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 12

Episode 12 features my experience with the terrible storms that hit Central Illinois on Sunday, several knitting projects I’ve been working on, the interesting book I’m currently reading, and a lesson about the research on trauma and resilience.

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 astonishing chemists.  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

Tomorrow (Friday, November 22) is the deadline for joining in on our Pen Pal Pair-Up Project.  If you’re interested in having your very own pen pal, go over to the pen pal thread on our Ravelry group, get the questionnaire that I have posted there, and email me your answers asap.  If you’re a day or two late, still email me because I can probably still include you.  I will review everyone’s information and match you up with a pen pal.  You’ll get your pen pal’s information by the end of the month.

Remember to post a picture of your finished object(s) in our November Graduating Class thread.  You must be a member of the Ewe University group to participate, and you can post as many objects as you finish.  The more you post, the more chances you have to win!  At the beginning of December I will draw two random posts to be our valedictorians!  One person will get a project bag of their choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.  The other person will get a skein of yarn of their choice from Evermore Studios.  Thanks to all who have posted their beautiful and inspirational finished objects so far!

Around Campus

You’ve probably already heard about the horrible storms we had here in Central Illinois on Sunday.  In the show I talk about the storms as they passed through my town.  We were under a tornado watch all day but we were lucky that the tornadoes didn’t form until the storm crossed the Illinois River, about 60 miles east of here.  However, others were not so lucky, and the town of Washington, Illinois was severely damaged by an EF4 tornado.

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

SENIOR:  Sock Circle Socks

I completed my section on Gail’s socks in one week!  I even knit a few inches extra (5 inches instead of 2 inches) so that they would be ready for Gail to start decreasing for the toe.  The yarn I used for my section is Crazy Zauberball, which is 75% wool and 25% nylon, in the Fliederduft colorway.  I think  fliederduft means lilac.  It is a transitional yarn in different shades of purple.

I knit a 5 inch section on the foot (bottom section of the socks) and then passed them back to Gail, who will finish her socks this coming week!

I knit a 5 inch section on the foot (bottom section of the socks) and then passed them back to Gail, who will finish her socks this coming week!

Last night at knitting group I got my own socks back from Rose, and this coming week I’ll be knitting and finishing up the toes on both socks.

FRESHMAN:  Raven Pullover

This is the sweater I’m making for my husband for a Christmas gift.  I only got about an inch done.  The 2 x 2 ribbing is already tiresome, but I’m plugging away!  This pattern is the Raven Pullover from Knits of a Feather by Celeste Young.  I’m using Cascade Greenland yarn, which is 100% superwash merino in black.  You can listen to the show to find out my opinions about this yarn.  This project is on a 32-inch U.S. size 8 circular needle from my Hiya Hiya interchangeables.

The blue stitch marker indicates where I left off last week, so I only completed about an inch more on the sweater this week.

The blue stitch marker indicates where I left off last week, so I only completed about an inch more on the sweater this week.

ADVANCED FRESHMAN:  Ribbed Socks

I’m joining the Dramatic Knits podcast Ribbit knit along.  For this KAL you knit any pair of ribbed socks, and you have until the end of the year to finish.  I should be able to do that!  I’m using my favorite ribbed sock pattern, Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherley.  I’m using fingering weight yarn by Leading Men Fiber Arts in the Show Stopper base in the Lightning Bug colorway.  It’s a nice sock yarn — 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon.  I’m using a 9-inch U.S. size 1 circular needle (Ciaogoo).

You might need your sunglasses to look at this yarn!

You might need your sunglasses to look at this yarn; it’s pretty bright!

FRESHMAN:  I also started a super secret gift project that I can’t tell you about or show you yet!

 At the Library

This week I started listening to the audiobook We the Living by Ayn Rand.  So far I’m only on Chapter 2.  In the show I talk a bit about the background of this book, introduce the setting and the characters, and discuss a little about the author.

In the Classroom

The storms and devastating tornadoes which hit close to home this week made me think about how people cope with disasters.  So in this week’s lesson I cover the research on resilience of people who have suffered all sorts of trauma.  Caveat:  I am not a clinical psychologist or a therapist.  I am an informed consumer of research, and in this episode I simply summarize what we know about resilience based on scientific studies.  I talk a lot about the research of Dr. George Bonnano, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University in New York City, who is one of the foremost experts on psychological resilience after disaster.  He has conducted dozens of studies on topics such as bereavement, serious illness, and the terrorist attacks on September 11.  Listen in to find out answers to questions like How prevalent is resilience? and What makes people resilient?  

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

Episode 8

At last, Episode 8 is here!  I talk about my trip to Nevada and the Bishop Hill Spin-In in Peoria, Illinois.  I share some of my knitting with you, review an e-book of beautiful colorwork patterns, and discuss my latest read.  You might not be surprised at the Dean’s List, if you know me well.  In the classroom our topic is anthropomorphism and the way we think about other people and things.

Welcome to new and returning listeners and everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people who are outstanding spellers.  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

Around Campus

I’ve had too much going on this month!  All that, coupled with internet problems and web site issues has meant a longer-than-expected delay for Episode 8.  Thank you for your patience.

