Monday, July 16, 2007

Masters Monday - Part 1

Last year I completed Level 1 of TKGA's Master Knitters Program. I thoroughly enjoyed critically reviewing my own knitting, and researching the techniques examined, in several different books.

I used the three most widely recommended books:
Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook by Montse Stanley;
The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt ; and
Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book by Vogue Knitting Magazine Editors

Aswell as reading all the 'Cast Off' Masters articles published online. All of the 'answers' can be found in these books and articles. Thank goodness I was able to borrow the POK book from my local library. That is a FANTASTIC book and I might be first in line when it is republished.

My Approach
One of the first decisions I made was that I would only knit each swatch once. I would let the judges be the judges of my knitting - I would not be the judge of whether it was good enough or not.

I read through the swatch requirements and questions, then read up on each 'examined' technique before completing either swatches or questions. I completed the swatches and related questions as I went.

Feedback Received
My feedback from the 'examiner' was fantastic. She was very complimentary of my standard of knitting, while giving constructive criticism on quite a few of the swatches. I think a big misconception of the program is that each swatch needs to be perfect. From the constructive criticism I received back, this does not bear out.

For example (and remember, these are swatches they accepted):
Swatch 2......there is some inconsistency in the rib which may be related to transition tension.
This swatch gained a pass and I did not have to redo.
Swatch 3......there are some minor tension issues...which has created a few holes....may be related to the transition from a knit to a purl. ....tail weave in upper left corner distorts the stitches. may want to consider weaving into the edge in this stitch pattern.
Swatch 9......There is stretch on the SSK on the tips of your needles and baby those stitches.
Swatches 10-11......The knit stitch on the right side of the YO's is a bit over sized....can occur when doing multiple techniques very close together.
Swatches 13-15.....transition knit stitch on the right side is a bit loose....probably related to the transition tension......easily corrected by tightening the purl stitch after a knit.

This photo shows swatch 13, with the loose stitches marked by the examiner.

I have to relay this part of the feedback I received:
"...Please know that very few people have nothing to redo in their submissions. I have seen only a couple in all of my years on the committee."
I think it is very important not to be TOO critical of your work. Remember, you are not the judge. Why reknit a swatch 5 or 8 times when, actually, the first one you knit would have been acceptable? Yes, that is a good way to look at it. They are not looking for perfect swatches, just acceptable swatches - acceptable in their limits. redo's.

Swatch 1 - I was asked to resubmit because the ribbing measurement was too short. There was also a twisted stitch and a purl bump between two knit stitches. The photos below show my first effort (on left) and my redo (right). The blue thread is the examiner's marker of the twisted stitch and purl bump.

Swatch 12 - SSK decreases were quite stretched and the tension on the stitches to the right of the YO's is a bit loose. Again, maybe related to doing multiple things in a row. I was asked to keep YO's nice and tight on the needles and work the SSK decrease on the tips of the needles. They also suggested I try a needle with a longer taper on the tip, as it is easier to keep stitches on the tips of these needles. This picture shows the 1st (left) and redo (right) swatches.

This photo is a close up of my 1st submission.

This photo is of my resubmission.

Pattern - I was asked to resubmit for several reasons. Wording in 'Gauge' section, abbreviations of common knitting terms not needed (K, P, RS, WS, etc), abbreviation of cable directions. Capitalisation and period missing.
Blocking Report - just had to add a sentence to address which stitch pattern is enhanced by blocking.
Question 1 - Our numbers were different for some stitch gauges. Measure correctly. Remember the carpenter's saying "Measure twice, cut once".
Question 13 - I had to expand my explanations to include factors such as drape, durability, washability, texture, use, needle size and gauge.
Other Feedback
Some of the other feedback I received includes the following:
- placement pins for blocking have created some obvious holes and indentations ...... try using just the tip of the pin and place it between stitches rather than directly into a stitch.
- please use citations for your questions and also on hang tags for your swatches. If you tell us what you have already researched, it makes it easier for us to suggest possible alternatives. If you have used personal experience, please tell us.
- in the gauge section of the pattern, include the phrase "Save time, take time to check gauge".

I hope that someone attempting Level 1 finds this post and finds it helpful. Now, after a year off, I'm embarking on Level 2. I hope to make Masters Monday a regular update on my progress.

Good luck everyone. :-)


Queen of the froggers. said...

That looks really interesting. I would love to be able to do a course like thatbut have not looked into anything here in the UK.

MayaB said...

You won! Go check my blog.

(Abd yes that course sounded very intresting! Thanks for the info.)

3goodrats said...

Thank you so much - that is incredibly helpful and encouraging! Now I feel like I can keep going with this program.

IrishgirlieKnits & PashyKnits said...

Wow! You are such a talented knitter disco and so helpful to start posting this...especially for those doing the masters knitters courses. Look forward to the future Monday posts.

hey you won a to go see what you won!

pinotnoir said...

Thanks for posting this! It's the kind of practical information that I need to push me to stop reknitting everything 50 times and "get 'er done!"

Raeknits!_and_spins said...

I loved reading about your experience with the master knitters program. I'm much less intimidated now!

Jessica said...

Sounds pretty intense even though it's not...if that makes any sense. Congrats on doing it though! :)

Candice said...

Very helpful, I like your attitude, you don't mind not being completely perfect. I'll remember this as I do mine. Better to do something less than perfect, than nothing in perfection.