A black belt in knitting

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

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About The International Knitter of Mystery

If I told you about me, I wouldn't be The International Knitter of MYSTERY, now would I? But I can tell you that "Danger" is my middle name.
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3 Responses to A black belt in knitting

  1. Patricia Dixon says:

    Interesting as it may be is why is important to you to complete the TKGA Program?
    Unless you feel you must. I suggest you leave in a far off box. Just continue on th enjoy your love of knitting. You can learn more from other knitters or take classes at your local yarn store.

  2. Not all of us have local yarn stores, and most of the classes offered at them tend to be geared to beginning knitters. I think that the self-study method, forcing me to examine the methods I choose to use (perhaps there is a better way?) will help me understand more about the fundamentals of knitting, rather than a one-day class on a specific technique. I will be learning from other knitters: the knitters who write the books, post the web tutorials, and write the magazine articles that I will use as references for the program.

  3. Cathy-Cate says:

    Gotta watch out for that heathered yarn. It’s sneaky.
    And let us not even SPEAK of the nubby yarn! (Gasp!)

    I have confidence in you! Onward and upward! With your shield or on it! Excalibur!

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