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The aftermath of UK Knit Camp September 17, 2010

Filed under: Teaching Woes — happystitches @ 19:14

The sound of silence… I’d like to share my UK Knit Camp experience with you. I have written my full account in another post but if you’d like the short version, following is what I’d like to share about what is really making me feel the worst.

More even than the money and travel costs that are owing to many of the tutors (and quite probably to other people whose services were used), what upsets me most is the total lack of courtesy. I feel conned, used and disrespected.

There are so many small things that could have been done after the event that would have cost nothing but a few minutes of internet time. I (and I do not believe I am alone in this) have not received so much as an email to acknowledge my work or thank me for attending their event. Not a single acknowledgment of my invoice sent or response to our communications.

I received one circular e-mail (two days ago), marked confidential, informing us that various potential avenues of communication were now closed.

It would have been easier to bear if some respect had been shown to the tutors as people: it was obvious that our status as expert teachers, working hard to make a living, was not considered at any time. At no time was I even greeted at the event with a ‘hello, we are glad you are here’. The fact that the tutors tried their utmost to give the students a good time and to make a go of what was essentially a train-wreck in progress, was totally and resolutely ignored, both on the ground and on the web.

Had these basic common courtesies been extended to the attendees as well, it would have soothed a lot of criticism.

It is now well over 30 days since the completion of the event. A couple of teachers have received full payment. A couple have received half the amount they are owed. The remainder: nothing at all, nor any explanation.

Thank you for listening to me on my soap box.  Many tutors are enduring significant financial hardship as a result of this heist. I’ve tried the suffering in silence and being nice route, and that doesn’t seem to be working. These are purely my opinions and may not be those of other tutors.

I’m selfishly sharing this with you in the hope that I can stop stewing and loosing sleep over this. I resent any more of my energy and creativity being sucked into this black hole and strangely I do feel better for writing this. Thank you.

Should I receive any communication or payment from the organizers I will naturally post it here immediately.

Thank you too to all the wonderful knitters I met and those of who have been expressing good wishes and support to all the tutors. It was really great to meet you all.

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92 Responses to “The aftermath of UK Knit Camp”

  1. Abby Says:

    So sorry to hear of this debacle. I hope writing about this has provided you some solace. I had heard there were problems with this event but I didn’t realize how bad it was. Very sorry you and the other tutors were treated so shabbily.

    • Lucy Neatby Says:

      I’m sad that I’ll just have to be so militant about deposits and pre-payment in future. Thanks for your thoughts.

      • Mulene Says:

        Lucy, absolutely. You should
        Protect yourself and anyone booking you who is legitimate should have no issue with that. I’m so sorry you have been through this mire – really hope to meet you in the future.

        Best wishes

        Mulene

  2. Natasha Says:

    I am nearly incredulous that you and others have been treated so poorly. The extent of this debacle could lead one to believe that perhaps the organizer is suffering from a psychiatric disorder. I hope venting about it will bring you some peace. Fingers crossed you’ll get paid properly, too.

  3. Ana Petrova Says:

    Don’t you feel much better now that you got that off your chest? Life is too short to loose sleep over such annoyance. But you will know next time! The buzz has not been very positive about this event.

  4. Lab Cat Says:

    Lucy,

    I am very sorry to hear about your troubles with the UK Knit Camp organizers, in particular getting paid for your hard work at knit camp.

    I was one of your students who very much enjoyed your lesson and hope that everything gets resolved eventually.

    Cathy

  5. Angeluna Says:

    Jeez, sounds like a disaster. A little courtesy would have helped. IMHO, the knitting instructors are the “Rock Stars” of any knitting event and should be treated as such.

    I manage musicians and send them all over the world. I NEVER let them pay for an international ticket, for several reasons. One, obviously the expense and concern about reimbursement after the fact. Two, if the event cancels, the artist is stuck with an unusable ticket out of pocket. We arrange the best connections for our client, then send the reservation to the presenter for payment. Either they pay, or the artist doesn’t get on the plane.

    As for the rest of the story, I’m just shocked. I know the UK group had a lot of problems, of their own making, but they could at least have given better information up front and kept you in the loop.

    • Lucy Neatby Says:

      I think I’d better change my profession – but no one would want my music!
      We are trying to be consistent with significant $$ deposits for workshops but I made the error of mentally treating this like some of the larger US events when it is completed after. Maybe we will have to revisit this practice as most events have their registration monies paid to them ahead of time.

  6. Cheryl Waters Says:

    Oh, I wish I had been there. I would have surely been yelling from the roof top. There is no reason to give you a hassle about payment for services rendered.

  7. Julia Grunau Says:

    You will always have every right to tell your story exactly as you see it. Never feel badly. It took courage to write what you did, as it would have taken patience and wisdom to live it, and make the best experience you could for your students. Good for you.

