

I announce the prize winners for February, who are:

February Graduating Class Valedictorians

  • POCKETSES, who is Sharon from Washington (Post #134) — wins a drawstring bag from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories
  • KNITTINGLADY54, who is Gwyn from Arkansas (Post #95) — wins a skein of yarn from PHD Yarns

February Year of the Sheep

  • IRIBEIRO, who is Isa from Portugal (Post #27) — wins a skein of yarn from Marigoldjen

An update on our first Yarn Grant that was won last month by WUPPERSTRICKER, who is Steffi from Germany:  Steffi has received the yarn (Wollmeise dk in the colorway My Old Blue Jeans) and she has posted pictures of two swatches.  She’ll be working on the Persistence is Key cardigan pattern, and the completion date is June 13.  Go over to the thread called Reporting for Yarn Grant #1 and cheer Steffi on!

Around Campus

I talk a little bit about the weather as spring is trying to interject itself into winter, with mixed success.  Last weekend I attended the Timber Ridge Knitting Retreat, which was a nice day of knitting, spinning, chatting with friends, and relaxing.  The weather was nice so we all went for a walk after we ate our pot-luck lunch.  For a couple of hours in the afternoon, I worked on spinning my Babydoll Southdown fiber, which is a new fiber to me and is very different and interesting.  Our next retreat dates are Saturday, August 1, 2015 and Saturday January 16, 2016 — mark your calendars!

I give a little update on snail mail news — thanks so much to everyone who has written to me.  I also talk about a couple of yarn purchases I’ve made lately:

  • Plucky Knitter Primo Classic Subscription — I get a skein of yarn every other month in the Primo fingering base, which is a merino-cashmere-nylon blend.  This month’s colorway is called CC Bloom, and it is a pretty, bright coral inspired by the beach.

Plucky Yarn Feb

  • One Twisted Tree on Etsy had a shop update a couple of weeks ago, and I snatched this lovely out of the shop.  This shop is owned by the very sweet Dani, a co-cost of the Prairie Girls Knit and Spin podcast, one of my faves, and she just started her new line of yarn.  The yarn I got it in the Prime Sock base, which is a superwash merino-nylon blend in the Urban Hunter’s Arrow colorway.  It’s a gorgeous variegated yarn with purple, blue, turquoise, and teal in it.

One Twisted Tree Yarn

I’ve been watching or listening to a couple of new podcasts lately that I’ve been enjoying and wanted to pass along my recommendation to you:

  • Junkyarn with Kemper in North Carolina — video podcast features a delightful, funny, smart, and interesting host and topics; subscribe on Youtube
  • Teaching Your Brain to Knit with Margaret and Catherine (both theater professors) in Northern California — audio podcast includes scholarly topics similar to what we’ve discussed here at Ewe University, plus they talk about “what they’re learning from their knitting” as well as fascinating information about the area where they live; subscribe on iTunes

I also encourage you to check out a Kickstarter Program for A Riot of Color, a yarn dyeing enterprise.  Owner Susan is trying to raise money to purchase a van so that she can take her yarn to festivals and basically bring her products closer to us.  Deadline is March 28; I’ve already made my pledge — and Susan has great prizes for every level of giving.

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

Socks1

  • Graduated:  Corriedale Mittens
    Pattern is Warmest Mittens by Kris Percival
    Yarn is 100% Corriedale (non-superwash) handspun that I bought from Giddy Transformations on Etsy
    Needles are US sizes 4 and 5 (3.5 and 3.75mm)

Mittens1

  •  Junior:  Kaleidoscopic Vanilla Socks that I started back in August
    Pattern is Vanilla Socks by Elizabeth Suarez
    Yarn is Vice Blurred Lines in the Family Jewels colorway
    Needles are US size 1 (2.25mm)

Vanilla SocksYear of the Sheep

Here at Ewe University we are celebrating 2015, which is the Year of the Sheep in the Chinese calendar.  During each month we are trying out yarn and fiber from different sheep breeds, and the breed of the month for March is Corriedale.  In this episode I talk about some history of the Corriedale sheep as well as the characteristics of its fleece and fiber.  Thank you so much to GRANNYSHEEP, who is Cory from Michigan — she has a Corriedale farm and has been adding some great information to our discussion on Ravelry.

In addition, I provide some information about another breed, the Olde English Babydoll Southdown, which we have been discussing in the “random” thread on Ravelry.  Thanks to MYLITTLESHEEP, Kristin from Missouri, who owns a Babydoll Southdown farm and has been telling us all about her sheep in addition to posting pictures of newly born lambs that are beyond adorable.

