One of the main reasons for going to Knit Camp is to take classes and learn more about knitting, or fiber crafts in general. For this event we were asked to sign up 9 months in advance and then to sign up for classes 7 months in advance! There was of list of teachers and classes that boggled the mind. I think the original list had 40 teachers teaching 4-8 classes each. Of course that never came about.
Around February things started going pear shaped (as they say in the UK). Teachers were changed. Classes were canceled. Sometimes students were informed of these changes, sometimes they weren’t. Actually MOST of the time no one knew what was going on. As the event came closer in time, the communication became worse, or ceased to exist at all. All of this culminated in American teachers arriving without work visas, one being deported at customs at the airport, and a last minute effort was made to get those visas in hand before the entire event collapsed. In the end, most of the Tuesday classes were either canceled or moved to later in the week. If they were moved, that threw off the schedule for the rest of the week for that teacher and students.
I arrived Wednesday morning when most people had already sorted out their NEW class schedule. You have to understand that those of us arriving late had no idea what had really happened Tuesday and if our classes were affected. Communication to Ravelry or even to their own UK Knit Camp web site was non-existant. I walked into the office early Wednesday morning to be met by people who had absolutely no clue what was going on! I can’t imagine what they were doing in the office if they couldn’t help. Luckily my friends were already there and Nancy came to rescue me. The people in the office couldn’t even tell me how to get to my dorm room to drop off my luggage!
With Nancy’s help I found my way to the dorm, dropped my stuff and hurried back to the find the dining hall. I then announced to everyone that I was off to my first class, “Nordic Color Work” with Nancy Bush. They only laughed at me. “You THINK that’s what you are doing, but it isn’t”, they said. I went back to the office where I found someone who had the latest class schedule. Sure enough, my class had moved to Thursday, on top of another class I had signed up for. Why didn’t they tell me that the first time I was there?
In short, this was the beginning of my experience of Knit Camp chaos, and it only went on and on like this all week. It became laughable. Everyone was so determined to have a good time that we rolled with everything that went wrong and made the best of it. Knitters are just the best.
I had originally signed up to take: Nordic Color Work, Design your own lace shawl (an all day class), Beginning dyeing, Natural dyeing.
I ended up taking: Photographing your knits, Japanese knitting, Nordic color work, Beginning dyeing, Natural dyeing.
The most fun class was the yarn dyeing class with Debbie Tomkies. The most useful classes were the Japanese knitting class and the natural dyeing class. I will definitely use what I learned in those two classes. The photography class with Mary-Jane Mucklestone was also really useful since I have to start taking better photos of my projects and the yarn in my shop. I wish that class had be longer!
Only a couple of classes were changed, but it was just chaos getting to those changes. I asked for refunds, which I got (once from Jo’s purse!). I did go on the New Lanark Mill tour (not so special) but traded the Loch tour for the Japanese knitting class. I just couldn’t face another winding road on a bus.
I have so many stories of things that were so badly organized that you would think a committee of monkeys thought it all up. Seriously. This whole event was the perfect example of how NOT to organize anything. We all learned a lot. And we all learned that despite this mess, we could have a great time! I don’t know of anyone who could say they had a lousy time. The classes were very good (for the most part – I have heard about a class where most people were NOT happy, but that’s another story).
The best part about Knit Camp was the people. I met so many lovely people! I met LittleLou, my blogging buddy! The girls from Portugal who taught others to knit with yarn around their necks. The Aussies. Renée and the American teachers. The group that we met up with every night at the pub downstairs. Everyone was great fun. It was also so cool to walk around with hundreds of knitters and see what everyone was wearing! I saw so many lovely knitted shawls!
Will I go to Knit Camp again next year? Ha! I doubt there will be one. And if there is I won’t be going. I’m hoping there will be a Knit Nation in London again next year and I’ll be heading to that instead. I heard it was great this year. In any case, if Jo Watson is “organizing” anything in future – be warned – she’s not very good at it. (Yes, I will name names. Why not? She’s put her name out there as the organizer and should certainly be held accountable.)
Below are photos from my time at UK Knit Camp 2010. I hope you’ve read down this far! The next post will be all about the beauty of the surrounding area, with photos of countryside and trees and water…..