It's been two weeks now since Knit Camp finished, two weeks in which I've played with my children (who I had not seen for two and a half weeks before Camp), baked, been on a few day trips, gone to our wonderful local museum, done some knitting, felting, spinning (mainly the latter) and even washed a pretty dirty fleece. And the most amazing thing - done some much-needed housework! My kids are 5 and 6, and having some time with them over the summer holidays has been wonderful, although I am concerned about their new-found love for a certain CBBC programme called Prank Patrol!
I've had a chance to reflect on everything that's taken place in our lives over the past year too. Some of it has been wonderful - I've been to Toronto (my favourite city in the world, full of extremely wonderful people), I've had the pleasure of seeing my kids learn to read and now no longer have to read to my youngest as my oldest reads to her. I've done much spinning too, and have progressed from being a somewhat very average spinner to someone who can spin pretty well (even though I have absolutely no idea what the ratios mean and wish I could also spin bulkier than what I do now - most of my stuff is laceweight!). I've also had the pleasure of giving the knitters of Earlsdon a place to congregate.
And of course, to every positive is a negative (and vice versa). I've learned that I was over-ambitious in thinking that we could organise a large knitting event without huge investment/grants/other support and have to over-rely on some wonderful people. 2.5 people cannot organise a knitting event for 300+ people on a limited budget, especially when they do not have a huge amount of capital to invest and a bank who refuses a loan for a knitting event. 'Cause no one knits, obviously.
So, yes, I was over ambitious in thinking that we could do a British-version of what happens every year in the US. But I thought it was about time that we had something over here. I realise, in hindsight, I was bloody stupid to trust and have paid heavily (in many senses of the word) for that. I also realise that the British knitting public are unlike their North American cousins in that they do not travel. One of the tutors told me that this would be the case and I wish that I had listened to her. Nevertheless, I felt - and feel- that not everything should happen in England and I love Scotland very much.
I've long-admired the work of extremely talented knitwear designers from both the UK and abroad. I know other people over here must gasp in admiration when they see the latest issue of Interweave Knits and Knitty, or the latest Norah Gaughan book (very much a personal favourite due to her amazing sense of aesthetic!) so it was very surprising that a very large proportion of folks attending did not come from these shores. It was particularly wonderful to meet in person the wonderful Canadian and West Coast contingent as well as lots of other wonderful people such as the lovely ladies from Portugal, South Africa, France, Germany, Australia. It really was an international Camp!
As has been over-documented on a certain website, things did not go as we had planned. Never in a million years did we expect a work permit Sponsor application to be rejected on the grounds that we have insurance documents with an online (PDF documents) signature and not a 'real' signature and for that application to sit on an AO's desk for over six weeks... Hindsight is obviously a wonderful thing, but obviously I've beat myself up for not applying for that permit sooner. I would like to publically thank the Provost of Stirling, Mr Fergus Wood, the MP for Stirling and the First Minister's Office for all their help and support on 9th August.
I can understand some folks' anger and would feel upset if I were them, (but anger is something I try not to feel too much). When things are true, and come from people who were there and therefore have the right to make valid comments, then I can accept that. And I will try to deal with it. Although there is one person who I believe came with the objective to find fault in absolutely everything. Quite frankly, I feel very sorry for this individual.
Finally, I strongly believe that all people- whether they work for an employer or themselves have the right to some time off and have a right to a holiday. I worked, on average, 70 hours a week for nine months with hardly any time off in the run up to Knit Camp and then I worked over 85 hours during the Knit Camp week. I have been criticised for having a two week holiday after Knit Camp. Certain people thought that I should have arranged childcare. Well that childcare costs £64 a day (I do not have the luxury of having any family nearby) and seeing as I have now made no money at all for several hundred hours of work, I felt even more inclined to have a rest. We legally have to deal with 'stuff' within 28 days of the end of the event, and we will do that.
We're really glad that, despite what some people have tried to give the impression of, several hundred folks joined together in one beautiful place for a week of camaraderie, knitting and cake. My favourite quote of the week was retold to me by Kate: "It's all so bloody surreal. I've just danced a Highland jig with Debbie Stoller!"
One of the most fun things for me was the Pub Quiz and reading the (very impressive) list written by Team Twilight of 'list how many things you can knit with'. Sorry ladies, but I still don't get the possibility of being able to knit with the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa!! With their permission, I will publish their list at a later date. That's what it was all about: camaraderie, wonderful people like Lydia, Kimberley, Caroline, Jan, Lori, Jon, Roy, Debbie, Annie, Donna, Dom, Oliver, Katharine, Fergus, Di, Colm and many, many others and things like Elaine's 'lightbulb moment' (I'll never forget that Elaine!!). And that bloody gorgeous chocolate cake at the Management Centre.