At the Library

I’ve recently finished listening to two audiobooks, which I review on the show.  They are:

  • The Handsome Man’s Deluxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith.  This is Book 15 in the Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency series, and I enjoyed it.  (3.5 stars)  The reader, Lisette Lecat, is awesome, as always.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I listened to this book back in 2012 when it was first published and loved it, even though it is in the fantasy genre, which I am not usually drawn to.  I just listened to it again as part of the read-along in the Bookish Stitcher podcast group on Ravelry.  I really enjoyed listening to it the second time.  (5 stars)  The reader, Jim Dale, was fabulous as well.

In the Classroom

People have been talking about luck and charms lately, with Friday the 13th, the Ides of March, and St. Patrick’s Day all happening earlier this month.  This got me thinking about the research on superstition, so that’s what I talk about in the classroom.  Why is Friday the 13th considered unlucky?  And is it really an unlucky day?  What are some superstitions in other cultures?  What are the characteristics of superstitious people?  Do superstitious behaviors like lucky charms and knocking on wood really improve people’s performance?  Listen to the show to find out the answers to these questions!

Episode 34: Interpersonal Synchrony

In Episode 34 I have a lot to talk about!  I cover a little bit of knitting, snail mail news, information about BFL wool, and review a couple of audiobooks that I recently listened to.  In the classroom I discuss the research on interpersonal synchrony.

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our amazing Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  It’s always a pleasure to connect with listeners online as well as via snail mail.  I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned handwritten correspondence.  If you’re interested in writing to me, all of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and PHD Yarns.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or you can listen on the audio player below.

Listen to the show:

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

  • Graduating Class thread is open on our Ravelry group.  Post finished objects by the end of this month for a chance to win valedictorian prizes.
  • Year of the Sheep thread is open on our Ravelry group.  Chat and post pictures of your fiber adventures with BFL, our sheep of the month for February
  • February Read-along thread is open on our Ravelry group.  Join us in the discussion of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

Operation Sew Smart Update.  I presented the money we raised to my friend Linda, home ec teacher at the local middle school, and she is excited to be able to order a new sewing machine for the students to learn on.  THANK YOU so much to all of our Ewe University listeners who generously donated to this fundraising effort!

Kris & Linda Small

Linda and me

Awards and Scholarships

  • Yarn Grant Competition — winner is Post #23 from WUPPERSTRICKER, who is Steffi from Germany.  Congratulations!

There will be more yarn grants to come; keep your eyes open for future announcements!

Around Campus

I’ve been sick with a bad cold, but the good news is that being sick in bed gives a person a lot of uninterrupted knitting time.  I’m going to be the academic reader again at graduation in May.  My dad came home from the hospital last week — yay!  But then my mom went into the hospital for a planned hip replacement.  It’s always something!  The Timber Ridge Knitting Retreat is going to take place on March 21.  Let me know if you’re interested in coming.  At the end of this week I’m flying out to California for a psychology conference in Long Beach.  I’ve been excited about collecting the yarn I’ll be working with during our Year of the Sheep celebration.  So far I have:

I still need to get some Cotswold for September, Polwarth for October, and Romney for December.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me a card or letter recently!  In the show I catch up with Postcrossing news and tell you about a post office tree in South Africa.

I’ve been watching and enjoying several new podcasts:

 The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

Graduated

cowl

Freshman

  • Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku
  • Yarn:  Superwash BFL/nylon blend from Fiber Fan Girl in the Variegated Blue-Teal-Purple colorway
  • Needles:  US size 1 (2.25mm)

Skyp Sock 1

Year of the Sheep

Our February Sheep of the Month is Blue Faced Leicester, also known as BFL.  I provide some information about the history of the BFL sheep as well as characteristics of BFL wool.

A Review

I review the Quals base from PHD Yarns, which is a 10-ply 100% merino, worsted-weight yarn.  Listen in for my specific experiences with it, but overall I really enjoyed working with it.  Plus the color intensity is amazing:

A close-up of the leg warmers I knit last month with this base

A close-up of the leg warmers I knit last month with this base

At the Library

I review two audiobooks that I recently finished:

  • As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley (2015).  This is the latest installment of the Flavia de Luce series, which I adore.  I give this book 4-1/2 stars.
  • The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron (2013).  I didn’t like this book as much as I expected.  I give it 2-1/2 stars.

In the Classroom

Today I discuss some fascinating research on interpersonal synchrony, including unconscious mimicry of others’ gestures, postures, accents, and movements, as well as coordinated movements which are matched in time, such as walking in step with someone else.  Research is showing that group synchronization has a lot of positive outcomes and even has a neural basis.  I’m amazed that people’s brain waves sync in addition to their physical movements and physiological responses like respiration.  I also talk about how the simple act of marching in unison, like police and armies do, affects people’s perceptions of adversaries and themselves.  Listen in to find out the details!

