Knotions also reviewed several Purls & Postulates yarns this month. Read our review on them here.
When I came across Purls & Postulates yarn, I KNEW they needed to be in the STEAM issue!
Purls & Postulates is just MADE for a STEAM issue! Jessica is the maker behind Purls & Postulates and shares:
I am a wife and mother, a knitter, and an unabashed nerdy girl who loves all things math and science (but really just anything I don’t know yet)!
Purls & Postulates has great yarn and great dyeing, and I’m thrilled to share it with you all! I wanted to ask a few questions and get more info from Jessica. Read on…
Your business is SO fascinating! Tell us more about it. Why did you want to start it? What’s your background?
Purls & Postulates started out as a complementary hobby to my primary pastime (knitting) and at the request of a few close, fiber-loving friends. We were part of a knit along group who rotated project selections, and I offered to dye custom colors for them so I could practice the different techniques. They kept coming back for more, I was having fun being creative with it, and so I decided to just go for it!
“Purls” is a knitting term and “postulates” is a geometry term which means a statement assumed to be true based on reasoning or belief. I was always the nerdy girl in class who worked ahead in the math textbook, so combining fiber and STEM was a natural path for me. It also became the impetus for giving my colorways STEM-themed names. My professional background is in education and workforce development, and I have a BS in Math Education and an MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. After spending almost a decade supporting STEM internship programs with NASA and DOD, I left government contract work in June 2021 to spend more intentional time with my two sons and grow my small business.
Tell us more about your kids…
I have two young boys, ages 8 and 4. They love to learn about science (current interest is black holes but previously it was volcanoes and Jupiter), and always get very excited when it’s time to help prep and dye yarn!
How does STEM factor into what you share and wish for them?
We are definitely a STEM family. We do more for Pi Day (March 14) and Moon Day (July 20) than for Halloween! When the boys started sharing a bedroom, we turned the nursery into a library and it isn’t an exaggeration to say that almost half of the books in that room are in some way related to math or science.
My husband and I feel strongly that reading is so important, and we love using books to share our passions with them. It makes me feel like we’re doing something right when the boys get excited about visiting the planetarium or doing science experiments on the weekends.
My parents were strong advocates for education, but even graduating top of my class I didn’t feel like a career in science or math was accessible. I was never exposed to the real-world possibilities of STEM careers, so when it was time to chose a degree path I was completely lost. My hope is that I can instill the foundational passion for STEM and learning in my boys, while helping them to explore the endless possibilities that await them. It took a long time for me to realize that anyone can have a career in STEM, but I want them to grow up knowing that fact.
You’re a yarn dyer on a mission. How do your two passions relate?
People get really creative with their names for yarn colorways. I can admit to having bought a skein or two (or more) simply because I loved the name on the label. So once I got into dyeing yarn – and it was my turn to start naming colors – it didn’t take long to realize everything was going to have a STEM focus. As an added bonus, I thought it would be fun to put a fact or definition on the corresponding colorway tags, so each of my yarns comes with a little tidbit of knowledge, too! It seemed like another way to make STEM more accessible, putting information right into the hands of yarn lovers who might find STEM interesting.
What are you doing to help support STEM?
From my years in workforce development and internship programs, we were always trying to find ways to diversify representation and increase participation from female and racial minority groups. But I worked with mostly university students, and the research shows that a lot of those minority groups have already dropped out of STEM by their undergraduate years.
Girls in elementary and middle school perform at level with boys in math and science, but stereotypes and social expectations widen the gender gap as they progress through their academic years. Taking this into account, I have committed to donating at least 5% of yearly sales from my small business to an organization(s) dedicated to supporting and encouraging young girls to pursue STEM paths. As my business continues to grow, I hope to make a larger impact and get more involved in closing that gap.
Real Women, Real STEM: tell us more about it! Why did you start it? What do you hope that people take from it?
As I said earlier, I had little to no idea when I was growing up what a job in STEM could really be. I thought an “engineer” was “someone who builds things.” This is such a narrow view and couldn’t be farther from the truth!
When I started working with STEM interns and DOD research, it opened my eyes to what a career in STEM actually could be. I support anyone who is interested in STEM, but I wanted to use my platform to highlight the real women in STEM who are out there doing WORK! These women are outnumbered in their workplace, but that makes them all the more valuable and I want to highlight them and their professional backgrounds. I hope that learning about these women and the concrete steps they took to get to where they are in their careers will in some way inspire others to explore STEM fields.
Yarn is soft and fun and squishy, but if we can learn a little while we’re making something beautiful, I think that makes the project even more special.
From Knotions: Jessica introduces us to women doing jobs in STEM with her line called “Real World, Real STEM“. The yarns inspired by them are wonderful, but the stories talking about the woman and the job are too! Make sure you check it out.
And for the crafty side of our brains:
Who taught you how to knit?
My mom and I decided to teach ourselves how to knit by watching Youtube videos when I was 16 years old. It was probably the best method for me since I’m somewhat of an impatient learner and like to skip ahead to see if I know what I’m doing yet.
What are your favorite types of projects?
I wear a lot of shawls. Also hats are great when I don’t feel like fixing my hair before walking my boys to school. But most of the projects on my wish list are cozy sweaters.
Do you have a favorite yarn weight?
Not necessarily, but I like yarns that have a nice drape so I tend to use a lot of fingering in most of my projects.
And what about colors?
When I’m making something for myself, more often than not it’s in some shade of emerald or aquamarine.
And then for a very serious (and very important) question – do you have a stash and if so, what does it look like?
Don’t we all? Mine is mostly comprised of yarns from other indie dyers with lots of speckles and moody hues. I’ve tried to branch out over the years, but I always seem to gravitate toward blues and greens.
From Knotions: Jessica and Purls & Postulates were recently at the LA Yarn Crawl:
She was recently invited to be a featured dyer during the 2022 Los Angeles County Yarn Crawl. Jessica collaborated with one of the local shops to create a custom colorway for their crawl theme (brunch) called “Serotonin Sunrise” and spent a few hours on one of the crawl days hanging out at The Altered Stitch in Valley Village, CA for a “meet the dyer” event. She met so many friendly people – many of whom work in STEM or are close to someone who does!