  8. Susan Says:

    Lucy, I have followed this whole mess with great interest, and feel sympathy for all the tutors for the way you have been and continue to be treated. I attended Knit UK with a certain amount of trepidation, as a part of an extended trip to Scotland. I thoroughly enjoyed my classes, but I especially enjoyed meeting all of the tutors ( and I was lucky enough to have breakfast with you guys at the Management Center most days) and the fellow KC attendees. At the time many of us looked at the fiasco with a sense of humor. That time has passed, and a resolution needs to happen. Thanks for speaking up!!

  9. Tammy Says:

    Oh Lucy, how awful. I have been following the story on Ravelry since coming back from Knit Camp. I didn’t take classes from you, but I do know you are an awesome tutot!!! I did have an enjoyable time at KC and I know that it was the tutors who made it so. I really hope everything is worked out well in the end for you and the other tutors!

  10. Jane Says:

    I am so pleased that you have spoken out – and such a gracious telling of your experience and the truth. My experience at knit camp was inspiring and exhilarating, but that was due to the tutors who, like you (as I now know), had realistic misgivings leading up to the event, but went ahead because of their feeling of responsibility towards their students who were travelling from all around the world. The professionalism of the tutors who put themselves through this experience, with not a hint of their concerns visible to me, or I believe the other students, during the week, despite difficulties due to changing class numbers etc, well it’s astounding and humbling.

    I am concerned to discover that even the amount on paper that you, and others are owed, is less than the ‘deal’ when you first committed. It makes me more determined than ever to get involved in whatever is started to reduce the gaping chasm between what you should all be receiving and what is likely to be available.

  11. unblinkered Says:

    I’m so sorry you have been put in this position and I hope that you are able to recoup some costs, at least (what can I say…I’m an optimist!).

    The behaviour of the organiser has been awful and I’m shocked that even the “big name” tutors were treated so badly. Thank you for telling us your side of the story – and thank you for attending Knit Camp! I didn’t attend any classes, but I was helping out at the marketplace and your bright and colourful presence certainly cheered the place up! :)

  12. ysolda Says:

    Although I ended up pulling out of Knit Camp, I have a huge amount of respect for those tutors who took the risk of attending in order to avoid dissapointing the students. Despite being well aware of what’s been going on, I felt sickened reading you’re account. I’m so, so sorry that it’s turned out like this, far beyond any imagined worse case scenario and can only hope that payment will eventually be made.

    I’m so glad to hear that writing this has helped you feel better, hopefully someday we’ll get to teach together at a better event.

    • I’m honestly happy for those that got away by the skin of their teeth. It was good to meet you briefly at TNNA, what you didn’t say about Camp spoke volumes. Wishing you continued success with your career. Happy stitches, Lucy

  13. Helen Says:

    I’m so, so sorry that this has happened to you. By posting this and moving on you are reinforcing my impression of you as a lovely, decent and classy lady.

    I was very glad to meet you at Knit Camp, and to be able to attend two of your classes. I took a lot away from both classes and was incredibly thankful for your handouts. Thankyou so much for your professionalism and decency.

  14. kath Says:

    Lucy,
    I am so sorry to hear this. I didnt take any of your classes, but wished I had, when I went to the socks talk on the saturday. I heard nothing but rave reviews about your classes from other attendees.
    I wish there was some way we could make the (dis)organisers meet their obligations .
    I hope this doesnt put you off visiting the UK again.
    Kath

  15. amysrainbow Says:

    Lucy, as someone who has followed all the shenanigans almost from day one, I thought that things couldn’t get any worse. I’ve had run ins with the organiser (as have many people) and, although I thought she was rude and supercilious, I didn’t think she was capable of this – I’m so very very sorry about the way you and the others have been treated, I hope you can come back one day under better, properly organised circumstances and put all this behind you though.

  16. Bridget McKendrick Says:

    I am a huge follower of yours,,books and dvd’s,,you have been So helpful to me and really got me going with sock knitting..I live in Scotland,I just feel so embarrassed that you were treated like this.I can assure you, this is not normal for us to treat visitors in such an unpleasant manner. I hope you will come again and see us in our true light..Carry on with your work, i just love it..thankyou.

  17. vinnie Says:

    I love how you felt concern for your students when determining not to jump ship. Having taken one of your classes at Sock Summit, I know that you gave them great memories.

  18. Linda Says:

    Hi Lucy

    There’s a UK Government Agency called the Companies Investigation Branch whose remit is to deal with:

    misconduct or unscrupulous practices, whether or not this amounts to fraud.

    From their website http://www.insolvency.gov.uk/cib/index.htm

    When we receive information about the behaviour of a company we will assess that information to see whether or not it would be appropriate for us to attend on that company and require it to provide us with documents and information. This allows us to come to a view as to whether further action, and if so what action, is required in the wider public interest.

