Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Knitting Camp 2008

It has been a week since I returned to "real life" after knitting camp. Have I finished any of my camp projects? No, but for me it wasn't about finishing. It was about learning how to do things I didn't know how to do or was afraid of. I learned about trapping for Armenian knitting and colorwork, I learned that Brioche in the round can kick my butt multiple times, I learned that unspun icelandic is really, really wooly and fun to work with, I learned about i-cord of all types, I learned about uploading EZ Knitting Glossary to my i-pod (still a work in progress). I am asked by those who are interested, what is knitting camp like? Well, first of all you have to pick someone who's work you really, really admire, someone who in your wildest fantasies could be your mentor, and then imagine sitting at their feet for 4 days.
Meg Swanson, Amy Dietjen and Joyce Williams are rockstars of the knitting world. Quietly knitting away in their central WI homes, writing, publishing, editing books that are important books to be written researching and documenting old techniques and figuring out how to recreate techniques who's usage and history is fading. Really important books that may never be on the top ten list because they might not be "trendy", yet books that need to be written. Elizabeth Zimmermann before them and now they spread the word about circular sweater constructions, Elizabeth's EPS system, garter stitch garments. Perhaps not the trendiest items/garments, yet, interesting to knit, wearable, practical garments with ingenious construction techniques. Their colorwork is traditional, yet absolutely breathtaking. Pictures can't capture the true beauty of the colorwork documents. To touch them in real life and in fact to wear them (as I wore the Aran Cardigan-even in grey, I loved it) is an honor. I hope that some of the genius rubbed off on me, time will tell. Meg, Amy and Joyce as I said before are truly rockstars, yet, a more unpretentious, down to earth, helpful, friendly 3 ladies, I have never met. Truly an honor to be in their company. In the morning, Meg would teach, demonstrating techniques, illustrating by knitting on camera projected to 4 tv's placed throughout the room, if you have a question, you simply ask it and it is answered. If you need help with something, simply pop to the back of the room and Joyce and Amy will be more than helpful. After lunch, show and tell occurred, where campers showed what they had made either in an EZ sytle or otherwise. Camp 2 was one talented group of knitters. At 3pm, class ended and we knit in the classroom and then dinner at a local WI establishment. WI is really a neat place. Kind of organic, healthy, interesting place.

Projects, I started a Brioche hat, an Armenian hat and a Bavarian Twisted hat. The Brioche has almost defeated me on several occassions, but i am still at it. I will conquer it! The Bavarian Twisted is fun, I will finish that and the Armenian, I scrapped, I want to make a hat with a skull on it and I didn't have a chart at camp, so I used the sample to learn how Joyce traps. I also bought enough unspun icelandic in brick red and chocolate brown for a bog sweater (I think) and I also bought enough Quebequoise for an aran cardigan, again in red. I am again having a red fetish. I didn't even knit on my little Russian Prime sweater, oh well, next year.....

I made some (actually a lot)new friends, Ellen and Thi from St. Louis, Kim from ....I don't remember, Shelli from Seattle, Kathy, Robin and Leanne from Denver, Sandy from IA, Eileen from Madison, Sara and re-acquainted with my Camp 1 roomie, Jen, Karen and Toni from CA, Devittles from New York city. Wow, that is a lot of new friends! Good times! I spent a long time talking to Michelle Swansen, she was a treasure, and we have kids the same age, so the talking was easy. Re-entry was hard, but I did survive. I can't wait until next year. Keeping my fingers crossed that I get in.


Robbyn said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Now that's what I'd call a vacation :)

Colleen said...


My name is Colleen McFarland, and I am an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. I am studying the legacy and impact of Elizabeth Zimmermann, and I would like your permission to use some of the snapshots posted here on a poster I am presenting at a conference. Could you please get in touch with me regarding that possibility?

Many thanks in advance.