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January 23, 2011 / whirlingneedles

Becoming an expert knitter

I’ve been knitting since I was a kid. I made my first garter stitch swatch when I was eight or nine, and periodically left and came back to knitting as my interest waxed and waned. I made a couple of sweaters that didn’t fit because I had outgrown them between when I started them and when I finished them. (One such example ended up going to my grandmother, who still wears it to this day. Only on “special occasions,” but she does wear it.) I remember knitting through the Atlanta Braves’ “Worst to First” 1991 post-season frenzy. I dabbled now and then in college as the bug hit.

Then along came Ravelry. I discovered it when I took a webinar at work about social networking. At the time, it was still in the early stages and required requesting an invitation to be able to join. (You had to sign up for an invitation, and eventually you were allowed in as space allowed.) I signed up for an invite, but by the time it came I had moved onto something else and ignored it. Then one day I remembered it and thought I’d check it out.

What a rabbit hole. More patterns than you could shake a stick at. Pictures of finished projects that other people had made, with pictures and comments and ratings. Groups on every subject under the sun, for knitting and crochet and spinning and weaving, not to mention all the non-craft off-topic groups. I had no idea there was such a wide range of patterns, yarns, and techniques. For someone who had only done a few hats and a Christmas stocking or two, it was a bit overwhelming. But exciting and intriguing nonetheless.

Since discovering Ravelry in late 2008, I’ve been running around trying techniques at random as my fancy took me. I’ve taken some classes at Stitches East events. I’ve taken a class here and there at local yarn stores. But I still felt a bit adrift. Since I’m a somewhat orderly person (just don’t look in my closet), I looked at some certification programs. The Knitting Guild of America has the Master Knitter program, but from what I’ve heard it’s a bit too perfectionist for me. (Maybe mañana.)

I decided to sign up for the WEBS Expert Knitter Program. It seems like a good fit for me. It starts from almost-the-beginning – not quite “here’s how to do a knit stitch” beginning, but with a good review of the basics. From there it covers all the major techniques and skills required for mastery of the knitting craft. At the conclusion, I’ll be designing and knitting a sweater from scratch. The program should take about three years to complete.

This blog is intended primarily to be a record of my journey through the program. I’m sure I’ll through in a few other things that I find interesting as I go along. I invite you to stick around and join in as I go through the process. Comments are always welcome (but please keep them PG).

Look me up on Ravelry. I’m whirlybird.


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