2018 National Parks. Week 12: Olympic National Park

This week’s National Park is practically in our back yard here in Portland. Olympic National Park is stunning. Like, can-barely-catch-your-breath, eyes-full-of-wonder stunning. There are so many different possibilities, inspiration-wise, that it was difficult to choose one photo that encapsulated what the park means. This one, however, really spoke to us: the trees growing out of their deceased bretheren, the moss, the ferns, the riot of life and greens and browns…

Remember, get this colorway on our website starting today! Make socks with us this Summer as a part of our 2nd Annual Summertime Sock Knitting Extravaganza, otherwise known as Socks on Vacay. Use #socksonvacay2018 on IG while sharing photos of your Knitted Wit/Shannon Squire socks (must use our yarn and Shannon’s patterns to be eligible), and you might just win a prize!

2018 National Parks. Week 11: Lassen Volcanic

This week, we’re heading to Northern California and the breathtakingly-beautiful Lassen Volcanic Park. Our inspiration photo is courtesy of the always-stunning photography of National Geographic and their guide to the park, from which we learned a great deal.

Did you know that the volcano was slowly erupting from June 1914 through May 1915? And then, through June 1917, it erupted with more force and ash and steam, but has been relatively quiet ever since? In the one park, you can walk past and up and around four different types of volcanoes: shield, composite, cinder cone, and plug dome. And our Lassen Volcanic yarn is the perfect representation of the grays and greens inherent in the scamper we hope you’ll make through the park.

Remember, get this colorway on our website starting today! Make socks with us this Summer as a part of our 2nd Annual Summertime Sock Knitting Extravaganza, otherwise known as Socks on Vacay. Use #socksonvacay2018 on IG while sharing photos of your Knitted Wit/Shannon Squire socks (must use our yarn and Shannon’s patterns to be eligible), and you might just win a prize!

2018 National Parks. Week 10: Katmai

If you do a google image search for Katmai National Park in Alaska, your results are overwhelmingly photos of bears. Big bears, little bears, mama bears, papa bears, and oh, so many baby bears. So of COURSE we had to use as our inspiration photo a bear family. DUH. This skein of yarn is the perfect bear-family brown, shaded and deep and just plain perfect.

Remember, get this colorway on our website starting today! Make socks with us this Summer as a part of our 2nd Annual Summertime Sock Knitting Extravaganza, otherwise known as Socks on Vacay. Use #socksonvacay2018 on IG while sharing photos of your Knitted Wit/Shannon Squire socks (must use our yarn and Shannon’s patterns to be eligible), and you might just win a prize!

HerStory July: Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

We are sharing our love letters for the HerStory Sock Club here, just in case you misplaced yours, didn’t get one, or want to check out what we send prior to signing up. Remember that there are many LYS’s that carry HerStory (listed on our front page), but if your local shop doesn’t, or if you love getting unicorn-encrusted mail from us, you can purchase a 3-month or year-long subscription from us here

We all know the feeling: you walk into your kitchen, prepared to start your day, and a cloud of wee annoyances lift off of an overripe banana on your countertop. Your kitchen has been besieged by those unruly, buggy little things we all know as fruit flies. But just imagine if you will, that you look at one of these wee annoyances and instead see the key to understanding just how genetics work. Imagine seeing the beauty and the possibility in a cloud of fruit flies. Well, that’s what our July HerStory recipient, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, did. She embraced (not literally, because fruit flies are teensy) the little buggers and figured out how genes control embryonic development.

Born in 1942 in Magdeburg, Germany, Nüsslein-Volhard was a precocious child, always interested in biology and the natural sciences. Her grades throughout primary school were mediocre, as she professed to not give time and energy to the subjects that didn’t interest her. She attended Goethe Frankfurt University in Frankfurt in the early 1960s, but found herself feeling unchallenged and bored, so transferred to the University of Tübingen when they debuted a biochemistry program in the mid-1960s. Tübingen housed the Max Planck Institute for Virus Research, and was host to visiting scientists from a variety of fields, which proved to be inspiring to our young researcher. While at Tübingen, she briefly married and gained a hyphenated name, but when the marriage ended in divorce, she kept both names, as she had begun to be published, and preferred the continuity of having the same name. Her PhD work led her to study molecular biology and genetics in more depth, but she found that the course of study she had chosen was limited and not as inspiring as she hoped. She moved on to cellular biology, and studied at the University of Basel in Switzerland for a time, learning more and more about how genes behave, and what effects introducing mutations into a developing embryo have. She moved back to Germany to continue her work on genetics, and in 1980, along with her research partner, published a paper identifying fifteen genes that compromise the fruit fly.

