Ep. 024 Muscle Memory and Knitting

Welcome to Episode 24:  Let Muscle Memory make your Knitting and Crochet easier.

Brainy Stuff:  17:17

Behind the Redwood Curtain:  27:10

What We’re Learning from our Knitting

Margaret took a class from JC Briar on Multi-Directional Knitting and made these two wristers.  (Although she couldn’t find a pattern by JC on Ravelry)   She really enjoyed this technique and plans to do more.    Inspired by the Beaded Waves Scarf, Margaret also made the Mudra Cuff  by Laura Nelkin.

wristlets

Sample wristlets from JC Briar’s Multi-directional Knitting Class.

wrister

Mudra Cuff by Laura Nelkin

Catherine continues to work on her second Fantasy Red Cardi  by  Kathryn Foster using a skein of Goth Socks from  Rainy Day and Wooly Dogs yarn company.    She can’t carry along with her either Meadowlark Shibori Jacket  by  Gina Wilde  or   Among the Wildflowers  by  Sasha Ball Rives.

Baby cardigan

Fantasy Red Cardi blocking

Brainy thing:   Muscle Memory and Knitting

Margaret talks about Muscle and how we can apply the ideas worked up by coaches of athletes and musicians to Knitting.  Take a look at these.

Behind the Redwood Curtain

Catherine describes an iconic figure of the Northcoast:  The Humboldt Honey  The poster, immortalizing the Humboldt Honey was designed by Ingrid Hart (Ingrid DaSilva at the time) who was a journalism major at Humboldt State University.  You can Link to article and image.  You can still buy the poster at Picky Picky Picky  in Eureka, CA.

Hippie girl

Are You a Humboldt Hippie poster by Ingrid Hart photography by Patrick Cudahy

Knitting Tip

Margaret suggests that to help anchor your knitting and build muscle memory of the new technique you can make small projects:   wristlets, coaster or coffee mug cozy might be some possibilities.   Then you would have reinforced your learning and have something to show for it!

A Little Podcast Business

The incentive prize for a randomly selected winner of the next 100 people who join our ravelry group is ongoing.

Fiesta Rayon boucle Catalina colorway

Fiesta Rayon boucle Catalina colorway

Ep. 019 Growing Brain Cells with Physical Activity

Welcome to Episode 19: How physical activity grow brain cells.

Brainy Thing starts at 15:26
Behind the Redwood Curtain starts at 24:13

What We’re Learning from Our Knitting (and Crochet)

The Fantasy Red Cardi is now Catherine’s carry-along knitting although she’s having a little sock knitting withdrawal.  This baby cardigan is by Knitting Kate or Katherine Foster.

Fantasy Red Cardi

Fantasy Red Cardi

The wool is “purple neutral” by Steinbach Woole Strapaz and an identified ball of yarn which is probably from Three Irish Girls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the "charms" in the Dogwood Scarf

Some of the “charms” in the Dogwood Scarf

Catherine is also starting the Dogwood Scarf a Charm Crochet project by Suzann Thompson   She’s using a variety 100% cotton Ti Di by Knit One Crochet Too and leftovers.  She’s ordered a number of plant fiber yarns from Knit Picks to try them out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret is trying our knitting on 12 inch and 9 inch circular needles.   She knit hat (premie size) as a sample to show new knitters one way to finish up a hat.hat2

preemie hat with "folded" top.

preemie hat with “folded” top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brain Thing:

Dr. Arne May’s research showing juggling makes your brain grow.  Catherine asks could the physical activity of knitting and crochet also make brain cells?

Behind the Redwood Curtain

We talk about clams, clamming and Clam Beach.

Clam Beach, California but no clammers clamming.

Clam Beach, California but no clammers clamming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Knitting Tip

Margaret suggest trying to enter “Beginner’s Mind” with no expectations and trying tools that challenge you.   She’s trying 12 inch and 9 inch circular needles right now and certainly feels like a beginner.

Podcast Business

The incentive prize, a gift for a randomly selected person out of each 100 people who join the group on Ravelry continues.   Also, the people are jumping into the Learn-along.   The Ravelry Group is here.

Ep. 015 Knitting, Meditation, and Changing Your Brain (for the better)

Welcome to Episode 15:  Knitting, Meditation, and Changing Your Brain for the better

Brainy Stuff: 14:05

Behind the Redwood Curtain: 28:20

What We’re Learning from Our Knitting and Crochet:

Meadowlark progressCatherine is still persisting with her Meadowlark Shibori Jacket by Gina Wilde.  The beautiful Alchemy yarn requires some attention.  She also found a new pattern to work on — the Clapo-ktus by Loredana Gianferri. She’s knitting it with Goth Sock.

It’s a mix between the clapotis and the Baktus patterns and it’s free on Ravelry.

