knit camp

It’s something of a contrast to post about Knit Camp directly after Knit Nation.  The phrase “chalk and cheese” springs to mind.

I won’t go in to too much about the poor organisation of Knit Camp; that seems to be pretty much being thrashed out over on Ravelry and Twitter.  Once it became clear that work permits for the international tutors hadn’t been finalised, and that we were being given very little information about what was happening, I very seriously considered not going at all.  The deciding factor was that I would have felt very guilty if I’d cancelled my B&B room after booking six months ahead.  Plus, I really want to spend more time in Scotland.  So I dragged myself out of bed and on to the train to Stirling.

All in all my experience was of an event that was OK, albeit disorganised, and in a lot of ways not-as-advertised.  Lots of people have reported having an amazing time, but the event felt pretty flat for me.  I think it wasn’t helped by the fact that I was staying off-campus and wasn’t attending the evening excursions (off-site attendees were initially not entitled to attend these).  I’ve also attended several knitting events, so I have quite a wide point of comparison.

Nonetheless, there were definitely some highlights:

The university campus was undeniably beautiful.  I mean, how many unis have lakes and hills and swans?  I don’t think it was actually a great place for the camp in terms of the layout, distances between buildings, heating issues (one woman had to leave a class halfway through due to the heat), but it was lovely to walk around:

There were swans everywhere…

Even on the bank having a snooze in the afternoon sun!

I really enjoyed the photography class with Mary Jane Mucklestone, a very warm and engaging tutor.  I hadn’t heard of her work before (the class was originally scheduled with Franklin Habit) but I think she stepped up to the challenge well.  I haven’t suddenly become a photographic genius (it would take a lot more than three hours for that) but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing some of Mary Jane’s photos and hearing her stories of styling for Interweave Knits.  After a while we were let loose outside with our cameras, and I borrowed a skein of yarn from Cindi of  Left Coast Yarns; lovely stuff.

Another real highlight for me was meeting Norah Gaughan, one of the most creative and prolific knitting designers around.  Finding out that she was teaching (a rare thing) what the factor that prompted me to book a trip to Knit Camp in the first place.  I did her class on Innovative Cables and  I would have liked some more info on the theory behind designing cables, but apparently that was covered in a different class.  Norah struggled through the class with a nasty cold and not much of a voice left, and my hero worship continues.

There has been some really good feedback about the stalls in the marketplace which was held on the Friday and Saturday (although the layout wasn’t great for either stallholders or customers).  I only had time for a quick lap around, and was very restrained with my purchases, snaffling only one skein of yarn.  But oh my word it really is precious – supersoft undyed cashmere from Artisan Yarns.  I imagine it will take me a long while to decide just how to dye it up.

I ran out of time to do all the touristy sightseeing that I wanted but I managed to climb the zillion steps up the Wallace Monument, and got great views across Stirling and the university.

I didn’t make it to the Stirling Castle, and only managed a day in Edinburgh re-visiting my favourite places.  I keep reminding myself that Scotland is only a few hours away by train and I will definitely go back.