Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Master Knitter info

Dear Cynthia,

I visited an allergist this morning. I learned that I am not insane. Spread the word!

I complained about this and that. I was tested for this and that. It turns out that I'm allergic to this and that. Now, I must do things to encase, kill, or remove the dust mites who live with me in this house. Also, there are no pet dogs or cats in my immediate future, and now would not be the time for me to take up mowing the lawn.

This is the first doctor I've seen who has been able to explain the weird skin condition I've been dealing with on my hands for the past five years. In addition to my allergy testing today, I have to wear a series of patches on my back until Friday, at which time my back will be examined to determine possible allergies due to other antigens which trigger a slightly different immune response. One of the patches is testing for an allergy to wool !! My doctor thinks such an allergy is highly unlikely, but possible. Aargh. I'll ignore this possibility until confronted with the experimental data on Friday. Note the progress on the mitten, made after antigens were applied to my arms, while I was waiting for the appropriate reaction times to elapse. Not something I care to do every day, but certainly handy to have knitting with me to keep from thinking about how much my arms were itching from the skin tests. The black stitches mark the thumb location. (It will be a peasant thumb.)

Lauren sent a note and asked: "What's this master knitter thing now? A swatch award????"

After I stopped laughing, I thought it might be informative to put a quick blurb here about it. TKGA (The Knitting Guild Association) has an education program which includes a "master knitter" designation. To hold such a title, a student must pass three levels of increasing complexity. The first level involves 16 required swatches, about as many "questions", and a
one-page report about blocking. I haven't yet purchased the packet for the second level (though I probably will soon), but I understand that it has requirements for more swatches, questions, as well as knitting a vest and an argyle sock. I think the third level has additional requirements, including an original aran or fair isle sweater?? or something like that? Once a student has completed the requirements for his/her level, the finished work is put into a packet and then sent around the country to various reviewers who critique the work and determine what, if anything, must be remediated before the student is allowed to pass to the next level.

It is a great knitting education, because the answers to the questions aren't simplistic, and often various resources are required to get a full understanding of the topics. Also, for me it was just nice to have a couple of "experts" give me some feedback on my knitting.

Go for it, Lauren!!

Warm regards,
Laura (aka YarnThrower)

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