Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why am I doing this Master Knitter's thing?

Several of you have asked me about the Master's Knitting program.  Honestly I'm not sure sometimes why I am doing it.

I started with the TKGA Basics class five or so years ago.  Even though I had been knitting for twenty years at that point, I found out how little I knew from that class.  I started the Level One of the Master's probably out of arrogance - of course I can breeze through this.  I'm the classic first child, overachiever, straight A student.  Give me a metric and I will kill myself trying to bang it out of the park.  As I have gotten older, I have learned to occasionally ask if the metric actually matters.  But I digress.  I got through Level 1 fairly quickly five years ago.  I was between jobs and had to do my resubmission for corrections while I had already started working again.  That was not a lot of fun, so I put on hold doing Level 2 until last year when I was once again between jobs.

Level 2 is perhaps the most challenging.  I was horrified that I had to resubmit 30% of my swatches.  I wasn't surprised that I had to resubmit the blasted sock.  But I learned a tremendous amount and I can see a huge improvement in my knitting.  After I finished Level 2, I decided to plunge right into Level 3, regardless of all the other things going on in my life.  Same logic as making your kids read and do math during the summer.  I didn't want to lose too much of what I had learned before doing Level 3.

Now my motivation has three major parts.  One I'm so close, I just want to finish and cross it off the list.  Two, I realize how much I am learning and know that I will be a master level when I finish.  I admire craftsmanship of any type and this is a way of honoring that in myself.  The third reason is I would love to be a knitting designer and teacher and I view this as a good springboard to that.

Now that I have met others who are doing it, I see a lot of similar reasons.  Many do it just for the challenge of it and the joy of learning.  You do have to take it with a grain of salt.  It isn't unusual at all to have 20% redo on a submission.  And some of the things that they want you to do, you won't do in the future (mattress stitch over one bar versus two comes to mind - shhh - don't tell them I said that).  I've also met people who don't do it because there is a lot of research and writing (yes you have to write papers and book reports - my fifteen year old gets great joy from proof reading mom's papers.)  If that isn't your thing, don't punish yourself.  It also takes a lot of time when you could be making actual projects, versus these crazy little squares.

But you do learn to look at your knitting in a much more critical (meaning objective, not negative) way.  Yes they do look at every stitch in a swatch to see if it is correctly formed, the tension is right, you followed the directions, etc…  Do you know the difference between a k2tog and SSK?  Can you tell a cast on edge from the bind off edge in a square of stockinette?  Can you measure gauge correctly?  Write a pattern?  And on and on.

In retrospect I am glad that I am doing it though I will be even happier after it is done.  Hopefully that is only a few months away.


  1. Thanks for this post it is very interesting. I had been considering attempting the CGOA masters classes at some point in the near future and your explanation and appraisal of your experiences have been helpful.

  2. Thanks for this. I've considered doing the master classes and then wimp out...and then find myself considering it again!