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Introducing Lucy

August 7

For me, one of the most fun and challenging parts of Level 2 of The Knitting Guild Association’s (TKGA) Master Hand Knitting Program was the vest project. The requirement was simply to knit a vest, demonstrating our ability to use finishing techniques. We could use an existing pattern as written, modify an existing pattern, or design our own.

You probably know me well enough by now to guess which option I chose. Yes, as if completing Level 2 wasn’t difficult enough, I had to go and design a brand new pattern from scratch. Hence, the Lucy Vest, which I named after my beautiful and talented friend who was kind enough to model it.

knitted vest, Lucy Vest,

What I enjoyed about designing it was incorporating little details that I’ve learned along the way to make a finished garment really attractive. I took a Melissa Leapman workshop one time where she talked about how to design necklines so they flowed out of the center pattern. I like the results here. (Thank you, Melissa!)

Lucy Vest neckline

I added details into the instructions that I think help make for a nice fitting and polished looking vest. Ribbing along the sides makes the vest flattering to wear. On the neck and armhole trim, I used what I learned in the TKGA program to place strategic decreases to make the ribbing lie flat.

Lucy Vest back

 All in all, I’m happy with the Lucy Vest. I’ll be offering it as a pattern soon.

As always, I want to thank TKGA for providing so much education!

Oh, BTW….Don’t forget to leave a comment on the blog post for my Wild West eBooks Giveaway for a chance to win all five of Stephannie Tallent’s Wild West eBooks!


TKGA Level 2 – Passed!

April 17

I am delighted and relieved that I finally passed Level 2 for the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Program. After knitting (and re-knitting) 24 swatches, answering 19 questions (and I did not get them all right the first time around), writing book reviews and a report, working 2 small project plus a vest (which I chose to design from scratch) it is OVER. Hurray!

If you’d like to perfect your knitting skills, you might want to tackle the Program too.  This level covers seaming, decreases, lace, cables, buttonholes, button bands, stranded knitting, and intarsia. There is a fair amount of pattern writing, preparing you for designing your own patterns and submitting them for publication. There is quite a bit of research involved in this level. I found it very challenging, but it was worth it. My skills improved a lot as a result of completing it.

Here’s my work. The only thing not showing in these photos is the vest. I hope to publish it one of these days. You’ll see it then.

 TKGA Level 2 Level2_7_12 Level2_13_18 Level2_19_24 Level2_Projects

TKGA Meets the Real World

April 17

You may remember I’ve been working on completing Level 2 of the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Program. It is a detailed and challenging program! Before I started the program I didn’t understand the real-world application of it. Yes, I wanted to learn how to become a better knitter. But I didn’t realize tAll Postshat each level’s notebook becomes a valuable part of my reference library.

Here’s an example of how helpful it is for me to have my Level 2 notebook full of swatches and instructions. I’m making the Forest Weave top designed by Yumiko Alexander. It’s worked sideways, and the sides are bound-off edges. One of the swatches in the seaming section of Level 2 is a horizontal-to-horizontal seam like this.  I’m able to look at my swatch and instructions from my notebook to easily remind myself how work this kind of seam. Very handy!

Knitting and seaming

 Wish me luck. I’m re-submitted the swatches and text I had to re-do on Monday. Let’s hope I pass this time!

TKGA Resubmits Level 2

April 14

You may remember I’ve been working on completing Level 2 of the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Program. I’m embarrassed to say I received my comments and list of re-do’s last summer, and only now have re-knitted and re-written the things I didn’t do right the first time around.

The committee members who reviewed my work took an incredible amount of time to write detailed and very helpful comments on my strengths and weaknesses. I so appreciate their efforts! They complimented the things I did right, which was encouraging. Their criticism of the things I did wrong, and the kind way they put it, helped me to learn a lot. I got to add new techniques to my skill set that will prevent me from carrying the same old mistakes forward into future knitting.

I sent in my resubmits today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this time I will have passed!

Gaugefy App

February 27

You may remember I’ve been working on the second level of the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Program. I’m learning to be a stickler for gauge (oh dear, I’ve become one of those people). In Level 2, we have to write instructions for our swatches, including gauge.

A tool that I’m finding to be helpful is the Gaugefy app for Apple devices. It’s very easy to calculate gauge, since it lets you enter any measurement for your swatch – you’re not stuck with 4″ x 4″ for example. It then takes the stitches and rows in your swatch and calculates stitches per inch.

app, Gaugefy, gauge

You can then hit the “Create” button to go to a page that allows you to to use your stitches-per-inch calculation in a number of ways. I like using it to get the 4″ gauge to put into the gauge section of my patterns. Or you can you can estimate the measurements that you’ll get using a certain number of repeats. Or go the other way and figure out how many repeats you’ll get in a given measurement.

app, Gaugefy, gauge

This handy app has a free version which I use all the time. For $1.99 you can get a version with even more features. It will store your gauges for you for future reference.  As a designer, this is really handy. I can have at my fingertips the gauges for yarns I use in design work, or gauges for specific stitch patterns.

app, Gaugefy, gauge

Gaugefy seems like such a simple little app, yet is very handy!  You can check it out for free in iTunes and upgrade to the paid (but still really inexpensive) version if you’d like to be able to save the results of your swatches, including yarn and needle size.

Here it Comes, Zanesville!

May 1
TKGA, Master Hand Knitting, Level 2

Into the capable hands of UPS


24 swatches, all carefully knit and researched.

19 questions researched, answered and referenced.

4 book reviews.

A paper on the History of Knitting, all researched and referenced.

A cute little Fair Isle wristlet – knit three times until I thought it might be acceptable.

An argyle sock – which left me in disbelief that it was actually a popular thing to make at one time.