    Our approach is to take a proportionate and realistic view of issues brought to our attention, and to investigate aspects of corporate behaviour which might harm both the business community and the public generally.

    They have an online form you fill in with the details and it involves no cost.

    The organiser is a discharged bankrupt but it is believed she wasn’t discharged from her bankruptcy until September 2009 so if you have any documented dealings with her before that date then she will have been in breach of her bankruptcy order and it’s just another example of her unscrupulous work practices.

    Approaching the Companies Investigation Branch will not help you get paid but it might prevent her from setting up another company.

    Linda

  19. Jammam Says:

    I am so sorry that this was your experience. I hope you are indeed able to put this to bed now (with the exception of holding out a slim hope that some financial recompense may eventually come your way). Bright blessings for you and for making the best classes you could for your students. xx

  20. Lisa S Says:

    This, my dear, was a complete rip-off. I heard stories of US teachers being turned away for lack of a work visa and while the people taking your class were indeed lucky, this ruins the chance of you or any other teachers of note taking something like this seriously, ever again. You thought of your students and they were the fortunate ones.
    Franklin and I were discussing this debacle when we met at Stitches Midwest and I simply can’t get over how shabbily you were treated. Makes one not want to leave the shores of Nova Scotia…
    Thank you for speaking up. Things like this need to come into the light.

  21. Tricia Says:

    Just wanted to add my sympathy for the way you were treated and the lack of payment/reimbursement. I was lucky enough to attend your sock class weekend a couple of years ago ( which was properly organised by Alice Yu ) and still think of you every time I cast off and pull the end through instead of pulling up a loop and feeding the end through! I hope you’re not forever put off teaching in the UK again. – Knit Nation ran very smoothly this year with no shortage of mostly British knitters attending classes.

    • Alice Yu at Soctopus organizes a classy event. Well run and professionally managed, good times for all. We must not let this tarnish the reputation of knitting events in the UK as a whole. However, I have been hearing of a couple of other class scams that have taken place in the US (since this came to light). I think we all (teachers, students and vendors) have a right to ask a bit more info about organizers and their track record before signing on in future.

  22. Kelly Klem Says:

    You won’t go to hell for doing it. (small compensation)
    Of any knitting innovator/designer surely YOU would be recognized!
    Now I’m SCARED to teach. (hell, I’m scared to cross the ocean)
    Never fear – there are plenty of us knitterly folks who simply adore you!

  23. Danielle L Says:

    Oh, Lucy, I am SO disappointed to hear this. I’ve been reading the Ravelry group stuff with incredulity – and with the hope that some of it was beyond the reality … and that teachers were being paid. I spent thousands of dollars on this trip over the pond and orchestrated a full holiday around KnitCamp and was determined – as you say some of us were – to keep a positive attitude throughout the week. I was in your ambidextrous knit class and it was one of the highlights of the week for me for sure. You are fabulous teacher and knitter. I really hope that you still some compensation for your work/expenses. Thank you for your professionalism throughout the week.

  24. Laura Says:

    I am so sorry to hear all of this and how appallingly you all were treated. :( I hope that by airing it you get some relief and maybe some day see some returns from it.

  25. probablyjane Says:

    I’m so sorry that this happened to you, Lucy. As someone who attended and thoroughly enjoyed a weekend knitting retreat that you taught in the UK a couple of years ago I really hope this lamentable business practice won’t put you off sharing your skills with us over here again.

  26. Jane Says:

    Lucy

    Thanks for posting about these events and I am so sorry you have lost out so badly in all of this. Even if you get some money back (I sincerely hope you do) there is no excuse for the appalling behaviour. I attended your sock class at Knit Camp and it was fantastic and I would recommend your classes to anyone who has the chance to attend one and other people I met were delighted with your classes too. I am sickened that I paid to attend your class and you have not been paid and also because the whole debacle will put tutors off coming back.

  27. etcgirl Says:

    Oh, Lucy – I know exactly how you feel needing to “say” something in order to let it pass so you can sleep. Bless you for your forthrightness. As a major event producer of over 20 years, now retired and helping run an LYS, I have been appalled from the sidelines at some of the goings-on at Knit Camp. Unprofessionalism doesn’t begin to describe what has transpired.

    I am most sorry to have confirmed the financial predicament of you and other tutors. I hope that your post gives others some comfort in not being alone, if nothing else.

    I hope, too, that you achieve some future fiscal resolution.

  28. Judith in Ottawa Says:

    Good grief, I wouldn’t call this an “annoyance”! I would speculate you’re out at least a couple of thousand dollars in expenses alone, and (I hope) a much more significant amount in lost income. Far beyond a petty crime, and hardly a petty annoyance.

