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We now return you to the original purpose of this blog…

Way back when (in 2009), I started this blog with the purpose of recording my journey through The Knitting Guild Association (TKGA) Master Knitter program.  My craft interests, and thus this blog, have taken a circuitous journey since then.

The Master Knitter program is a correspondence program designed to test a knitter’s ability and comprehension of knitting technique, history, application, and design.  Much like an academic Master’s program (ask me how I know), there is a lot of research, writing, practice, and independent learning required.  TKGA also offers correspondence courses aimed at teaching beginner and intermediate knitters that have more hands-on help from instructors, if you do not feel you are at a level where “mastery” might be in your grasp.  For the Master Hand Knitter program, the expectation is that while you may not be at a “master” level when you begin, through the questions and assignments of the program, you will learn independently, and when your work is evaluated to mark a high level of understanding and achievement, you can pass onto the next level.

How long?  There are three levels to the program, and I passed Level 1 back in 2010.  Considering the rather slow pace of knitting projects in the past few years, completing something on that scale in just 22 months seems kind of extraordinary when I look back.  Although at the time, I was chagrined that it took me so long.  In any case, my husband has just started a Ph.D. program this fall, and our joking challenge to each other is that we are having a race – me to finish the 2nd and 3rd levels to be officially a “master knitter”, and him to earn a Ph.D.  Right now, I consider it fairly even odds… and considering that he is taking the program part-time and it may take him more than 4 years just to complete the coursework (let alone dissertation), you can guess that I’m expecting a slow slog on my end.

What’s my motivation?  Unlike my with husband’s PhD, achieving this Master Knitter distinction probably won’t immediately lead to new job prospects – maybe for some it would, but not for me.  I’m already in a career I like.  I do hope to be a knitting teacher, artist, and knitwear designer in my retirement career, but I’m a looooong way from retirement.  I probably have a good 20 years or more (the way they keep pushing back those things) before full-time knitter/artist becomes my new line of work.  So the Master Knitter distinction wouldn’t get me anything in the immediate sense other than a sense of accomplishment, and probably some props from other knitters.  I think there might also be a shiny pin.

Instead, the real benefit is the motivation to learn and challenge myself to be a better knitter.  I haven’t knit much in the last 4 years.  Between work pressures, finishing that other kind of Master’s, some issues with having a baby, and then actually having a baby, my knitting energy and enthusiasm slowed down for a while.  I’ve been disappointed, as I’ve gotten my mojo back, at how much I feel like my skills have atrophied.  And how slow I knit now!  It’s time to get back on the proverbial horse, get back to the program, and start “leveling up” as a knitter again!

The cost:  Back in 2010, when I passed Level I, I purchased Level II for $95 (the price appears to have been raised to $97 since).  In addition, in order to interact with the program (i.e., buy a level, or submit anything), you must also be a current member of TKGA.  This is, currently, $35/year with possible discounts for choosing the digital subscription to Cast-On magazine or for going with the two-year membership.

Then there are yarn costs:  There are some worsted weight swatches, a couple of laceweight swatches, a colorwork wristlet, one argyle sock (although seriously, I’m going to want to knit a pair so my husband can wear them once approved), and a vest required.  I might actually be able to manage all of this from stash, as I think I optimistically bought all the materials needed back when I purchased the level… the only question is whether I used some of it up for other projects in the meantime.

The requirements (as of Rev. 5/1/15):

Written materials:  A 3-page report on the history of knitting, four book reviews, 16 questions, gauge worksheets based on a couple of the swatches, and a written pattern for one of the swatches.

Knitted materials:  

  • 19 swatches – mostly demonstrating finishing techniques like seaming, buttonholes, and necklines, but also some for colorwork, lace, and demonstrating cable problem-solving,
  • a fair-isle wristlet
  • an argyle sock – demonstrating intarsia and duplicate stitch, as well as sock construction and seaming (because the fancy part of the argyle sock is knit flat!)
  • a vest… I think it’s supposed to have side seams – but maybe there’s an exception if you want to do Fair Isle… I need to find out more as I do love the look of Fair Isle vests.

I think I’m most intimidated by the prospect of the vest and sock, since I haven’t finished anything that technical or shaped or large (in stitch count) in a very long time!

Until next time, keep those needles clicking…

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TKGA Master Level I complete

I know I haven’t reported on the TKGA Master Knitter program in while, but there is actually a lot to say.  I just have to take the time to digest it and process some images for you.  So look for that report coming next.  The short version is that I got a very nicely written reply to my March Level I submission within the same month that I sent it out.  Continue reading

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Synchronize your stitches

I’m very excited to report that I’m closing in on the grand finale of my Master Level I project.  Although I’m still feeling very much the distractable hare in this race to the finish-line, I really feel like I have gotten myself back on track this week.  I should be able to finish my last swatch and final question by the end of tomorrow, and Friday, I will join in the mass cast-on to kick off the 2010 Winter Olympics to begin my final hat project!  Synchronize your stitches, everybody! Continue reading

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Mystery swatches

Back in June sometime, which was the last time I worked on the Master Hand-Knitter Level I swatches, I finished swatches 7-12 (3 decrease swatches, 1 yo’s swatch, 2 eyelets swatches) and half of 16 (colorwork swatch).  The trouble is I didn’t wash or label any of them, and apparently thought I would remember what my system of knots and stitch markers meant in terms of which numbered swatch was which.  (stupid. stupid. stupid.)  Now I have to sort out 7-9 and 11-12; the swatches within those two sets look distressingly similar to one another.  Please don’t tell me I have to reknit just to identify them!?!?! Continue reading

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Not finishing enough, and the sock in my purse

I’ve started feeling desperate about not producing enough FO’s (Finished Objects) lately.  So I’ve cast on a lovely bulky red/purple yarn for the Jenny Cloche.  Theoretically this should be a quick knit, but at my crawling pace of late… well, we’ll see.  I plan to knit the style without the big floppy bow (eg. this Raveler’s lovely project), because I am not a big floppy bow sort of person.

 

There is still an ever-present sock in my purse.  It’s possible that the sock is part of the reason I feel so angsty about finishing something.  Continue reading