Monday, April 25, 2011

Leveling Up

Oh, what have I gotten myself into now?

In a moment of insanity recently I signed up for the Master Hand Knitter Program from TKGA.

If you aren't familiar with it, the program is a correspondence course that helps you improve your knitting skills. After completing all three levels you get bragging rights, a pin, and a certification you can put on your resume if you're in the business.

For each level you have to knit several swatches, a project, answer some questions, and write a report. Then you send it all away to the review committee and they either pass you or give you constructive criticism suggestions on where to improve.

Harmless, right?

Sure, if you're going off my description. If you check out the details on the TKGA website you'll see that I'm totally downplaying it.

People agonize over this program. You have a year to complete each level and many people take that long or longer.

So why am I doing this to myself?

I'm not entirely sure. I had considered signing up for it a year or two ago but chickened out. It's not the knitting that worries me, it's the reports. Which is silly since I write for a living. I totally know how to write a research paper. But, bleh.

Now suddenly I've taken the plunge. I told Hubby about it and he thought it sounded very cool and encouraged me to go for it. Of course, he also asked if I get to put it on my resume as a professional development thing. To which I responded, "Hell, yes, I'm putting it on my resume!"

On Saturday I got to hang out with my friend Pam and her sister Nancy and they basically expressed the opinions that I was insane and why was I putting myself through it?

I explained that I want to re-engage with my knitting in a new way. Oh, sure, I'm still knitting and thinking about knitting, but I've realized I'm not relating to it in the same way since we moved over the summer. This has been reflected in my lack of blogging.

I think there are a few factors at work (aside from me still developing a work from home routine). The first is my wonderful lack of commute. I would use that soul sucking time in the car to compose my blog posts in my head and otherwise think about my current project. No commute equals reduced pondering time.

The second, and perhaps bigger one, is no longer working at a local yarn store on weekends. When I was at Knitting Central and then Westport Yarns I was constantly surrounded by other knitters and crocheters, talking about their projects, thinking about projects, etc. Even if I wasn't actively taking a class at the store, you can't help but learn things and pick tips up in a situation like that.

Now, as when I first learned to knit, I'm back to stitching in isolation. Well, that's not entirely true. I have the Library Knitting group on Fridays, but we tend to chat more about life than our projects.

Anyway, I've come to the realization that I have to make an effort to learn things and challenge myself now. And also to get back to thinking critically about my knitting and crocheting in a way that will make me want to write about it.

Being Serious
Thinking critically will be a key to my success. I'm going to have to work hard to remember not to dismiss the lower levels as skills I've already conquered. I mean, I'm starting out with knitting garter stitch and stockinette stitch swatches. yawn! But at the same time I know that my edge stitches aren't always the best, and my transition stitches around cables can be a little loose.

Still, at Level 2 you have to knit an argyle sock and helloooo I've already knit two pairs after designing my own charts. Granted, on one the lines didn't cross properly, but I corrected that on the second pair. That's the kind of thing I'll be strugging with.

Oh, and another thing, the website says you'll learn to write patterns. Yeah, well, I've had patterns published in books, soooo, right.

However, I know there is a lot about knitting that I still need to learn. There are things that I know how to do but not why they are done a certian way. I'm sure there are tricks I'll pick up in the research that I might not have encountered because I'll probably be reading varoius books that I wouldn't otherwise read.

Actually, I think that's a total bonus part of the program. I'm going to have an excuse to buy a bunch of books I've been waffling about owning because I'll need them to research the short answer and essay questions.

So far I've enjoyed buying the supplies for the notebook. Office supply stores are fun.

And I stopped at The Elegant Ewe on my way home Saturday to get some smooth, cream colored wool for my swatches. As well as B, D, and E crochet hooks! When I told the nice lady at the store I'd signed up for the Master Knitter program she congratulated me, but also looked at me as if I was a little crazy. She said another customer just finished Level 3 and made a beautiful sweater. There was admiration in her voice for crazy knitters like us, but she also asked why.

If I keep telling people I want to challenge myself, eventually I'll start believing it, too.

Progress? Oh, aside from making my binder all I've managed to do is read the directions and make myself light headed.

I did say I have a year, right?

1 comment:

  1. It'll be so fun to do the Master Class. I had a hard time when I was younger taking a correspondence knitting class but this works for so many people. Can't wait to follow your adventure!