    Pity that helpful immigration lawyer can’t be of use in mopping up The Aftermath.

  29. alwen Says:

    I am so sorry this happened to you.

    It’s a messy, messy situation no matter how you look at it.

  30. Tasha Says:

    Lucy,
    I am completely horrified about your experience. I can’t believe your treatment & it truly does hurt the rest of the knitting community. I have enjoyed your classes several times in the past in Dallas & hope to see you again soon.

  31. Lesley Says:

    Lucy,

    I’ve been following this saga since the beginning, and we could see the disaster looming.

    Living in Nova Scotia (and practically in your neighbourhood) I’ve had the chance to meet you, attend a class of yours, work with your patterns and play with your yarn. All delightful experiences. And I won’t lie…I’ve felt great pride in telling people where I am from and having them go “Oh! Lucy Neatby lives there!”

    So to hear that you were taken in by the organizer makes me very sad.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that action will be taken against this organizer and that you are eventually compensated for your time and efforts.

  32. Peg Says:

    Sorry about this very unfortunate situation, Lucy. I trust we can show you a much happier and fruitful time on Canada’s West Coast. The meals are delicious, the view is spectacular and we are all looking forward to our weekend with you. Hope this all gets resolved, but it will be a frost Friday in July before you repeat that one, I bet!
    Peg (who will be there with much enthusiasm at the beginning of October)

  33. Kris Says:

    As someone who’s worked on organizing a small conference, I’m horrified and embarrassed that all of you were treated so shabbily. My only hope is that all of you wonderful instructors get full and complete satisfaction with interest, and the “organizers” never be allowed to attend anything with fiber ever, ever again. This is shameful, and I ache for all of you!

  34. PlazaJen Says:

    Lucy, as someone who was lucky (and happy!) to have taken classes from you here in Kansas City, and hopes to again one day, I just am appalled at how all this unfolded. I had hoped that even though many students were still clamoring for refunds, that at least the teachers and their expenses had been paid. SO disheartening to learn this is not the case. I am glad you have shared your experience, as it will surely help other teachers and students in the future, and I hope you do receive some compensation.

  35. revknits Says:

    I’m so sorry for all concerned with this event. You are a wonderful teacher, your notes are fabulous (and in my reference notebook), and your DVDs invaluable.

    Yes, I think teachers will be requiring a whole bunch more upfront after this debacle.

  36. Jan Says:

    You really don’t deserve this because I think-although we have never met- you are such a great teacher and teachers should not be treated like that. (and I envy you a little that you are living in Nova Scotia which should be really beautiful :-)

  37. Liz Says:

    I am really upset at how you and the other tutors were treated and then to not be paid for your work is just disgusting. I was in two of your classes and enjoyed them immensly as did the other participants. I am so sorry it turned out as it did

  38. As a Scot and a knitter I’m horrified at your “welcome” to our country. Please don’t think we’re all like this, or that the knitting community up here is represented by that one person! And please don’t let it put you off coming here again under different organisation…though I can imagine you’re going to be far more wary about it in the future.

    As to not being able to access money in Scotland what a load of bollocks. The English and Scottish banking systems are fully merged these days and mostly run by the same people anyway. She’s up here all the time to see her in-laws so she’s sure to know about this. Just more lies I’m afraid.

  39. Elaine Says:

    Oh my God … I really hoped that what I read on Ravelry had been hyped up … this makes me so so sad about my time at Knit Camp. I had such a good time with the other students, like you said “doing their upmost to take the Knit Camp hiccups in their stride”

    I feel sick that all this time the tutors have had to put up with this terrible treatment, and so professionally never let on. And to now not be paid! This is such a disgrace!!

    But I am confused as to why people think UK knitters don’t travel – we do – all over the country, iKnit, Knit Nation, WonderWales, Woolfest etc etc. I’m wondering if lots didn’t go to Knit Camp because there seems to have been something that happened at Coventry that others [like myself] knew nothing about and they were steering clear of the organisation in its entirety..?

    Anyway – I truely hope this gets resolved and thank you for sharing/shedding light.

  40. Catherine Says:

    I’m truly shocked at just how badly you’ve been treated. Sending you much sympathy and hoping that, as you say, getting this out there will help. xxx

  41. ambermoggie Says:

    Lucu I was sorry not to be attending and not being able to meet you as you were one of the main reasons I would have booked. Being sent your DVD and sock pattern from a SP gift set me off knitting socks for the hospice 43 pairs in a year:) I had my reservations about going and those plus my health matters decided me not to. I’m glad I didn’t now but I do urge you not to tar us all here in UK with the deeds of a very devious incompetent person. We would love to see you visit again. Heck if I had the cash I’d fly you over tomorrow so we could make it up to you:)
    I started the social knit camp group on Rav because I and a few others were very concerned about what was going on and all the deleted/archived messages. I felt there needed to be a place where people could get unbiased information, it turned out to be very helpful for those actually there to know where they were supposed to be etc.
    No consolation for you though sadly.
    Thanks for being so honest and remember you ALWAYS are welcome over here

  42. Thank you so much for posting about your experiences. It was a nightmare scenario for students, but I can see how much worse it has been for tutors. So many of us gave Jo the benefit of the doubt. If only we all knew then what we knew now!

