This post was supposed to go up much earlier today, but life sort of got in the way. I’ve only now gotten back to the computer to type up my thoughts on the Master Knitter Program. Hopefully I get this up before it is officially Saturday hereabouts!
The Master Hand Knitting Program (that is the proper title) is run by TKGA, aka The Knitting Guild Association, a sort of national (US) guild. Even though it started in the US, knitters of any country can join, take their correspondence classes, and attend their yearly conference. You have to be a member to take the classes, including the Masters programs. There is also a Master Machine Knitting Program, but I don’t know anything about that as I have never machine knit! Something to add to the bucket list, I guess.
The Master Knitter Program is a cross between a certification and an educational program. There are 3 Levels, and passing each level means that you have demonstrated that you can follow directions, understand techniques and knit to a certain standard. They are very clear about what you have to do to complete each level. For Level 1, there are a series of swatches to knit, questions to answer (with references), a report to write and a project knit (and write the pattern). All the written work has to have references and be clearly written; they are more concerned with clarity and communicating understanding than with an academic writing level. The swatches and pattern have to follow directions exactly and be knit consistently. They are big on even tension in the knitting.
So far, I’ve knit 10 of the 17 swatches (yes, there are only 9 in that picture. The last one was still blocking) and written up a few of the questions and part of the blocking report. I’m probably over 1/3 of the way to being able to send the binder with swatches and written work in for judging. They often send work back to redo, so who knows how long the whole thing will take!
I love the program, but anything that lets me measure my progress against a certain standard usually appeals. I always loved school! It is a challenge to knit the exacting standard, and I’m discovering techniques I was doing incorrectly (like twisting the slip, knit, psso decrease) as I go. My knitting may not be hugely affected by this first Level, but I think the small details will improve. That said, if have your work criticized and measured to a standard that is not your own sounds hellish, then this is not the program for you. I fully expect to have to redo some of my work, and the only thing that bothers me about that is all the shipping costs! My dream is to finish all 3 Levels, but that may take some time. Of course, I’m always up for a challenge!
More details: you have to buy a yearly TKGA membership for as long as you are working on the Master Program. Each level costs around $100 (the prices are slightly different for each level), and you only pay once per level, no matter how long it takes. However, if you take longer than a year you have to check in and use the most up-to-date instructions, which could mean doing more work. I’m trying to get mine done within the year.
If you have any questions about the program, post away in the comments! Or you can check out the TKGA group on Ravelry, they have lots of active Master-related boards on there.