I was in Reno, Nevada for the first week of October visiting family.  While I was in town, I stopped by one of my favorite online yarn shops, Jimmy Beans Wool — their brick & mortar store is in the Reno area.  For souvenir yarn, I picked up some MCN sock yarn by All for Love of Yarn and baby merino DK by Unraveled Designs, which is a local dyer, Rachel, and she works at Jimmy Beans so I got to meet her!

Left:  All for the Love of Yarn Opulence Fingering (MCN) in the Pink Dawn colorway; Right: Unraveled Designs baby merino DK in the Tahoe Skies colorway

Left: All for the Love of Yarn Opulence Fingering (MCN) in the Pink Dawn colorway; Right: Unraveled Designs baby merino DK in the Tahoe Skies colorway

Last Saturday I went to the Bishop Hill Spin-In in Peoria, Illinois as a vendor.  I had a great time and got some new and fabulous yarn from my booth neighbors.  On one side of my booth was Knit and Fiber Creation, where I got some luscious sparkly yarn which is 75% merino, 20% nylon, and 5% stellina.  It is the Deuces Glitter base in the Drogon colorway.

Deuces Glitter base in the Drogon colorway from Knit and Fiber Creation's Game of Thrones collection

Deuces Glitter base in the Drogon colorway from Knit and Fiber Creation’s Game of Thrones collection

My other neighbor was Leading Men Fiber Arts, the awesome team of Steve and Andy.  From them I got some Soliloquy (100% BFL) fingering weight yarn in the Tranquil colorway and the Dramaturg (100% merino) DK weight yarn in the Industrial colorway.  If you haven’t already, you should watch Steve’s video podcast, Dramatic Knits!

spinin

Reminders and Announcements

Remember to do your teacher tribute and enter our prize giveaway by October 31 — that’s next week.  Write a letter to someone who has taught you something meaningful, send the letter in the mail, and then post a brief tribute to that person on our Ravelry thread.

 

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

SOPHOMORE:  Sock Circle Socks

I passed on Sally’s socks to Gail and now am working on Pati’s socks.  I’m turning the heel for this week’s section.

I completed my section of Sally's socks with Decadently Divine Decadent Sock using the chevron pattern from Elphaba by Valerie Johnson

I completed my section of Sally’s socks with Decadently Divine Decadent Sock using the chevron pattern from Elphaba by Valerie Johnson

 

As you can see, I haven't made much progress on Pati's sock yet...

As you can see, I haven’t made much progress on Pati’s sock yet…

 

FRESHMAN:  A Vest for Myself

This is a pattern I got at Serendipity Yarn Shoppe along with the yarn I am using to knit it.  The weird thing is that the pattern does not have a title or a designer listed on it.  I am trying to find out from the yarn shop where the pattern is from so I can link it here.  Until then, I will just show you a picture of the finished vest which is featured on the first page of the printed pattern.

This is the picture on the front of the vest pattern.  Do you recognize it?  Let me know, because I have no idea of the name of it or the designer!

This is the picture on the front of the vest pattern. Do you recognize it? Let me know, because I have no idea of the name of it or the designer!

Beginning of my vest -- using Prairie Spun Jacob's Heritage Wool from  High Prairie Fibers

Beginning of my vest — using Prairie Spun Jacob’s Heritage Wool from High Prairie Fibers

 

 A Book Review

I review Deborah Tomasello’s new book, Wrapped in Color: Stranded Knitting in the 21st Century.  It contains 12 nice patterns — my favorites are the shawls.

NEW PRIZE GIVEAWAY:  Deborah is giving a copy of her e-book to one lucky Ewe University listener!  To win this book, go to the Ravelry thread and post your favorite pattern out of the book — which one would you knit AND in what colors?

 

The Dean’s List

This week I celebrate the U.S. Postal Service.  When you think about it, postage is really inexpensive — a first-class letter costs only 46 cents to mail.  You can’t even drive to the next town for that price!  And international mail is only $1.10.  Plus, the post office remained open and our mail service was not interrupted during the recent government shutdown because the post office does not receive any government funding.  They are self-funded through the sale of postage.  So  it’s important that we buy postage stamps…plus our cards and letters bring joy to our loved ones. 🙂

 

At the Library

First, a reminder that I’m still taking suggestions for classic horror novels to read for Halloween.  Post your recommendations on our Ravelry thread!

This  month I started reading The House of the Seven Gables because I thought it was going to be kind of spooky.  I hadn’t read it before, and I thought it was time that I read this classic.  I’m on Chapter 17 and am finding it to be a good book.  It is very melancholy and dark with an overall theme of decay and the evil and sinful side of human nature.  But it is not horror.  It is probably considered “gothic fiction” or “dark romanticism” but definitely not horror.  Still, it’s a gloomy story so you might consider it a good read for Halloween season.  I talk briefly about the real house that was the inspiration for this book, too.

