Episode 16

Episode 16 comes to you after fighting the bitter cold weather, internet outages, and a broken furnace.  I announce the valedictorians of our December graduating class and the winners of our last two days of “Kris-mas” last month.  I also talk about some new prize giveaways, a new class project, and chat about my goals and personal theme for 2014.  I am excited about my knitting again since I’ve let myself cast on some new projects with the New Year!  This episode also features an interchangeable knitting needle set review, and in the classroom you’ll hear about some really interesting research on how automatic skills are learned, using knitters as participants.

Welcome and thank you to new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our awesome Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  I welcome your feedback — you can post comments here on the blog or in our Ravelry group.  You can also send me email on Ravelry or regular email.  It would be great if you sent me a card or letter via snail mail.  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 Evermore Studios.  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.  Ewe University listeners can get 14% off their purchase from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories until January 31 by using coupon code HAPPY2014.

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Awards and Scholarships

Winners of the last two days of “Kris-mas,” which we celebrated from December 13-24 last month:

  • 11th Day Winner:  Amy from New Jersey
  • 12th Day Winner:  Celia from South Carolina

Both winners won beautiful yarny prizes.  Congratulations to both ladies and thank you to everyone who is a member of our Ewe University group on Ravelry!

December Valedictorians:

  • Post #90:  Kathleen from New Mexico, who wins a project bag of her choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories
  • Post #38:  Diana from Nebraska, who wins a skein of yarn of her choice from Evermore Studios

Congratulations to our valedictorians, and thank you to everyone who entered the December graduating class!

 Reminders and Announcements

Post pictures of your finished objects for this month in our January Graduating Class thread on Ravelry for a chance to win prizes.

When our Ravelry group reaches 199 members, we will have another membership giveaway.  One person in our group will be randomly selected to win a skein of lovely Zitron Unisono yarn in Color 1280!


The Ravellenic Games are coming up — February 7-23!  We won’t be having a separate Ewe University official team, but I will be opening a thread on Ravelry so we can share our ideas for what we want to knit for the Ravellenics.  Once the games start, I’ll open up another thread so that you can post your finished objects and be entered for an awesome prize:  a beautiful ceramic yarn bowl from Shady Lane Ceramics.

yarn bowl

A Class Project

With the New Year we’re starting a new class project called U-Turn.  This is where you go through your UFOs and decide if they are an

  • Oooooooh, as in “How could I have put this down?  I really want to finish it!”  And then you finish it.


  • Ewwwww, as in “Yikes!  What was I thinking?  I don’t want to finish this.”  And then you frog it.

Each month during 2014 we’ll have a thread for the U-Turn Project.  The thread for January is already up.  The U comes from U in UFO — we are trying to turn those unfinished objects into finished ones.  From all the posts made during the month, I will draw one random winner, who will win a small pottery bowl (I have different colors of these) from Lizkitzerow on Etsy along with a set of stitch markers!

small pottery bowl


Around Campus

It is cold here.  My furnace went out today — luckily it got fixed but the house was down to 58*, whew!  The benefits of living in a small town include getting a service person over to your house practically immediately even when you call after 5:00pm.  The internet has also been in and out for the past few days.

In this episode I talk about my 2013 knitting goals and how I did with those as well as my goals for 2014.  My personal theme this year is CURIOSITY, which capitalizes on one of my Signature Strengths.  If you are interested in finding out about your Signature Strengths, you can take the free test on the University of Pennsylvania’s web site.  Click on the “Questionnaires” tab.

I also talk about the Timber Ridge Winter Knitting Retreat that I attended this past Saturday.  It was awesome.  I give an update of my Postcrossing cards.  If you want me to send you a post card of a picture I took around my town, PM me and give me your address, and I’ll send you one!

New-to-Me Podcasts

My Coursera class called Drugs and the Brain started on Saturday and I’m enjoying it so far.  It’s really HARD, though!

Thank you thank you thank you to Helga from Switzerland for gifting me the Halia Shawl pattern by Anna Sudo!!!

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:  I’m going to start recording on a biweekly schedule.  So look for a new Ewe University episode every other week.

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

GRADUATED:  Neon Frog Socks

neon frog socks

Yarn:  Show Stopper from Leading Men Fiber Arts in the Lightning Bug colorway (75% superwash merino and 25% nylon)

Pattern:  Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherley

Needles:  Hiya Hiya Sharps, U.S. size 1, 9-inch cable

JUNIOR:  Ankle Warmers


Yarn:  Wacky Wool Homespun from my friend Chris in Australia (95% wool, 5% bamboo) — bottom portion of ankle warmer; Aslan Trends Del Cerro in light blue (100% merino) — top cable ribbed portion

Pattern:  Spick and Spats by Madeleine Pippa Bartlett

Needles:  Dreamz Interchangeables in U.S. sizes 6 and 8

SOPHOMORE:  Twisted Edge Shawlette

Twisted Edge ShawletteYarn:  Marigoldjen MCN (80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon) in the Ninja colorway (400 yards)

Pattern:  Twisted Edge Shawlette by Cayenne DaBell (who is a member of our Ewe University group on Ravelry!)

Needles:  Knitters Pride Dreamz Interchangeables (3.5-inch tips), U.S. size 4

FRESHMAN:  New Years Sunrise Socks

new years sunrise sock

Yarn:  Cascade Heritage Sock, 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon in color 5641

Pattern:  Serendipity Socks by Ellie Putz

Needles:  Hiya Hiya Sharps in U.S. size 1, 9-inch circulars

On these socks I’m not liking the short row heel so am going to try the new Fish Lips Kiss heel instead.

