Current projects: Using up more yarn and fabric stash, my first adjustable bow tie is on Etsy (yay!), and I am wading through my cotton stash making fasionable dish and washcloths. Look for them on Etsy soon.
Many fellow knitters in diverse knitting groups I attend have been casually remarking, "You would be an excellent candidate for the Masters program." What's this, you say? That was my reaction as well. You can get a Masters in knitting? Well, while this is not what many might think of as a traditional degree, sitting in classes, taking exams, etc., it constitutes of many of the same ideas as a university degree: research, projects, written papers, and in the end demonstrating a mastery of a certain set of skills.
The program is offered through The Knitting Guild Association, or TKGA. The Master Hand Knitting Program consists of three levels, of which I am just starting level one. The course fee gets you the requisite instructions fro your level, including outlines of swatches you have to knit, questions you have to answer about said swatches, a report you must write (in level one it is on blocking and care of knits), and a project (level one: mittens). You must do extensive research as you go, and a list of references must be included in your final submission (see, my English students, I was cramming all that information on a Works Cited page down your throats for a reason, you will use it again!). The final notebook with swatches in plastic sheets, properly blocked and labeled, as well as answers to all questions, are sent in to the TKGA Council, who will send it back with notes, critiques, and things to improve upon. I have talked to someone who said she got eight pages of notes on her first try, the second was down to 4. When a level of competency has been approved, you are allowed to move on to the next level.
I am just starting on this journey, and needless to say I am nervous, even though I consider myself a fairly accomplished knitter. I am trying very hard not to over-think things. I have finished two swatches, and justwrote the majority of my blocking report tonight. I would like to blog my progress as it goes: while I will not document everything, as that would be giving away information you should be enrolled in the program to get access to, Some of the challenges and interesting tidbits will probably make their way here.
For instance, fun trivia I have uncovered in my blocking research:
- Novelty yarns (changing thicknesses, lots of glittery elements) should probably not be blocked.
- Most synthetic (man-made) yarns, what you see is what you get- they will not change much with blocking.
- It is best to wash your hand knits in dishwashing detergent rather than regular detergent, it has a lower pH
- In a pinch, especially when travelling, wash your hand knits using your shampoo!
- Wool felts in hot water only if agitated- so don't swish it around a lot.
And those are just a few things, what fun!
So what will be the end result of all this? Well, I will know a heck of a lot more than I do now, and while I will may not have the same piece of parchment I have from Temple for my Masters in Religious Studies (that is crammed on a bookshelf somewhere anyway)- you earn the prestigious Master's Pin from the TKGA; I like to say I will earn huge "street cred" in the knitting world.
May your adventures also help you make the craft world your oyster.