Episode 14

In Episode 14 I have a lot to chat about!  I announce the valedictorians for the November graduating class, announce some new giveaways for December, and talk about a bunch of miscellaneous topics.  You’ll be happy to see that I got some knitting done!  In the classroom, we discuss self-control and its importance in everyday life, not just during the holiday season when everyone is in a shopping frenzy.

Welcome to new and returning listeners!  And hello to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of extraordinary people who are specialists in the gastrointestinal system.  We know that swallowed chewing gum does NOT take seven years to digest!  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 sponsor Halcyarn Knitting Accessorieswhere you can get fun project bags.

And thank you to our sponsor Evermore Studios, specializing in hand dyed, hand painted, and kettle dyed luxury yarns.

 Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Awards and Scholarships

For the November Graduating Class, we had a total of 129 entries!  Using a random number generator, I drew two numbers to determine the November Valedictorians, and the winners are:

  • Twinimama from Austria, who wins a project bag of her choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories (post #118–a beautiful pair of red felted slippers)
  • Kansanatheart from Florida, who wins a skein of yarn of her choice from Evermore Studios (post #16–a gray balaclava for one of her grandsons and worn in the picture by an adorable model)

THANK YOU so much to everyone who participated in the November Graduating Class, and CONGRATULATIONS to our valedictorians!

Reminders and Announcements

Those who are doing the Pen Pal Project, you should have received a message from me with your pen pal’s information.  Contact me if you didn’t get it.

The December Graduating Class thread is now open on Ravelry.  Post your finished objects for December — the more items you finish/post, the more chances you have of winning our December Valedictorian prizes!  At the end of the month, two random posts will be drawn to win.  One person will get a project bag of their choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories, and one person will get a skein of yarn of their choice from Evermore Studios.

TWELVE DAYS OF “KRIS-MAS” GIVEAWAY!  The real Twelve Days of Christmas starts after Christmas, but ours starts before.  Beginning on December 13 and continuing until December 24, each day I will randomly select a member of the Ewe University group on Ravelry to win a yarny prize.  There are all kinds of yarn included–fingering weight, sport weight, lace weight, worsted weight–and from many great companies like Malabrigo, Louisa Harding, Asland Trends, Plymouth, Cascade, Kraemer, Blue Sky Alpacas, Elsebeth Lavold, and more.  Here is a picture of the Yarn-a-Palooza:

Prize Yarn donated from my stash

Prize Yarn donated from my stash

Each of the yarns is in a different zip-lock bag, and I will randomly pull out one bag to be the prize each day.  Watch your Ravelry email daily to see if you won!  Please respond within one week and give me your mailing address information.  If I don’t hear from you within a week, I’ll draw another person to win that prize.  Obviously, you must be a member of the Ewe University group on Ravelry to take part in the Twelve Days of “Kris-mas” giveaway, so be sure to join us if you haven’t already!

Letter Writing Social:  If you’re in the local area, you should come to a Letter Writing Social on Monday, December 9 from 6:00-7:30pm.  We’re meeting at the Warren County Public Library in the second floor meeting room (same place we meet for knitting group on Saturdays).  We will provide stationery and envelopes.  You bring postage stamps, your address book, and your favorite pen.  Thank you to Lauren (tskmstr on Ravelry) for organizing this event!

Craftsy Class Giveaway:  The Quiltmoxie Podcast is having a giveaway for a free Craftsy class!  You should definitely check out the podcast, which is hosted by a delightful Ariana, and join her Ravelry group.

Free Online College Courses:  Check out Coursera if you are interested in taking a class just because you enjoy learning.  There are hundreds of courses to choose from in pretty much the entire range of topics, and they are taught by professors from some of the top universities in the world.

Around Campus

I talk about the Timber Ridge Winter Knitting Retreat, which is going to be on Saturday, January 4.  If you’re in the area, let me know if you want to come and I’ll give you the information.

I’ve received several inquiries as to whether the podcast will continue after my sabbatical ends, and the answer is YES.  🙂

My first Postcrossing post card was received in Germany (yay!).  I still have four other post cards in transit to China, Indonesia, Russia, and The Netherlands.  Check out this organization if you want to send and receive post cards from around the world.

Postcrossing members can also get a 15% discount on post card printing from Moo.com.  I love Moo because they use super nice paper — heavy card stock — and a very nice finish.  They also allow you to upload as many different images as you want within a single order.

I sent out over 60 hand made greeting cards (donated) to Operation Write Home.  This organization provides the cards to military personnel stationed overseas so that they can use them to write home to their friends and loved ones.

