January 24, 2005


On Saturday, I drove through pouring Washington rain to Portland, Oregon. No matter the downpour -- I was on a mission to deliver to my Knit-bud Anne the yarns for Mossbank and Saga Rose. When I got to the Columbia River, the skies lifted, and it was clear weather all the rest of the way.

I've known Anne from Portland for several years, ever since the two of us were working on Level II at the same time. We've been roomies at the retreat in Gig Harbor several years in a row; we even attended the TKGA National Knitting Convention when it was held in Branson, Missouri in 2000. While I've continued to moan and groan about Level II, she's gone on to finish Level II (and pass!), as well as knit many, many, many garments.

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These materials Anne is posing with are the elements of her Master Knitter Level III submission. She designed and knitted the gorgeous Aran sweater you see in the foreground; likewise, the tam that the teddy bear is wearing at left; the binder Anne is holding is full of the swatches showing various techniques required by TKGA's program. (Sorry that the tam doesn't show up better in the photo. As per the Master Knitter requirements, one designs and knits an Aran sweater and a Fair Isle hat -- or a Fair Isle sweater and an Aran hat. Due to the resolution on my camera and the subtle coloration of the tam, it is not looking its Fair Isle best, here. Trust me, though, Anne changed foreground and background colors on every row of the tam, and it was every bit as gorgeous as the Aran sweater.)

Anne was gracious enough to hold off on mailing her Level III materials until I'd had a chance to paw them, ooh and aah over them. She mailed them today. You and I both know that she's just moments away from Master Knitter status. She believes, though, that the committee will make some pro forma request that she re-do some swatch(es); if that does happen, I'm sure it would be merely a formality, just to make sure one jumps through the hoops. It is darned hard to find fault with her knitting.

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Anne's fifteen-year-old daughter has been knitting for as long as I've known the two of them. In the past, Deborah has knitted cat toys and simple scarves, and has had a take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward knitting. But recently, she's caught the knitting fever. She's churning out elbow-length, fingerless gloves for her classmates in high school. In this picture, she's working on a knitted dress (pattern from the premiere issue of the Vogue Knitting knit.1 magazine). You can see the back piece of the dress laid out on the couch at her side, and what Deb's presently knitting is the front. Anne says, "She's fearless. Who'd knit a dress?" But, with a mother as prolific and technically sophisticated a knitter as hers, Deborah's fearlessness just runs in the genes. (I took this photo Sunday morning; Anne e-mailed me Sunday evening to let me know that Deb had finished the dress.)

Over the weekend, while Anne cast on for Mossbank and completed half of the corrugated rib, I worked on the sock I am designing for my daughter Jennie.

I also compared my Level II Master Knitter swatches against Anne's. Not to brag, but my knitting does have tremendously even tension -- only because I hold my yarn in a death grip. Many of my Level II swatches look passable. But oh! that darned argyle sock defeats me every time. My current argyle sock has some odd and uncharacteristically uneven tensioning on one side. This uneven tension I'd attributed to laying aside the project for a week with my needles still in it. But Anne diagnosed it (correctly, I'm sure, after close inspection, also known as nearly-surgical probing with a cable needle) as a matter of an inadvertent short row.... Well, I guess I won't be submitting that sock for my Level II argyle.

Posted by Karen at January 24, 2005 06:30 PM

Karen, you sweet thing! How nicely you compliment me, and I love it. However, I would like to add what you left out,that my jaw dropped when you opened your Level II binder and I saw the first swatch, one of a complicated lace pattern. That knitting is spectacular. Perfection, itself. Your swatches are little works of art, and when you submit them, the committee will bow to you as I do. Meanwhile, I am almost through with the corrugated rib for Mossbank, and want to knit on the body a bit to double-check gauge before I cast on for Saga Rose, as I am doing a major re-design on it. I just love all the colors, and you were the BEST to bring them down to me. Also, I am going to make all your other readers jealous, because I got a preview of the Harris yarns that Two Swans is carrying from Rowan. The colors are spectacular in person.

Posted by: Anne at January 25, 2005 06:15 AM

I bow to *both* of you. Simply *reading* about your knitting is inspiring.

My ferret helps me knit, and I think he's closer to being a Master Knitting than I am...

Posted by: Kit at January 25, 2005 06:10 PM

one of these days I simply have to sign up for the level 1 and get started. in the mean time, I picked up zauberflote again.

Posted by: marti at January 26, 2005 05:41 PM

Anne -- Aw, shucks (twirling toe in the dirt). That lace warn't nothin'. Do keep us apprised of your progress on the two sweaters.

Kit -- you are too funny!

Marti -- You can sail through Level I. Go for it! And I really, really hope you can bring Zauberflote to a Feral Knitters meeting soon. How 'bout Jan. 31?

Posted by: Karen at January 27, 2005 12:38 AM

Good for your daughter for knitting that dress! That's pretty amazing! I have one question though. I've been looking everywhere for a pattern from the premiere issue of knit. 1 and I can't find it. I wonder if you could help me. I believe that it is a raglan cowl neck sweater made from rococco homespun yarn. Thank you for your time!

Posted by: lynda Barnett at January 26, 2006 01:24 PM