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 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:

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

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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!

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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.

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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.