I did some sewing this week and made a little flannel snuggler blanket and pajama pants for my friend Angela’s one-year-old son.  But I forgot to take pictures of the finished objects before I wrapped them up!

This week I’ve done a small amount of Christmas decorating.  Here is our mini tree:

Our pretty little table-top Christmas tree.  This is the table I got for $10 (or less...I don't remember) and painted.

Our pretty little table-top Christmas tree. This is the table I got for $10 (or less…I don’t remember) and painted.

This was the table when I got it...ugh!

This was the table when I got it…ugh!

I talk about these fabulous Smell of Christmas wax melts by Aromatique that I am in love with!

The best smelling Christmas scent ever

The best smelling Christmas scent ever

 The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

GRADUATED:  Sock Circle Socks

FINALLY they graduated!

FINALLY they graduated!

JUNIOR:  Neon Frog Socks

Hooray!  One sock is finished!

Hooray! One sock is finished!

SOPHOMORE:  Raven Pullover Sweater

Christmas gift for my husband, if I get it done in time!

Christmas gift for my husband, if I get it done in time!

This project is living in my new Kikiboo Bag from my friend and pen pal Denise, host of the Knitting Den podcast (one of my favorites).  She also has an Etsy shop — check it out!

I love my Kikiboo bag!

I love my Kikiboo bag!

In the Classroom

In this week’s lesson I talk about the research on self-control, and in particular, the Strength Model of Self-Control.  This model says that self-control is like a muscle, and if we use it a lot it gets depleted.  Just like muscles get tired the more they are used, each time we exert self-control (or willpower), it uses up some of our self-control energy.  If we engage in a lot of self-control, our energy resource gets depleted and then we lose our willpower.  I discuss the research on self-control failure resulting in drug addiction, school underachievement, obesity, personal debt, violent crime, and unprotected sex.  I also cover the research supporting the Strength Model as well as some interesting studies confirming the advice, “Don’t go shopping when you’re tired or hungry!”  Listen in to find out the source of our self-control energy and how to replenish it.

 

 

 

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

Episode 7

In Episode 7 we go on a field trip! I recorded earlier this week because I am out of town until the middle of next week. (Note, Episode 8 may be a little late because of this.) I also talk about my birthday adventures, our 99-member prize drawing, and the small amount of knitting I got done this week. I share some final vampire info as we finish Dracula. The Dean’s list might surprise you!

Welcome to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people who are experts at the proper use of the apostrophe.  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 sponsor Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.

Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Around Campus

I visited a favorite LYS, Serendipity Yarn Shoppe in Muscatine, Iowa.  There I bought some Jacobs Wool by High Prairie Fibers.  I’ve never  knit with Jacobs wool and didn’t know much about it so did a little research on this rare breed of sheep, at least in the U.S.  Here is a picture of a Jacobs sheep:

image

And here is my yarn, which I’m planning on making a vest out of:

DSCN1786

I also talk about my adventures in and around the small town of Henry, Illinois — the site of the first lock and dam on the Illinois River.

DSCN2290

That little “island” is a remnant of the old lock and dam

There is also a cool old lighthouse which was built by “Steamboat Elsie” out of stones from the original lock and dam:

image

Image from the town of Henry’s website because I didn’t get a picture of it. My camera battery died. 🙁

Henry was also the home to Charles and Edna Perdew, who are famous makers of duck decoys and duck calls.  Their house and workshop are being restored and turned into a museum.

Perdew House in Henry

Perdew House in Henry

Wow, who knew so much was going on in a tiny town in central Illinois!

Awards and Scholarships

This week we reached (and exceeded!) 99 members in our Ravelry group, so I did the 99-member Giveaway!  The winner was sokyknitter, who is Sally from Kentucky — congratulations, Sally!!  Sally won 2 skeins of gorgeous Claudia Handpainted yarn in the Magician’s Cape colorway, which was generously donated by Lauren (tskmstr on Ravelry).  A huge thank you goes out to Lauren for this donation!  The prize is already on its way to Sally.

Gorgeous Claudia Hand Painted yarn to be given away in celebration of 99 group members on Ravelry

 A Class Project

Until the end of October we are working on a class project called the Teacher Tribute.  Acknowledge someone who has been a meaningful teacher in your life (could be formal educational setting or a more informal setting like someone from your family or a friend).  Write a letter to this person and mail it via old-fashioned snail mail.  Then go to our Ravelry thread and post a brief tribute to this person.  Everyone who completes this class project by the October 31 deadline will be entered into a drawing for two fabulous prizes.

The Dean’s List

This week I applaud Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company for her awesome Youtube video tutorials on sewing and quilting techniques.  I have learned a lot from her!