Clapo-tus1

Catherine’s Clapo-Ktus

Margaret created a drop stitch scarf (her own free-style design) out of Sari Silk Handspun.   Although she describes the yarn as being plied, what she meant that the yarn was twisted.  She mentions that a long while ago, she saw a drop-stitch scarf on Knitting Help.com

Drop stitch closescarf steps

Brainy Stuff

Amygdala -- less grey matter here means a person is less reactive

Amygdala — less grey matter here means a person is less reactive

Catherine reports on research that shows that the grey matter of the brain — that part of the functioning brain cells — actually increases when a person meditates.  She mentions an article printed in the Harvard Gazette that features the  research of Dr. Sarah Lazar of Massachusetts General Hospital.  Lazar’s  Ted Talk on the topic iseasy to understand and has with lots of diagrams.  Drawing on prior research (reported in earlier podcasts)  that shows that knitting produces meditation-like brain waves, Catherine hypothesizes that knitting would then also increase grey matter.  There’s no specific research that supports that link yet, but we hope scientists explore it soon.  She concludes with a report on a program called Knitting Behind Bars started by Lynn Zwerling for prisoners at Jessup prison in Maryland.

Behind the Redwood Curtain

Margaret talks a little about the logging history of redwoods.  When a redwood is cut down, smaller “sprouts” grow out of the stump (if they are not suppressed by herbicides).  Check out the National Geographic Article on the Redwoods.

redwood cluster

Many “sprouts” coming up from a cut redwood planted too close to Margaret’s house which undisturbed would turn into the following photo.

Second Growth Redwoods. near Orick, CA

The “sprouts” have grown up in this tree. Second Growth Redwoods. near Orick, CA

A Knitting Tip

Catherine reminds us to to change up the needle size of different projects we have going at the same time to help promote good ergonomics and hand health.

A little podcast business.

The incentive to sign up in our Ravelry group for the second one hundred members is a skein of Venezia Sport –70% merino

Incentive for second 100 members who sign up in the group.  The color is a little more green.

Incentive for second 100 members who sign up in the group. The color is a little more green.

and 30% mulberry silk, 307 yards.

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

10402043-lobes-of-the-brain

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.

http://www.eruptingmind.com/effects-of-tv-on-brain

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-neuroscience-of-your-brain-on-fiction.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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.

0bf82c7

 

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.

cephalopod

Episode 8: Happy Brain Chemicals

WELCOME TO EPISODE 8:   Does Knitting Make Your Brain Chemistry Happy?

Brainy Stuff:  28:25

Behind the Redwood Curtain: 44:50

What We’re Learning from Our Knitting:

Catherine is finished with Dahlia in Bloom’s PANEM Katniss Cowl Wrap. 

panem wrapped cropped panem 2 cropped

She also completed Maryann Walsh‘s Two Toned Tawashi.

single tawashi tawashi

Now she’s in that challenging (for her, delicious for Margaret) place of choosing her next project.

Margaret mentions how after she washes her handmade socks, she dries them on a Towel Warmer because the Arcata climate is so humid otherwise they don’t dry before they mildew.   Towels in her house don’t dry after they are used, so she uses the towel warmer for them — and why not for socks.

sock dryer

Margaret continued her exploration of long stranded bead necklaces/wrap bracelets.  She’s getting the hang of the Wrap Around Crochet Bracelet by Yuli Nilssen:  she’s using heavier weight yarn and a smaller crochet hook than last time.   Probably a little tighter stitch after the beads would help even more.  The last photo is a comparison of the first attempt and the second.  (It’s all about learning, right?)

industrial strand industrial wrapindustrial compare

She also started the Kaitlyn Necklace Rose Kit by Javori Designs.  She was having some problems figuring out some the pattern details but thinks she’ll enjoy the finished project.

Kaitlyn piece Kaitlyn

Catherine says that Cat Bordhi would be proud of her for cutting her knitting.

She discovered she prefers stringing beads with a dental floss threader dental-floss-threader-1rather than a beading needle.

collapsible-big-eye-beading-needles-x-4-1

 

Finally, she talks about the Gatsby Necklace by designer Shaina Bilow and taught in a class by Laura Lamers at NorthCoast Knittery.  

Gatsby

Brainy Part:  Does knitting make your brain chemistry happy?

Catherine offers a basic foundation on the brain chemical serotonin.  She discusses Dr. Barry Jacobs’ work.   She also mention EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and how eye movement plays a role in Knitting’s calming effect.   She then talks about Betsman Corkhill and her organization Stichlinks whose mission is to use knitting and other activities to improve health.

Behind the Redwood Curtain: The Mad River

The Mad River in California (there are other Mad Rivers elsewhere) runs 113 miles from the Trinity mountains to the Pacific between McKinleyville and Arcata.

Mad_River_CA

Knitting Tip:   Flipping your Blocking Board

If finding enough space is an issue when you block your knits,layout your knitted item on your blocking board (or a piece of plywood or sturdy cardboard, pin it securely, then flip the board upright and lean against the wall.