Episode 6

The topic for Episode 6 is stereotypes, feminism, and the fiber arts.  I talk about the research on sex differences and the accuracy of stereotypes about men and women, the three waves of feminism, and women’s returning to the fiber arts.  In addition, on our way to the classroom, I muse about the refreshing weather, my aimless week of knitting, and a couple of giveaways.  You’ll learn a little bit more about Dracula and see who made the Dean’s List this week.

Welcome to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people with excellent vocabularies.  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:



Around Campus

Yay, it’s fall!  The weather is cooler, the cornfields are turning golden, and the harvest has started.

Amber waves of grain

Amber waves of grain

I found something startling on my husband’s work bench in the garage — listen in to see what it is!  I also talk about my fashion show modeling experience as well as making preparations to be a vendor at the Bishop Hill Spin-In on October 19.  Stop by my booth and say hi!

 The Dean’s List

This week’s Dean’s List features Lo-Lo Moisturizer Bars made by Bar Maids.  I am a hand lotion junkie, and this is my go-to hand cream right now.

 The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

No pomp and circumstance this week…I’ve felt kind of aimless as far as knitting goes.   I should start some gift knitting but need to make some decisions about patterns and yarn.

Sock Circle:  I finished my section of my friend Rose’s socks.  I knit a 2 inch segment in a chevron pattern from the Elphaba Fingerless Mitts pattern by Valerie Johnson of Wandering Cat Studios.  I used Lorna’s Laces Solemate, which is 55% merino, 30% outlast, and 15% nylon, in the Mixed Berries colorway.  I used my 9-inch circular Hiya Hiya Sharps in U.S. size 1 (2.25mm).

Rose started with the taupe cuffs and I added the section with the pop of pink.  They make me smile.

Rose started with the taupe cuffs and I added the section with the pop of pink. They make me smile.

JUNIOR:  Moving into Junior status this week is a pair of fingerless gloves that I’m making for my niece for her birthday in October.  I finished one glove this week.  It is such a quick an easy pattern — the Happily Ever After Mitts by Susan B. Anderson.  I’m knitting these out of Panda Soy yarn, which my tag says is 60% bamboo, 22% soy, and 18% elastic/nylon but the fiber content listed on Ravelry is slightly different.  I’m using a U.S. size 2 (2.75mm) Ciao Goo  9-inch circular needle.  Although the pattern calls for a size 3, I wanted to make them a little smaller to fit my niece.  The first one turned out great!

Quick and simple gift knit

Quick and simple gift knit

A Class Project

Last week I assigned a class project, should you wish to participate (and I hope you do!).  This is an activity that is being hosted jointly by me and by Sara of the Yarns at Yin Hoo podcast.   (Sara and I will have separate prizes, and double dipping is allowed!)  Your task is to write an old-fashioned snail mail letter to someone who has taught you something meaningful.  After you have mailed your letter, go over to the Class Project thread in our Ravelry group and post a brief tribute to this teacher.  The deadline for this project is October 31.  You must be a member of the Ewe University group to participate.  Did I mention there will be prizes?

I will randomly draw two winners after the deadline.  The two prizes are:

  1. A knitting project bag of your choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories
  2. A skein of yarn of your choice from Evermore Studios

 Awards and Scholarships

Our group on Ravelry is growing every day!  I’ve decided to have a giveaway drawing when we reach the 99-member mark because 9 is my favorite number.  Thank you so much to Lauren, who has generously donated a fabulous prize:  Two skeins of Claudia Hand Painted yarn in the Magician’s Cape colorway.  It is a beautiful fingering weight yarn made of 100% merino wool with 175 yards in each skein (so a total of 350 yards in both skeins together).   Once we reach 99 members, I’ll do a random drawing from everyone in the group and notify the winner!

Gorgeous Claudia Hand Painted yarn to be given away in celebration of 99 group members on Ravelry

Gorgeous Claudia Hand Painted yarn to be given away to celebrate once we reach 99 group members on Ravelry

At the Library

This week I’m up to Chapter 24 of Dracula.  Only a few more chapters left to go!

In the show, I talk a little bit about the work of the late professor Raymond McNally from Boston College, who brought the real Vlad Dracula/Vlad Tepes/Vlad the Impaler to the public consciousness when he published a book called In Search of Dracula: A True History of Dracula and Vampire Legends in 1972.  In this book he asserts that Bram Stoker intentionally based his Count Dracula character on this real historical person.  However, his arguments are controversial, and professor Elizabeth Miller, the noted Dracula scholar, disagrees.  I briefly discuss what we know about Bram Stoker’s actual intentions in creating the Count Dracula character.

 In the Classroom

Listening to the book Dracula this week got me thinking about gender stereotypes and sexism.  The female heroine in the book, Mina Murray Harker, is described on several occasions as having a mind more like a man than a woman but then the male characters get together and exclude her from the dangerous pursuit of Count Dracula because it is “men’s work.”  In the show I talk about stereotypes regarding how men and women differ and how accurate those stereotypes are.  I also discuss how sexism arises when qualities associated with one sex are more valued than qualities associated with the other sex.  Stereotypes are one way we simplify the world with automatic processing — the kind of thinking that is involuntary and outside our awareness.  The Implicit Associations Test (IAT) from Harvard University is one way you can see automatic stereotypes in action.  You can choose which version of the test you want to try, including gender, disability, religion, and race.  Even though almost everyone displays unconscious biases in these tests, research has shown that people still have the freedom to choose how they behave.

I review the three waves of feminism, starting with the suffragists from the late 19th and early 20th century and moving into the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s which objected to the oppressive stereotypes associating women with things like wearing dresses, cooking, cleaning, child care, and even knitting.  In the third wave of feminism (mid-1990’s), young women started coming back to these traditionally feminine characteristics and behaviors out of choice rather than obligation.  Maybe embracing these activities (like knitting) that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers participated in will improve their value.  Maybe it is time we reclaim crafts and celebrate them.