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:



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