I’m back in Nova Scotia after knit camp in Stirling, Scotland. It’s good to be back for a last taste of warm summer, as Scotland seems to be a climate where positive temperatures and the absence of rain is really the definition of a stellar summer day! We were fortunate in that we only had a couple of showery days, as there was quite a lot of walking required around the campus of Stirling University. I found the cool, humidity-free air very pleasant for teaching and sleeping, although I should perhaps have packed a few more clothes and my Venus Rising Cardigan for warmth. I find it difficult to imagine being cool when I am warm.
On the subject of Scottish weather, Liz Lovick of Northern Lace who lives on Orkney, described how she always spins fleece in the grease. If she were to wash fleece and attempt to dry it outdoors, on all but three days a year she’d be sending it to Norway on the wind!
The superstars of knitting camp were the knitters, every one of them. I salute you, one and all. You made it wild and wonderful. Thank you.
Especial thanks to:
Hillary: for being prepared and taking charge of the logistics of getting us from the airport, when my ride didn’t materialize.
Angelita: for being a wonderful class angel and more besides. If I could only afford a roadie, I’d sign you up.
Sue: for the mercy dash to Tescos to obtain decongestants so that I might fly without my ears exploding. It was successful, I only suffered briefly as we landed in Halifax.
Also to Jane, who most valiantly offered to pick me up, despite the ungodly hour of departure, and drop me at Edinburgh airport. As it happened, we managed to cram MaryJane Mucklestone into the car as well (it’s a good job fleece are squishy).
After a somewhat rocky start, the workshops proceeded apace and everyone seemed to love their workshops with every teacher. Sometimes it’s good to try something unexpected and new to you. Almost every class was a global meeting place. The breakdown of nationalities seemed to be 1/3 UK residents with quite a few from the Scottish islands, 1/3 Europeans from all points of the compass, 1/3 from the rest of the globe including Australia, S. Africa, Canada and the US, and others besides.
This international cocktail added great zest to classes and discussions; everyone was so happy to meet other knitting knuts and play with yarn together.
Another lovely aspect for me was the chance to socialize with fellow mentors, some of whom I’ve never had the chance to meet before, over a period of days; this allows for a little more than the fleeting Hi and Goodbye type conversations to which we are usually confined.
Imagine my squirming embarrassment at having sat near a woman at lunch and checked out her spectacular wool dreadlocks without clueing in that she was THE Woolly Wormhead, bus inhabitant and hat designer extraordinaire! Bit dim on my part. I finally got to meet Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer, and saw (up close and in person) their breathtaking illusion knitting. The level of detail they are achieving has to be seen to be believed. They have some good pics on their web site (remember that if you look directly at this kind of knitting, you only see vertical stripes). This is what happens when math teachers go to the dark side. New to me was the work of Carol Feller, : all these designs, a great teacher, and she has four small to medium children. Some folks leave me breathless. We also share a taste for a pint of bitter!
It was great to see Nancy Bush again. We’ve shared rooms and early morning tea together in the past, so it was good to catch up on what is new. Interweave is in the process of publishing a new edition of her Folk Socks book. Quite possibly this is the book that launched the current ongoing sock revolution. We gave a sock lecture together; which I hope was entertaining. It certainly had the visual amusement factor nailed: Nancy, dressed head to foot in black with her wonderful, calmly coloured collection of traditional socks, versus me in my favorite lime green and turquoise dress with orange sheep, pink-blue-purple hair, multi coloured toe nails and odd shoes and my collection of contemporary brightly coloured socks. We live in very different colours but are equally passionate about socks.
I met Anne Kingstone for the first time: if I wanted a lasting sound-bite of the entire event, it would be her melodious laugh! She designed the camp sweater and has some neat designs. I was rather frugal in the seductive market, as bringing a fleece in the grease back to NS was not an option, and there were too many to choose from; instead I chose one of Jon Dunn’s sushi roll sock blanks. I’ll have photos later, as things develop.
I’m afraid I’m missing out mentioning many other wonderful teachers, but I simply have to draw this to a close tonight, as sleep beckons. This really was a milestone event in a lovely setting, with a great sense of camaraderie amongst the attendees.