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Making peace with the cables

My confusion over the tight braid cable made me put the whole Master Hand Knitting project aside for a couple of weeks.  I wasn’t ready to call it quits on that tight braid (Swatch #15, first attempt), and yet I wasn’t able to find a solution to make it better.  I even dolefully tried to finish it knowing that I wouldn’t like it.  This was a non-starter.  I guess that makes me a true “product knitter”.  I can’t stand to work on something knowing that I won’t like the results and that it will serve no good purpose.

Now I’m fairly convinced that this “tight braid cable” really just isn’t a very good pattern (or maybe just a bad pattern for this size yarn and needles).  Because it’s so tight, and there is no room for knit stitches that aren’t crossed in one direction or another, there is no place for a shadow to gather.  Cables seem to need Continue reading

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One down, fifteen and a hat to go

I have finished knitting Swatch #1.  The ribbing section has a little distortion on some of the stitches, but I’m thinking (hoping) it is minor enough to block out.

TKGA Level I, Swatch #1

TKGA Level I, Swatch #1

I haven’t yet woven in my yarn tails, as I wanted to first read up on the duplicate stitch method of hiding tails which seems to be the preferred method of the TKGA.  Their “On your way to the Master’s” articles are incredibly helpful.  I never really bothered to figure out what I should really do with yarn tails.  I would just take up the darning needle and poke it around a few times on the back of the work until “secure” (“secure” is the universal euphemism all patterns seem to use for what to do with the tail).

Now I have read TKGA/Cast-On’s  “What to do with those pesky yarn tails” article, and I feel so much smarter about finishing!  They had great pictures too where they wove in tails with a contrasting color of yarn so you could really see where the yarn goes and how well it is hidden on the right side.  It turns out to that a carry-and-catch-behind method for hiding yarn tails is acceptable in complicated colorwork (ie. Kaffe Fassett), which is funny, because I thought I had made that method up as a lazy way to “secure” the cast-on ends so I wouldn’t have to go back.  I believe they call it “spontaneous diffusion” when the same idea occurs to multiple people in multiple places without exposure to one another.

I ordered some more yarn that I believe (having researched Ravelry extensively), should be sufficient yarn to get through all of the Level I and Level II swatches and projects.  So here’s the current cost tally: Continue reading

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How much I don’t know

Having read through all of the requirements of the Master Knitter program Level 1, I now know how much I don’t know.

I really don’t think I’ll be able to get a single one of the swatches done without at least a little research.  This is good, mind you, I’m happy to know this will be a fully rigorous academic as well as craft exercise.  But it sure is making me feel like I don’t know anything!

For example, although I know a couple of ways to increase and decrease, I don’t know what ways will be unobtrusive in ribbing.  Therefore, I can’t even get through swatches 1 and 2 without research.  For swatch 3, I know two different stitches that are sometimes called “seed stitch”, I’m assuming they mean the American one, but I can’t remember which of the two that I know is the American one.  I don’t know what “Blended” vs. “Full Fashioned” decreases means.  I don’t know if my cables have even tension on either side, but I think I’m guilty of some distorted crossing stitches.  And just last night, my newly technique-focused eye realized that the 1×1 ribbing that I’m working on a gift hat has distorted stockinette ribs on one side… and I don’t know why! Continue reading

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The first small step

Today I received the packet for Master Hand Knitter’s program Level I via email.   It contains instructions on how to prepare my samples, reports and how to package my submission when complete.

I have to prove that I can follow and write patterns, research knitting techniques, do the basic stitches, increase and decrease properly, make cables and yarnovers, change yarn colors, weave in ends, block and care for knits, and knit in the round.

As to the physical materials that I will need to submit, it looks like there are 16 swatches, about 20 questions, a 2-page report with references, and a hat. Continue reading