  43. nathalieclaeys@gmail.com Says:

    I am so sad this has turned into a financial disaster for the tutors. I enjoyed every single class. And even sitting at the breakfast table with you, the tutors. :-) They have taken advantage of you. If only they felt as responsible towards you, as you did towards us, the pupils.

  44. Liz Says:

    Hello Lucy: I was one of your students on the Wednesday double-knitting class. Thank you so much for attending, and teaching, despite your doubts. Somewhat naively, I thought the worst was over now that everyone was here, and (where necessary) legally here.

    I really hope that you get some resolution to this – I’m mortified that I handed over my class fees in good faith and they haven’t been paid to the people who travelled so far and worked so hard to make the event a good experience. I also, just as a participant, agree on the lack of courtesy throughout; and I’m very sad (but not surprised) that that also extended to tutors.

  45. Amazed Says:

    It’s all such a mess, but I am glad to see someone speaking out about this mess so matter-of-factly. The dis-organizer has relied on the gag order placed on the teachers to try to preserve her cone of silence. She pulled this exact same thing with her previous event, and the inherent nonconfrontational style of most knitters helped her pull off an even bigger scam. Hopefully other teachers will speak out so that their students and blog readers will learn of the debacle and keep it from happening again.

    I admire your decision to speak up! Well done, you!

  46. A UK knitter/crocheter/spinner Says:

    Very sad to read this, but not unexpected, since it confirms a lot of what has been surmised. Really hope you get at least partial reimbursement, if not full :(

    One thing I’d like to say though is that I’m someone who didn’t go to Knit Camp, and the reason for that isn’t because I don’t travel/it was too far, etc. When I first heard about it, it sounded amazing – spend a few days in scotland, take a few classes, sit around with other fibery people… awesome.

    However, when I found out who was organising it, my plans for saving the money for the accommodation, working out the travel plans, booking the time off work – well, they just didn’t ever get started.

    Unfortunately, having attended the UK ‘Ravelry’ day in Coventry last year (which, frankly, I’d raised eyebrows about the name being used, at the time) I’d both been left feeling rather underwhelmed by the day itself, and also perturbed by what I heard following the day. I was disappointed to not find some vendors there and to find out the reason why they weren’t (when they were planning to be there initially) was because they’d been refused stalls/the rules about who could be there had been changed? That didn’t sit so well.

    So there were a lot of question marks in my mind, and I was, to be honest, gobsmacked after all the problems surrounding the Coventry day that the organiser seemed to be launching headlong into an even bigger thing the year following.

    I strongly suspect that I am not the only person who’d attended Coventry in 2009, weighed up both the financial outlay to go up to Knit Camp and also who was organising it, and decided that the risks of something going fundamentally wrong/it not living up to expectations were just too high.

    Had I gone to Knit Camp, most of my funds would have gone on travel, accommodation, food, and classes, since it would only be viable to travel that far for more than just a couple of days up there.

    There was no way I was prepared to take a chance on things like the date changing, the class schedule changing, I didn’t plan on being there for the entire time, after all, since funds *were* limited. I didn’t want to get there and find out that vendors had been restricted and suddenly few of the ones I hoped to buy from just weren’t there.

    And frankly – we were being asked to book things SO FAR IN ADVANCE that I couldn’t figure out what I needed to book. It seemed that if I didn’t book the classes then I might not get the ones I wanted, but then I didn’t have the costs of the accommodation, which meant I couldn’t budget – or was it that the classes weren’t finalised so I had no idea how many days accommodation I needed to book? I can’t remember, but I know the two weren’t available simultaneously when I looked at it.

    And if that was indicative of the rest of it, plus the previous years goings-on at Coventry? Frankly I felt I’d be a fool to put money in the Knit Camp direction.

    So I didn’t, and I might thus appear to be one of those UK knitters who ‘don’t travel’.

    I guess all my wafflings can just be summarised into this: I am a UK knitter and I DO travel, I just chose – for many reasons including protecting my hard-earned money – not to risk travelling to THIS particular event.

    Someone who drives into London from the midlands two days in a row in order to attend Knit Nation can hardly be said to not be dedicated to the idea of going to fibre fairs, after all, and I’m planning going to Fibre Flurry in the west midlands – a round trip of at least 3 hours and possibly 4 – as well.

