TKGA Report: Level 3, Swatch 19

Photo of Swatch 19

Now that I have publicly stated that I am going to finish Level 3 of the Master Hand Knitting Program from TKGA by next March, I have decided to keep myself honest by posting about my progress. For those of you unfamiliar with this program, I will give a brief overview. If you already know about it, feel free to skip down to *

This is a self-study program without minimum or maximum deadlines, which means that it is completely up to the knitter to decide how much time he or she wants to put in, and there are no instructors. It’s just you, your yarn, needles and research materials (and the good friends you make in the TKGA Ravelry group, who cheer you on and help when you get stuck). Level 3 is the final level, after which the proud knitter receives the designation “Master Knitter,” as well as a nifty pin to inform all and sundry of the magnificent achievement. Each level requires many swatches and much writing in the form of short answers, patterns for some of the swatches, several short (1-2 pages) and long (2-4 pages) reports on various aspects of knitting, and one, two or three larger finished projects.

*I ordered Level 3 as soon as I learned that I had passed Level 2. As soon as I received the instructions, I read them through, ordered the yarn that I knew I would need, and got a new binder to hold it all. I then turned my attention to the final swatch, Swatch 19. This swatch is unusual for two reasons–it actually makes a complete item, in this case a lace doily, rather than just a rectangular swatch, and we are allowed to select the yarn weight and needle size that we want. Really the only restriction is the usual one that it must be in a light-colored yarn. I just happened to have a beautiful lace weight undyed yarn waiting to be plucked from the stash. So I picked up some dpns and starting swatching. After a mistart on too small needles, I worked my way through the complicated pattern, then blocked it. For some reason, I wasn’t really happy with the result. By this time, the worsted weight yarn had arrived, so I put the doily aside, with the intention of knitting it again later, and started working on the other swatches. I ran into some difficulties, which I will relate in another post, and then had a lot of design work to deal with, so the whole program went on a temporary time out.

Earlier this week, I decided I had better get this off the back burner and had another go at Swatch 19. Once again, I worked my way through it without too much trouble, although the circular start was as fiddly as ever. I bound it off, soaked it, rolled it up in a towel, and stomped on it. Only then, as I was unrolling it from the towel to begin pinning it out, did I decide that maybe I should have a look at the first one to see what the dimensions should be. I dug it out of the swatch box and was astonished to find that I could not, for the life of me, find anything wrong with it! I do remember that there was a small gap in the center stitches and some other mistake near the edge in one of the sections. I think maybe it just needed to rest and relax a bit, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with the center now, and I can’t find the other “mistake.”

Well, of course, I went ahead and pinned out the second doily. I mean, why not? It was already wet and everything. When it was dry, I unpinned it and noticed that it was quite a bit larger than the first one. Now, a couple of days later, it is only a tiny bit larger, so it has shrunk down as the yarn has relaxed from the blocking. It will probably be exactly the same size as the first one by the time it is done.

Here they are. Can you tell the difference?


Photo of a version of Swatch 19
Which one is this?
Photo of  Swatch 19
Is this the first or second try?


Ironically, I didn’t do as nice a job on the bind-off on the second one; there is one loop that is noticeably larger than its mates. I’m going to go with the first version. So what have I learned from this? Some evaluations should not be rushed. If I had waited a week (or even two) before deciding this was not up to standard, I could have saved myself from unnecessarily making a second one. Oh well. It was good practice, right?


P.S. The first version is in the lower photo. Tried to fake you out by switching the order of presentation. Ha!