textiles · exploration · misadventure


Madrona-ing, Part III: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Teaches Knitting for Speed and Efficiency

How do you do a blog post on something you have no pictures of?

The class was fascinating, Stephanie was her low-key, down-to-earth self, and we learned A LOT about knitting history. For instance, up until the Victorian Era, knitting was not only not gendered specifically female, but it was primarily income-based work for peasants.

In the gendered era of knitting, we see “pretty knitting,” like this:

pretty knitting








This woman ain’t gonna be getting anything bound off any time soon.

In the non-gendered “knitting is work” era, you see historical images like this:

a sock a day



See that sock in her hand? Women like this one typically produced A SOCK LIKE THAT IN ABOUT A DAY. They did it in between hauling peat, making bread, taking care of children, milking cows, making dinner, and god knows what else.

I know. It makes me want to drink too.

But knitting like that is what this class was about: how to hold onto it, what to put where, how to knit and purl, what we can expect as far as speed increase, how to work up to that, how this hand position is more ergonomically healthy. You use 14” needles: one stuffed under your arm, and the other to feed the stitches onto it. It’s not pretty, but it works. So, Second Clone: you get to learn efficiency and speed, and get all of our knitting done. Get to work!

Oh, wait! I have ONE picture. Here you go. Good stuff, right?

my one picture