Did you know The Knitting Guild Association offers correspondence courses? It’s true. In fact, I recently completed the TKGA's Basics, Basics, Basics knitting class.
If you’ve never heard of The Knitting Guild Association, they’re a non-profit organization “dedicated to providing education and resources to advance [the] mastery of the craft of knitting.” They support “serious knitters in their efforts to perpetuate traditional techniques and keep the artisan aspects and high quality standards of the craft alive.”
As part of this endeavor, they offer a variety of classes for knitters of all levels, and certifications for more aspiring and advanced knitters.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I took a Basics knitting course when I’ve been knitting for years. It’s a good question. Allow me to explain my reasons why.
Why I Took a Knitting Class
I took a knitting class for several reasons. The most important reason being that I believe one of the best knitting tools a knitter can have is an education.
I’m aware that my knitting is only as good as the limits of my knowledge, which is why I endeavor to continuously learn. You can always discover something new from someone new. Learning from a knitting expert can give you a new perspective on knitting techniques and methods. Also, I love learning and never pass up a chance to challenge myself.
Finally, one of my long term knitting goals is to become a certified Master Hand Knitter, which is one certification they offer. The TKGA’s Basics course is just a preliminary step to beginning that certification, which I look forward to starting. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let me tell you more about the TKGA’s Basics knitting course and the surprising things I learned.
About the TKGA's Basics Course
The TKGA’s Basics, Basics, Basics course is a correspondence course for advanced beginners. The lessons are broken down into three manageable sections that are well-structured. Each lesson includes reference materials, helpful knitting tips, and photo examples. You can even work at your own pace with no time limit.
Your instructor, mentor, resident knitting expert is Arenda Holladay. She’s not only a certified Master Hand Knitter, but also the President of TKGA and the Editor of Cast On, the official TKGA publication.
Each lesson in the TKGA's Basics knitting course breaks down into a field of focus. You’ll tackle knitting increases in Lesson 1, and knitting decreases in Lesson 2. In Lesson 3, you’ll learn how to properly measure knitting gauge.
Each knitting lesson includes instructions for a variety of knit swatches using different knitting techniques. For example, you'll practice garter stitch, rib knitting, stockinette stitch, knit cables, and lace knitting.
You’re then evaluated on:
- following directions
- reading your knitting
- knitting tension
- blocking your knitting
- measuring knitting gauge
- and more.
There are also extra credit assignments in each knitting lesson that are designed to challenge you.
All in all, extra credit knit swatches included, the Basics knitting course includes a total of 22 swatches. From these swatches, you must answer questions to see how well you understand your knitting. This relates to stitch anatomy, reading your knitting, the appearance of your knitting, and so much more.
When the knitting lesson is completed, you mail in your work for evaluation. Arenda Holladay will then provide written feedback and return the lesson to you. She’ll even mark areas on your swatches that might need modification or correction.
She may ask you to redo a swatch or swatches as needed, depending on your knitting. If you pass the lesson, though, she’ll then give you access to the next knitting lesson.
She’s really there for you and offers as much or as little hand holding as you need. My experience with her was tremendous. She was quick to respond to questions, thorough, and often recommended resources for further study.
What I Learned from the TKGA's Basics Course
When I signed up for the Basics correspondence course, I was a little nervous about it. Knowing that an expert is going to be scrutinizing your knitting, well, it can cause you to hesitate. Still, my goal is to become a certified Master Hand Knitter. In that regard, I was also a bit excited about what I could learn from this knitting class.
I bit the bullet and dove right in. In hindsight, I’m so glad I did.
With each knitting lesson I learned where my weaknesses were. For example, in Lesson 1, my knit 2, purl 2 (K2, P2) ribbing stitches were slightly larger in one area. This is shown above and marked in red.
In Lesson 2, I learned that my SSK decreases are a bit large and need improvement (shown below). It’s not uncommon to have larger stitches with SSKs, but there are ways to minimize them. I’ll have to work on that.
All knit gauge swatches shown using:
Another thing I was concerned about was my individual knitting style. I wasn’t sure if the TKGA would expect me to knit a standard way or if they’d accept my Portuguese knitting style.
I’m an American knitter (thrower) turned Portuguese knitter, which means I now purl everything I can. I was worried that I’d have to modify my style to accommodate the lessons. Luckily, this was a non-issue.
Finally, I was pleased to learn that my knitting tension and blocking skills were better than I thought they were. I definitely learned that I don’t give myself enough credit for the work I do. Imposter syndrome is real but the more I practice and the more I learn, the more confident I become. This is why constant education is so important for growth.
TKGA Courses and Certifications
The Basics knitting course is just one of many The Knitting Guild Association offers and a great way to improve your knitting skills.
You can learn more about the TKGA's Basics knitting course, other courses, and certifications they offer by clicking the links below:
- Basics, Basics, Basics
- Master Hand Knitter
- Professional Knitter
- Technical Editor
- Pattern Writing
You can register here to become a member of The Knitting Guild Association.
I've just signed up for the Master Hand Knitter - Level 1 coursework. Stay tuned as I embark on this exciting journey!
Have questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you. Drop me an email or a comment.