Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We are back.

Gabriela and I are back from UK Knit Camp 2010. What an incredible experience. Gabriela took over 800 pictures which we will go through and share with you later. I thought I would just give you a few highlights.

It was Gabriela's first trip to Scotland and my last trip was about 20 years ago. Getting there was 3 airports, 2 flights, 2 bus stations and 3 buses, and we only got lost once. I think we did very well. For travelling knitters - both of us has Addies in our carry on luggage and no one even blinked an eye. They had us removing shoes, sweaters and jewelry, throwing out water, but not even a raised eyebrow about metal or bamboo Turbos. In the actual travel department, all went very smoothly and on time except our last flight Sunday night from Heathrow. We were late leaving and had to land in the midst of those horrible thunderstorms Sunday night. I am a very nervous flyer under the best of circumstances. The dark clouds and lightning all around us coming in was a little disconcerting. I was pleased our landing SEEMED to be going so well. I emphasize SEEMED. We were about a couple of hundred feet off the ground in our descent, when all of a sudden, the pilot gunned the engines, we ascended sharply and went into a steep bank to the right (my side of the plane). I immediately went into deep breathing mode which I learned years ago to calm myself when absolute terror is taking over. Gabriela was so sweet. She immediately went into "Mother Mode" ( which is ridiculous because I am the one old enough to be her mother). She grabbed my hand, very calmly announced every thing was OK and covered the window with her pillow so I couldn't see. I am kind of laughing to myself as I write this, but I sure was not laughing at the time. About 2 minutes later the pilot came on to apologize and explain. Evidently there were a lot of planes stacked up waiting to land due to the storm and he was a little uncomfortable with how close some of them were so he thought it best to move to a less crowded area for a while. A big loop down to Oakville and back and we eventually landed very smoothly without mishap. I am glad it was the last of 4 flights for the trip and not the first.

The University of Stirling has a huge, beautiful campus. Gardens and flowers were everywhere. The buildings are lovely, extremely clean but set up like absolute mazes. I felt like I was participating in a psychology experiment. Every important activity of the day was in a different building separated by literally kilometers of paths, halls, bridges, elevated walkways. We stayed in the Main Halls of Residence. The cafeteria and pub were in the Atrium Student Center. Our classes were in the Cottrell Building. Our dinners were in the Stirling Management Center. The Marketplace and weekend activities were in the Pathfoot Building. We were constantly lost. If you are interested, click on the link below for a virtual tour of the campus. To help you appreciate the scale, Gabriela and I guess it was about a kilometer from our residence to Haldanes cafeteria in the Atrium.

We quickly got into walking mode, we really had no choice, and enjoyed our travels throughout the campus. I forgot to mention, in addition to the distance between buildings, everything is either up or down hill. The campus is over run with the cutest little brown rabbits absolutely everywhere. All the lawns were perfectly trimmed and I did not see one lawn mover while we were there .... the bunnies?? The loch we walked across everyday was home to dozens of white swans and ducks. And the campus was incredibly clean and free of litter.

The classes were wonderful. Gabriela and I both took classes with
* Carol Feller, a delightful young Irish woman who coincidentally is the designer for one of Karen's KAL's, Leitmotif Cardigan. The workshop was on knitting garments from side to side. We learned a couple of neat tricks and shaping techniques which Gabriela plans to share with you in a class this fall on the Raspberry Layers Vest.
*Donna Druchunas, a designer and author of several knitting books from Colorado. Donna's class was on reading Japanese charts and patterns. It really is true. Thanks to Donna's notes and explanations, it is possible to knit from Japanese patterns without being able to read a word of Japanese. I plan to acquire some of the books Donna shared with us and when you see the exquisite lace and cable designs Japanese designs are known for, you will understand why the effort is worth it. Again, Gabriela has plans around classes in Japanese designs.
*Jared Flood. Jared, aka Brooklyntweed, was amazing. The workshop was his afghan Girasole.

I took a class on Cowichan knitting with a delightful Brit Jon Dunn while Gabriela took a lace class with Liz Lovick.

In addition to the teachers we met in class, we also met Nora Gaughan, Nancy Bush, Annie Modisett, Lucy Neatby, Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer from Woollly Thoughts, Debbie Stoller from the Stitch & Bitch Books.

We also met knitters from all over the world; England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Canada, USA, Australia and last but definitely not least, Jennie from South Africa. We shared a drink with Jennie our first evening there and spent most of the rest of the week in her delightful company. Jennie, if you are reading this, we started missing you as soon as we dropped you off at the train station Saturday.

And we bought lots of wool, we like to call it research.

Once we get ourselves organized we will share some of Gabriela's pictures with you.

It was fun but I'm glad to be back.

Our next adventure; I've heard about a knitters retreat in Argentina this coming March and a new Canadian Knit Camp/Yarn Fair being organized for the Fall of 2011 in St. Andrews By-the-Sea, New Brunswick. I'll keep you posted on both.


No comments: