TKGA Master Hand Knitter 1 – Swatch 2

Week: 2

Currently Working On: Swatch # 2


This week I worked on the MKH1 program during my Saturday tea shop trip.  It was a great time to work on it.  I brought Principles of Knitting which is a huge reference book and all my other supplies.  I had hours of uninterrupted time and as much good tea as I wanted (plus a brownie).

Swatch 2 uses the same techniques as I needed for Swatch 1 so I spent some time on more general skills.  I read about the different casts on, specifically the long tail cast on.  I’ve been doing this cast on since I first started knitting but never bothered to really learn much other than how to do it.  It was a lot more interesting than I anticipated.  The long tail cast on is what Principles of Knitting refers to as a compound half-hitch cast on.

It’s called a compound half-hitch because unlike the thumb cast on it not only builds an edge but also the first row of stitches. The yarn looped from the forefinger creates the edging while the yarn from the thumb creates the first row of stitches.  I’ve only ever known of the knitted version of the long tail cast on but there is also a purl version.  Instead of creating the first row as knit stitches it creates them as purl stitches.  I can see how this would be helpful as many times you can’t start the right side of a stockinette project until row 2.  With the purl version you could start a right side on the first row.  You could also alternate the knit and purl versions for a much cleaner cast on for ribbing.

Another tip I appreciated was was how much yarn to use.  A quick estimate is to use 1/2 – 1″  of yarn for each cast on stitch.  The thicker the yarn the closer to 1″ you’d use.  I tried this with my cast on for Swatch #2 and it turned out perfectly.

I also did another quick read on the kfb increase I used for my ribbing increases.  What I read confirmed that my choice was a good one as the bar created by the increase is well hidden in the purl ditch of the ribbing.  I also read that the tiny hole under the bar was normal.  I’d noticed this when I first started to evaluate my Swatch #1 and was worried about it.

Speaking of my first swatch, I’ve decided to give a few weeks between completion of a swatch and evaluating it. I promised myself I’d point out at least one good thing on each swatch but all I could see was the areas I wanted to improve.  I think a little distance will allow me to be more objective.  The other point this brought up was that I can’t re-knit any swatches until I’ve gotten through them all.  I think that is part of how I got stuck before as I kept wanting to re-knit the same swatch over and over again until it was perfect and was never able to move forward.

Lastly, I started a progress summary page to give myself an overview of my entire progress.


Hiatt, June Hemmons, The Principles of Knitting, Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Cast On: Chapter 2, pgs 40-44

Bar Increase: Chapter 11, pgs 207-208

Leave a Reply