InVESTments in Knitting…

So, I am working my way through the second level of the Master Hand Knitter program offered by The Knitting Guild Association.  It is rigorous, to be sure, but it is also supremely enjoyable.  I have begun to notice how much I enjoy figuring out ways to accomplish my knitting goals, while still maintaining a firm grasp on the critical importance of craftsmanship.  Having come from a fine arts background, and having focused on the creation of abstract stuff (much of which caused friends and family to scratch their heads and then turn to deliver to me a quizzical look accompanied by a dense and rather uncomfortable silence), I realize the need for craftsmanship in every pursuit.  However, I notice in knitting – as in many other things – the need for hey-look-at-what-I-just-did accolades runs rampant.  It certainly has run rampant in my work at times, but I think the Master Hand Knitter program has really caused me to look at finishing work as just part of the overall process of creating a garment.  No longer do I view the weaving of yarn tails, and the proper sewing of seams as the devil’s work.  Now it’s just part and parcel of creating work using two sticks and some wooly yarn.

As part of the Master Hand Knitter’s level 2 work, knitters are asked to select a vest pattern and knit it.  I did that.  I was thrilled with the stipey green and blueness of the vest I created until I realized the armholes might threaten the blood supply to my model’s hands were he to wear it for too long.  My model happens to be my teenaged son – and while he is the epitome of awesomeness in my eyes, he is still a teenager who has to be allowed to roam our house without his limbs being unnecessarily bound by a wreck of a vest knitted with love (and wine) by his dear old mother.

That first vest, which also had issues including a gaping hole just at the very crux of the V at the base of the V-neck, will be kept and displayed.  After all, even I was able to put it on.  But the thing won’t be worn.  It’ll be a teaching tool.  A reminder that sometimes you screw up after a ton of work.  I guess the bottom line is that life often includes intersections with two signs:  Quit here and submit to my power, bitch…   and, the other sign:  Don’t fucking give up…

I chose the second of the two options.  And put my feet up…

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Now, I find myself with the makings of a second vest.  I’ve knitted the front and back.  I’ve sewn the pieces together at the shoulders.  I’m now preparing to do the ribbing work around the neck.

Suffice it to say I’m a little bit tenacious.  Like a pit bull.  Or, as some of my county kin would say….like a hair in a biscuit.

Here are the pics…

The green and blue vest was the first of the two…

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Never let it be said that teenagers can’t be super helpful and awesome – my teen guy was willing to put on that first vest at the risk of losing blood flow to his fingers…

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Second vest:  A few yarn tails.  Just a few…

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BLOCK PARTY!!!

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What I Am is What I Am…

Back in college – yes, this will TOTALLY date me – I listened to Edie Brickell (and the New Bohemians).  I seriously wondered if dogs could smile.  And I wasn’t aware of too many things, although like any college freshman, I am sure I thought I was aware of EVrything.

I recently dove full bore into my knitting, having made my way there after more than a decade of work as a visual artist.  It’s not that I’ve abandoned my art – it’s just that I was ready to claw my way through new challenges.

Today, I found my artwork hollering to me from across the creek of life while I was trying to pick colors for an argyle sock project for the Master Hand Knitter program.  I ended up selecting one of my paintings – here it is unencumbered by little jpegs of balls of yarn:

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The painting is oil on panel, and it depicts a schoolhouse in Montana that one of my family members actually matriculated from.  I decided to match the colors of the painting as best I could with Cascade’s Heritage sock yarn from JimmyBeans.com.  Here’s what I came up with:

The top image shows the sock yarns I have selected – and the bottom image shows the black and white version of the picture and the yarns.  This lets me look at the range of values I have picked, to make sure the socks don’t appear ‘flat’ from having too many colors in the same value area on the scale.  I picked six colors because I am not sure which of the browns I’ll go with just yet.

At any rate, the art (and knitting) adventure continues…  Guess once you’re an artist you remain one for life.

Cheers!

Your Challenge, Should You Choose To Accept It…

Well, I downloaded the instructions for Level 2 of the Master Hand Knitter program offered by The Knitting Guild Association.  I am excited about the work, but I come to this level with a healthy pile of scars resulting from self-inflicted wounds I amassed during the first level of the program.

You see, I’m admittedly very impatient.  I could have saved myself a TON of work the first time around if I’d planned my Master Hand Knitter work the way I planned out the sweater I posted about just recently.  Alas, I didn’t.  The result was that I found myself awash in a sea of swatches and projects and instructions and tiny details – all of it forming a total tsunami of information I found it hard to manage.

This time…? Different.  (I mean, well…hey…if you do things the same way over and over again, expecting different results, you might just be ready for a break and a glass of wine.)

This time I stepped far enough from my newly printed set of Level 2 instructions to get my head together before diving in. I also made sure my trifocal glasses were somewhere other than on my face so I couldn’t actually read the instructions in the first place.  The point of all of this is that zeal and impatience can look and function just like twins gremlins.

Anyway, the adventure has begun, but this time I’m trying to remember WHY I’m doing this. Trust me when I tell you it’s not the sort of thing you do just to get that coveted pin.  It IS the sort of thing you do if you have a genuine interest in learning the hows and whys that can ultimately serve as the foundation to your future ahas and creative yahoos!

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A Knitting Victory!

Well – I got word today – I PASSED Level I of the Master Hand Knitter Program offered by The Knitting Guild Association!  I am THRILLED!  Very excited…!  I can’t wait to work on Level II!

Here are pics of my notebook and my mitten project:

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