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

This week I don’t have a lot of knitting content, as I’ve mostly been working on small projects.

GRADUATED:  Fingerless Mitts for my niece

This is the Happily Ever After pattern by Susan B. Anderson (free on Ravelry).  I used Panda Soy yarn, which is a blend of bamboo, soy, and elastic/nylon on a U.S. size 2 (s.75mm) 9-inch circular needle.

DSCN2346

SOPHOMORE:  I think the sock circle socks have reached sophomore status.  I am currently working on Sally’s socks — adding my section to them.

DSCN2348Sally started with the lime green cuffs (right side of photo), then Rose added the stripes in a cable pattern.  In my section I’m using Decadently Divine Decadent Sock, which is 75% merino and 25% nylon.  I decided to keep using the chevron pattern from Elphaba by Valerie Johnson.  This project is on my Hiya Hiya Sharps, size U.S. 1 (2.25mm) 9-inch circular needles.

At the Library

This week I finished listening to Dracula!  I give the book 5 stars and the main reader, Greg Wise, 5 stars as well.

I’m still in the market for classic horror novel recommendations.  I decided to spend all of October reading classic horror instead of reading just one for Halloween.  So if you have any suggestions, please post them on our Ravelry thread.

In Episode 7 I talk about the history of vampire myths and some interesting research into the matter.  I cover the research of Katharina Wilson, a professor at the University of Georgia on the earliest written descriptions of vampire superstitions as well as the first use of the word “vampire.”  I also go into a couple of interesting theories that have been proposed to explain vampire legends.  The first is University of British Columbia biochemist David Dolphin‘s theory that vampires may have been nothing more than people suffering from a rare genetic disease called porphyria.  Although intriguing, this theory has pretty much been dismissed by medical experts.  However, another theory seems more promising.  Dr. Juan Gomez-Alonso, a Spanish neurologist, proposes that rabies may be the key in the development of vampire legends.  I talk about how this theory can explain pretty much all vampire characteristics.

Field Trip!

The last weekend in September every year is National Alpaca Farm Days where alpaca farms all across America hold open houses and welcome visitors to meet the alpaca and learn about them.  This week’s episode features a field trip to Heartland Criations, a local alpaca farm that I visited.  In the show I talk about this farm and about alpaca in general.  Here are some pictures:

DSCN2271

Entrance to the farm

The alpaca barn, which is very nice and spacious

The alpaca barn, which is very nice and spacious

One of the alpaca boys — he was curious and sooooo cute!

DSCN2255

Some of the female alpaca grazing in the front pasture

A little boy gets to pet one of the alpaca (adorable!)

A little boy gets to pet one of the alpaca (adorable!)

Some of the younger males in the barn

Some of the younger males in the barn

One of the llamas that are used as guard animals. They are bigger than alpaca and also have crescent shaped ears.

DSCN2249

Pam, Laurie, and Becky — friends and Ewe U listeners who were visiting the farm 

Comparison of suri and huacaya alpaca

I did take a few videos of the alpaca but could not get them to post here — sorry!   But if you have a chance to visit an alpaca farm in person, I’m confident you will enjoy it!

Episode 6

The topic for Episode 6 is stereotypes, feminism, and the fiber arts.  I talk about the research on sex differences and the accuracy of stereotypes about men and women, the three waves of feminism, and women’s returning to the fiber arts.  In addition, on our way to the classroom, I muse about the refreshing weather, my aimless week of knitting, and a couple of giveaways.  You’ll learn a little bit more about Dracula and see who made the Dean’s List this week.

Welcome to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people with excellent vocabularies.  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 sponsor Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.

Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Around Campus

Yay, it’s fall!  The weather is cooler, the cornfields are turning golden, and the harvest has started.

Amber waves of grain

Amber waves of grain

I found something startling on my husband’s work bench in the garage — listen in to see what it is!  I also talk about my fashion show modeling experience as well as making preparations to be a vendor at the Bishop Hill Spin-In on October 19.  Stop by my booth and say hi!

 The Dean’s List

This week’s Dean’s List features Lo-Lo Moisturizer Bars made by Bar Maids.  I am a hand lotion junkie, and this is my go-to hand cream right now.

 The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

No pomp and circumstance this week…I’ve felt kind of aimless as far as knitting goes.   I should start some gift knitting but need to make some decisions about patterns and yarn.

