Monday, 20 September 2010

Marvellous Mary Jane.

The third and final smart woman on my round-up of Knit Camp adventures is the wonderful Mary Jane Mucklestone. We are old internet buddies and it was such a joy to meet her in the real world and  to show her a little bit of life chez Mog

MJ was a stylist with Interweave Knits and thus perfectly qualified to teach a class on Styling Your Knits. As her class assistant/stooge* I was equally qualified to act as the paper fetcher and stand-in model. The students brought shawls and all manner of beautiful knits to photograph and we were able to use the University gardens as a backdrop. Amongst many other things, I learned how to pose using the time honoured Picking Peanuts technique. The classes were great fun and informative and far far too short. I think we could have spent a couple of days covering the same information in  more depth. Maybe one day...

At the Saturday morning class  I spotted  Debbie Stoller  nearby and she very kindly agreed to pose for some pictures for us. Smart woman number four. She wrote the book which taught me to knit. And did I say thank you? I was too shy. Stupid woman number one!

There has been a lot of talk about Knit Camp and I'll not add to the debate except to say that my most positive memories are of the students who tried and I think succeeded, to make the best out of a tricky situation. And as for the tutors, every one I met was so determined to teach, to share their knowledge and to make the students' experience a positive one. Not forgetting the volunteers who had an incredibly difficult job and the Stirling Uni staff who helped patiently every single time I got lost.  In amongst all of the disorganisation and frustration there was a lot of kindness, friendliness and grace. I'm very grateful to all who contributed to that.

*Except for the Tuesday class.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

A rare breed indeed.

Following on from the theme of last week's post, may I present another smart woman,  Deb Robson.  Deb was the Editor in Chief of Spin Off magazine and is currently the editor/publisher of Nomad Press.  As an enthusiast and supporter of rare breeds and the yarn they produce, there was no better person to teach a class on UK Rare Breed Sheep.

I'm a spinner who knows very little about the wonderful stuff that I've been given to work with so this class really opened my eyes to the beauty and variety that different breeds produce. And what a variety, we had bags of the stuff to handle and prepare and spin. Big thanks must go to Sue Blacker and the Natural Fibre Company for donating it to the class.  Deb's knowledge and love for the subject shone out like the Stirling sun which for once, was so hot that we needed to stop for ice cream.

 I now have a much greater respect for my ovine companions and a terrible feeling that there will be bigger bags of fleece appearing in the future.