Ep. 031 Knitting and Life-long Learning and your Brain: The Nun Project

Welcome to Episode 31:  Knitting, Life-long Learning, Your Brain:  Data from the Nun Project

Brainy Thing starts at:                              Behind the Redwood Curtain:

What we’re learning from our Knitting

Catherine gives an update on the Vanessa Ives Mystery Shawl  By Bunny Muff  and how even Michael’s  Big Box store failed in providing Japanese beads that would work for it.
shiny vanessa_
While she’s waiting for her delivery of beads, she’s working on Baby Socks by Bianca Boonstra for the Afghan for Afghans project.  The socks are made from Treadsoft Yarns that Catherine dyed with Dharma dyed goods._

She’s also been working up some scrubbies for the Dishcloth group she belongs to.  The pattern is baby socks orange_Little Scrubbie by Arctic Trails Abstract   and made out of leftover Knit Picks Lindy Chain and AllHemp 6 lux.

Margaret tells the “amazing” story of finding a hand dyed indigo boucle cotton at Amazing Yarns in Emerald Hills, CA.  She knit the Miami Vice pattern  by 3 bags fulled or Hillary Designs and learned of ways to fix the dye from John Marshall of John Marshall Works in Fabric who was at the Natural Fibre Festival in Arcata in September.
miami vice full miami vice line_

Brainy Thing

Another reason we crafters should continue to learn?  Catherine talks about the Nun Study, a longitudinal study of Sisters of Notre Dame which indicates that lifelong learners have a lower rate of symptoms of dementia even if there are pathological signs of it in the brain after death.  Also, those with stronger language skills fared better in terms of preventing dementia.

Behind the Redwood Curtain

Margaret shares information about the mission of the Friends of the Dunes’ Humboldt Coastal Nature Center.
dunes display

Hands-on display at Humboldt Coastal Nature Center

display dunes

More hands-on opportunities at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center

dunes trail

Path leading to the trails at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center

dunes house

Stamps House at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center.

exterior dunes

Walk outside of Stamps House at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center.

_

Knitting Tips   (technical problems prevented the recording of this.)

Learn more about indigo from the “word of the Week” on Indigo expert John Marshall.  http://johnmarshall.to/blog/category/japanese_word_of_the_week/

Podcast Business

The incentive to sign up for the Teaching Your Brain to Knit Ravelry Group_ continues.
opulent_

Ep. 025 Emotions, Environment and the Colors We See in Our Knitting

 Welcome to Episode 25

Brainy Thing: 18:37

Behind the Redwood Curtain:27:53

What We’re Learning from our knitting:

Catherine is finishing up her second Fantasy Red Cardi (that’s the name but this one is a green and blue variegated with trim in a robin egg’s blue) by Kathryn Foster. Catherine  has bought the yarn Wolle’s Yarn Creations Color changing cotton tape yarn by Elizabeth Drum to do the Vanessa Ives Mystery Knit along by Mona8pi (Bunnymuff). She bought two colors but hasn’t decided which one she’ll use yet.

IMG_blue cardi

 

 

IMG_blue cardi close

 

Margaret knit about 10 inches of  the maracajau cowl in Borroco Origami in a black/grey/brown color and decided she didn’t like the yarn for around her neck.   She has four skeins of it, 98 yards per skein.   It is 58% acrylic, 16% linen, 15& nylon and 11% cotton and has a lot of high ratings in Ravelry. Borroco has discontinued the yarn.   She’s offering it to a member of the Ravelry group for free:   Just post in the thread.   If more than one person wants it by October 13, we’ll select someone by random number generator.

origami2 origami

 

 

 

 

 

Both Margaret and Catherine learned to create fabric cords with the simple cordage method at the Natural Fiber Fair in Arcata.. The demonstration was taught by the Julie Mueller-Brown from Cinnabar and Indigo, a vendor at the fair that sells handmade glass beads and other beautiful items.

 

Brainy Thing: Do colors change when we’re depressed or are we depressed by dull colors in our environment?

Catherine will explore this topic and the controversy around it in this segment.  Here is some of the research. Christopher Thorstenson believes that a depressed mood colors our perception of the world, specifically, the colors we see.    Report on the study here.

 

Behind the Redwood Curtain:

Margaret talks about the mystery of the little town or Orick, CA and why it hasn’t prospered.   Check out Jensen Rufe’s and Steve Love’s Film, Orick, California, USA .

IMG_1662 orick sunset IMG_1642 IMG_1641

Fiesta Rayon boucle Catalina colorway

Fiesta Rayon boucle Catalina colorway

Knitting Tip:

Consider cutting your knitting to make repairs. She makes plans to cut her Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder in half to attempt to re-heel it.

A Little Podcast Business

Don’t forget the ongoing incentive for joining the Ravelry Group.  Currently it’s Fiesta Yarn.

