Not this past weekend but the weekend before that I went to my first ever NSW Knitter’s Guild camp. Camp is held every 2 years. Knitters and crocheters from across the state come together for a weekend of fun and relaxation. It is not what some would think “Granny Camp” as we had members age from 17 – 90 with a lot I would say in their mid 30’s – 40’s. This year we had a guest knitting artist (yes I would consider her an artist as what she produces is amazing) Norah Gaughan who joined us for the weekend. Norah is a really nice person and I have been told was an amazing speaker.
So what happens at knitting camp? Over the weekend a series of free workshops and talks are held that members can participate in if they wish. If you don’t want to attend any of the organised events you can just sit and knit and enjoy the company of others who all share the same interest as you. Oh and you can always shop.. Who wouldn’t want to shop for yarn supplies. On the first day we had yarn retailers set up shop in a room for the day and members could shop as they pleased throughout the day. I brought a few extra knitting needles that day to continue making WIRES pouches. On the second day Guild members who owned shops or a business set up and sold their items. I may have gone a little crazy that day. After saying no no I don’t buy more special yarn as I never do anything with it I managed to come home with some yarn. The 2 plain blue skeins are called Smurfette, how could you not fall in love with them. For some random reason the magenta yarn also appealed to me and I am not a pink person but it felt so soft (it is silk) Each of these will become some sort of shawl I think.
I attended 2 workshops over the weekend. The first was on continental knitting. Continental knitting is a style where you hold your working yarn with your left hand to make your stitches. You form your stitches in a slightly different way to regular knitting as your working yarn is coming from a different direction. Once you get used to it this style is a faster way to knit. As I crochet holding the yarn in my left hand wasn’t an issue but working it around the needles felt all foreign. It is one of those things the more you practice it the more natural it will feel. I will do a dishcloth or something simple to get myself started on it I think.
The second workshop I did was with Wendy McDougall a professional photographer who has snapped many great Australian bands as well as Australian identities. I really want to improve my photography skills so that I can take better photos of the items I make so it was an awesome experience to do a workshop with an industry professional. Wendy went through ways to take great shots and gave us heaps of tips. We went outside and practiced what she taught us, it was fun putting theory into practice. Inside she set up some lights and a backdrop and we got to take photos in a professional type photo shoot. You would never think a photography workshop would be at knitting camp but it was perfect for us who want to take photos of our work for Instagram or our blogs or those who just want to capture for their own private memories items they have made. You work so hard in making nice things it is lovely to have photos to remember them by as most of us give away a lot of things we make.
One member Kris Howard gave a talk “Knit One Compute One” . It was a really interesting talk and I do urge you to go and watch it, this is the shorter version but there are longer ones if you google it. She went through the similarities between knitting and computer coding. In my day job I do some code writing and it had never occurred to me that it was like a knitting pattern, every time I write a code a work now I shall have a slight grin on my face and think of knitting. Kris talked about how different people across the world are combing codes into knitting patterns, I really want to do something with a code in it now.
We played games at camp including knitting blind folded which I just had to have a go of because it sounded fun, you can see an Instagram photo here. We were allowed to see our needles to cast on and do the first row then the blindfolds went on and for 3 minutes we knitted. If you are used to not looking at your work all the time but feel the stitches on the needle like a lot of us do it was pretty easy to do, the hard part was working with such large needles I am used to 4mm not 12mm which felt like broom handles in my fingers.
Our sleeping quarters had bunk beds. The last time I slept on bunk beds was over 10 years ago on Contiki, I had forgotten how small they are. We were basically only using the rooms for sleeping so it didn’t matter. I do apologise again to my roommates for my snoring though…
Camp was a lot of fun. I can’t wait for the next one in 2 years time. It was great to have a weekend where you just sat around eating, knitting and crocheting. You have a chance to indulge in yarn porn, that is correct I had a lovely sweet old lady who would be in her 70’s tell me she told her friend there is yarn porn at camp, you look at the yarn, you stroke the yarn and then decide to keep it or not….. I want to be like that lady when I am in my 70’s.