A Review

I review the Denise Interchangeable Needles set, which was the first set of interchangeable needles that I bought.

denise needles


I’m planning on reviewing other interchangeable needle sets in upcoming episodes.

In the Classroom

Today I cover a little more about automatic processing, particularly how it relates to acquired motor skills like walking, driving, and knitting.  Not much is known about how these types of skills become automatic.  I discuss one study out of the University of Montreal in Canada which used knitters as participants in a brain imaging study.  A BBC documentary entitled Out of Control included this study.  You can watch the documentary here, and if you’re especially interested in the knitting segment, fast forward to the 34 minute mark.


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.

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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!


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 2

In Episode 2 we talk about the social brain, language and gossip, and two different thinking processes.  In the background, you will hear someone revving a hot rod engine and an airplane flying overhead.  Boy, I live in a noisy town!

Thank you to show sponsor, Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.

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Thank you to everyone who sent encouraging feedback on last week’s show.

Around Campus

Last Saturday I went to Stitches Midwest for the day.  My friend Gail and I took a charter bus from Peoria — we joined a group of 30 knitters, and it was a fabulous trip.  We got to ride on a comfy bus and didn’t have to worry about Chicago traffic or parking.  The bus dropped us off right at the front door of the convention center.  We got door prizes that were donated by Stitches (Gail and I both won yarn!), lots of discount coupons for various vendors, and free admission tickets into the marketplace.  Once inside the marketplace, we met up with our friend, Lauren, and shopped for about 5-6 hours.  Here is what I got:

Stitches Stuff

  1. Half pound of cashmere (60%) merino (40%) sock yarn from Newton’s Yarn Country
  2. Pathways Sock superwash merino from Lost City Knits
  3. Some stitch markers I got at the swap
  4. Tiny sheep I got at one of the vendors
  5. Beautiful fabric
  6. Another Hiya Hiya Sharp size US #1 with a 9″ cable — my favorites for knitting socks
  7. Cascade Pacific Chunky that I won in the door prize drawing
  8. Lo Lo bergamot lotion bar by Bar Maids
  9. Serenity 20 MCN sock yarn from Zen Yarn Garden
  10. Silver Sock (65% merino, 20% silk, 15% nylon, 2% silver) from Holiday Yarns — it’s very sparkly

Tuesday I visited Serendipity Yarn Shoppe and got some Corriedale Superwash from HPKY:


The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

SENIOR:  Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherley, knit in Tough Love sock yarn (80% superwash merino, 20% nylon) in the Bill Weasley self-striping colorway by Knit and Fiber Creation on Hiya Hiya Sharps US size 1 (2.25mm) with a 9″ cable.  I just turned the heel on the second sock, so I only have to finish the foot and toe.

Striped Socks

FRESHMAN:  Melon Sorbet triangular shawl by Halbe Prinzessin.  I’m doing this in Walkabout yarn (100% Australian wool) by High Prairie Fibers in a colorway that I designed.  It’s on my Dreamz interchangeables, US size 8 (5mm) needles.  I’ve only finished 3 repeats so far.


FRESHMAN:  Out of the black hole of UFOs, I pulled out the Drape Front Sweater by Roberta Rosenfeld, which I started probably a year and a half ago.  It’s on my Dreamz interchangeables, US size 7 (4.5mm) needles, and I’m using Lana Grossa Meringo yarn (40% angora, 30% wool, 20% rayon, 10% polyamide).  Below is a picture of my progress so far, which is half the left sleeve and a tiny bit of the back.


At the Library

This week I’m about halfway through Heirs and Graces, the seventh book in Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness mystery series.  It is an audiobook read by Katherine Kellegren, who is an amazing voice actress.  I’m enjoying it.

While we’re still at the library, I wanted to talk about storage solutions for knitting magazines.  Over the years I have collected dozens of magazines, and I am trying to figure out what to do with them so I can still have access to the patterns.  Any suggestions?

In the Classroom

Today we’re talking about a couple of underlying themes in life:  the brain and how we think.

First, the brain:  It’s expensive to operate, takes up 2% of our body weight but uses about 20% of our energy.  I talk about Robin Dunbar’s research which shows a direct correlation between brain size and group size whereby  animals that live in larger groups tend to have larger brains.  Dunbar also suggests that, because humans live in extraordinarily large social groups, language developed so that we could gossip — talk about other people so that we can exchange information about who are good and bad relationship partners.

Second, how we think:  I review two types of thinking processes…

  1. Automatic Processing, which is characterized by making quick conclusions or assumptions, gut reactions, automatic analyses of people and situations based on our previous experience.  It is unconscious and unintentional, like being on autopilot.  When we are knitting an easy, mindless pattern, we are using automatic processing.  This is why we can talk and knit easy things at the same time.  Most  mental processes happen automatically, and this system can  handle many tasks at once.
  2. Controlled Processing takes conscious mental effort and requires our constant attention.  This type of thinking can only handle one task at a time.  When we are knitting a complex lace pattern, we are probably using controlled processing.  We really have to pay attention, and if we get sidetracked by talking or watching TV, it is likely that we will goof up and have to rip out a bunch of rows.

Take the Stroop Test:  As quickly as you can, name the color of the letters in each word listed below.


This is a difficult task for most people because reading (an automatic process) is interfering with naming the color of the letters (controlled process). We don’t consciously want to read the words, but we can’t help but do it.

Thanks for coming to class today!