 

In the Classroom

In this lesson I talk about anthropomorphism (a word that is VERY difficult for me to spell!!!), where we think about non-human things like pets, computers, cars, and spinning wheels as having human characteristics.  I cover the background on how anthropomorphism is part of automatic processing and how we mindlessly apply human interaction rules to our interactions with non-humans, too.  Research indicates three basic motivations for anthropomorphizing:  it’s easy to relate something new to something we know a lot about (humans), needing to feel in control of our environment, and motivation for social connection.  Listen in and find out more about them!

 

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 5

In Episode 5 I talk about the power of the fiber arts to prevent and alleviate depression.  Listen in as I discuss the research on how important it is to use not only your brain but also both of your hands together in creative ways that result in rewarding products.  Other ramblings include my new Jamberry nails, a class project assignment, and more historical tidbits about Dracula.  You’ll also find out who made the Dean’s List this week.

Welcome to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry and to all 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.

Thank you to show sponsor Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.

Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Around Campus

The tomato plants have pushed out an end-of-summer bumper crop this week.  I am thinking I need to start canning, which I’ve never done.

Some of our roma tomatoes. (And yes, that sign is in my kitchen.)

Some of our roma tomatoes.
(And yes, that sign is in my kitchen.)

This week I got some new Jamberry nails.  These are rather wild and crazy for me, but they’re fun.  My colleagues are mesmerized by them, and my students think they’re cool, so that makes me feel hip.

Left:  My crazy chevron nails this week Right:  Jamberries as they come out of the package

Left: My crazy chevron nails this week
Right: Jamberries as they come out of the package

 

The Dean’s List

This week I am thankful for Susan B. Anderson.  I just bought her Topsy-Turvey Inside-Out Knit Toys book and am also knitting one of her patterns, the Happily Ever After Mitts.

 

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

FRESHMAN:  Sock Circle Socks

I knit a pair of cuffs for my own socks and then passed them on to Gail, who will knit the next section of them.  The yarn I used is Austerman Step on a U.S. size 1 (2.25mm) needle.  For the cuffs I just knit 2 inches of 3 x 1 ribbing.

My sock cuffs that went to Gail for the next section.

My sock cuffs that went to Gail for the next section.

This week I received a pair of sock cuffs from Rose and I am knitting the next section on those.  So far I have my part done on one sock.  I am using Lorna’s Laces Sole Mate in the Mixed Berries colorway.  The zig-zag pattern I am using is from Elphaba by Valerie Johnson of Wandering Cat Studio.

Rose's sock cuff with my section added

Rose’s sock cuff with my section added

FRESHMAN:  Fingerless mitts for my niece

My niece’s birthday is coming up next month, so I thought I would knit her a pair of these lovely Happily Ever After Mitts by Susan B. Anderson.  I’m using Panda Soy yarn by Crystal Palace, which my ball band says is 60% bamboo (but the info on Ravelry says 49% bamboo).  As you know, bamboo is definitely not my favorite yarn to work with, but I think the first mitt is looking pretty nice on U.S. size 2 (2.75mm) needles.

My niece is going to love the purple.

My niece is going to love the purple.

 

A Class Project

Listen in as I assign a class project, should you choose to participate.  It involves thinking of a meaningful teacher in your life and writing them an old-fashioned letter.  Post a brief teacher tribute on our Ravelry thread and you’ll be entered in the prize drawing.  The project deadline is October 31, and I will be drawing two random entries for these prizes:

  1. Choice of any knitting project bag from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.
  2. Choice of any hank of yarn from Evermore Studios.

This project is a joint activity involving both Ewe University listeners and Yarns at Yin Hoo listeners.  So you can double dip by posting in both Ravelry threads.

 

At the Library

This week I’m on Chapter 17 of Dracula.

In an effort to expand my literary horizons, a few years ago I started a tradition of reading a horror classic for Halloween.  I am looking for suggestions for good book.  Please go over to the thread on Ravelry and post your recommendations.

Gail provided some intriguing information on Dracula, a brand new TV series which will be on NBC this fall.  The official trailer is worth watching!

In this week’s show I give some more history on the real Vlad Dracula and how some of the accounts of his behavior may be greatly exaggerated or even fabricated with the intent of besmirching his image.  (Yes, I do get to use the word besmirch in a real sentence!)  Thus, Vlad’s reputation is considerably darker in  Western Europe than in Eastern Europe.  In Romania he is an important historical figure and considered a hero.  The Western idea of Dracula the vampire is not a part of Romanian culture at all.

 

In the Classroom

Martin Seligman, the researcher who started the positive psychology movement that we discussed in class last week, was one of the pioneering researchers on depression.  I talk about his seminal work on learned helplessness and how this was applied to the human problem of depression.  Then I introduce neuroscientist Kelly Lambert and her research on “effort-driven rewards” which is the idea that our brains are wired for exerting effort to achieve a goal.  When we are handed out rewards without any work at all, it makes us less motivated, less persistent, and less resilient.  Lambert includes knitting as an example of the antidepressant brain circuit in action.  We are using our brains to plan and design something, working with both of our hands in tandem to create something that is rewarding to us.  She says activities like this are way better than popping antidepressant pills.  So next time you are knitting, spinning, weaving, crocheting, take comfort in the fact that you are preventing brain disorders like depression.