Have you heard of The Knitting Guild Association (TKGA)? Membership comes with a subscription to Cast On (which I don’t recall ever seeing). They offer correspondence courses and also a Masters Knitting Program. A couple of women in the local craft guild have done the first of three levels and are just starting on level two.

MASTER LEVEL I hand knitting
This is the first of three levels for hand knitting. Written instructions provide details for the following items you must complete and send for Committee Review. Unsatisfactory submissions may be returned for rework with constructive suggestions for improvement. You must pass Level I before purchasing Level II materials.
· Sixteen knitted samples: three swatches each of ribbing and basic stitches and gauge, mirrored increases and decreases, yarnovers, cables and color change.
· Seventeen questions to research and answer.
· One hat.
· Two-page report on blocking and care of knits.

MASTER LEVEL II hand knitting
This is the second of three levels for hand knitting. You must pass Level I before purchasing Level II materials.
Requirements to complete Level II include:

  • Twenty-one knitting samples: seams, decreases, lace and cable patterns, buttonholes and pick up stitches.
  • Nineteen questions to research and answer.
  • One traditional argyle sock.
  • One Fair Isle mitten.
  • One vest.
  • Four book reviews.
  • Two-page report on the history of knitting.

After you complete level 3 (and spend $300) you get a pin. Yep, all that, and you get a pin. I know, you do it for the personal accomplishment and to learn. Actually, level 1 sounds doable and like I would learn a lot so it is oddly tempting. I’m hoping the women bring their level 1 work to the next meeting so I can see the samples. Never having done Fair Isle or intarsia, and not being too good at seaming yet, level II sounds too advanced for me at this point. I know I could learn and do it, but it doesn’t say “hey, you could do this” quite as much as level one.

I haven’t heard of this group from the long term guild people, although they are active in national weaving & spinning guilds. I also haven’t been hearing about it blogs (not that I have read knitting blogs much in months), so I wonder if this group is yet another subset of knitters—maybe not a group for me.


Knitty–spring 2008

So what do you like in the new issue of Knitty? I like Marjorie. I also like Honeycomb, but I don’t know if I like it better than a vest in Fitted Knits. Laminaria is quite attractive but I haven’t caught the shawl bug yet. The Posey socks look interesting, but I doubt I would ever knit them and am not convinced they would stretch in a proper sock like way.

The Spyrogyra gloves are also fun, but very similar to the gloves made from the Pomatomus sock pattern. I mostly found these interesting for the spinning/drafting information elsewhere in the issue. In fact, all the knittyspin articles are interesting (if you are interested in spinning).

I liked the yarn roundtable, but the other knitting articles didn’t particularly excite me.

I’m sure there are other patterns that will grab me later as I see other people making them. That’s the way it seems to work with Knitty — it sometimes takes seeing the same project in different ways to really get sold on it. I guess this would in part be the proof of open access working. Sorry… I forgot myself there for a bit.

Review: Heirloom knits

Heirloom knits: 20 classic designs to cherish 9780312359966 by Judith McLeod-Odell has patterns inspired by 1820-2010 trends. This sounds great, but I actually don’t like most of the projects. I’m sure it doesn’t help that most are shown in white. White might be traditional and I know I could change the color, but it just doesn’t help to drawn me to the project. White pillows, rugs, or throws just wouldn’t stay white in my house and I can’t see knitting an all white (or 1930s pink) blanket.The 1860 lacy leaf throw is pretty, but it isn’t something I’d make. I started being tempted by the 1940 art deco quilt (but made as a blanket, not a quilt so I could avoid the quilt ties) until I realized it would be a huge amount of piecing together of knitted squares.There is a short section on the history of knitting and on knitting basics. It also includes a section on embellishments. That section looks nice, but if you are interested in embellishments, I know there are whole books on them, which are presumably better/more complete.

Rating: 2.6

Review: Not tonight darling, I’m knitting

Not tonight darling, I’m knitting 9780715324073 by Betsy Hosegood is a good dentist office book. It has a lot of short, sometimes humorous bits you can read in short bits of time. I was fairly disappointed by the first ¾ of the book. There were no patterns or techniques that held the book together. There wasn’t anything new to me. If you are new to knitting, the book would probably be more entertaining. If you haven’t looked at as many knitting books, you might be more entertained. However, it wasn’t as entertaining as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s books and it didn’t have any useful tips in it, so I think there are better options for books.

I liked the last ¼ of the book much better. It gave a short survey of knitting from the 1930s to the 21st century. The historian in me combined with family roots in costume design probably combine to make me interested in this. Yes, you could never tell by my wardrobe, but I actually find fashion history interesting. I did grit my teeth when the book referred on p.84 to the Wall Street Crash of October 24, 1926, so even the part of the book I liked has it flaws.

Rating: 2.2