Starting at Level One

My husband and I were out on a date and were trying desperately to talk about anything except our children.  It was tricky, let me tell you.  Once we started talking about our hobbies though, we knew we were in the clear.  We can be quite passionate about fermenting grains and looping fiber.

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A praying mantis on one of our hop vines

Okey is a home brewer who has entered national competitions.  Although he hasn’t placed nationally, he’s done well at the pre-qualifying regionals.  His goal is to have one of his beers brewed professionally (even if it was just a limited release item).  He and his band of home brewers had the opportunity a few years ago to collectively brew at a local craft brewery, and to know hundreds of local people drank a beer he helped make was exciting.  The cool part of that experience for him was that they all got to use the large equipment unsupervised.  He’d like to build on that experience by using a recipe that he alone crafted.

Short of that, he aspires to become a certified beer judge.  This is someone who is recognized for … wait for it … recognizing beer.  (Aren’t you just jealous of my grasp of the English language?)  As a beer judge, he’d be able to identify a beer’s style and volunteer at home brew competitions.  In order to gain that title, he’ll have to identify a sampling of beers (there are 23 beer categories — not counting the subcategories) and write an essay.  Each portion of the test is timed.

He hopes that learning all about the basics will improve his brewing techniques.  That’s certainly a great place to start.

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A happy pile of yarn

Ultimately, I would like to be a knitting historian (not unlike Elizabeth Lovick).  I want to share the tradition of knitting with my friends and their children to preserve this craft for future generations.  In our era where we wont for nothing, I fear that basic knowledge and ability of making for oneself is fading away.  Hand knitting is no longer necessary.  Yet this has its perks in that you can knit whatever tickles your fancy.

Now, I don’t think that knitting and its peers will altogether vanish.  There are plenty of knitters, crocheters, tatter-ers out there. I simply want to do my part in ensuring that there is a next generation of fiber makers who can build upon the old methods.

I live in a state rich with Native American, Colonial, Revolutionary and Civil War history.  I’d love to study what people made centuries ago and pass along this knowledge, but I am overwhelmed with where to begin.  I’m also a francophile and am wondering how all of this I can fit this together.  Thus I’ve decided to take the time to further develop my knitting skills before choosing a specific area of study.

As I’ve mentioned several times before, I aspire to be a good knitter.  So I’ve decided to enter the Master Knitters program through The Knitter’s Guild of America.   This guild’s mission statement lines up with my own goals:

To provide education and communication to those wishing to to advance the quality of workmanship and creativity in their knitting endeavors.

The Master Hand Knitters program is self-paced.  There are three stages of increasing difficulty.  For the first level, I will have to submit seventeen swatches and a finished object demonstrating a specific technique (in this case, a striped mitten).  There’s also an essay to write and several pages of questions to answer.

I’ve asked Mistine of Crazed Purls to join me. (Funnily enough we both have been tackling shawls before we would let ourselves begin this endeavor.) If you are curious about learning more, there’s a group devoted to it on Ravelry or just follow along on our two blogs.

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2 responses to “Starting at Level One

    • I don’t know why I am freaking out about the swatches the way I am. I suppose it has something to do with the fact I’ve hardly had any uninterruptible moments this past week.

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