This summer my friend Adrienne and I worked on The Knitting Guild Association‘s Master Knitting Program- Level I. For those of you who don’t know about it, it’s a course – sort of like a big fun test – in three levels. You knit swatches, answer questions, write essays and create patterns on the road to becoming a Master Knitter. Your material is reviewed by a committee and you’re sent feedback with the idea of correcting mistakes before you advance to the next level.
So what’s the point, you ask? For me, the goal was to learn about what I didn’t know. Which turned out to be a lot. The program walks you through the basics, researching each kind of knitting technique as you go. You answer questions as you swatch – finding the answers is like a treasure hunt. (Or like pulling teeth, depending on your mood…) There are so many things I do by default when I knit. I rarely venture away from the same old cast on, for instance. The program taught me to really think about what kind of cast on would be best for the project at hand. Or what kind of increase would suit a sweater design. Or how I can avoid tension problems (not the psychological type, though). You get the picture.
Adrienne and I worked on Level 1. There were 16 swatches and a hat to knit. You’ll see that each has a little tag tied onto it – every tag lists information on how the swatch was made and the references used in learning how to make it.
Here’s my Mountain o’ Swatches:
So, you do all the work, put all the little swatches and all the pages each in their own sleeve, all tidy-like, stick them in a binder, and ship it off.
Once in a long while someone passes the course on the first try. I was definately not one of them. Neither was Adrienne. We both had some questions that we had to answer more thoroughly. Adrienne had a couple of swatches to re-knit.
It was a source of some mirth around the LYS that I had to re-knit the hat project from the Master Knitters program. Kinda ironic that the Swatch Queen had her work rejected because she got the gauge wrong! Here you can see the finished (2″ too big) hat. And the sad little beginnings of the re-do.
(I can hardly wait to wear this hat around town. I’ll keep the tag, for that Minnie Pearl effect. It’s the perfect foil for the goofy icord.)
The committee members who review the Master Knitter’s work are very kind. They are profuse with their compliments, and kind with their criticisms. When we re-submitted the portions of our projects that needed improvement, we both passed. It felt great!
If you want to read more about the Master Knitting program, you can find The Knitting Guild Association on the web. The TKGA Group on Ravelry is a terrific source of help for those learning about the program or needing help completing it. (There you can also throw congratulatory confetti if so moved :-). )