Quite a few folks asked me to post the ins and outs of the Master of Basic Crochet Stitches class, so I thought I'd do that today, since I am exhausted from mopping the kitchen floor yesterday (yeah, really, and it's a small kitchen. And no, Craig didn't know I was doing that.)
I had kicked the idea around of taking the class for quite some time. First I was like "hey, what can they teach _me_?" alternating with "suppose I'm _not_ good enough?" But gradually my curiosity regarding the class got the better of me and I decided I could learn something new from taking the class - maybe an easier/better way of doing things. So I wrote the check and filled out the application and waited.
The form I got was probably 4 pages long, front and back. I was supposed to do the required number of swatches with the directions given to me. The materials are specified - smooth light colored yarn so it's easier to see the stitches. I used the Red Heart Super Savers in white, eggshell, mint green and light purple. I had to get sports yarn, so I chose Lion Brand MicroSpun for that project. I also had to get (*gasp*) cotton thread, size 10 to use for a filet project
There are other requirements besides yarns and threads. I had to get some 3 ring binders to use to contain the portfolio I was creating. I also purchased those acrylic see thru sheets (some people use them for recipes or patterns) and blank tags, like those used for a yard sale. I would crochet and number the swatch and put down all the requested info - type of yarn used, hook, etc. I decided to get two storage boxes to store the yarn and the swatches plus some of the books I used for help. You can use any book you choose, but you have to reference what you used. This is where all the experience I had doing term papers in high school came in handy;) (finally). There are instructions given for some of the swatches but not all.
I started off making the "easy" swatches first - the single and double crochet ones - and labeling them. I tackled the filet crochet piece last. And I didn't do such a hot job on it. As Bendy Carter explained to me, I was doing "shadow filet" - not the normal two double crochets in the space but only one. The piece sort of looked like the display piece, but not exactly. (There were no instructions given for this piece. I enlarged the photo at work to figure out what I needed to do.)
I had to redo that piece. I wasn't thrilled about it, but now I had some new toys - the Boye interchangable steel hook set. I had looked for the Comfort Grip Clover steel hooks, but they didn't have the size I needed. My second attempt at thread with a steel hook came out much better.
I also had trouble with the gauge. I can make items to gauge, done it many times, but I can't seem to put the explanation into words. It doesn't make sense, but there you are. I also had trouble with cables. They just didn't pop out enough.
M's Carter emailed me as well as phoned me. (I couldn't seem to email her except thru one email provider, the other never reached her.) She went over what I did correctly and what I needed to correct. I corrected the necessary items and sent them back to be judged. I have to admit, I was nervous about it. You either pass or fail, there is no refund on the money (and of course not the time) spent. So I was _thrilled_ when I finally got the news that I had passed.
Now keep in mind this is just my experience with the class. It's probably been updated and modified since I took it. I had a year to complete it and though a year seems long, it really isn't because of course other things like life get in the way. So I'd advise if you're going to do this class, commit to making the time for it - whether it's an evening a week or whatever time you can squeeze out along the way. You probably are more organized than I am, but I really needed to make myself crochet the swatches and answer questions on a regular basis.
The swatch part is easy compared to the questions - what if you did this or that, how would that change the look of the swatch, that sort of thing. I scribbled notes as I went along and kept them in the same place I kept my supplies. When I had the notes to about five of the swatches, I used a word processing program to transcribe my notes. I wanted whoever was going to judge the swatches and the answers to be able to read what I had written.
When I was finished to my satisfaction, I set three 3 ring binders up for my portfolio and divided the swatches into sections. I relabeled the swatches with the proper information. If I could have figured out a way to type the swatch info and attach it, I would haved done that. I set up a table of contents for each binder and included a bibliography for the books I used. I also made sure I put all the labels for the yarn that I used in a separate holder (it's in the directions). I cross referenced this with the name of the yarn and what swatches were made from each particular yarn or thread. I intended to present an organized portfolio to the judge.
I was fortunate because M's Carter corrected me. You can just be rejected without any hope of trying to correct what you have done wrong, so I was certainly happy that didn't happen to me. But it was a concern of mine and I'd advise anyone who would take the class to take the time to found the directions to the letter on how the portfolio should be set up. When I took the class, you couldn't ask any questions about what was expected or any pattern advice. I don't know if that has changed or not, but sometimes I felt as if I was wandering around stubbing my toes in the dark. When I felt like that, I would put it away for a little while and try not to stress over it. I'd pour over magazines and books and of course, the online crochet groups trying to figure out what to do next. I never got any specific advice as such, but sometimes a nugget of knowledge would come my way without me asking the question. It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears and that must have been the case for me.
I hope this clears up any questions about the class. As I have said, I started mine in 2007 and it has probably been changed by this time. If you have any general questions about the course, I'll be happy to answer them if I can. I don't know if CGOA has changed its stance on answering questions regarding the course, but you can certainly try them for information.
Remember, mileage may vary. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa.