I like to think that I’m a pretty accomplished knitter. I have completed projects with intricate cables, 5-foot swathes of lace, multiple colors per row, steeks. But I have yet to climb the Matterhorn, the three levels of The Knitting Guild of America‘s Master Hand-Knitting Program.
The fact is, back in 199?, I completed Level 1 with little fanfare. I think I had to redo one swatch. I promptly forked over the cash for Level 2, and then…something happened. I was sucked into other projects, daunted by the scope, oh, and I dunno, working on a graduate degree. In the dim recesses of my mind, I was aware that there’s no time limit, and let it lie. I got married, had 2 kids, worked more than full time, knitted a vast number of items, and moved 3 times. Somewhat recently, the program was brought back to mind by the notice of an update to the instructions. I dutifully downloaded them, but still did not plan to start, except on some “wouldn’t it be nice?” level.
Then, in a strange fit of whimsy, I started this blog. I still plan to shout out interesting knitting websites, etc, but that’s hard to do semi-daily indefinitely. I know, I said, I’ll finally do Level 2! And I’ll blog about it! There’s bound to be amusing angst in it.
What have I done so far? I have Read the Instructions. Now, the instructions state quite sternly at the outset that following them to the letter is vitally important. They don’t want to see interpretation, or your special “unvention^” that you use for a left-leaning decrease. If you knit in a non-standard manner, your work must be indistinguishable from that of a “Western” knitter. Honestly, the only way I could read through without blowing raspberries was to imagine Dame Maggie Smith reading them to me over her glasses. “Heathered, tweed, speckled, variegated, fluffy, nubby, fuzzy, or any type of novelty yarn is NOT ACCEPTED.” (Emphasis is theirs!) I took perverse glee in noting a couple of non-essential typos.
I admit I’m a little flummoxed as to Where to Start. There’s a Ravelry group, of course. There’s actually two, but the one specifically dedicated to Level 2 was sort of a Knit-a-Long (KAL) or support group that ended in 2010. I’m sure I can mine it for gold, but I doubt there’s still much conversation there. I have made a supply list for the swatches, pretty obvious stuff like, well, yarn. If I had any tie-on tags left over from Level 1, they’ve been lost in the many moves since that time. I have page protectors, a tape measure (or 30), and blocking supplies. I even have The Principles of Knitting, the Holy Book itself. I will not enter into discussions about whether Ms. Hiatt is correct in her opinions – it’s a treasure of a book. I’m expecting that, like with anything else one wants, I will Make Time.
What I don’t have is Safety. I have…an Oompa Loompa. I cannot spread out POK, yarn, swatches, and instructions and expect them not to become scattered, smothered, and covered (in crayon). This may turn into the Great Midnight Knitting Project. My kingdom for an Ott light!
^”unvention” is the term coined by Elizabeth Zimmermann to indicate that any technique invented by a knitter has probably been invented before