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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!

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!

Portland Yarn Heaven and a Goat Moves In

May 20

This weekend in Portland was Yarn Heaven. I attended the TKGA Knit & Crochet Show, taking some great classes and checking out the wares in the shopping area. It’s like a mini Stitches event. The market is smaller, but I got to see some wonderful locally produced yarns. The classes are smaller too, which gave me a chance to learn more.


I met up with my friend Alana, who you probably know as Nevernotknitting. We did a major Yarn Crawl, spanning a 24-hour period of fiber bliss. Happily, yarn stores in Portland stay open late. So on Thursday night we hit Dublin Bay, which was a beautiful store featuring lots of my favorite Rowan yarns.  Sadly, I didn’t get a photo inside the store. A blogger without a camera is, well, a space cadet I guess.

Next came one of my all-time favorite places on the planet – Knit Purl.


We stayed until closing at 9pm, hoping they’d just lock us in and let us browse and knit until they re-opened the next morning.

We saw so much yarn on Friday that I swear by the end of the day if someone had waved free cashmere in front of me, I would have missed it.

Here we are at the first stop, Twisted. Alana’s natural sense of style has her perfectly color coordinated with the sign.


The next store deserves a posting of its own, which I promise to get to another time. Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks is incredible – a large store with a deli in it (yarn AND food? oh my!), and its own line of hand dyed yarns. This “Socks Without Borders” afghan will be auctioned off at the Sock Summit to benefit Doctors Without Borders.


My trip home was… eventful. I adore taking Amtrak’s Coast Starlight from Portland to my home in California. I get a sleeping compartment and for 24 hours I have my own little world of knitting, gorgeous scenery, and no distractions. This time, however, there was a freight train derailment ahead of us. Apparently when cars fall off the tracks, it puts a kink in the rails. They must have worked like mad to pick up the freight cars and put in new rails. I would loved to have watched that whole operation! Still, we were 11 hours late getting home.

And then when I did get home I found this guy who had decided to claim our terrace as his new residence. He ran away from home and walked a long way to find to find the area’s biggest pushovers.


I have to go buy alfalfa now…

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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