Episode 11

In Episode 11 I discuss the research on belonging, which explains why it is so important to us knitters (and spinners and crocheters and weavers) to be a part of a supportive community like our local knitting groups and/or our groups on Ravelry.  I also talk about the snow we’ve had since Monday, my Etsy shop update, new yarn, progress on my knitting projects, and the “fun” books I’m reading.  Click on the media player below to listen to the show!

Welcome to new and returning listeners!  And hello to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people who are sharp mathematicians.  You should join us, if you haven’t already!  Thank you so much to everyone who contacted me this week.  I love hearing from you!  You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or on this web site by clicking on the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page and entering your email address.  For the show’s RSS feed, look on the right sidebar menu — scroll down until you see the “Entries RSS” link and click on it.

Thank you to show sponsors Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Evermore Studios.

Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

Please join us for the current class project, the Pen Pal Pair-Up.  Complete the questionnaire on the Pen Pal thread on Ravelry and email me your answers no later than November 22.  You will receive your pen pal’s information by the end of November.

Also, remember to post pictures of your finished objects for November in our November Graduating Class thread on Ravelry.  You can enter as many projects as you finish this month.  At the beginning of December I will be drawing two random posts to be our November valedictorians!  One winner will get a knitting project bag of their choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories, and the second winner will get a skein of yarn of their choice from Evermore Studios.  Links to both Etsy shops are above.  P.S.  You must be a member of the Ewe University group to participate.

Around Campus

It snowed on Monday!  The snow has stuck around all week.  The fall foliage peaked last week and now the trees are pretty bare or are otherwise looking brown and dried up.  I talk about sewing on my new, dreamy sewing machine.  I did a small update in my Etsy shop this week with some holiday-themed bags and am working on more (not necessarily holiday-themed) bags to add in upcoming days.  I am excited to be doing a trunk show at Knit 102, a yarn shop in Galesburg, Illinois, from December 4-7.  If you are in the area, stop by and say hi — you can look at all the project bags in person and do some holiday gift shopping!  This week I also got some new yarn from Leading Men Fiber Arts, which is gorgeous and I can’t wait to knit with it.

Snow!  View down the alley next to our house

Snow! View down the alley next to our house

And the front yard

And the front yard

 The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

GRADUATED:  Charity Hat

This is the fifth hat I’ve finished this month.  That just goes to show you how easy and fast this hat pattern is.  It’s the Four Hour Hat–Bulky by Marilyn Clark.  It’s a free pattern on Ravelry.  I’ve been using Cascade 220 Superwash held double to emulate a bulky yarn, and it works great.  The hat I finished this week is black, and I’m planning to do as many more as I can for the rest of this month.  The hats are knit on a 16 inch U.S. size 11 circular needle.

Black hat for charity

Black hat for charity

SENIOR:  Sock Circle Socks

I finished my section of Laurie’s socks and passed them on to Gail.  Can you believe I did this in one week’s time?!!  I used Pagewood Farm Alyeska in the lavender fields colorway on 9 inch U.S. size 1 circular needles

Laurie's sock circle socks

Laurie’s sock circle socks

FRESHMAN:  Raven Pullover

This week I started a sweater to give my husband for Christmas.  The pattern is from a new book Knits of a Feather by Celeste Young.  I’m making it out of Cascade Greenland yarn in black on a 32 inch U.S. size 8 circular needle.

So far I have about 3 inches done on this sweater

So far I have about 3 inches done on this sweater

FRESHMAN ORIENTATION:  Ribbed Socks

I’m going to join in on the Ribbit KAL with Dramatic Knits, where you knit a simple pair of ribbed socks by the end of December.  I think I can do that!  🙂  I’m going to use my new Show Stopper yarn I got from Leading Men Fiber Arts in the Lightning Bug colorway.

 At the Library

I finished The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.  Listen to the show to find out my reaction to the surprising sinister ending.  And find out what book I decided to read next on a whim.

In the Classroom

This week I cover the research on the concept of belonging, from the seminal research paper published in 1995 to more recent research.  You might be surprised at some of the fascinating new studies linking social and physical pain.  No wonder we are motivated to seek out meaningful friendships with our knitting companions both in person and in virtual communities like Ravelry!  Listen in for all the details!

 

Episode 10

Episode 10 features the announcement of our October prize giveaway winners, my recent activities, and a local point of interest.  You’ll also find out about my knitting progress this week as well as my thoughts on the new audiobook I’m listening to.  In the classroom, we’ll be discussing knitting and economics.  Listen in to find out how they are connected!

Welcome to new and returning listeners!  And hello to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people who are outstanding geographers.  You should join us, if you haven’t already!  Thank you so much to everyone who contacted me this week.  I love hearing from you!  You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or on this web site by clicking on the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page and entering your email address.  For the show’s RSS feed, look on the right sidebar menu — scroll down until you see the “Entries RSS” link and click on it.

