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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On My Way To The MASTERS

So, I’ve been working my way through level I of the Master Hand Knitter series offered by The Knitting Guild Association.  It’s safe to say I was a solid knitter, but by no means an expert, when I started level I.  That said, I have learned more in the last few months about knitting than I ever thought I would and I am seriously looking forward to learning even MORE as I continue to work my way through this level and the two to follow.

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I sent off my binder of work at the beginning of January and received it back from the Master Hand Knitter committee this past weekend.  The response to my work is nothing short of incredible for its attention to detail, and the awesome amount of information it contains.   I did quite a few things well – and I certainly left much room for improvement in many other areas.  Currently I’m working to correct the things that need correcting, and will soon send back my revised work.

You know – the last page of the response, which was about a dozen typewritten (single spaced) pages – said that the reviewer hoped I would take the response in the spirit in which it was intended – as guidance rather than as criticism.  Absolutely!  I couldn’t be more grateful to be learning from knitters who are among the best in the nation.

Knit on…!

Why MHK with the TKGA?

Ok – so, if you know what the abbreviations MHK and TKGA stand for without me telling you, you’re already in a particular group of people who are wildly focused on knitting.  I happen to be one of those people.

MHK stands for Master Hand Knitter.

TKGA is The Knitting Guild Association.

I am currently working through the Basics, Basics, Basics knitting course taught by Arenda Holladay, through the TKGA, and have ordered and downloaded the Master Hand Knitter Level I course.

Why, Ladianne – why would you take a course in craftsmanship and technique (and a second, far more rigorous certification course in same) when you’re an artist who paints landscapes?  It’s pretty simple, really – I’m an artist who explores theories of place and identity.  My family has been in the Southeast for generations, in Appalachia, and I come from a long line of needleworkers of various sorts.  Knitting, needlepointing, cross stitching, tatting, embroidery – it’s all in my blood.  Oh, and a bit of crochet too…  That said, I can’t really understand my identity and the nuances of place in the context of my life and my family without following the thread (or yarn…) that ties me to my family members and to this area.   I want to continue to dig into landscapes through painting, but I also want to have the level of skill necessary to execute my ideas through the languages of paint AND fiber.  So – I’m furthering my education.

There is something to be said, for sure, for the enhancement of one’s ability to render ideas creatively with absolute skill and craftsmanship.  So, that’s where I am!

It is going to be an adventure – one I’m ready for.  It’s also going to be a ton of challenging work – accompanied by a ton of great learning.

If you’re on Ravelry, hit me up here!

Whew – here we go!