Episode 42: The Science of Christmas

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

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

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

Listen to the show:


Reminders and Announcements

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

Awards and Scholarships

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

Around Campus

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

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

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

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

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

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects


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


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

Year of the Sheep

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

At the Library

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

In the Classroom

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