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 Knitting at Smith College 1936

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castelfam7625 Posted - 04/01/2006 : 3:48:52 PM
I received my Alumnae Quarterly today and was entertained by a blurb about an Experimental Psychology class in 1936 where a student demonstrated that students who knit during lectures improve their memory and comprehension. Nice to see that studies on knitting were being done back then. For those of you who don't know, knitting at Smith has always been popular. Embarrassingly, I somehow managed to avoid it while I was there. I also find it interesting that from then to now, we knitters know we are doing something "useful" and productive when knitting in public but some others frown on it as frivolous. Does anyone else find that they are more aware or pay better attention when knitting at a lecture, meeting, etc? I find that it centers me and I'm less apt to daydream.

And does this mean if I knit while hubby is talking, I'll remember more of what he says??

Lisa C in Tn
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy sh** - what
a ride!"
10   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
elizh Posted - 05/15/2006 : 07:28:09 AM
My daughter's graduating from Smith next weekend. She told me about the knitting there when she first started there. so I took up knitting again as a way of staying connected. She did it for a while, then got "too busy".. Meanwhile, I've become completely addicted.

The trips to Web's to feed the habit is a must, plus the annual tent sale cleverly coincides with the graduation festivities this weekend. It will be slightly harder next year, but I've made sure that my other daughter has at least chosen a Massachusetts school (Emerson in Boston) so I can continue to have an excuse to stop and buy yarn at Webs, since it will be sorta "on the way".
sydo Posted - 05/14/2006 : 06:00:11 AM
Ah, yes....those argyle socks, the bobbins swinging with the movement of the needles--only straights then as far as I know--the sound of a metal needle hitting the floor during a class lecture, which created the "dropped needle" rule. If you dropped a needle in class, you could no longer knit and neither could anyone else for a specific number of days. Almost everyone knitted at Mount Holyoke then, the early to middle fifties.

And I usually suffered from second sock syndrome. Imagine finishing an argyle pattern, seaming up the sock and then starting the same one over again, winding all those bobbins one more time.

My knitting ended when I graduated, but here I am in my "later years"-- of all things, knitting socks!!! Thank heavens for circulars, I say.
Margie Posted - 05/13/2006 : 9:11:50 PM
My sister's a Smithie. I remember her tale of one classmate who saw a sweater she much admired in the window of a North Hampton knitting shop. She stood in front of the window, pencil and paper in hand, and counted the sts.

Then she made the sweater. No more details. Sorry. That would have been in the mid 60s.

acsc1998 Posted - 04/26/2006 : 12:11:45 PM
I'm a Smithie too (graduated in the 90's) - and while i never caught onto the knitting crazy while i was at smith, i did pick it up after college. now i'm a member of the smith alum knitting club! and yes, i do knit thru everything (tv, movies, lectures, etc..) i do find i'm less distracted and have an easier time paying attention. just my 2 cents.. :-)

No matter where you are
And what you face,
Within your heart
Peace is possible.
knitting_physicist Posted - 04/03/2006 : 09:45:49 AM
Luann, I am so like you! I have to write things down during lectures to remember stuff, so I can't really get away with knitting in class (which would be really difficult in a physics course anyhow). But, there are a lot of girls at my school (Scripps Collge) who do knit in class. Some profs don't like it, but others don't mind at all. I say more power to them if they can knit and pay attention in class.

No...gravitational physics makes the world go round.
margaret9 Posted - 04/02/2006 : 07:51:53 AM
My boss' daughter is at smith right now, and some of the professors have asked students not to knit in class, the noise of the needles as a distraction.
I'm not sure I could knit and pay attention at the same time. And in a small class, I'm sure the profs would have been offended. With that said, I wish I'd been a knitter while I was at UMass Amherst---webs was just a bus ride away, and I never took advantage of it.
LittleMousling Posted - 04/01/2006 : 11:02:03 PM
Another Mawrtyr here; I usually don't knit in class (I'm with Luann about learning by writing, but it's mostly because I think professors find it rude, and it's important to me to make a Very Good Impression), but I do find it keeps me focused on videos and particularly dry lectures.

You'd think someone would be repeating that study.

-Molly, obsessive but not exclusive socknitter
Stash photos and some FOs
Knitrageous Posted - 04/01/2006 : 5:53:00 PM
I could do a lot better if I was knitting because I'm going to be doing something. I can't just sit there and listen. If it's not a note taking type meeting then I'll have my Palm out playing games. At least that looks like I'm doing something applicable to the meeting! They would never go for knitting at a meeting where I work.


I don't have a problem with authority, I just have a problem with people telling me what to do.
Luann Posted - 04/01/2006 : 5:32:35 PM
Sounds like a cool study! I didn't knit when I was at Bryn Mawr and always regarded the knitters in my classes with a mixture of awe and jealousy. Unfortunately I'm the type of person who learns by writing - even if I never look at my notes again, it helps put the information into my brain. And if I spend the time to recopy my notes, I have drastically improved test scores. But to those who can knit, listen, and retain - knit on!


Knit and let knit!
This is not a blog:
knitz2 Posted - 04/01/2006 : 4:10:21 PM
I definitely can pay better attention when knitting. it keeps me from fidgeting and more of what is happening/being said & done gets through to brain central.

as for remembering what hubby says: if I were to be knitting while listening to a hubby (don't happen to have one at this time), at least he would get to finish what he was saying before I interrupted.

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