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.

2018 National Parks. Week 5: Cuyahoga Valley

Week 5 of our 2018 National Parks tour brings us Back to Ohio, as the Pretenders so amazingly sang in 1984, to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We were just in Ohio for the trade show, but did not have time to visit Cuyahoga Valley, unfortunately.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is 33,000 acres of forest, river, and waterfalls through NE Ohio. It’s absolutely stunning, and there were so many aspects of it we could have focused on for our colorway. BUT, we chose this image, as those fall colors made our hearts go pitter-patter.

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 4: Congaree

Week 4 of our 2018 National Parks tour brings us to lush Congaree, in South Carolina. This is one of the newest of our National Parks, and was established in 2003. When first established, it was called the Congaree Swamp National Monument, which is hardly a fair assessment of the over 24,000 acres of forest, which floods, on average, ten time a year. I mean, seriously, swamps do give off a decidedly mosquito-y vibe. But this National Park is so much more: it contains the largest stand of hardwoods in the country, and more beauty than you can shake a stick at.

Here’s a link to the image we gained inspiration from.

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!

National Parks enamel pins!

We are soooo excited to share these enamel pins with y’all! They are just what we always dreamed of having, and are the first in what we hope will be many awesome pin designs to share with you.

Hop over to our website and snag one for your knitting bag! Grab a couple skeins of our National Parks colorways while you’re there, and join us on our Socks on Vacay adventures this summer!!

2018 National Parks. Week 3: Black Canyon

This week, we’re showcasing in our National Parks 2018 colorway line Black Canyon, in Colorado. This is a link to the photo we used as inspiration. That view, with the Gunnison River roaming through the canyon, is just the dreamiest.

Black Canyon is gorgeous, but not what you’d call hospitable: much of the canyon has never been settled, not even by the hearty Ute Indians.

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 2: Arches

Let’s go to the desert, shall we, for our second National Parks colorway of 2018. Arches National Park, in Utah, is just plain stunning. Here’s the link to the photo that inspired our colorway.

Did you know that there are over 2,000 natural arches in Arches? The park was established as a National Monument through a presidential proclamation in 1929 by Herbert Hoover and as a National park by Richard Nixon in 1971. It’s been enlarged quite a few times over the years.

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 May: Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This month, our HerStory recipient is the scientist who discovered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi was born in Paris, France, in July of 1947. As a young girl, she was fascinated by the workings of the natural world. She’d spend hours observing insect behavior on family vacations, and quickly realized that she was destined for a life in the natural sciences. Once grown and schooled, she joined the Pasteur Institute in Paris in the 1970s, and worked on retrovirus research. In 1996, she became the head of the Retrovirus Biology Unit (later called Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit). For all of her work and dedication, Barré-Sinoussi won the Nobel Prize in 2008, along with the colleagues she discovered HIV with.
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi thought she’d have the typical life of a research scientist, specializing in retroviruses, doing the work, putting in the time. And that all would have created a wonderful life, full of good work on important diseases without a huge effect on her entire life. That is, until an infectious-disease specialist called the Pasteur Institute and asked her to look for a retrovirus in a new disease that had been wreaking havoc all over the world. This disease was AIDS, and her work on it would change her life forever.

Once she and her colleagues began working on the research into whether or not AIDS was caused by a retrovirus, that was it. She was forever inextricably linked to the disease. Discovering that AIDS was, indeed, caused by a retrovirus took a relatively short period of time, and since that discovery, Barré-Sinoussi has worked tirelessly with patients and doctors and other researchers to try to discover a treatment and pave the way for a potential cure for the disease. She spent time in San Francisco at the height of the US AIDS epidemic, holding the hands of AIDS patients as the disease took them further and further into illness. Over the years, she has befriended many AIDS patients and watched as they sickened and died. She threw her entire self into the study of the disease, and at points in her life, has told her loved ones that “I feel that I’m not my own personality any more. I look like a virus. My face is like HIV.”

In 1996, a therapy was introduced that completely changed the course of the AIDS epidemic. Not necessarily a cure, antiretroviral (or combination) therapy proved to be very effective in saving lives and curbing the effects of the disease. Although a huge relief, Barré-Sinoussi fell into a depression once this happened (as did many of her colleagues), as the relentless push against the virus finally lessened, and they were all left with a feeling of almost let-down. We are strange creatures, human beings; sometimes that which should give us the most joy opens our eyes to all we have lost, and we think that must have been what happened to Barré-Sinoussi: the weight of all of the lives lost to the disease pressed down relentlessly on her. She stepped away from the public eye for a while, and was able to find her way back to the good fight, once again working on a deeper understanding of the disease, and being a relentless advocate for those whose lives have been affected by the infection.

In reading about Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, who is, to this day, intimately involved in fighting AIDS and advocating for those afflicted with HIV, we are once again touched to our very cores by these strong women in HerStory who have given so much of themselves to making the world a better place. For where would we be without them?

The colorway this month, inspired by the 1980s era, is called Prendre le Coeur (take heart). The colors are decidedly 1980’s Laura Ashley fabric and dresses, the message decidedly Françoise Barré-Sinoussi. Take heart, everyone, for there are people like Françoise Barré-Sinoussi working tirelessly to make this world a better place.

Remember to share your HerStory projects with us. Tag me @knittedwit, and use hashtags #knittedwit and #herstory2018kal. On Facebook, make sure to join our new Knitted Wit Knitalongs Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/572482266432576), where folks have been sharing their HerStory projects so far. We have so many fabulous women to talk about with you, and hope you’ve loved the lessons so far!

2018 National Parks. Week 1: American Samoa

We’re starting our 2018 National Parks releases a week early, because Socks on Vacay 2018 starts on 5/28, and we want you to have this skein in your hot little hands if you’d like to cast on with us on 5/28. Starting on 6/4, we’ll be releasing a new National Parks colorway every single Monday, and they are all so different and inspiring and beautiful and we could not be more proud.

Now, for those who just simply cannot wait, we do have the whole 2018 mega amazing bundle of yarn available, with free shipping. So much amazingness in one shipment.

Our first colorway for the 2018 National Parks line is American Samoa. We’re kicking it off with a park we’d really, REALLY like to visit. (Honestly, we’d love to visit any or all of the National Parks we’re showcasing, as well as the ones we showcased last year, but this one is particularly gorgeous). Here’s a link to the photo that inspired the colorway. It’s an image of Ofu Island’s coral reef, part of the American Samoa National Park. The park was the first US National Park in the Southern Hemisphere.

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!