Friday, March 23, 2018

Masters Program Notebooks

All I've been doing is knitting like mad to get things finished for the photo shoot.  It will be close but I think I'll make it.

A word about how I mail things...To keep the cost of the course the same, I send back swatches in a large plain white envelope after each lesson by the USPS using First Class rates.  This is the least expensive but you can track the envelopes.  (For Non-US students, I hang onto the swatches and send them back when the course is complete.)  I have only had one lesson out of hundreds lost and one damaged.  Periodically due to weather or the holidays a lesson might take a while to get there, but so far every one has arrived.  If you would like your lessons sent back by priority mail, include the postage and I'll be happy to return it to you that way.

This week's tip is a departure.  Many of my Basics students take the course to see if they might want to to the Masters Program.  It covers many of the same techniques as Level 1 and it give the students a feel for what it is like to have your work evaluated by a stranger.  (My Basics course is divided into three lessons while the Masters work is sent in when the whole thing is complete.)  This evaluation process can be very stressful.  All of the reviewers have been through the process.  The evaluations are very detailed but they focus on ways to fix issues. 

Each level requires that the work be organized into a notebook and the instructions are very specific as to how to organize the notebook.  There are two reasons for this.  All of the reviewers are volunteers and the evaluation can take as long as 10 or more hours.  A poorly organized notebook can double that time.  The other reason is that the ability to read and interpret directions is an important skill for a knitter.  Many who complete the program go on to work in the industry and we want to make sure they have the skills they need to do accomplish their goals.

With all of that said, there have been lots of questions on the TKGA Ravelry Group on how to organize the notebook.  People have different learning styles and I've often found a few photos can really help.  Since the instructions have changed dramatically since I completed the program, I asked someone who recently completed Level 1 if we could show her notebook.  (I've blocked her name and address with a Post It.)

We recommend you use a 3" ring binder for Level 1 (By the way, these instructions apply to US submissions.  For  non-US submissions, there is leeway on this).  A 3" binder fits neatly into the USPS Medium Flat Rate box. 

It should be organized into six sections separated by tabs: Blocking Report, Swatches, Gauge,   Worksheets, Questions, Project and References.  One of the most often asked questions is why the answers to the questions go in a separate section rather than with the swatches.  (Most of the questions refer to specific swatches.)  It is easier for the reviewers if they are in a separate section.  Believe me, they have the questions memorized. 

Each swatch should be placed in a page protector with the written information regarding that swatch.  Below is an example of the Swatch Information Sheet (SIS) for the seed stitch swatch.  If you staple sheets together or use paperclips, that will add to the review time.  If there is a second sheet, it should be placed so that it is visible when the page is turned.

This is the project for Level 1.  It also should be placed in the page protector along with the written information.

If you are working on Level 1, I suggest you watch the video I made showing the various sections in more detail.  Yes, the notebook requirements may seem overly picky but this is a notebook you will have as a reference guide for years.  You will come to appreciate the organization.  Many of the requirements are to make the review process as streamlined as can be.  All of the reviewers are volunteers and many have full time jobs.  They give up time they could be knitting themselves to pass on what they have learned.  Here is the video:  Master Hand Knitting Program Level 1 Notebook

Salon will be on Sunday from 1:30-3:30.

I finished the sweater FINALLY.  I took the sleeves out twice.

Here is the back view.  (I've kept waste yarn in the pleats.  I hope I remember to take them out at the photo shoot!)

I've called it Baby Butterfly.  Here is a close up of the stitch pattern.

The dress worked up very quickly.  I still have all the markers in it as I use them to write the pattern.  Here's the front. 

Here is the back.

I'm making a girl's dress that coordinates will the adult dress.  A fitted dress looks pretty creepy on a kid so it is an empire waist.  This is the back.  (The front is blocking.  I'll finish it tonight.)  The dental elastics mark the decreases for the bodice and I use the safety pins to count the rows.  Finishing is much easier if both pieces have the same number of rows.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Better Bar Increases

All of the designers finally got their yarn and are busy working on their designs, including me.  I've got to pick up the pace if I am going to finish everything. My New Years Resolution was to write pattern as I go along and so far, so good.

I've heard from quite a few students who have wanted the updates.  Again, I'm willing to send off the materials to any former or current student.  If you are working on Level 1 of the Masters, you may want to take a look as I've provided links to my blog on quite a few topics where you need sources.

This week's tip is prompted by what I've been seeing in swatches I'm already getting for the revised materials. In the earlier version bar increases are only worked in ribbing.  I added an extra credit swatch where they are worked at the sides of a swatch as you would for sleeves.  A very common problem is that the knit stitch next to the bar is oversized.   Look at the photograph below where I have placed a label to the left of 5 bar increases and compare a and c to b, d and e. Notice that in a and c the stitch next to the bar is closer in size to the stitches below and above.  In bd and e the stitch next to the bar is overlarge.  They aren't very attractive and are far more noticeable.  What causes this?  When knit the stitch, if you do not tighten up a bit before you knit into the back of the stitch, the knit stitch gets overlarge.  Now look at c, bd and e and see how the stitch below the knit stitch to the right of the bar is pinched.  It isn't as pinched for a.  Why?  I stretched out the stitch when I knit into the back of the stitch.  This made the stitch smaller.  If you tighten up when making a bar increase AND use just your needle tips when knitting into the back of the stitch, you can produce a much better bar increase.  When you are using this increase in ribbing it is not as noticeable.

Here is the link to the video:  Better Bar Increases

I've heard from quite a few students who have wanted the updates.  Again, I'm willing to send off the

Salon will be on Sunday from 1:30 - 3:20.  I'm really hoping I will have the sweater I've been working on finished by then. 

I've almost finished the Baby Butterfly Duster.  If you look at the photo below you can see I'm working on the sleeves.  When I work top-down short row sleeves I work one cap and then do the next sleeve to make sure they match.  No, those aren't pom poms hanging off the sleeves but small yarn balls.   There is a deep pleat in the back.  Am I a lousy photographer!  I guarantee this looks much better in person.

I worked gauge swatches for the next projects while I was blocking the fronts.  (I block the pieces before I put in the sleeves.  I'll have to redo it after I get the sleeves in).  The gray swatch is for a dress and the striped swatch is for a a French fisherman sweater to go with an article on single row stripes with circular needles.  I tried out M1 increases near the top.  I still haven't decided what increases to use.  I have a bit of time to decide.