Thursday, May 5, 2011

OWL Proposal #2 - DADA

Okay, my History of Magic OWL got approved, as did this one for Defense Against the Dark Arts. I need at LEAST these two OWLs to do the lovely full-circle cloak with all sorts of symbols on the edges as one of my NEWTs. This one is really, REALLY wordy, since I'm trying to get across the level of Cruciatus Repulsion required.

RavID: CraftyGryphon
House: Slytherin
Year: Fourth
OWL subject and option: Defense Against the Dark Arts - Option 3: Practice repelling the Cruciatus Curse - knit or crochet an object that is incredibly fiddly and difficult to do OR a large item you have to make for someone else that is excruciatingly painful due to the pattern, color, or yarn selected.

Hello Examiners! [Note]

Identify the pattern(s) you will be using.

The patterns (and other requirements) are in the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Level 1 Packet (pictured below). I am planning to complete my initial submission for The Knitting Guild of America (TKGA) Master Hand Knitting - Level I. This involves a complicated series of steps, beginning with gathering the necessary supplies (ring binder, section dividers, page protectors, label materials, reference books), selecting appropriate yarn (there are VERY specific restrictions as to what makes a yarn appropriate) and needles, doing intensive research, knitting swatches based on said research, blocking and labelling each swatch as appropriate, compiling references, and completing a required project, required pattern-writing exercise, and required report.

Why This Is oh-so-very [ex]Cruciatius-ing: I knit "eastern combined uncrossed" - which is to say I don't actually throw my yarn, but scoop it from my left hand, and all my stitches sit "backwards" on my needles from most peoples'. (Your k2tog is probably my SSK, for example.) Many standard hints for correcting certain knitting problems (loose stitches up the side of a cable, noticiable decreases) do not work for my style of knitting. When answering the questions, I'll have to make notes of both the "standard" fixes, and what I actually do, where those vary. When predicting gauge, I'll have to do a "hat gauge" in the round (almost its own hat!), as my in-the-round gauge is very, VERY different from my knitting-flat gauge. The pattern-writing exercise will have to be translated into "standard knitting" terms, which is tricky for me. And the actual knitting - I am *not* a regimented knitter. I knit very loosely, which can cause my tension to vary quite a bit - and that just WILL NOT fly for this project. I will, basically, be teaching myself to knit from scratch over the course of the next three months!

By the end of the term, I should have completed sixteen swatches and the required hat project, tagged each item properly with appropriate references, answered eighteen in-depth questions and written a report and a pattern, again with appropriate references noted, and then assembled everything in the required format for submission.

Photograph of the yarn(s) and any unusual needles or materials involved.

Here are my materials, as required by the TKGA program. These include: TKGA instructions (printed double-sided, two to a page); research books (including my completed TKGA Basics, Basics, Basics course folder); paper, binders, numbered tabs, top-loading page protectors and index cards (for assembly and tagging of the final submission); four skeins of light-colored un-heathered worsted-weight 100% wool yarn, with one skein in a contrasting color; needles in three sizes (6, 7, 8) in straights and DPNs; stainless steel pins (for blocking); laptop in case.

Two or three sentences describing the planned crafting sequence and analyzing any areas of potential difficulty or new skills needed.

Planned sequence: There is a detailed plan of action suggested in the TKGA Level 1 materials packet. I am going to amend it, somewhat, by completing as much research as possible before beginning any knitting, and writing up as many answers, and as much of the required report, as possible.The questions (and swatches) cover almost every technical aspect of knitting. This includes casting on, knitting, purling, combining the two, increases (various), decreases (various), twisted stitches, simple cables, simple lace, basic color changes, and casting off. For any technique, there are several (if not dozens) of common methods. On the advice of knitters who have successfully completed the program, I will be attempting to document at least two references for each part of each question. I will then knit the sitxteen swatches and complete the related questions. I will then knit the hat project, and complete the report. I will then assemble everything in the specified manner. Photos will be provided of the individually-knitted objects, and of the completed questions and report, and then of the assembled binder, ready for submission.

The 16 knitted swatches must be made to exact specifications with regards to the techniques covered in the research questions. These swatches are supposed to be knit to the best of the knitter’s ability. There should not be curled edges, uneven stitches, ribbing should be uniform, there shouldn’t be loose stitches next to cables, nor twisted stitches of any kind, even in decreases. Knitting 16 highly-specific swatches that conform to the required specifications will NOT be easy. "Excruciating" is actually an appropriate word for it!! The 18 research questions cover almost every technical aspect of knitting (and, thus, are used in the 16 swatches). These includes casting on, knitting, purling, combining the two, increases (various), decreases (various), twisted stitches, simple cables, simple lace, basic color changes, and casting off. In addition to the 16 swatches and 18 research questions, there is a required report. The report should be at least two single-spaced pages, the font size should not be smaller than 12pt or larger than 14pt, and it must be carefully proofread - and include comprehensive references. As that’s not enough, there is a required hat project which must be knit exactly following a specific pattern and instructions. Then there is the required pattern-writing exercise, related to one of the submission swatches. Not counting all the tagging, referencing, and assembly-of-things, that's 37 required things.

New skills: By the end of the project, I should have mastered a wide range of techniques, and actually be able to explain them to myself and to “normal” knitters. (I repeat, I’ll be teaching myself to knit again over the course of the next three months!) These will include: knitting stockinette, seed stitch and ribbing with even tension (heaven help me on that one); accurately measuring gague of different stitch patterns; accurately producing, placing and mirroring several kinds of increases and decreases (including two that make no sense whatsoever, but that's what the research is for); writing instructions for techniques (buh?); following and writing simple patterns (wait - something I've done!), and making jogless color changes (ooh, done that, too). One of the biggest skills I will have to master, though, is time management. I have previously (in 2009) attempted to finish this program and, despite having a YEAR, did not do so. (The packet has since changed, and my previous attempt was long ago consigned to the dustbin, so I am, in fact, starting completely from scratch.)

Photograph of your swatch.
As part of my project is to knit sixteen swatches, this stumped me for a moment, until I realized that the basic stockinette swatch required by the program also had ribbing attached. So, you can tell this is NOT one of my proposed swatches, because it has no ribbing. I find it incredibly annoying that, somehow, it's the best swatch I've ever done with regards to tension - so of course, I can't use it for anything but "here's my swatch!" (which counts for *something*!!).

I hope this Defense Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. proposal is acceptable. (It's actually scaring me, seeing all of it written down.) Please let me know if you need any further information.

And it got approved! Woohooo! I'm going to start the Masters' Monday reports again on, well, Monday. And THIS time, darnit, I'm going to finish!!!

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