UK Knit Camp: the parts I don’t want to think about

posted in: Knitting, Travel | 22

My previous post on UK Knit Camp ended with this image of wildflowers and barbed wire:

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This follow-up post is a hard one to write. It's about that barbed wire in more detail. My writing of these sentences means that my optimism about the honoring of my contract has vanished. I had set the date in my mind for coming to this conclusion as October 1, which is today. UK Knit Camp ended on August 15.

Although I believe that the reasons for the defaults relating to Knit Camp reflect a mismatch between the organizer's skills and the jobs that needed to be done, not malicious intent on her part, the repercussions of her behavior within the knitting community, including the hard hits taken by the delicately balanced financial situations of many of the tutors, have been profoundly negative. For the tutors, the organizational failures of the event have been like a tidal wave blasting across low-lying islands made of sand, rather than a mild storm dusting snow on granite mountain peaks.

I'm using similes and metaphors again in thinking about what has happened because they help me deal with the situation. Symbolic language creates a slight distance from the events that makes them bearable. When I think about the financial blow-up without metaphoric intervention, I feel like I've plugged into a socket that's draining every scrap of energy out of me—and I need all the energy I can muster to keep on keeping on.

So I'm not going to attempt to be thorough in my statements here, because I need to spend my time dealing with the debris, of which there's a whole lot. I will say that both Lucy Neatby's and Sarah Jane Humke-Mengel's posts correlate with my experience of the organizational side of the event. Some of the details of my days differ (unlike Lucy, I was promptly picked up at the airport, for example, and before the event officially started I experienced a number of kindnesses), but their words speak clearly and truly of what happened during Knit Camp itself.

My own account here is not as concise as I would like it to be, because the saga has been drawn out, frustrating, and confusing. I have spent way too much time dealing with fallout, trying to make sense of it, and, now, working on keeping my little ship sailing instead of capsizing.

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I am writing now in the hope of adding my perspective to the situation and in the interest of preventing anything like this from affecting instructors and/or participants on any future occasions.

I am endeavoring not to say what anyone "should" have done, and instead I am attempting to focus on what might be helpful in the future. I will, for the most part, limit my statements to what I experienced or heard firsthand.

The post will be long, because I need to do it in one go and be done with it. My observations are broken into sections.

Contract and terms of payment

After more than a year of communication by e-mail, post, and phone, with many reasons expressed by the organizer for the sluggish progress, I still did not have a final contract three weeks before my departure, when I finally booked my flights out of concern for a number of people who were coming from a distance to take my classes. When I got on the plane, I did have a contract in hand. I had written in and initialed two changes that the organizer and I had agreed on by e-mail, but they were not counter-initialed by her. I carried both signed copies with me on the flight and delivered one to the organizer on site.

The terms of the contract call for reimbursement of travel expenses (airfare and shuttle to/from home airport, with no luggage allowance other than that provided by the airline) and payment for specified hours of teaching. Payment was to occur within 15 days after completion of the event, in US funds drawn on a US bank.

The hours indicated in the contract changed, apparently randomly, between contract versions during negotiations (at one point I learned that the hours for some days had been changed, by mistake, to the hours intended for another tutor with a similar, though not the same, first name), and the payment rate on the contracts as received was lower than I had communicated when I was asked for my requirements, although I had had earlier warning (oblique, not direct) that this would be the case. The contracts that I was offered were not sufficiently clear. Many of my e-mails about the agreement pushed for clarification about hours, responsibilities, reimbursement, and pay rates. Very late in the game, the payment rate on the contract dropped by an additional 30 percent.

I have prepared something of a chronology of communications, for my own clarity of understanding, and it's a study in requesting information and being told it was coming.

Following the event, very little communication has occurred. By 15 days after its completion, I had received nothing. The same was true 30 days out.

On September 23, my bank notified me that some money had been transferred into my business account on September 22 (38 days after the completion of the event). I'd received no notification from the event sponsors that money was coming, and have heard nothing since. At this point, I have to assume that this is all that is available to me. After the conversion fee from British pounds to US dollars (relatively small, but not part of what I should have needed to pay), the money amounted to 22% of the total owed (59% of travel expenses paid; 0% of teaching income received).

That's where the payment situation stands now: I have not received a cent for teaching, and I am still out of pocket for 40% of the travel. Most of the other instructors have also not been paid. 

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Financial overview

It feels inappropriate to say that I feel grateful to have this portion of what is owed, although I am. I accepted the work on the understanding that I would be paid. In addition to having taken responsibility for a trip to and from the U.K., I have bills to pay. Every dollar (or pound) helps.

One reason it feels inappropriate to be grateful for partial payment is that in our family a trip to Denver (60 miles / 96km away) requires a thoughtful decision because of the expense. I am responsible for the support of the household. I choose to do work in the world that I believe is critically important and that I do not see anyone else stepping forward to do. This means that finances are always a challenge. A trip to the U.K., however appealing, doesn't fit anywhere in our budget. It's inappropriate because there is no way on earth that I could have financed a transatlantic teaching vacation, which is what I've now been required by Knit Camp to do (although Knit Camp determined what I would do on that "vacation"). (I'd like to say here that the other instructors and the participants in my workshops were wonderful, and meeting these fine people felt like a vacation. Still. Taking a "vacation" wasn't a responsible thing for me to do, either financially or in terms of my other commitments that I set aside to accommodate this event.)

