Episode 4

Episode 4 features a lesson about positive psychology, optimism, and the experience of “flow.”  I also talk about my quiet week in Minnesota, visiting the hometown of Judy Garland, and astonishing facts about the loon.  Additionally, I convey some scholarly information about the historical figure, Vlad Dracula.  Well, that sounds like a hodge-podge of  material for this week’s show!  Give it a listen and see how I manage to tie everything together.

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Thank you to show sponsor Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.

Listen to the show:



Around Campus

Last week I recorded from our cabin in northern Minnesota.  This is what I got to wake up to every morning.


You can see why I spent my days sitting by the lake and knitting.  I also got to watch four eagles who were around our beach area for a few days.  They are magnificent!

I visited The Yarn Gallery in Grand Rapids and got some souvenir yarn.

I talk about the Minnesota State Bird, the Common Loon, which cares for its young by carrying the babies on its back.


The Dean’s List

This is a segment where I recognize high achievement and excellence in some domain.  Today I am acknowledging and thanking the podcasters who keep me company on a regular basis and bring a little bit of “home” to wherever I am:

Paula from Knitting Pipeline
Dawn and James from Wolfe Farms
Hannah from Traveling Sock Knitter
Denise from Knitting Den (who is my friend and pen pal!)
Jasmin and Gigi from Knitmore Girls
Aimee and Darren from Knitting in Circles
Mel from Single Handed Knits
Zena from Knittynatter
Steph and Stacie from the Must Stash Podcast
Tina from Knitting Blooms
Steve and Callie from Dramatic Knits
Dr. Gemma from the CogKnitive Podast

I enjoy your shows so much and truly appreciate all your efforts in putting out such well-produced and inspirational shows.

A new podcast that I love:  Yarns at Yin Hoo with Sara
{P.S.  Sara and I are working on a joint activity with prizes which we will share with you when we get the details worked out!}

The Academic Status of my Knitting Projects

Last week while on vacation at the lake, I knit like a maniac!  I made great progress on several projects:

GRADUATED:  Striped Socks


These are knit from the Basic Ribbed Socks pattern by Kate Atherley. The yarn is Tough Love by Knit and Fiber Creation in the Bill Weasley colorway.  I knit them on U.S. size 1 (2.25mm) Hiya Hiya Sharps.

GRADUATED:  Melon Sorbet Shawl


This is the Melon Sorbet pattern by Hale Prinzessin.  It is knit out of Walkabout yarn by High Prairie Fibers (DK weight).  This yarn is 100% Australian wool — it’s a sturdy yarn, a little bit rustic, in a custom colorway that I commissioned.  I knit this project on U.S. size 8 (5mm) needles.

FRESHMAN:  Drape Front Sweater


Still languishing in the Freshman class, this sweater is apparently in no hurry to graduate.  I have worked on it, though!

The pattern is Drape Front Sweater by Roberta Rosenfeld.  I’m knitting it out of Lana Grossa Meringo yarn, which is an angora/wool blend in pink.  It’s very soft and nice to work with.  It’s on U.S. size 6 (4mm) needles.


I am joining a sock circle that is starting at one of my local knitting groups.  We will each be knitting the cuffs of a pair of socks and then passing the socks around for each member of the group to knit on each week.  At the end I will have a pair of socks which has been constructed with knitting contributions from all my friends in the circle.

At the Library

Don’t be too scared by the creepy werewolf howl on the show in honor of Dracula, the book I am currently reading.  I’m on Chapter 10.

I also talk some more about the real historical person, Vlad Dracula — also known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Tepes (pronounced tse-pesh in Romanian), summarized from the work of professor Elizabeth Miller, an internationally recognized expert on Dracula.  (What a fun job!)

In the Classroom

Today’s lesson is about positive psychology, optimism, and the experience of flow.  Psychology has historically been lopsidedly focused on the negative aspects of human nature — psychopathology and mental illness.  We’ve spent less time studying the positive side of human nature — how people flourish, thrive, and become happy.  Since 1998 we have been trying to remedy this neglect and have promoted more research on human strengths, virtue, and satisfaction with life.

I talk about the research on happiness.  Listen in for answers to questions like:  What do people want more–happiness or fame/fortune?  How happy are people?  How do happy people benefit over those who are more gloomy?  Are rich people more happy?

I also discuss the personality trait of optimism, the belief that, in general, good things are likely to  happen.  I cover some of the research on what optimistic people are like.

Lastly, I talk about professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced chick-SENT-me-hi-ee) and his research on flow.  Have you ever been involved in an activity–maybe knitting or spinning–so deeply that nothing else seemed to matter and you lost track of time?  You were probably experiencing flow.  Listen in for the nine qualities that characterize flow experiences.

Final words for thought:  Savor the present, be wise enough to catch moments of beauty — the sunset, a hummingbird, the smell of orange blossoms, your yarn.  A mere ten seconds can create a happy memory for a lifetime!

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