Thank you to show sponsors Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Evermore Studios.

Listen to the Show:

SHOW NOTES

Awards and Scholarships

This week marked the end of two giveaways:

  • Teacher Tribute:  All the tributes were touching and heartwarming!  Two entries were randomly selected from all the posts on the Ravelry thread.  The winners are annm99 (Ann from Illinois) — she wins a project bag of her choice from  Halcyarn Knitting Accessories, and alaksamama (Lani from Alaska) — she gets to select a skein of yarn from Evermore Studios.  Congratulations to both winners!
  • Free e-book, Wrapped in Color: Stranded Knitting in the 21st Century by Deborah Tomasello:  One post was randomly selected from all the entries on that thread, and the winner was amybernhardt (Amy from Columbus).  She said she would like to knit the Snowflake Stranded Shawl in teal or a darker color with bright white snowflakes.  That one was my favorite pattern, too!  Congratulations, Amy!

Reminders and Announcements

The Pen Pal Pair-Up project continues — sign up to get your very own pen pal and correspond with someone new!  Go over to the pen pal thread on Ravelry, get the questionnaire and instructions, and email your responses to me.  The deadline is November 22.

Announcing a new monthly thread for finished objects on our Ravelry group!  Post a picture of your graduated projects for November, and after November 30 I will randomly draw two entries to win (1) a knitting project bag from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and (2) a skein of yarn from Evermore Studios.

Around Campus

I muse about the fall weather and preparations for the coming winter.  I also talk about two workshops I’ve attended lately as well as my new sewing machine — squeeeeee!!

Our Japanese Maple tree seems more vibrant than ever this fall

Our Japanese Maple tree seems more vibrant than ever this fall

This week’s local attraction is the small town of Oquawka, Illinois, which is the final resting place of a circus elephant who was struck by lightning on the town square in 1972.  Listen in for the whole story.

The Norma Jean Elephant Memorial in Oquawka

The Norma Jean Elephant Memorial in Oquawka

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

GRADUATED:  My fourth charity hat.  The pattern is Four Hour Hat–Bulky by Marilyn Clark.  I’m knitting these hats with Cascade 220 Superwash held double on a 16-inch U.S. size 11 circular needle.

My fourth charity hat this month!

My fourth charity hat this month!

SENIOR:  Sock Circle Socks!  This week I finally finished my section of Pati’s socks and also knit more than two inches on Cheryl’s socks, so I’m all caught up now.  For Pati’s socks I turned the heel using Tough Love yarn from Knit and Fiber Creation in the Bill Weasley colorway.  For Cheryl’s socks I used some Malabrigo sock yarn in the Persia colorway that was left over from a previous project.

This week I received Laurie’s socks and will be working on the foot of those.

Pati's socks -- I turned the heel and then passed them on to Gail

Pati’s socks — I turned the heel and then passed them on to Gail

Cheryl's socks -- I knit several inches in stockinette on the foot

Cheryl’s socks — I knit several inches in stockinette on the foot

At the Library

This week I started listening to The Turn of the Screw, a ghost story by Henry James.  I talk about some historical tidbits about the book and author as well as my thoughts on the novel and the audio reader.

In the Classroom

Today’s lesson relates knitting to economics.  I got interested in this topic when I read an article in the New York Times entitled Laid Back Labor by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt.  In the article they talk about the bewildering practice of people spending so much of their time doing “menial labor” like growing vegetable gardens or doing gourmet cooking or hand knitting.  Why do we do these things as hobbies when we can go out and buy the products inexpensively at a store?  Listen in to find out what economists have to say about how Americans spend their time and how to fairly calculate the cost of making something by hand.  Is there anything more motivating than financial incentives?  What are you waiting for — listen to the show!  🙂

 

Episode 9

In Episode 9 I discuss the research on how the fiber arts can serve as protective factors in the risks of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other cognitive problems.  Along the way, I ramble about what’s going on in my bubble world, introduce a new class project, express my excitement over some small knitting projects, and make some final comments about The House of the Seven Gables.  Someone dear to me made the Dean’s List this week.

Welcome to new and returning listeners!  And hello to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people who are very picky about spelling.  You should join us, if you haven’t already!  Thank you so much to everyone who contacted me this week.  I love hearing from you!  You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or on this web site by clicking on the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page and entering your email address.  For the show’s RSS feed, look on the right sidebar menu — scroll down until you see the “Entries RSS” link and click on it.

Thank you to show sponsors Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Evermore Studios.

Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

Two giveaways in our group end on October 31 (that’s today)!!!

First is the Teacher Tribute where you write a letter and mail it to someone who has taught you something meaningful.  This person can be a teacher from your formal education or it can be a friend, family member, mentor, etc.  If you haven’t already entered your tribute, do it now — mail your letter and then go over to our Teacher Tribute thread and post a brief tribute.  Two prize winners will be drawn at random after the thread closes:  One will win a project bag of their choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories, and the second will win a skein of yarn of their choice from Evermore Studios!

