I have returned to the Master Knitting program with gusto, only to be quickly deflated. I ordered this program about a year ago, worked on it for about a month and then lost interest before I finished anything to my satisfaction. Recently I decided to try again; I spent about a week working diligently on the first 3 swatches, learned a number of things, and am no farther along than I was when I started.
Observe exhibit A: the seed stitch swatch. Notice how lovely and even the stitches are, nary a hole between them.
I was quite pleased, until I measured it.
It is supposed to be 4 inches, not including the cast on and bind off edges.
I have - and I knew this already - a serious deficiency in the ability to accurately measure knitted items. I swear this was 4 inches just before I bound off. How could this be? I even tried stretching it a bit as it blocked to compensate for what I already knew would be an inaccurate measurement. (I apologize for the crappy photos. In addition to my problems measuring, I'm also a horrid photographer.)
As much as I have already learned from the Master Knitting program, and as much as I want to get my money's worth from the course, I just get really bored of knitting cream-colored swatches. If only I could get past these first three, I think it would get easier. It's also difficult to focus on this with so much lovely yarn sitting around for other, surely more fun, projects.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just this week I have been reinspired after reading this post from an incredibly helpful person on knittyboard.
Her approach was to knit each swatch once and let the judges decide whether they were good enough. This was fantastic to hear after reading about so many others redoing swatches over and over trying to achieve an inhuman state of perfection. Most of her swatches were accepted the first time - she only had to re-submit 2 swatches out of a total of 16. The judges did comment on problems with her other swatches and provided suggestions for improvement, but she did not need to do them over. Such good news to share with others working on this program. Thanks, Discoknits, for your encouragement!
Now I'm going to use a similar approach and hope to finish swatches 1-3 very soon. I know now from experimentation and reading which techniques I'll be using so it is just a matter of doing it and concentrating on problematic areas (i.e. measuring correctly). I do plan to try a new cast-on for swatch 2 (single rib) so I may have to do that one more than once, but I look forward to learning something new from it.
Finally, completion seems possible!