This is everything I accomplished at Madrona. Not a lot to show for myself, is it? On the spindle is a small quantity of really softly spun Cormo and CVM 2-ply, and on that loooooong straight needle is about 20 ridges of garter stitch in really yummy Jacob/alpaca DK from Toots LeBlanc.
But I can now tell you what cop is (the yarn you’ve made that’s wound around the spindle), I can use the drop spindle standing up (a really good idea, as I’ll explain later), I can do a thigh twist to start the spindle (standing on one leg, even), I can kick start it when it’s near the floor, I can fix thick spots in the yarn and do a better join when I need to “edit” a thin spot, I can keep twist out of my draft zone by back-twisting with my right hand just a little bit, and I can ply out of my bra.
Yes, you read that right.
Turns out a good way to ply two or more strands is to wind them together onto a crumpled ball of paper, pop the resulting ball down your cleavage, and wield the drop spindle pulling the strands from between your buttons. If nothing else, this is certainly more eye-catching than my old method using the chopstick apertures in my two rice bowls.
And I’m darn proud of my 40 rows of garter stitch, because I achieved them by lever knitting. That means the technique for knitting that relies on one needle being fixed under your arm, in a belt or sheath, or wherever you can comfortably plant it and then bringing the knitting to the fixed needle tip rather than fishing after it. I’ve read about it — this is how the Shetland knitters made their beautiful jumpers on long, long double-pointed needles before circulars were invented — and now I know (in theory, at least) how to do it. It feels just as clumsy as whatever knitting method you use felt when you first tried it. Stephanie assured us we would all suck, and she was perfectly right. This tiny girl is clearly beating me around the block:
This photo is from the Shetland Museum Archives and is proof I will always reach for in the future if I need to argue that small children are capable of intellectual focus and remarkable dexterity… and of not poking their eyes out with tools. This tot’s grasping a set of needles that are longer than her legs, and she’s already knit half a sweater with them. Awesome.
Anyway, Stephanie challenged us to practice lever knitting just a little each day for 30 days. And since I can’t back down from a challenge, I vowed I’d lever knit a baby sweater in that time. Hence my 20+ ridges. Which I’m going to add to right now while I watch the men’s downhill. Next time I’ll tell you about my final Madrona class, Knitting Happily Ever After.