Thursday, September 23, 2010

My KnitCamp: the good, the bad and the ugly

     About now I think enough has been said about Knit Camp UK.   But I will write a summary of what I actually did and the highlights of other camp events.  First the was very,very good.  Then the was mostly inconvenience and disorganization.  But it went down the tubes quickly and  many people had serious problems.  I was lucky.  The Ugly... what happened after the whole thing was over.  Ugly, criminal and unconscionable.  Really naughty.
Our home at Stirling University
     We arrived at Knit Camp on a Monday afternoon, and found the Stirling Management Center which is a hotel-ish building on the campus of Stirling University.  After checking into our room, which was a lovely double room, I headed over to the pub in the Student Union for the Clap-o-Tea.   To enter the Clap-o-Tea one had to have knit the Clapotis shawl, and one also needed to wear it to the Tea.  I dutifully knit a new Clap, my second in three years, and wore it to the Tea, despite the fact that it was the warmest weather we encountered in Scotland.  By the time I got there most folks had met up with friends and had a couple of drinks, so I wandered a bit and sat with a lovely woman and her husband from Texas.  It was at this Tea that we heard of the first really bad thing happening; the lack of work visas for the 6 American Tutors as well as the fact that two of the tutors had been deported, one back to the US and another to Holland (I think).  This pretty dramatically affected many students as Tuesday class schedule had all 8 tutors classes fully booked . (say about students18 per class).  A meeting was called for 7:45 the following morning to see what was going to happen.  Since I had a Scottish teacher the following day I was not impacted, but Cindy, the woman I sat with was certainly affected as her tutor was not even in attendance at all. A number of tutors had pulled out due to contract issues, but the Knit Camp Director neglected to contact anyone about this!!!!  Since it was out of our hands  we went out to dinner in Stirling and had a lovely time.
Signboard outside restaurant in Stirling, we ate elsewhere!

     The following morning there was a big meeting to tell everyone what was happening.  I didn't go to the meeting, but I doubt that it was a happy event.  Students were told that the Non EU tutors had to leave the country ( fly to Dublin) and re-enter with new visas or some such folderol and that people had the choice of taking the class of their choice of getting a full refund.  Well, that created a more than mild pandemonium.  Again, I was not effected as I had a Fair Isle Knitting class with Liz Lovick .    Many folks took the option to take an existing class, despite the fact that most of the classes were already fully booked.  Classrooms were too small to fit extra students.  Tutors did not have enough materials or handouts, tempers flared. As a matter of fact NONE of the handouts had been prepared by the administration of camp for any classes, despite the fact that tutors had sent the prepared handouts and patterns weeks earlier and expected them to be copied and ready in their classrooms. So various "classroom assistants" had to run around like mad women trying to xerox class notes, come up with materials and sort out computer glitches.  These classroom assistants should all receive medals and lots of praise for all the work they did.  And there was not an assistant  in every class.  Lots of tutors had to just drop back 10 yards and punt. My class was totally wonderful.  Liz is extraordinarily knowledgeable and prepared tons of class notes and a CD of the PowerPoint directions she gave in class. Somehow she had enough for everyone even with extra students.  However the room was VERY crowded and became unbearably hot in the afternoon. We learned a lot about the history of Fair Isle and Shetland Knitting and started a small hat with yarn supplied by Jameson and Smith.  After I got home I decided to rip out the little hat and make a pair of Fair Isle Gloves, someday.  Story of my life!
     More to come later.

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