For the Birds: Knitting Nests for Baby Birds Might Just Help Your Health To

It seems that spring has finally come to Southern Wisconsin. The snow has melted. Most days it is warm enough you can go outside without a parka, hat and mittens. The tree buds are starting to swell. And that traditional oracle of spring, the American robin (Turdus migratorius), has been spotted in trees and yards—along with its less friendly cousin, the red winged black bird (Agelaius phoeniceus).

While spring brings the return of migratory birds, it also brings an increase in the number of rescued baby birds flooding into local wildlife rescues and humane societies. When the babies come to these centers, they need a warm, soft, breathable and washable home that resembles the nest they were hatched in.

It turns out that knitted or crocheted nests are a perfect solution. The nests aren’t just used for baby birds; baby rabbits, squirrels, bats, ferrets and racoons are just a few additional animals that benefit. And the best part is, you could be improving your own health while you create those cozy nests. Continue reading “For the Birds: Knitting Nests for Baby Birds Might Just Help Your Health To”

Wanted: Time to Knit

I am a knitter. At least I think I am. Are you allowed to call yourself a knitter if you only pick up the needles after you’ve worked a full day, walked the dog, fed and bathed your daughter, put her to bed, picked up all the toys and books, done the dishes, spot-cleaned the kitchen, made dinner, tidied up the house to the point where it at least doesn’t make you immediately sick to your stomach, and somehow manage to not fall asleep within 15 minutes of sitting down on the couch?

Sigh. Hold on a second. Just writing that sentence exhausted me. Welcome to modern motherhood!

So, anyways, knitting. I love to knit. I know there are a good handful of authors on this blog who love to knit. I know we have some readers who love to knit. But loving it and actually doing it are sometimes different things. If you’re like me, the all-too-common refrain, usually delivered with a sigh of resignation, is:

“I just wish I had more time to knit.” Continue reading “Wanted: Time to Knit”

A Knitted Blue/White Screen

knitted bacteria
Close up "colonies"
A couple of months ago, I read about a local exhibition of microbiology-themed fiber art entitled “Our Tiny Friends and Foes”. Having toyed with the idea of science-themed knitting for the last year, it seemed like a good opportunity to finally become a science knitter.

What to knit though? That was the question. The advantage of knitting a microbe is, of course, that they are small, eliminating the risk of frantic last-minute knitting for a deadline that would certainly occur if I had to knit a brain or a giant squid. (In general, I find that “no tentacles” is an excellent rule to follow when considering knitting options). The world of microbiology certainly provides artistic scope, offering many shapes, colors and appendages that would be fun to knit. A paramecium, a flu virus and a Gram stain were all good suggestions. Finally, someone suggested a blue/white screen. It seemed like a good idea to knit something in honor of E. coli, the bedrock on which the entire field of molecular biology is built, so a blue/white screen it would be. A few fellow knitters volunteered to help, and before long we had divided up the tasks, got out the wool and needles and were on our way. Continue reading “A Knitted Blue/White Screen”

Science, Knitting, and Scientist Knitters

Are there any blue microbes?
A year ago I wrote this post highlighting the Great Microbe Knit, an event at the Manchester Science Festival where you could learn about microbiology and knit a microbe at the same time. It turns out that the event was very popular and several more knitting-themed events are scheduled for the 2010 festival. This year you can knit and learn about bees. And the microbe knitting patterns are still available online as well.

Comments on my earlier microbe knitting post brought to light a whole world of science-themed knitting, some of it spectacular, like the knitted coral reef, or delicate, like the knitted and crocheted neurons (both featured here), or strange educational like this knitted gi tract. Science-themed knitting seems to be on the rise, and attracting attention. Continue reading “Science, Knitting, and Scientist Knitters”

Rhythm and Flow in Writing

Getting What You Want from Your Science Writing Part VIII

My first project, a scarf for "Floppy Dog".For a while now I have made a living knitting words, stringing them together with a rhythm and flow to create a finished piece that has some kind of meaning. Recently I started learning how to knit yarn together with a rhythm (ideally) that will bring the loops and knots together into some kind of finished whole that has meaning: a scarf, a hat, a dish rag (hey, I’m a beginner here). And just like the clacking of knitting needles can relax and de-stress you, the clicking of the keyboard when your writing is in rhythm can be a joyful experience.

The rhythm and flow of language is important in all types of writing, not just in poetry and dramatic monologues but also in prose and—gasp!—scientific writing as well. Continue reading “Rhythm and Flow in Writing”