A vest, which didn’t have to be designed from scratch, but which I designed from scratch anyway. (I can’t wait to show it to you, because I like it!)

…all this, squashed into one notebook and a baggie for shipment to TKGA headquarters in Zanesville.

This is the next step for Level 2 of the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Program, sending it in for review! I’ve worked on it intensely for at least six months. The review committee will evaluate it, then send it back to me with requests to re-do any parts that don’t live up to their standards. Then I’ll re-submit whatever they don’t like the first time around and hope like heck they pass me.

For Level 1, I had to re-submit the hat project and three questions. I wonder what I’ll have to re-do this time around? I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I actually woke up in a sweat at 3:00 one morning having had a nightmare that they sent back the entire notebook, saying I had to re-submit everything. Now, that’s obsessed!

TKGA Intarsia Woes

April 22

I’ve never done intarsia before (except for years ago on an early project which didn’t count because it was so bad I had to felt it to make the holes go away…). One of the purposes of going through the Master Hand Knitting Program is to learn new skills. The problem is, you have to do them well. In teaching myself how to knit the argyle socks that are required for Level 2, I feel like I’m trying to learn how to snowboard and juggle at the same time, with bobbins, wrapping at the color changes and stitch tension all vying for my attention.

My mother used to tell me that when she was in college, she and her friends knit argyle socks as thank-you gifts for their boyfriends after they’d gone to a dance. All I can say is, that must have been some dance!

 Oh, how I wish Mom could teach me how to make these. In the meantime, if you have stories like my mom’s, I’d love to hear about them in the comment section. Were you part of the argyle sock craze? How did you manage all those strands while also juggling text books and taking notes? How long would it take you to make a pair? Did you work the crossed lines in intarsia, or did you duplicate stitch them later?

Mom said the students knit their socks in class. Can you imagine taking this mess to class? Something tells me this is not how it was done!


TKGA Level 2 Cables

April 2

You might remember from a previous post that my friend Cindy and I are slogging working our way through the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Program‘s Level 2. I hate to whine, so let’s just say the Greek myth of Sisyphus has been much on my mind lately.  Every time I get through another section of the program I fool myself into thinking I might be getting closer to the end.  Then I realize how much more there is to research and write and knit. The list seems to multiply while I’m not looking.

Seriously, this program is wonderful for someone like me who loves to learn. I honestly appreciate finding out what I don’t know, so I can add to my skill set. I just finished researching Level 2’s section on cables. Here are the swatches, awaiting their final tags:

 TKGA Hand Knitting Program, cables, TKGA

Next it’s on to buttonholes, stranding, argyle socks……Whew!


The Knitting Guild Association: Check this out for excellent correspondence courses, the fabulous Cast On magazine, and conferences.

A Little Holiday Madness

December 19

If you haven’t seen me around much, it’s because I didn’t think the holidays were busy enough on their own. Noooo, I had to add the next level of the TKGA Hand Knitting Program into the mix. Actually, I’m blaming it all on Cindy, my extraordinary knit-buddy. She started Level 2 first. She showed me the swatches she’d been working on, and then she made the most beautiful vest for the program’s project, and well…I just had to get started myself.

Cindy loves to seam. I think she loves to seam almost more than she loves to knit. (Is she the only one out there to make such an outlandish claim?) Much of Level 2 is about seaming, which is my absolute worst thing. Until now. I’ve finally completed about half the swatches required for Level 2, and I’m beginning to think my seams won’t be so bad in the future. Level 2 is tough, but I love to learn new skills.

TKGA, Master Hand Knitting

I completed Level 1 of the Program back in 2008, along with my friend Adrienne.  The program is a wonderful challenge!

I wish all my lovely readers joyful holidays and happy knitting!

Ugly Hat Public Debut

March 29

The SLO Knitters Guild presentation went great. (And no, SLO doesn’t indicate we’re so backward we can’t spell “slow” – it stands for San Luis Obispo!)


Adrienne and I were happy to meet new knitting friends and have the opportunity to share about our experience with Level I of the Master Hand Knitting Program. We passed around our swatches and talked about the work involved. Adrienne had a good list of especially helpful references, like Monte Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook. We described the fantastic review process – the TKGA volunteers who critique the submissions are incredibly generous with their time and expertise.


Judging by the number of good questions, there’s a lot of interest in the program. Or else everybody was just hyber from the delicious coffee, tea and sweet goodies people kindly brought.


I hope local knitters will continue to attend the twice-a-month SLO Knitters guild meetings. You don’t have to be a Guild member to attend. The group is wonderful (they are knitters, after all!), and willing to pass along their considerable knitting knowledge. Come on by, the second and fourth Saturday of the month at 10:00 am at St. Stepen’s Episcopal Church in San Luis Obispo.

Meet Ugly Hats in Person!

March 25

You may remember my ugly hat from the TKGA Hand Knitters program.

Adrienne and I will be giving a presentation about Level I of the Hand Knitters program, so you’ll get to meet both our hats in person! Oh, what an opportunity!

We will be providing a short program on our experience in completing Level I of the Master Hand Knitting program. We’ll talk about the process and provide handouts that go into more detail on the program. We’ll have a completed project notebook for you to look at, including swatches. And of course there’ll be the Ugly Hats.

The event will be part of the SLO Knitters Guild, and all Guild members as well as prospective members are welcome.The meeting will be on Saturday March 28th, 10:00 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at the corner of Nipomo and Pismo in SLO. All members and prospective Guild memebers are welcome.

If you’ve ever wondered about what it’s like to work on Level I of the Master Hand Knitting program, come on by and we’ll hope to shed some light on it!

Master Knitters Level 1 – We Passed!

December 19

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 :-). )


Reversible Scarves by Audrey Knight

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