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”
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”
One day while reading a knitting blog I discovered in 1883 a Scottish chemist created the first “ball-and-stick” model of a molecule using knitting needles and balls of yarn. This initial ball-and-stick molecule represents the structure of sodium chloride and is constructed of knitting needles, representing the bonds, and alternating balls of blue and red yarn, representing the atoms of sodium and chloride. It’s being displayed as part of the International Year of Chemistry 2011 activities.
The chemist who created this model was Alexander Crum Brown, distinguished chemistry and professor at the University of Edinburgh, and one of his particular interests was the arrangements of atoms in molecules and the depiction of these structures. Those of us who spent countless hours poring our organic chemistry books and molecular model sets trying to understand nucleophilic attacks and SN1 and SN2 reactions have Alexander Crum Brown to thank. Those students who now use computer 3D modeling programs to accomplish the same studies (without the delight of chasing down the last nitrogen atom that has rolled off the desk and under the dresser) are also indebted to Dr. Brown.
Continue reading “Knitting Needles, Balls of Yarn and the First Molecular Model”