Saturday, 14 August 2010

Knit Camp - the end :(

Today is the last day of Knit Camp, and tomorrow I will be heading home.  I have had a very intellectual day, with three really interesting lectures.  Today was the first day that I didn't have to get up for a class, so I treated myself to a lie-in.  Only I overdid it and didn't wake up until 09:45h, so had to scoot to get to my 10:30 lecture in time and didn't get any breakfast.

My first lecture was Ethnic Lace, in which Liz Lovick talked about the Shetland lace tradition, Nancy Bush talked about the Estonian lace tradition, and Donna Druchunas talked about the relatively new lace production by the Inuit which they sell to raise money.  It was really interesting, particularly the portion where they talked to each other and asked each other questions, after giving their individual presentations.  Nancy and Donna handed around samples, and as I was knitting on my Estonian lace shawl as I was listening, it was fascinating (and humbling) to handle actual Estonian knitting and Nancy's samples.  Her nupps are way neater than mine.  Maybe mine will look better after blocking.  Nancy did say that she thought 2-ply Shetland lace yarn was the perfect yarn for Estonian lace, and my alpaca is a lot more slippier than Shetland lace yarn so perhaps that is why I am not getting as neat a result. Then they opened it up to questions from the floor and there were some really good ones.  Particularly interesting was the question as to whether they could be said to be exploiting the native traditions when they go in, take the patterns, and publish books about them.  Liz and Nancy had really good answers to that one, the gist of which is that the majority of native knitters felt that the promotion of their native traditions was benefiting them, and Nancy talked about how she had been helped with her book on Estonian lace and how she became involved with the English translation of the Haapsalu shawl book.

After that, I shot over to the dining room for lunch, then back to the marketplace.  I was a little early, so I looked in on the Guinness world record attempt, Sheep to Sweater.  They had a team of seven workers in an internal courtyard, including four spinners, someone plying the thread, and two knitters: the Guinness world record holder Miriam Tegals, and a friend of hers who seemed equally fast.  They had started with a sheared fleece as it is the wrong time of year to shear a sheep, and apparently the rules said they couldn't card the wool, so the spinners were working directly with some pretty disgusting looking fleece from Shetland.  At that point, the two knitters were about halfway up the back and front respectively.

Then I went into a lecture with Donna Druchunus again, Introduction to Japanese Knitting.  This was a short course on how to read Japanese knitting patterns, which are almost entirely schematic-based.  There wasn't a computer in the room, so Donna used the white board a lot, cribbing from her I-touch which she also passed around to show actual Japanese patterns.  She is going to send us a detailed handout covering the huge amount of information she gave us about how to read the schematics.

I checked back into the GWR attempt.  By now they had two knitters working on sleeves, Miriam and her friend almost finished on the front/back, and still some spinning and plying going on.  But at that point, they had about 15 minutes left and were still going to have to sew the jumper up, so I'm pretty sure they didn't get the world record.  The UK record was an hour longer, so I expect they broke that. 

My final lecture was the Luminary Panel, which was absolutely fabulous.  I thought the room would be packed, but there were only about 40 people there (I didn't count but there were loads of empty seats).  This was an amazing gathering of so many great knitters:  Debbie Stoller moderating, Liz Lovick , Deb Thomson, Nora Gaughan, Annie Modesitt, Woolly Wormhead, Jared Flood, Nancy Bush and Lucy Neatby.  I don't know when there has been a gathering like this, apart from Sock Summit.  This should have been televised, it was so good, or at least recorded for a podcast.  Debbie asked the panel some fabulous questions, and there were some really insightful answers about issues such as 'where do you see knitting in 10 years', or 'how has the internet impacted knitting' or 'do you feel that the rapid spread of information via the internet etc. is eroding local traditions', as well as cute questions on 'how did you start knitting', and also 'what are you working on now' (which seemed to be authoring books, across the board).

Back to the room for a quick change, then off for the BBQ by the loch, which turned out to be the terrace outside the dining room, and hamburgers.  But there was beer and wine, and it was very jovial, everyone's in a good mood after the long week.  Tonight is the final party, and I am heading over there now.  Hopefully I will get everything into my suitcase tomorrow and hopefully it won't be overweight for the plane.  It has been a really fabulous week and I am so glad that I came.  I have met some absolutely lovely people, had some great classes, done more knitting in a short space of time than I ever have, seen great knitwear, been inspired and just generally had a good time.  You should have been here!

1 comment:

swooze said...

Wonderful! Can't wait too see some pictures.

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