    I really hope that the appalling organisation of Knit Camp doesn’t put other tutors off of coming from abroad to such things – it would be sad if that was the end result from this whole debacle.

    At the end of the day, had Knit Camp been organised by anyone else, I imagine there would have been *vastly* more people willing to attend.

  47. Mary Says:

    Lucy,
    I wasn’t able to attend any classes at Knit Camp but was there on the Saturday for the marketplace. My friends and I were sitting out in the sun at the table next to yours and one of them asked about what you were knitting. You very kindy gave us an impromptu guide to double knitting, which was very informative and inspiring, and I only wished I had been able to go one of your classes.
    As a Scottish knitter I feel anxious that the whole debacle will reflect badly on our wonderful country and expanding knitting community. What started out with the potential to become an annual event bringing knitters together in Scotland has resulted in the fear that we’ll never see anything like it again here, regardless of how well its organised, as people will be reluctant to commit to the expense and time involved.
    Thank you for your honest post, and I’m sorry you have been treated so badly.

  48. So sorry to hear that things are still not resolved. I admire your frankness in posting and hope that something gets sorted out. The irony is that it was the presence of yourself and the other tutors, and your determined that the students wouldn’t suffer as a result of the dreadful ( lack of ) organisation that made the event a success.

    best wishes

    jeni

  49. determined? I believe the word I was looking for was determination!

  50. Mary Dowling Says:

    I love the final touch – waking you up! Sure adds insult to injury!c

  51. Lucy Neatby Says:

    I’m glad at least that we were able to give students the best time possible.

  52. Lucy Neatby Says:

    Hope that I at least managed to secure another convert to the delights of double-knitting. A missionary at any price! Thanks for your message.

    • Liz Says:

      If that was a response to my post, yes, you absolutely did. I have the materials and pattern for the Bubbles KAL right next to me and am intending to cast on tomorrow. I’m just sorry about that “at any price”.

  53. Kota Atok Says:

    I am so sorry that unmanager of the event has let you down so much because it was tutors like you and the others that made the event for attendees like me. As a result of the immigration I had classes rescheduled and some cancelled. I decided not chase the refund as I thought it would be going to the tutors who should have been paid even though sessions were cancelled. So not happy that this happened to you and the others.

  54. Romi Says:

    Ugh. How absolutely horrid. So glad my classes were canceled. So sad that your considerable expenses remain unpaid. It is no insignificant amount of money to get there. I’m hoping very very hard that it all gets straightened out and you receive your funds. Fingers crossed.

  55. [...] The aftermath of UK Knit Camp The sound of silence… I’d like to share my UK Knit Camp experience with you. I have written my full account further [...] [...]

  56. rebeccawip Says:

    Only read short version as my yoga awaits (on a break – was getting shakey ;) )
    anyhow, i am very sorry for the way you and the other tutors were treated. I hate it for everyone but i feel for some reason very offended for you – i was not fortunate enough to take one of your classes but timidly asked if you happened to be Lucy Neatby in the hall and was so pleased to see how warm and kind you are, in spite of total strangers randomlycoming up to you (surely nonstop) lol! And that someone could “reward” such a warm friendly person withthis kind of treatment really bothers me.
    I truly hope things work out iin the end for you and the other teachers. There definitely was a huge lack of respect and civility for all concerned by the powers that be at KC.

  57. Carol Leonard Says:

    I am mortified that you and everyone else should have received such appalling treatment, and you have done exactly the right thing to write publicly about it.
    I would like to make one comment though. the organiser has made a great deal of the belief that “British knitters don’t travel” as being the reason for the failure of Knit Camp. This really is not the case – British knitters travel all the time! I attended Knit Nation in preference to Knit Camp because of the prior reputation of the organiser, and for that reason alone. So, please don’t give up on us!
    I most sincerely hope that there is some satisfactory conclusion to this debacle,,,,,

  58. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by reneerico, JaneBunny, JaneBunny, KnitCave, Emily W. and others. Emily W. said: RT @madhatressTO: I think this deserves a "holy shit". WTF is wrong with people? The aftermath of UK Knit Camp: http://t.co/1Z5id57 [...]

  59. Yogicknitter Says:

    I am so glad you have started to speak out about this and that others too! Some of us have been seething in the background while all this has been going on! ((((HUGS)))))).

  60. Jeanne Says:

    Lucy: This is terrible. Thanks for the very frank report of UK Knit Camp. So many teachers just hide the truth and go on without comments. Glad to hear about it as I was very tempted to attend. I commend you for “getting out the word” about UK Knit Camp.

