Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Attacking the UFOs

Cindi brought up UFOs, which sort of sums up the theme of my week – finishing the unfinished. I have to tame the chaos. No new projects until I whittle down the list of UFOs.

Barbara reminded me that I’m supposed to be working on my knitting guild certificates. Wow, big UFO there. The Knitting Guild Association offers a Masters Program, and I decided a few years ago that would be a good way for me to improve my skills. Instead of winging it every time I tried a new pattern, I could learn new techniques in a sensible, organized manner. Even better would be my personal knitting guru mentor living right next door, but what are the chances of that happening? A good second best is an organized course that allows me to work at my own pace and requires that my work be checked by an expert who can tell me when I got it right and what I did wrong.

Then the instructions arrived. I read them and gasped. Oh my. Who knew there were so many different ways to increase and decrease? I’d realized I had gaps in my knowledge, but I had no idea how much I didn’t know. I might have given up then, but my husband looked at me with that smirk, and …well…I can never resist proving a smirk wrong. I persevered, and eventually I earned the nifty Level 1 certificate and saw my name on the Level 1 Handknitter’s success list in Cast-on, the official publication of The Knitting Guild Association. Cool beans!

I paid my fees for Level 2, penciled a plan on the calendar, and got bulldozed by life. Then life slowed down, and I had a little time for this and that, but kept putting off the Level 2 Masters. This month I read that the Level 2 requirements had been revised, and everyone who hadn’t yet finished needed to request the new list. Cindi’s UFO post and Barbara’s question seemed like signs from you-know-who. So I called the guild office, requested my updated Level 2 instructions, which arrived promptly by email. I printed them out, read them, and GASPED. Oh. My. No wonder I’ve been putting this off. Altogether, all those swatches, new-to-me techniques, and an argyle sock…well, that’s intimidating.

But wait! Let’s have some perspective here. I’ve written books. I’ve raised three children to adulthood. I’ve driven a 27-foot-motorhome 12,000 miles to, from, and all around Alaska for a summer with two teenage girls on board, and we all survived the experience. How difficult can an argyle sock be, compared to all that? I can do this. Right?



Blogger Elizabeth said...

I've seriously thought about doing that program. My SIL did it, but again it is the time sort of issue. Need to get the kids in all day school before I tackle another challenge--though the idea of learning all those stitches sounds fun. I just learned how to do a cable cast on, which I had never done before.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

I had no idea such a program existed! I'm a little intimidated by the idea, though it does sound fascinating.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

I'm so excited about the Level 2, Laura! I'm definitely not the type to pursue a structured course (I tried it many years ago with the Embroiderers Guild; learned a lot about stitchery =and= about my own nature)--for one thing I doubt if I have the physical dexterity (arthritis in hands) or the kind of mind that can wrap around charts, etc. (I tend to see things in some strange kind of reverse that is impossible to explain. Took me years to realize that's why I had a "unique" perspective in my pen and ink drawings.)

That said, I would love to know all there is to know about this craft and to be skilled enough in the different areas that you know you can tackle anything. Very liberating!

And there's the whole historical angle, keeping these skills vibrant and alive. (Can you tell I'm excited??)

About those argyles: judging by my late mother's 50+ year old instruction leaflet, they are basically intarsia knitted flat, then seamed up the side. Foot was knitted in the round on dpns. The "extra" slanting line that helps define the pattern is duplicate stitch. At least in this pattern. Surprisingly simple instructions for such a delightfully complex result.

Check out Moth Heaven's blog -- she designed some argyles and has a mini-essay on why they are historically knitted flat.

12:52 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

I suppose this is where I confess I've never attempted intarsia. Sigh.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Laura, judging by the perfection of your shawl, you could intarsia with one needle tied behind your back!

1:53 PM  

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