Ep. 014 Knitting Right or Left Brain

Welcome to Episode 14:  Is Knitting right or left brained?

Brainy Stuff starts at: 17:50

Behind the Redwood Curtain begins at: 32:20

What we’re learning from our knitting:

Margaret talks about her (right brained) knitting for the Crazy Triangle Crochet Shawl.   She verrrrry loosely adapted the Sweet November Shawl by Guylaine Godin.   The goal was a wide triangle with less open mesh but in fact, the shawl turned out deeper and less wide.   Well, maybe next time.  She used Crazy Zauberball in some unknown colorway.

crazy closeAfter the podcast was recorded and after Margaret took photos of both shawls together, it seems clear that the two shawls are pretty much the same in width.  However, the Sweet November is much more stretchy and uses about half the amount of yarn.


crochet triangles 2

The Sweet November shawl (on top) compared to Margaret’s adaptation on bottom.



Meadow lark 4.18

Catherine’s progress on her Meadowlark as of April 18, 2015

Catherine is making progress on her Sock Yarn Blanket by Shelley Kang and her Meadowlark Shibori Jacket (by Gina Wilde with Alchemy Yarns.)  She also mentions her Rockefeller shawl by Stephen West.







Brainy Thing:  Right and Left Brain


thMost scientists dispute the older theories of the right and left brain (that the right hemisphere is creative, free-flowing, big picture and the left hemisphere is linear, logical and temporal)  but think they might be useful metaphors.   Margaret explains what they are and how they relate to our knitting.  Some knitters identify as Left-brained knitters and delight in the math and the linear process.   Others see themselves as Right-brained and enjoy spontaneity and free-form patterns or else something that allows them to be more in the flow mode.  Even though everyone is using both sides of their brains, one mode may be more dominant than the other.  Catherine mentions The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron as a seminal book on creativity and Right-brained function.


Also note, that in observance of  National Stress Awareness Month, the Yarn Council of America has some special features on their website and a pattern for a Lemon stress ball by Twinkie Chan.  Follow the action on #StichAwayStress.

Behind the Redwood Curtain:  Blue Ox Millworks


Blue Ox Millworks in Eureka, CA

Blue Ox Millworks at number 1 “X” street in Eureka, CA is more than a place that uses 19th century tools to create authentic millwork for historic houses and business.   It has a school for artisans, a program for veterans, and a community gathering place for special events and theatre.  Recently it replicated the main carriage for Abraham Lincoln’s funeral hearse.

Photo of the original hearse used for Abraham Lincoln

Photo of the original hearse used for Abraham Lincoln








Check out the Blue Ox here

and a video about it here.

A Knitting Tip

Catherine advises us to build a library of cast-ons and bind-offs that we can draw from for different projects:  maybe a general medium stretch, a very stretchy and a firm version of each.   She offers some ideas.

A Little Podcast Business

Our incentive for joining our Group on Ravelry continues.  For the second 100 people we offer this skein of Venezia sport weight 70% merino and 30% mulberry silk, 307.5 yards from Cascade Yarns in Colorway 178 in a dusky teal.   And don’t forget to put in your nomination for the date for “Take Your Knitting to Work Day”  (and we’ll figure out something special for people who work at home.)  Should it be Ravelry’s Birthday?  Perry Klass’ birthday?   (EZ’s birthday is in the summer when most students and teachers are off.)

Incentive for second 100 members who sign up in the group

Incentive for second 100 members who sign up in the group

Ep. 013 Knitting and Brain Lobes and Waves

Welcome to Episode 13:  Knitting and the Mechanical Brain or Brain waves on knitting, meditation, TV, reading and listening to audio books

Brainy stuff starts at:

Behind the Redwood Curtain starts at:

What we’re learning from our knitting:

Margaret shares that she’s learned a lot about following a chart and doing patterned knitting with knits, purls, twisted and cable stitches with two of Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting patterns that were featured on Webs’ Ready, Set, Knit Charity KAL back in 2008.  Margaret has knit two of the four squares (in seven years!) :  Twin Trees and Candle tree.  Find them on Ravelry here.  Margaret used Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Copper and Squirrel.

candletreetwin trees

Catherine finished her cowl made of  Great Adirondack Yarn Company’s Well Dressed Sheep (cotton/rayon/metallic in chunky weight) in the Beach House colorway.   She adapted a border design “Cabled Lace”  from Leisure Arts’s 50 Fabulous Borders by Rita Weiss that she found at the Foggy Bottoms Yarn Store in Ferndale.

cowl3 cowl2 cowl1

Catherine is working on Meadowlark Shibori Jacket by Gina Wilde in Alchemy Yarns Pagoda, Silken Straw and Sanctuary.

meadowlark beg4 meadowlark beg3 meadowlark beg2 meadowlark beg


Brainy Thing: Brain lobes, brain waves and knitting


Catherine focuses on the mechanical aspects of the brain while knitting and reviews the different kind of knitting (from focused to meditation) and then she goes over some of the different lobes of the brain that are activated while knitting.  She lists different brain waves that are activated during different activities including knitting, watching TV, meditation, reading and listening to audio books.   Lots of fascinating material here and it raises many questions but we just need more research to answer them.  Here are some links to look at:  here and here.



Behind the Redwood Curtain:  where the Arts are Alive

One evening a month, the businesses of Eureka, CA (First Saturdays of the month)  and Arcata, CA (Second Fridays of the month) hold an open house featuring the arts — mostly visual and musical.   Some places have bands or other music, snacks and wine.   These celebrations are on different nights of the week so you can go to both each month.

Arts Alive in Eureka has a Facebook Page

and Arts! Arcata does too.

Knitting Tip

Catherine shares with us designer Josh Bennet’s tip that seams make good structured garments that will last.   Also, 1×1 ribbing is more long wearing for heirlooms projects.



A Little Podcast Business

Catherine and Margaret want to start a campaign for a Bring Your Knitting to Work Day, complete with a “permission slip” that will explain to bosses and co-workers the benefits of knitting.  Please go to the Ravelry Teaching Your Brain to Knit group page to nominate your suggestion for a good day to make it (preferably during when school is in session.)

Also, as an incentive to join the group, we are giving away a skein of Cephalopod Bugga! hand-dyed, sport weight 4 oz (400 yards) 70% superwash merino/20% cashmere/10% nylon yarn randomly to one of the first 100 members, randomly selected.