 

Episode 33: New Year’s Resolutions

I’m back with Episode 33 after a crazy, overscheduled, and stressful January!  Things are settling back down, though.  How are you all doing?  In this episode I talk about all the contests and the read-along we have going on in our Ravelry group, draw for December and January valedictorians plus other prizes, catch up a little bit with what I’ve been doing, discuss my recent knitting endeavors, provide some information about merino sheep, and review two audiobooks I’ve recently finished.  Then we go into the classroom and talk about some interesting research on New Year’s resolutions.  I am coming down with a cold, so I think my voice quality deteriorates throughout the show.  :(

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our amazing Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  I welcome your feedback — you can post comments here on the blog or in our Ravelry group.  You can also send me email on Ravelry, and it would be great if you sent me a card or letter via snail mail.  All of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and PHD Yarns.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or you can listen on the audio player below.

Listen to the show:

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

  • Each month we have a Graduating Class thread on Ravelry where you can post your finished objects and be entered to win valedictorian prizes.
  • We have a new Yarn Grants program, and our first Yarn Grant is 3 skeins of Wollmeise DK in the My Old Blue Jeans colorway.  You submit a proposal to make something with the yarn in a certain timeframe, and if your application is picked (via random number generator), then you make the project within the time you proposed and keep us updated with pictures of your progress and finished object.  Proposals for the first Yarn Grant are due February 21.
  • We are currently celebrating the Year of the Sheep in 2015.  The sheep of the month for February is Bluefaced Leister.  Come join the discussion!
  • During February we’re doing a read-along and literary discussion of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  Thanks to Valerie for leading the discussion on our Ravelry thread!
  • Thank you to all the lovely individuals who donated to the Operation Sew Smart fundraiser.  We reached our goal of $300, which I will present to the Home Ec teacher on Saturday.

Awards and Scholarships

A Contest Celebrating Transition

  • Winner is XFARMGIRL, who is Linda from Delaware (post #9) — she wins a free copy of Another Door Opens, a beautiful shawl pattern by Sara Bauer

December Valedictorians

  • AGODIN, who is Anne from Newfoundland (post #101) — she wins a project bag from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories
  • AJANEKNITS, who is Jane from Newfoundland (post #93) — she wins a skein of yarn from Mountain Meadow Wool, our December yarn sponsor

January Valedictorians

  • CROUCHINGCHEESE, who is Angie from Ohio (post #47) — she wins a project bag from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories
  • SOBAHIME, who is Ryoko from Colorado (post #116) — she wins a skein of yarn from PHD Yarns, our January yarn sponsor

Year of the Sheep–January–Merino

  • Winner is BOOKISHSTITCHER, who is Jeanette from Texas (post #20) — wins a skein of merino yarn from PHD Yarns

Congratulations to all our prize winners!

Around Campus

I talk about my visit to Nevada at the beginning of January, which turned out to be rather stressful.  I did get over to Jimmy Beans Wool for a short visit and picked up this gorgeous yarn:

Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play, Hat Box base, Squid Ink (left) and Golden Butter (right) colorways

Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play, Hat Box base, Squid Ink (left) and Golden Butter (right) colorways

I forgot to mention last time the super adorable little sheep I got at the yarn shop in Dubuque, Iowa:

Sidney Sheep (left) and Olive Ewe (right) are cute, felted sheep by artist Emily Barnard

Sidney Sheep (left) and Olive Ewe (right) are cute, felted sheep by artist Emily Barnard

I also couldn’t help myself and bought another quilt/wall hanging from 3TalentedWomen on Etsy, and I hung it above the headboard of my bed:

I am enamored with gray and yellow right now...

I am enamored with gray and yellow right now…

 The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

Graduated:  Grape Leg Warmers

legwarmers

Junior:  Vanilla Socks

socks2

Freshman:  Hapa II:  Fire and Ice Shawl

hapa-2

Freshman:  Fun Stripey Socks

sock

 Year of the Sheep

Our sheep of the month for January was merino, and since I didn’t get an episode out in January, I talk about the merino sheep in this episode.  I provide a little history on where merino sheep originated and then give some information on merino fiber and yarn.  I also talk a little bit about the superwash process and what that does to the fiber.  Listen to the show for specifics.

At the Library

I finished listening to two books that I enjoyed, which I review on the show:

  • A Little Bit Wicked by Kristen Chenowith (4 stars)
  • Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Ciaverini (4 stars)

In the Classroom

Today’s topic is all about New Year’s resolutions.  Now is the time of year when people are talking about their resolutions and goals for changing behavior.  So I thought it would be a good time to discuss the research on making resolutions, including how common are New Year’s resolutions, how successful are most people at keeping their resolutions, and what factors increase the attainment of these goals.  Listen in to find out the answers to these questions and more!