Last week I had an experience I imagine other people have when they see a famous [insert profession of choice here]. I saw the Yarn Harlot give a talk at the Downtown Knitters Guild in Toronto, and I was utterly starstruck! I even got a chance to kinnear her!
It’s a word, check it out.
Truthfully, I almost didn’t go to the talk. I was worried that seeing her in person would destroy the characterization of her I’d created. I was worried I would discover she had some strange voice, or some other weird quirk that I would never be able to detach from my idea of her. In short, I worried that seeing the real her wouldn’t live up to the characterization I had developed from religiously reading her blog, books and anything else she’s produced.
Not going would have been a huge mistake. She turned out to be even better than I expected. She was more down-to-earth than I could have imagined. And my god, FUNNY! Now as a regular reader, I know she’s funny, that’s part of the reason I like her so much. I just didn’t expect her to be that funny all the time. It was like watching a knitting themed stand-up show. I was in stitches (pardon the pun) throughout her talk.
The talk was about how knitting affects the brain. At first it seemed like it was just going to be a rehashing of an essay from her latest book. Nope, it was just the set up for a detailed, well researched and insightful talk that got into the nitty-gritty of brain function (water-down for us non-neurosurgeon types).
Some of my favourite topics were her discussion of trauma and video games. She discussed a Cambridge study about trauma and how repetitive motor activities (aka knitting) can lessen the impact of witnessing a horrific event. The study’s conclusion was that it was “not practical to carry emergency knitting”. If only they knew. She also presented a strong case, based on Tom Chatfield‘s study of video games, that suggested a video game need only be like knitting to be successful. Listed below are the 7 elements necessary for someone to find a video game really, really compelling according to Chatfield.
- Must be able to visualize progress
- Multiple long and short term aims
- Reward for effort
- Rapid, frequent, clear feedback
- Element of uncertainty (gauge anyone?).
- Able to do during windows of enhanced attention. (Whenever, wherever).
- Must have engagement with others on some level. (If you had doubts about this one: KALs, Ravelry)