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!

WIP Wednesday—a day late and a sleeve short

Well, my lack of reading skills struck again. I was supposed to knit x rows between increase rounds and knit -x so the increase was way too fast. Last night I ripped it out and started again this morning. My new game plan is to have a pencil and make hash marks for how many rows I’ve knit. I have the attention span of a gnat, or more likely I’m constantly interrupted and can’t remember what I was just doing! (project details really fast: Little Weekender by Adventure Du Jour, yarn is Bulky in Unicorn Giggles. This batch is a very muddy version.)Ripppppp out the sleeve!

Two different skeins, but looking pretty good for a match. And really, I love this yarn soooo much I  don’t mind all the reknitting I’ve been doing. I’m choosing to look at it as an opportunity to learn new tricks to take to the next pattern. I’m 90% sure I’ll be knitting one of these in my size, so I’ll be knitting another one soon enough!I couldn’t keep my knits and my purls where they needed to be!!! There were plenty of reasons to rip back 😉

Time for a change of scenery! Don’t worry, I cast on new socks that didn’t require any brain power! I’m using Shannon’s Winter Weekend Socks. The yarn I’m using is Victory DK in our first HerStory color, Radio Active Rainbow!! They are growing so fast!!! I have about an inch and a half until I get to the heel. For the moment they’re going to sit in my stack of socks that are to the heel. But that’s a story for another day 😉

Bubble Bath Day!

Y’all know how I like to keep it sassy, so this year we started the Sassy Holidays Club!! Once a month we’ll send a new color, to the yarn shops listed below, that is inspired by a holiday in that month.

These super special skeins of Victory Fingering will be available at the following local yarn stores:

  • Cozy
  • Elgin Knit Works
  • Ewe-nique Knits
  • For Yarn’s Sake
  • Knot Another Hat Shop
  • Loop
  • Needles Rochelle
  • Tangled Purls
  • The Knitters Nest
  • The Tinsmith’s Wife
  • Threads & Ewe
  • Yarn Shop Santa Cruz
  • Yarnz4Ewe

January has Bubble Bath Day at the beginning of the month and I really couldn’t think of a more fitting color for the month! Baths are the best in the winter, trying to get warm and relaxed after a busy day. The colors hint at the iridescent colors of bubbles, and it’s just the happiest!

 

A dear friend of mine introduced me to Korean skin care, and it’s fair to say I’m a bit obsessed. Not crazy about taking a bath, take a moment to do something nice for yourself and your skin! A little bit of love goes a long way.

Mmmmmm and lavender might just be my favorite scent ever. My big summer goal is to make it to a lavender festival. And maybe roll around in the field 😉 There’s a chance I’m counting down the days to summer tonight!

What do you do for self care? What’s feels like a quick easy thing to do and what’s a more luxurious take? Some times for me, cleaning the bathroom feels luxurious to get to that bath! And at the end I still have a clean bathroom!!

WIP Wednesday!

Hey y’all!! I’ve been needle deep in Little Weekender by Adventure Du Jour Designs! I’m using Knitted Wit Bulky in Unicorn Giggles. This is our super wash merino Bulky, not our Big Sky Bulky– a Targhee non super wash. This is also a very muddy Unicorn Giggles, but I’m obsessed. I’m doing size 6 for Frances, but secretly I’m hoping it doesn’t fit her and I can keep it as a sample. I’ve knit the front in one skein and had a teeny bit left over. The back is taller so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to knit the whole way in one skein. I am not alternating skeins, call me a dare devil!

Fun fact about me, I’m a terrible reader. I mean, I read a ton. Of romance novels. But I don’t do well with reading instructions. Over drinks with a teacher friend we tipsily diagnosed me as an auditory learner. I used to be anyways. I think part of it is I haven’t been in a learning situation in a while, so I’m out of the habit. Anyways, trying new patterns is a tough chore for me. You might have noticed I tend to knit the same thing over and over again. Once I have it figured out I don’t have to study the instructions as closely. I can intuit what needs to happen. The same with sewing. I can’t tell you how many mistakes I’ve made because I don’t read the instructions, or don’t slow down to read them thoroughly. For 2018 I really want to work on this skill. Teacher people: if you have an adult idea on reading comprehension let me know! Okay, but back to Little Weekender. It’s knit in Bulky so a quick project. The pattern isn’t super long so it wasn’t super intimidating to read through. And it’s knit in 4 pieces, front/back/sleeves. There’s also an adult version of this sweater, My Weekender, and I figure this is a good practice for the real deal when I make mine!Oh look! I did the side column wrong and had to drop stitches! No worries, I picked them all up and knit it right. Almost. I had to work it out two more times and finally got it right! Are there any projects that you haven’t tackled because it was intimidating? Or are you a fearless crafter? I’m excited about these successes to build confidence to tackle more projects! Okay, I have three more inches to go on the back! I’m going back in!

We’re Hiring!

Hello fantastic people!! We have an opening for a full time position. The job is a little this, a little that, a lot of work and fun! You’ll be winding off yarn, rewinding yarn, labeling, and shipping orders. It’s a lot of work on your feet, lifting, and moving product around. This job requires flexibility (mostly emotionally when working with rewinding yarn) and a sense of humor.

We work 9-5, M-F, but can be flexible with the schedule. We’ll train you, we recognize this is a pretty specific skill set. That being said, this is a manufacturing job. You’ll be doing the same thing over and over and over. And over again. Recognizing economy of motion, and how to speed up your process once you have the skill down is very important.

Please send your resume to info@knittedwit.com, sending it anywhere else will get it deleted. Resumes need to be received by 1/18/18. We look forward to hearing from you!

#2018MakeNine

Have y’all seen that hashtag floating around? #2018MakeNine is dreamed up by Home Row Fiber Co, she calls it a gentle challenge for makers. For me, it’s the ticket to set some intentions for 2018 and make a plan. I find with out a plan, nothing gets done! And boy howdy, do I have a lot planned for 2018.

I like to pick a phrase or word that helps me focus on what I want to accomplish for the year. For 2018 I’m focusing on Makers Gonna Make. And I have a lot I want to make. I want to make quilts, yarn, accessories and garments, time for my family and my home, and time to be outside. I snagged four quilt photos, but I have a few more that are in the to make pile. I honestly don’t know what’s a reasonable amount to accomplish, but I’m setting myself up for success with Sewing Sundays once a month with some sewing friends. We’re doing it on the first Sunday of the month so I have the week to figure out a game plan and make the most of our time together. I think I’m going to see if I can get some cutting in so I’m actually sewing on Sunday.

I want to get back in to spinning yarn. I think. Spinning is something I enjoy but tends to fall to the bottom of the crafting list. I’m trying out a friend’s electric spinner to see if that’s a better fit for my current life. What I’m realizing is I need to read less and watch more TV so I can get through more spins and knits! For knitting I want to learn how to do brioche knitting. I’m on the hunt for a class, I do much better learning a new technique in person. The other mega knitting goal is to learn to do toe up heels from the sock master Shannon Squire. I am not exaggerating when I say I have about a dozen socks knit up to the heel. I can cast on with the best of them and knit and knit and knit. Time to turn the heel!

With all the kiddos getting older and a little more in control of their bodily functions, its getting easier to travel again. I’m planning for a summer full of lake time, hiking, and camping. Sundays will be fundays around here!

A big goal more related to Knitted Wit is blogging and being here. I’m calling it slow social media 😉 I want to tell you the stories behind our colors, because there almost always is one. I want to see what you’re making and share it with all our friends, too! Here is to a successful, colorful, joyful 2018!