After publishing this seminal paper, in 1986, Nüsslein-Volhard went home, to Tübingen, Germany, and became the director of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. She held this position for many years, and continued her work on genetics. Inspired by her genetic discoveries with fruit flies, she began working on isolating genetic structures of vertebrates, and began studying zebrafish.

Nüsslein-Volhard also began working on social, ethical, and philosophical issues in the sciences. She served on the National Ethics Council of Germany and became a leader on ethics and gender equality issues. Nüsslein-Volhard established the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation, an organization which seeks to promote gender equality in science by providing support and resources to female scientists. One of things that most inspired Nüsslein-Volhard to found this organization was the realization that, no matter how accomplished a female scientist was, at the end of the day, for many women, the burden of homemaking, otherwise known as the invisible workload, most commonly falls to women. Her foundation provides funding resources to help female scientists hire out that invisible workload. She has spoken on the ongoing difficulties women face in the sciences: how hard it is for women to balance research and family obligations, and the fact that this is the leading reason women are so underrepresented in leading scientific positions.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard won the Nobel Prize Physiology and Medicine in 1995. She later reflected that it was a double-edged sword: she enjoyed the legitimacy and professional honor, but found it a distraction in many ways. She was torn between feeling the need to accept all invitations to speak and the desire to get back to work, and felt that there was a definite sexist slant to some of the reception to her award. Throughout her career, and throughout the careers of many women in fields that have been dominated by males, she’s had not only to do the work, put in the time, and make sure her work is exemplary, but also to fight against the sometimes-fragile male egos of her contemporaries.

She’s currently Director Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, and in her spare time, loves to cook (she’s even published a cook book!) and play the flute and sing. She continues to be a leader in the field of genetics, and even has an asteroid named after her. So, the next time you find yourself with some overripe fruit and overzealous fruit flies, take a moment before smashing them all to think about how these humble pests helped to further our understanding of how genes work, and inspired the career of a truly inspiring HerStory recipient.

2018 National Parks. Week 9: Isle Royale

Who wants to go on a road trip to Michigan with me? Because Isle Royale National Park is the dreamiest, and I’m feeling the need for some of that beauty in my life. Oh, well, I’ll just have to be content to cast on some Isle Royale socks, huh?

Here’s a link to the google image search for Isle Royale. It’s just the prettiest, and there seems to be a lot of awesome wildlife to see, too!

Remember, get this colorway on our website starting today! Make socks with us this Summer as a part of our 2nd Annual Summertime Sock Knitting Extravaganza, otherwise known as Socks on Vacay. Use #socksonvacay2018 on IG while sharing photos of your Knitted Wit/Shannon Squire socks (must use our yarn and Shannon’s patterns to be eligible), and you might just win a prize!

2018 National Parks. Week 8: Grand Canyon

This week, we are visiting the amazing Grand Canyon National Park. Can you feel its immensity? Because, we sure can!

The image James Kaiser created for his guide to the Grand Canyon made our hearts go pitter-patter. We seriously almost packed up the Knitted Wit-mobile that very second.

Remember, get this colorway on our website starting today! Make socks with us this Summer as a part of our 2nd Annual Summertime Sock Knitting Extravaganza, otherwise known as Socks on Vacay. Use #socksonvacay2018 on IG while sharing photos of your Knitted Wit/Shannon Squire socks (must use our yarn and Shannon’s patterns to be eligible), and you might just win a prize!

2018 National Parks. Week 7: Gates of the Arctic

We really do hate to play favorites, particularly when each color is so unique and beautiful, but this color is this year’s answer to last year’s favorite, Acadia. For Week 7, we are visiting Gates of the Arctic National Park, and oooh, baby, is it a gorgeous place to be!

Check out our inspiration photo for this park, and tell me that you don’t want to climb right into the screen.

Remember, get this colorway on our website starting today! Make socks with us this Summer as a part of our 2nd Annual Summertime Sock Knitting Extravaganza, otherwise known as Socks on Vacay. Use #socksonvacay2018 on IG while sharing photos of your Knitted Wit/Shannon Squire socks (must use our yarn and Shannon’s patterns to be eligible), and you might just win a prize!

2018 National Parks. Week 6: Everglades

It’s Week 6 of our National Parks tour, and we are heading deep into the swamp of the Florida Everglades today, so watch out for alligators!

We got our inspiration photo from an article about kayaking the Everglades, and, although I’m not sure that’s ever something that’d going to be checked off of our to-do list, it sounds like a pretty dreamy trip.

Remember, get this colorway on our website starting today! Make socks with us this Summer as a part of our 2nd Annual Summertime Sock Knitting Extravaganza, otherwise known as Socks on Vacay. Use #socksonvacay2018 on IG while sharing photos of your Knitted Wit/Shannon Squire socks (must use our yarn and Shannon’s patterns to be eligible), and you might just win a prize!