 

Ep. 023 How We See Color in Our Knitting and Crochet (1st in a series)

Welcome to Episode 23:   How we see color in our Knitting and Crochet (the first in a series)

Brainy Part:  20:18

Behind the Redwood Curtain  39:38

What we’re learning from our Knitting and Crochet:

Catherine is learning she doesn’t enjoy finishing (she already kinda knew that) but she did it anyway for the Failynn Fox Cowl by Velvet Acorn out of Lion Brand fox cowl side fox cowl Thick and Quick Pumpkin.

 

She also did some improvisation with the Chain Mail Slippers that she was doing for a Arcata Plays  in the Park production locally.   She used the Simple Man Slipper by Melissa Mall in Wool-like Chunky by Loops and Threads.

chain mail slippers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret learned how to work an applied edge in crochet (adding the edging perpendicularly to the bottom of the shawl. — oops, she added it to the wrong edge.   The pattern was Terra Cotta Shawl from More Love of Crochet in Summer of 2014 and now called Thorns by Rebecca Velasquez. It is now sold on Rebecca’s website.  Margaret also used lace weight yarn for an entire project for the first time — a lovely silk/linen blend by Sincere Sheep.

Terra folded Terra piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brainy Thing:  Seeing Color

Catherine talks about seeing color — in knitting and crochet.   Among other things, she mentions the Concetta Antico who is documented as seeing colors differently.

Here are some links to her research.

Concetta Antico, tetrachromatic artist:  http://concettaantico.com/

For more on this subject, check out Ewe University Episode 39 Effects of Color on Behavior, Emotions and the Brain

Behind the Redwood Curtain:  The Giant Coastal Salamander

Catherine thinks these guys are cute although they’ll probably bite you.

Giant Coastal Salamander

Giant Coastal Salamander

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting Tip:

For a real cushy sock, try the princess (as in the princess and the pea) sole.  Melissa Mall included them in her pattern above.  Knitty’s Cinderella sock pattern by Kathryn Beckerdite also includes instructions for the princess sole.

Podcast Business:

We’re still offering the incentive prize for the next group of 100 members in our Teaching Your Brain to Knit Ravelry Group.

Fiesta Rayon boucle Catalina colorway

Fiesta Rayon boucle Catalina colorway

 

 

 

ETA

ETA 9/28/15

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. 016 Knitting and the Need for Novelty

Welcome to Episode 16:  Knitting and the Need for Novelty or one reason we don’t finish our projects

Brainy Part:  Starts at 22:00

Behind the Redwood Curtain:  34:07

What We’re Learning from our Knitting:

ninja StarMargaret is playing around with different motifs to use her Lanaknits Hemp for Knitting #102 allhemp6 dk weight.  She found her copy of Kristen Omdahl’s Seamless Crochet:  Techniques and Motifs for Join-as-you-go Designs to figure out the Ninja Star motif shawlette.  While she was able to figure it out, she didn’t think the hemp was a good choice for the very open motif.  In the past, she had done the Radiance motif Sparkling Skinny Scarf in left-over sock yarn.  radiance

skinny 2

Catherine is still working on her Meadowlark Shibori Jacket by Gina Wilde in Alchemy Yarn and has fallen in love with the Paint Brush colorway.   She is nearly finished — the Clapo-ktus by Loredana Gianferri. clapo-ktusclapo-ktus unblocked

She’s knitting it with Goth Sock.  She was also motivated to finish the Some Pig dishcloth by Emily Guise who works at Knit

Picks and also likes to design dishcloths.

pigSome pig

Brainy Thing:  Knitting and the Need for Novelty

Margaret speculates that one of the many reasons we cast on a new project before we’re finished the one we’re working on is for the human need for novelty.  She discusses some of issues of novelty and how they relate the knitting.   Keith Hillman of Psychology24 has some interesting posts on this topic and other brain related ones.

Behind the Redwood Curtain

hudsonian-godwit-21895577 Catherine talks about the end of Godwit Days (celebrating one of the birds that migrates through the area) and the Arcata Zen Group.

A Knitting Tip

Margaret recommends trying different yarns and suggests that they (like the Hemp she was trying out) might require different tensions and yarn holding techniques

A Little Podcast Business

The incentive to join the Teaching Your Brain to Knit Podcast Group on Ravelry continues for each new 100 members.   The current incentive prize for members 101 to 200 is a skein of Venezia sport weight 70/30 merino/silk yarn by Cascade. Beginning with member 201, the prize is the Canon Hand Dyes skein in 80/20 merino/nylon sock yarn.

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.

Self Striping Cankon Hand Dyes in "Lover's to bed'  'tis almost fairy time" colorway.  It's a bit brighter than photograph suggests.

Self Striping Canon Hand Dyes in “Lover’s to bed’ ’tis almost fairy time” colorway. It’s a bit brighter than photograph suggests.

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. 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.

crazy

 

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

640px-Eureka_CA_Blue_Ox_Millworks_Museum

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