Saturday, May 30, 2009

We are in Bliss--Debbie Bliss that is!

Debbie Bliss' name is not an accident--we are in bliss! Her new book, Design it, Knit it, arrived last week. Since we cannot decide between 2 sweaters for a group knit, we'll do both.

Fair Isle Cardigan

Learn this technique with the support of a class. Done in Baby Cashmerino (just imagine the color choices and softness!), this is truly an all-seasons sweater.

Skill Level: Advance Beginner or above

Cost: $50 for two 2-hour sessions

June 29 and July 20th 6-8pm

Cable Band Cardigan

Debbie can't stop herself with exquisite design details. This imaginative, fanciful sweater starts with a cabled yoke band. Learn to pick up stitches, work various cables and picot edges.

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner or above

Cost: $75 for three 2-hour sessions.

July 14, July 28 and August 11 6-8pm

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Friendship among women

A customer/friend sent me this article about women and friendship and the importance and benefits of having meaningful relationships in life. Now, I don't mean to exclude men in any way because I know that friendship is important to them too, but maybe in a "different" way than women.  I don't know.  I'd be interested in your thoughts.  But, this has been my hope for Knit One - that a community of crafters (men and women) could exist which would support, affirm, and enrich each other lives.  I thought I would share the summary of the study with you.

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They  shape who we are and who we are yet to be.  They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more. Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach quivering stress most of us experience on daily basis.
The study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research -- most of it on men -  up side down.
Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible, explains Laura Cousin Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.
Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just fight or flight. In fact, says Dr.Klein, it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released, as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the fight or flight response and encourages her to tend to children and gather with other women instead.  When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect.
This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone-- which men produce in high levels when they're under stress--seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin.  Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.
The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded, says Dr. Klein.
When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly ninety percent of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto so mething. The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health. It may  take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other  women, but the "tend and befriend" notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men.
Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol. There's no doubt, says Dr. Klein, that friends are helping us live longer. In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a six-month period. In another study , those who had the most friends over a nine-year period cut their risk of death by more than sixty percent. 
Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found  that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight!
And that's not all! When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend and confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.
Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women, explains Dr. Josselson. We push them right to the back burner..
That's really a mistake, because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another.. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women. It's a very healing experience.
Gale Berkowitz
Freelance Writer

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Our Apology for the Inconvenience ...

 Knit One North had to close this past Thursday and opened an hour late on Friday due to uncontrollable circumstances.  We apologize for the inconvenience this caused you.

Welcome Back Sandy

Sandy (right) stopped by the other day with her friend Carolyn (left). Carolyn was visiting from Ohio.  You look terrific, Sandy!

Jude (left)  helping Kathie (right) with a multi-directional scarf pattern.

Today's Quote

There is no fruit which is not bitter before it is ripe. -Publilius Syrus

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Why must I spin, spin, spin all the time?

In the small room off the court where there was sun on fine days, her younger sister, Morgause, thirteen years old and budding, wearing a loose house robe of undyed wool and her old frowsy cloak about her shoulders, was spinning listlessly with a drop spindle, taking up her uneven yarn on a wobbly reel.  On the floor by the fire, Morgaine was rolling an old spindle around for a ball, watching the erratic patterns the uneven cylinder made, knocking it this way and that with chubby fingers.

"Haven't I done enough spinning?" Margause complained.  "My fingers ache! Why must I spin, spin, spin all the time, as if I were a waiting-woman?"

"Every lady must learn to spin," rebuked Igraine as she knew she ought to do, " and your thread is a disgrace, now thick, now thin... Your fingers will lose their weariness as you accustom them to the work.  Aching fingers are a sign that you have been lazy, since they are not hardened to their task."  She took the reel and spindle from Morgause and twirled it with careless ease; the uneven yarn, under her experienced fingers, smoothed out into a thread of perfectly even thickness. "Look, one could weave this yarn without snagging the shuttle..." and suddenly she tired of behaving as she ought. "But you may put the spindle away now; guests will be here before midafternoon." (p. 5-6, The Mist of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Random House Publishing Group, 1982.)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Knitting in the North

Heidi is a wonderful teacher and designer.  She designed this hat and taught a class for it at Knit One North.  It is absolutely beautiful.  Heidi will be offering more classes this fall.  Knit One is privileged to have her as a teacher.  Look for her classes this fall.

A red coat in progress.

Today's Quote

We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes. - John F. Kennedy