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“The Fabric of Innovation: Dr. Susan Strawn's Knitting Path from Academia to Authorship"

Updated: Apr 4

At INNOVATION Insights…We challenge you to be moved, to explore, reimagine, and innovate within your spheres of influence. Let's be the catalysts of change and the harbingers of progress.

Welcome to my latest blog post. I share insights from a heartwarming and insightful conversation on Episode 6 of the INNOVATION Insights Podcast with Dr. Susan Strawn, an esteemed emeritus professor, author, and avid knitter with rich experiences. I am sharing her story, reflections, and lessons from this remarkable interaction.

From Humble Beginnings to Diverse Paths

Our dialogue began with Susan's humble roots, growing up in a small town with limited resources. Despite the societal expectations and her initial foray into veterinary medicine, Susan's innate curiosity and love for learning propelled her onto a path of varied careers—from biomedical illustration to academia. Her journey reminded me of the importance of staying true to oneself and the courage to pivot when necessary.

Susan's passion for knitting is deeply intertwined with her life's narrative. She shared how this seemingly simple art provided comfort and connection through her most challenging times. As an academic whose creative scholarship focused on knitting, I reflected on how these pursuits are not mere pastimes but an essential part of careers and lives.

An image of Dr. Susan Strawn's designs on her Ravelry webpage.

Building Community through Shared Passions

As the founder of the knitting group "Knit Wits," Susan's story is enjoyable. It wasn't just about knitting; it was about community building, about finding like-minded individuals who provided support and direction. It was a reminder of the importance of community in fostering innovation and personal growth.

The Therapeutic Power of Knitting

One of the most poignant moments was when Susan spoke about the psychological and physical benefits of knitting. She mentioned how it helped her cope with loneliness and stress, offering a form of meditative therapy. This aspect made me ponder the more profound significance of our daily activities and how they contribute to our well-being.

A cover image of Dr. Susan Strawn's book.

"Loopy": A Confluence of Memory, Craft, and History

Susan's ongoing "Loopy" project combines memoir, knitting, history, and patterns. It is a testament to her innovative spirit, blending various elements to create something unique and meaningful. This project inspired me to think about how we can all combine our skills and passions in innovative ways to create something new and impactful.


Embracing Innovation in Every Stitch

Throughout our conversation, Susan emphasized the importance of innovation. She defined it as going somewhere nobody else had thought to go previously. This definition struck a chord with me, highlighting the essence of innovation not as a grand, unattainable concept but as a personal journey of exploration and discovery.

As I wrapped up the podcast, I could not help but feel inspired by Susan's journey. Her ability to intertwine her love for knitting with her professional pursuits showcased how personal passions could lead to meaningful innovations. It reminded me that innovation is not confined to labs or tech startups; it's in the quiet corners of our lives, waiting to be unraveled and explored.

My conversation with Dr. Susan Strawn was more than just an interview; it was a journey through the fabric of innovation, woven with threads of passion, resilience, and creativity. It reaffirmed my belief that innovation is not just about creating the next big thing; it is about bringing our unique perspectives and talents to light and making a difference in our parts of the world. So, let's keep innovating, dreaming, and making a difference, one stitch at a time.

To view my entire interview with Susan, click here.


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