  61. Caroline Says:

    Wow! This is really frustrating! I am an event coordinator (although not of knitting events unfortunately) and have found that this is similar to what happens with many other events (albeit not usually of such an extreme nature!). I have found that by being a accommodating and friendly as possible, while outlining what is in my control and what is not is the best formula for a successful. Things don’t have to be perfect, you just have to do your best within the constraints you are given. I have created a new definition of success for an event-a successful event is not one where everything goes perfectly (that’s impossible) a successful event is one where people don’t realize things have gone wrong.
    I am hoping to do a fibre knitting festival in a couple years and I promise you I will treat the teachers and knitters far better than you have been treated!

  62. Jules Says:

    Lucy, eternal praise to you and all the tutors for your grace under fire! Amy and I came from Australia to be part of knitcamp, a gathering of people all inspired by the same things. It promised to be unlike anything I’d experienced before, and indeed it was- for the best and worst reasons! So many people and moments that I’ll treasure. So many unnecessary disappointments for us all.

    I am incredibly grateful that you and the other tutors had the integrity and spirit to stick around for the sake of us students and knitting as a whole and I really hope that the complete insanity of the experience gradually washes off, leaving you with (if nothing more!) a very clear process for negotiating contracts that can only support your wonderful skills and experience, plus a whole lot of respect from everyone who attended!

  63. I am one of the students who attended Knit Camp and the one class out of the five I booked which actually ran, was excellent. However the organisation was a disaster and the organisers should hang their heads in shame. I am local and only had to travel five miles but many people had come from long distances. It is a great shame because anyone else trying to organise a similar event in the Uk will get no support whatsoever. There is no excuse for the organisers not to reply to e-mails. I’m sure they are not able to give us refunds and I have given up all hope of getting my money back but simple information is a common courtesy.Like you ,I am furious.

  64. Dear Lucy,
    I wasn’t able to come to your classes, but I enjoyed hearing you speak on Saturday. I was aware there were problems when Ravelry pulled out, and was also aware of silence on the part of many people about whatever the problems were. I was a little unsure what I would find when I arrived in Stirling, but decided to come anyway and I was so glad I did. My impression just from that day was that everyone was working hard to keep things fun and positive. For me, it was a great opportunity.

    So like everyone above, I’m very sorry to hear what’s happened behind the scenes. I agree that you should expect to be treated professionally, even if it is a voluntary organisation that’s hiring your services. Just because you do what you do because you’re passionate about it, doesn’t mean that you should devalue your work. (As a teacher, I’ve more than once been told that I shouldn’t mind working crazy hours, “because you do it for the love of it”. I don’t agree – that way lies madness and burnout.)

    I also want to say that as a UK knitter I was very aware of your work through The Knitter magazine. I hope you get paid soon, are sleeping better, and feel you can let go and go on. Goodness knows you’ve got some very cool things to go on to – as do all of us knitters interested in your work! Thanks.

  65. Pam Everitt Says:

    Hi Lucy

    I knew things were bad, but hadn’t realised you had not even been greeted by the organizers when you finally arrived, or acknowledged while you were there. I am appalled at how you and the others have been treated. I thought the idea of Knit Camp was an excellent one and would not have missed it, as I think a lot of others felt, but I am afraid now that similar events will not be organized in the UK because of this shambles.

    I enjoyed your ambidextrous knitting class at Knit Camp and have since learned a lot more from a couple of your DVDs. I am angry that your professional position and work have been abused in this way, when we all paid our class fees up front.

    Please don’t let this put you off future events, I am sure there are many, many of us who would love to meet you again under happier circumstances.

    With kindest regards

    Pam

  66. Minnie Says:

    Oh Gads, As a former student of Stirling uni I was horrified by the whole lay out of knit camp much less how every one was treated. Its a real shame and I do hope you get your money.

  67. Emily Says:

    First, just to say that I was well aware of your knitting prowess and history – enjoyed knititng Fiesta socks and checking out your patterns in general.

    Secondly – SO VERY SORRY that KnitCamp was such a debacle for you and other tutors (as well as for many students). I had a wonderful time as a result of the efforts of tutors, volunteers and other students, as well as luck. Indeed I was one of the orphans at your day one class (as a swap for a different class with you later in the week) and have raved about the standard of your teaching since; I am very much looking forward to your finishing book.

    I am sorry because this was branded as a UK knitter event, and here am I, a UK knitter – it’s embarrassing for us all. I’m sorry it is forcing you to be more defensive in your terms. How sad.

  68. steel breeze Says:

    As a fellow tutor, I didn’t even get a contract. I’m still awaiting payment (although I’m pretty sure there is no money to pay me now). I thought the organiser was a friend (though not a close one) – I’ve been well and truly taken in by her, alas. I guess the only saving grace for me is that it’s not my main occupation so I’ll just have to write it off as a bad debt.