The second giveaway is for a free knitting pattern book entitled Wrapped in Color: Stranded Knitting in the 21st Century by Deborah Tomasello.  I reviewed this book on last week’s show, and it contains 12 beautiful patterns that YOU CAN DO!  To win a free copy of this book, go over to this thread on our Ravelry group and post (1) What is your favorite pattern from this book, and (2) In what colors would you knit it?  After this thread closes, I will draw one random winner from all the posts, and that person will receive a free copy of the e-book for their personal library.  Go post NOW…the deadline is today!

Around Campus

Happy Halloween!  In this segment I talk about the dreary, rainy weather we’ve been having and the fall harvest.  The other day I went for a walk — it was a beautiful day and I took some pictures.

Pretty fall colors on the trees around town

Pretty fall colors on the trees around town

Some pictures from my walk in the nature preserve -- it has areas of forest, grassland prairie, and a pretty stream

Some pictures from my walk in the nature preserve — it has areas of forest, grassland prairie, and a pretty stream

My dog Sunny

My dog Sunny

For Halloween, I also tell you about our local ghost story.  It’s about a bridge called Crybaby Bridge (here is a picture) and it’s kind of spooky!

Crybaby Bridge:  It might not look so scary in the daytime, but don't go there at night!  Unless you dare...

Crybaby Bridge: It might not look so scary in the daytime, but don’t go there at night! Unless you dare…

A Class Project

It’s time for a new class project, should you wish to participate.  We are starting a new Pen Pal Pair-Up because a number of people have expressed enthusiasm about doing this.  I’ve opened a new Pen Pal thread on Ravelry, so go over there and check out the instructions, fill out the questionnaire, and email it to me on Ravelry.  The deadline for signing up is November 22, and you have to be a member of our group to participate.

While we’re on the subject of pen pals, listener Texasmidwife (Jennifer) provided some great information about an organization called Postcrossing, where you can send and receive post cards to/from around the world.  It’s a fun way to connect with people from lots of different countries and doesn’t require a long-term commitment to be a pen pal with one person.  If this is something you’d like to get involved with, click on the link above and sign up–it’s free.

The Dean’s List

This week I commend my friend, Jodie, who has knit over 1600 hats for children’s cancer charities over the past five years.  She is currently on hat number 1637 (as of yesterday–she’s likely on number 1638 today).  Her motivation for doing this is in memory of her step-father, Charlie, who who succumbed to multiple myeloma in 2007.  I tell her story and offer my gratitude for all the good work she does.

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

You might notice some pomp and circumstance this week.  🙂

GRADUATED:  Yay!  I finished some hats for charity.  It was nice to have some fairly easy projects that I could finish quickly.  The instant gratification was just the diversion I  needed.  Here are three hats I finished this week.

Hats to be donated to the  needy

Hats to be donated to the needy

I used a pattern called Four Hour Hat–Bulky by Marilyn Clark.  It’s a free pattern on Ravelry.  Although it calls for bulky yarn, I just used Cascade 220 Superwash held double on 16-inch U.S. size 11 circular needles.

SOPHOMORE:  Sock Circle Update

I am a sock circle LOSER.  I’ve had Pati’s socks for three weeks now (a whole week overdue!) and have not finished turning the heels.  I also now have Cheryl’s socks which are the next in line.  Now that I have taken a little break and finished some charity hats, I am ready to get back into sock mode.

At the Library

I finished reading The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne this week.  I give a little review of what I liked as well as some interesting tidbits of information about what inspired Hawthorne to write this story.

Thank you to all who posted suggestions for classic horror novels for me to read for Halloween.  Based on the encouragement of several people, I am going to try The Turn of the Screw and hope it is not too scary for me!

In the Classroom

Today’s lesson is about how leisure activities like the fiber arts can protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in old age.  I talk about several studies that investigated people’s daily activities in the context of aging.  Researchers have actually studied things like knitting, crocheting, and weaving (even letter writing in one study) to see how they relate to cognitive abilities, intelligence, and memory.  I also talk about one of my favorite ongoing studies in this area, which is the Nun Study being run out of the University of Minnesota.  It started in 1991 and is still going on today.  The participants are all Catholic nuns who are over the age of 75.  In fact, many of them are over 100 years old.  Nearly 700 nuns agreed to participate, and they are regularly assessed on their cognitive abilities and daily activities.  All the nuns have agreed to donate their brains to the research team after their deaths so that the researchers can analyze the brains for signs of Alzheimer’s disease.  For a nice summary of some of the most interesting findings from the Nun Study, watch this short Youtube video (about 4 minutes long).

 Nun Study Video