Scotland and England: a few people I’ve been meeting

I have intermittent internet connections here in the British Isles, although the USB modem I bought has been working amazingly well for where I've been. The experiences are rich. I've met so many wonderful people, including all the participants in the six classes I taught* at UK Knit Camp in Stirling, Scotland; the other presenters at the camp; the organizers; and others I've encountered in all the packed-to-overflowing days.

* Three groups on breed-specific and rare breeds wools, for both spinners and knitters, as well as three introductory spinning classes.

I'm not sure I'll ever catch up with the blog posts that I want to do, so I'm going to post a few collections of photos and brief comments.

Mostly I am somewhat bashful about taking photos of people, and I like to keep my full attention on the conversation. But I snapped a few.

This is Lawrence Alderson, without whom the Rare Breeds Survival Trust would almost certainly not exist. It's always such a pleasant shock when someone whose rigorous and
wide-ranging work you've admired for decades turns out to be an
exceptionally nice person, too.

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Oliver Henry, the wool buyer for Jamieson and Smith in Shetland, shared his knowledge of the wools from the islands' sheep. A "normal" wool grader for the British Wool Marketing Board goes through seven years of training to be qualified. Oliver took a summer job decades ago and has been grading and buying wool ever since. His mind and hands encompass an incomparable stock of knowledge.

OliverHenry_4515

Jean Wilson is a preeminent sheep judge. She keeps Herdwick sheep and here is demonstrating a judging point on one of this year's lambs. Herdwicks lighten up in color as they mature. Jean is a woman of vast knowledge, strong opinions, and few words.

JeanWilson_4594

I have met a lot of fantastic people, including these and many others. What a gift of this trip these encounters have been.

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10 Responses

  1. Donna

    How have you and Annie — and anyone else at UK Knit Camp — found any time to blog!!! It’s all I can do to post little reports on facebook. Just woke up at noon in Vilnius today. Getting settled in. But I should have lots of time for writing and knitting and blogging and everything here. It is a second home to me so I will settle into a cozy routine very soon. Almost wish I didn’t have the trip to Geneva and Rome in the middle of my 2 months here, but how can I complain about something as wonderful as that! LOL. I am just about the luckiest person on the planet. (Knock on wood and waiting for shit to happen.)

  2. Joanne

    Always good to hear about your rich fibery adventures! I just gave a talk about marketing your wool to some sheep producers at a festival, and would love to email with you about all the Shetland debates when you are back home. I’ve found some great new sources for wool here in Manitoba and I’m excited to share the conversation with a friend. 🙂

  3. L.M. Cunningham

    Ah, so jealous: would have loved to have stood off to one side to listen in on those conversations. (And taken copious notes, I’m sure.)

    Love that wee lamb!

  4. Deborah Robson

    Donna, you’ll note that I didn’t blog AT Knit Camp. Only after it was over. And I’ve almost used my broadband allotment (even though it’s “unlimited”). I won’t be unable to use it, but my priority will drop back and the connection will slow down. That’s just from checking e-mail and the like.

    Joanne and Cathy, there are huge differences of opinion about Shetland wool. I’d already encountered that and gone through some of the options and I hope I’ve written up the results carefully and accurately enough for the book. If not, it won’t be because I didn’t try but because I couldn’t spend six months on the one breed. . . .

    Linda: you and a number of other readers of my blog (that I know about, including the other folks who have commented just now) would have LOVED to join the conversation between Lawrence Alderson, Sue Blacker (of Blacker Designs), June Hall (one of the instigators of the WoolFest here), and me. I was not, miraculously enough, dumbstruck in their company.

  5. Donna

    That sux about your broadband. Which carrier did you have? I had 3 in the UK and did not have any trouble with it.

  6. Deborah Robson

    It’s weird about the broadband, and I think that the bandwidth-sucking activities have been photo transfers *and* the way my e-mail is managed. Normally you don’t use up your bandwidth unless you’re watching videos, which I haven’t been. It’s T-Mobile, and has been overall very satisfactory here. But now I only have unrestrained access between midnight and 4 p.m. I can live with that for the small remaining part of the trip.

  7. Shelagh Smith

    OMG! Was so surprised to see Oliver. My group met him on our tours in ’98 & ’00 (very small and intimate) to Shetland. He laughed when all the spinners stepped up and got their hands in the fleece, while the knitters stood back, rather appalled I think.

  8. Deb Robson

    Wow, how could anyone keep their hands OUT of that fleece???

    Delighted to offer you a glimpse of Oliver! He and Liz presented one of the highlights of Knit Camp. And the room was PACKED.

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