Sock Circle:  I finished my section of my friend Rose’s socks.  I knit a 2 inch segment in a chevron pattern from the Elphaba Fingerless Mitts pattern by Valerie Johnson of Wandering Cat Studios.  I used Lorna’s Laces Solemate, which is 55% merino, 30% outlast, and 15% nylon, in the Mixed Berries colorway.  I used my 9-inch circular Hiya Hiya Sharps in U.S. size 1 (2.25mm).

Rose started with the taupe cuffs and I added the section with the pop of pink.  They make me smile.

Rose started with the taupe cuffs and I added the section with the pop of pink. They make me smile.

JUNIOR:  Moving into Junior status this week is a pair of fingerless gloves that I’m making for my niece for her birthday in October.  I finished one glove this week.  It is such a quick an easy pattern — the Happily Ever After Mitts by Susan B. Anderson.  I’m knitting these out of Panda Soy yarn, which my tag says is 60% bamboo, 22% soy, and 18% elastic/nylon but the fiber content listed on Ravelry is slightly different.  I’m using a U.S. size 2 (2.75mm) Ciao Goo  9-inch circular needle.  Although the pattern calls for a size 3, I wanted to make them a little smaller to fit my niece.  The first one turned out great!

Quick and simple gift knit

Quick and simple gift knit

A Class Project

Last week I assigned a class project, should you wish to participate (and I hope you do!).  This is an activity that is being hosted jointly by me and by Sara of the Yarns at Yin Hoo podcast.   (Sara and I will have separate prizes, and double dipping is allowed!)  Your task is to write an old-fashioned snail mail letter to someone who has taught you something meaningful.  After you have mailed your letter, go over to the Class Project thread in our Ravelry group and post a brief tribute to this teacher.  The deadline for this project is October 31.  You must be a member of the Ewe University group to participate.  Did I mention there will be prizes?

I will randomly draw two winners after the deadline.  The two prizes are:

  1. A knitting project bag of your choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories
  2. A skein of yarn of your choice from Evermore Studios

 Awards and Scholarships

Our group on Ravelry is growing every day!  I’ve decided to have a giveaway drawing when we reach the 99-member mark because 9 is my favorite number.  Thank you so much to Lauren, who has generously donated a fabulous prize:  Two skeins of Claudia Hand Painted yarn in the Magician’s Cape colorway.  It is a beautiful fingering weight yarn made of 100% merino wool with 175 yards in each skein (so a total of 350 yards in both skeins together).   Once we reach 99 members, I’ll do a random drawing from everyone in the group and notify the winner!

Gorgeous Claudia Hand Painted yarn to be given away in celebration of 99 group members on Ravelry

Gorgeous Claudia Hand Painted yarn to be given away to celebrate once we reach 99 group members on Ravelry

At the Library

This week I’m up to Chapter 24 of Dracula.  Only a few more chapters left to go!

In the show, I talk a little bit about the work of the late professor Raymond McNally from Boston College, who brought the real Vlad Dracula/Vlad Tepes/Vlad the Impaler to the public consciousness when he published a book called In Search of Dracula: A True History of Dracula and Vampire Legends in 1972.  In this book he asserts that Bram Stoker intentionally based his Count Dracula character on this real historical person.  However, his arguments are controversial, and professor Elizabeth Miller, the noted Dracula scholar, disagrees.  I briefly discuss what we know about Bram Stoker’s actual intentions in creating the Count Dracula character.

 In the Classroom

Listening to the book Dracula this week got me thinking about gender stereotypes and sexism.  The female heroine in the book, Mina Murray Harker, is described on several occasions as having a mind more like a man than a woman but then the male characters get together and exclude her from the dangerous pursuit of Count Dracula because it is “men’s work.”  In the show I talk about stereotypes regarding how men and women differ and how accurate those stereotypes are.  I also discuss how sexism arises when qualities associated with one sex are more valued than qualities associated with the other sex.  Stereotypes are one way we simplify the world with automatic processing — the kind of thinking that is involuntary and outside our awareness.  The Implicit Associations Test (IAT) from Harvard University is one way you can see automatic stereotypes in action.  You can choose which version of the test you want to try, including gender, disability, religion, and race.  Even though almost everyone displays unconscious biases in these tests, research has shown that people still have the freedom to choose how they behave.

I review the three waves of feminism, starting with the suffragists from the late 19th and early 20th century and moving into the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s which objected to the oppressive stereotypes associating women with things like wearing dresses, cooking, cleaning, child care, and even knitting.  In the third wave of feminism (mid-1990’s), young women started coming back to these traditionally feminine characteristics and behaviors out of choice rather than obligation.  Maybe embracing these activities (like knitting) that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers participated in will improve their value.  Maybe it is time we reclaim crafts and celebrate them.