    I sat next to you at breakfast on the last day I think, loved your fairisle cardigan and had to resist flicking your pompom! :)

    I’m so sorry how things turned out. This was a one-off – I’m hoping this kind of car crash will never, ever be repeated. Kudos to you for speaking out about this. The whole matter is utterly, utterly shameful.

  69. Anita Says:

    I’m sorry to read this story laid out in full. The path of a knitting designer/teacher is not prosperous, and it’s very sad to find out that you have not even been paid. Hugs to you and the other teachers for making the experience as positive as possible for the attendees.

  70. Lucy, I’ve known you for a number of years and have never heard you complain about an event or accommodation before. In fact, I have helped to host you on more than one occasion. I found you to be a very accommodating and ‘low-maintenance’ guest and would happily host you again. So, to hear this story has to speak volumes about how bad the conditions were and how extreme you level of frustration is. I wish you a swift resolution without legal intervention.

  71. Beth Says:

    I thought the rude disinterested attitude of UK Knit Camp organizers was reserved for the students. Had no idea the tutors got their fair share also. I was more than a little frustrated, having also experienced the student side of all the problems you described. But as I have said to anyone who has asked me about the experience, I had a great time despite their best efforts to mess everything up. All the instructors I met or took classes with were wonderful. I met so many delightful, fun knitters from all over the world. Over ate at every meal and only gained one pound with all the walking!! I feel so bad for the tutors, the financial hardships created. I would like to think you will be eventually reimbursed but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting. Jo, if you are reading any of this, I don’t know how you look in the mirror. Beth

  72. [...] KC would print them off for the students), not being provided with yarn or other supplies, etc. See Lucy Neatby’s post for confirmation of this and the absolutely terrible treatment of the tutors from beginning to end [...]

  73. Rosemary Pieri Says:

    I can’t believe that they have not paid their bills. The organizers of this event received the majority of the money for the lodging and classes well in advance of the event. There should have been ample funds at the end of the event to start cutting checks at the end of the classes with only some incidental expenses to close up.
    It is ubelivable that they have not met their obligations by this time.
    I attended and enjoyed the classes and meeting so many wonderful instructors and other knitters from all over EU. I felt that the EU knitters were interested in seeing and meeting instructors from other areas and also enjoying the market place. Keep us posted on the finall out come.

  74. Lynae Says:

    The entire thing is just SO sad and SO irritating. I’ve travelled twice from Chicago to take a class from you (once at Sock Summit, once at StephenB’s in Minneapolis).

    Added to the problems you had and the time and money lost, is the fact that the actions of the “unorganizers” affect all those who might want to organize an event in the future. I’ve had conversations with Chicago based teachers affected by the Hands On scam, and they are completely changing their availability to other knitting events.

    I hope you have swift, fair resolution to all of this.

  75. Carrie Says:

    Unbelievable. I am so distraught over this . I hope there are some knitting lawyers that take of the needle on this one and get ya’ll paid. Thank you for posting your story.

  76. Joanne Says:

    Hi Lucy,

    I’m so sorry to hear of this mess, for you and all the other teachers. I was supposed to teach at Knit Camp but had to withdraw due to my father’s illness. Up until I read your post, I was feeling badly that I hadn’t been able to participate. I know the anger and frustration that you’re feeling as I went through the same thing, on a smaller scale, for SockFest in Toledo, OH, in, I think, 2003.

    We always think of knitters as kind and trustworthy and for the most part, they are. I think that’s why it comes as such a shock when something like this happens. It leaves bad feelings which never go away.

    I hope that the financial part can be resolved for you and the others.

    All the best,
    Joanne
    Colorado (via Kingston, ON)

  77. Joanne Says:

    ps…I also hope that you’ll be coming back to Denver one day soon!

  78. jude Tarrant Says:

    Lucy-
    I feel so terrible about how you tutors were treated. I am one who attended and had a great time, because of the other campers and the tutors and the general friendly fun. I did lose a bit of money, but am horrified that you have not been paid, and were treated so badly. To be honest, you put on such a happy , friendly face, that it was not a bit obvious that you were in such a difficult spot.
    Hoping and hoping that you get paid and are never, ever in such a spot again. I have been lucky enough to have a couple of classes with you here in Sacramento, and don’t ever want to think of your wonderful creativity being mashed by anyone! Thanks for telling the real story, I hope you feel better and I know we are better to know the truth and not have any illusions about who the real victims are here!
    Thanks for all you did!

  79. [...] For more information on one of these venues, written with more clarity and calmness than I can muster, here are blog posts by Sarah, Deb & Lucy [...]

  80. Chrissie Says:

    So sorry this has happened to you in my country.As a fellow knitter ,tutor ,and author I could not understand why so few British TUTORS WERE INVITED TO TEACH.maybe the fact they knew we could easily chase them up has something to do with it.I am livid that Knitting in the Uk know has this stigma attached to it.
    Chrissie


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