HerStory June: Valentina Tereshkova

We are sharing our love letters for the HerStory Sock Club here, just in case you misplaced yours, didn’t get one, or want to check out what we send prior to signing up. Remember that there are many LYS’s that carry HerStory (listed on our front page), but if your local shop doesn’t, or if you love getting unicorn-encrusted mail from us, you can purchase a 3-month or year-long subscription from us here

” Hey sky, take off your hat, I’m on my way!”

“Anyone who has spent any time in space will love it for the rest of their lives. I achieved my childhood dream of the sky.”

“If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can’t they fly in space?”

“Once you’ve been in space, you appreciate how small and fragile the Earth is.”

-all quotes by June’s HerStory recipient Valentina Tereshkova

Every month, we get to spend a little time getting to know another amazing woman, and this month, our HerStory recipient is really out of this world. Meet trailblazer Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. 

Born March 6, 1937, Tereshkova grew up in a proletarian family in central Russia. Her mother worked in the textile industry, and her father fought in the Finno-Russian War of 1939-1940 and went missing in action. She left school at 16 to work in the textile industry and help support her family, finishing her education via correspondence courses. She became interested in skydiving at a young age, and joined her local Aeroclub, making her first jump at the age of 22. She fell in love with skydiving; she was hooked.

In 1961, after the successful launch of the Russian space program, the powers that be in the program decided that it was their patriotic duty to beat the Americans in any way possible, including being the first country to send a woman to the final frontier. There were over 400 applicants for this program, with the list of qualifications including: trained parachutists; no older than 30; no taller than 170 cm (5 ft 7 in); weighing no more than 70 kg (154 lbs); and, perhaps most important, ideologically pure. Tereshkova applied for the program and was selected, and, along with four other skydivers, began intensive training for space flight. In the final selection process, Tereshkova beat out her closest competitor, not because she was more qualified (her testing resulted in lower scores than the female cosmonaut she was pitted against), but because she was a better communist. It was all about the propaganda in Russia at the time, and Tereshkova proved herself to be the picture-perfect New Soviet Woman. She was a reliable communist, a factory worker from a humble background, and a ‘good’ girl, with the looks, charm, and attitude necessary for celebrity.

On June 16, 1963, after a two-hour countdown, the spacecraft Vostok 6 took off, carrying Tereshkova (call sign Chaika, or seagull) to space. She was the first woman ever to leave the Earth’s atmosphere, and she spent three days in space, orbiting the Earth 48 times. With a single flight, she logged more flight time than the combined times of all American astronauts who had flown before that date.

Upon her return to Earth, Tereshkova faced lots of criticism from a certain faction in the Soviet Air Force, with heavy-handed attempts to discredit her. She was called weak for experiencing physical discomfort while in space, and criticized for calling attention to an orientation error that could have caused her death upon attempted re-entry. Ultimately, her allies outnumbered and outmaneuvered her opponents, and she became a beloved fixture in the communist party and beyond, remaining an enduring Soviet hero to this day.  

After her space flight, Tereshkova had a rich, full, life, but she always hoped to once again leave the Earth’s atmosphere. She never made it back to space, although in 2013, when meeting with Vladimir Putin, she offered to embark on a one-way trip to Mars. Shortly after her trip to space, she married another cosmonaut, giving birth to her daughter, the first person to have both a mother and father who had been in space, a mere year after her space flight. She had a rich political career, working in the communist party as a prominent member. She received a graduate degree in engineering from the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy. She represented Russia, and Russian woman, at the Olympics, UN conferences, and the World Peace Council. Her marriage was ultimately unhappy, and it wasn’t until gaining the personal permission of Soviet Premier Brezhnev in 1982 that she was able to divorce her first husband. She later married for love, and had 20 years of happiness with her second husband before he passed away.

The quotes at the top of this love letter embody the joy and pride Valentina Tereshkova felt in space, and the deep impact it had on the rest of her life. She is now retired from most of her public and political life, living in a small brick dacha on the outskirts of Star City, a house with a seagull weathervane, commemorating the call sign of her flight in space, and still hoping, we are sure, to once again make it out of this world and into the deep of space.

As you honor our HerStory recipients by knitting with the yarn inspired by their lives, please be sure to share your projects with us. On Instagram, tag @knittedwit, and use hashtags #knittedwit and #herstory2018kal. On Facebook, make sure to join our Knitted Wit Knitalongs Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/knittedwitkal), to be inspired by what your co-HerStory knitters have made, and inspire all of us with your creations. We are halfway through our HerStory lessons for the year, and are daily inspired by the women we have honored so far. We hope this journey has been inspiring for you, as well.