Another reason it feels inappropriate to say that I'm grateful for partial payment, even though I am, is that I cannot afford to spend massive amounts of time in any effort, however interesting and pleasant, that does not produce income. As a freelancer, I need to balance jobs that produce present income (as this was intended to do) against those that are intended to produce future income (as the book project that I have been working on should). I have been putting in long hours, weeks, days, months, years on a major effort that is not paying "in real time" (the book). It was not possible for me to take on another large project, like Knit Camp, that would not provide needed short-term income.

For Knit Camp, I spent a number of weeks, over a period of months, developing workshops specific to the event and its audience, in addition to the contact hours of teaching. My agreement to teach was predicated on a need for some present income to offset some of the time spent on the book project.

Without the help of family, friends, and credit cards, I would not be weathering the aftermath of Knit Camp at all.

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Even with help from all these sources, the future of my household, of my publishing efforts at Nomad Press, and of my own personal research and writing are at risk because of the Knit Camp defaults.

The visa situation for the US tutors

This was the first opportunity I have had to visit the U.K. Knowing my financial constraints, relatives and a few friends generously offered me a few gifts that would allow me to experience something of Scotland and England other than the inside of a classroom. Other friends invited me for short visits or suggested special contacts I could set up to, for example, interview people for an article I will write (thus increasing my potential income by at least pocket change).

Before the event, I wrote frequently to the Knit Camp organizer requesting information on visa status, but did not receive an answer to my questions on that topic. (Answers to my questions on other topics came so slowly that it was difficult to maintain the momentum of any clarifying conversation on any topic.) I also reviewed the UK Border Agency Visa Services pages, and from what I could tell the U.S. tutors did not need visas (since we were in the sporting and creative category and were staying less than 3 months) but would need paperwork applied for by the sponsoring organization.

As a result of the other activities I had set up for my trip, I was able to honestly state on entering the country that I was there to visit friends; to do research for writing projects; and to do some tourist-y things.

The SNAFU with the visas was not, according to everything I perceived and experienced, due to omissions on the part of UK Knit Camp, although I am still not clear on the connections between visas and work permits. What we ended up having added to our passports were "residence" permits. I definitely got lost in the bureaucratic maze. As I understand the hang-up, a proof-of-insurance form was submitted by the insurer with an electronic signature; the government offices require this form to be submitted with an ink signature; it appears that the government did not inform Knit Camp of this requirement; the visas (or work permits or residence permits, as required) were not issued; and the mess ensued. (We did learn that the government is slow on processing this type of paperwork, which also is issued for musicians coming to perform concerts, and the official forms often have to be faxed to the airport as the person affected awaits permission to enter.)

It would have been helpful, and might have prevented the problems, if the organizer had begun checking with immigration a week or two before the event to make sure the necessary paperwork was being processed in a timely fashion.

As it was, the organizer's husband did an amazing job of dealing with the bureaucratic problems to get the official stamps and permissions in place as quickly as possible. This despite the special fees that were not, then were, to be charged—which were horrendous. My understanding is that those fees were ultimately not charged, and it's definitely true that we did not have to fly out of the country and re-enter. However, both of those possibilities loomed large and would have added amazing amounts to the expense of presenting the event; yet at that point the admirable goal of everyone involved was to get the classes happening, legally, as swiftly as possible. The entire contingent of U.S. tutors did have to make a wasted, two-car trip into Glasgow because of mixed communications from immigration, and there were many anxious moments.

One tutor was denied entry (not "deported," as many are saying, which is a different matter and much more serious) and had to fly back to the U.S. the day after she flew to the U.K. She was unable to teach. Other tutors who were en route diverted their itineraries to non-U.K. destinations while the bureaucratic gauntlet was run. One was able to halt her trip before she left North America.

To say the visa situation was stressful and chaotic is an understatement. Those of us who were in the country could not, and would not, begin to teach without the appropriate paperwork. The penalty for doing so would have been, we were told, being unable to visit the U.K. again for ten years. I haven't looked that up. It doesn't matter. If the necessary papers weren't in place, we weren't okay to teach, no matter what else was going on.

As a point about the poor communication channels during the event, during all these uncertainties, most people—tutors as well as participants; those on site and those wondering whether to travel or not—were reading the Ravelry boards and depending primarily on rumors to determine what might be going on. We got very few updates from the organizers. There simply weren't enough people managing the event to handle these extra requirements and provide clear communication. That was a huge problem.

What a blessing and a relief it was to be given permission to begin teaching on Wednesday morning.

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Participants in the workshops

Tutors and participants alike pulled together to make Knit Camp successful as an international educational event in spite of massive failures in the infrastructure.

My workshops were filled with delightful people. Teaching was a joy, with one exception: the need to exchange classrooms with another tutor on Friday, the day on which I was rescheduled to teach two classes simultaneously because of the visa-induced changes. There was no way that my previous classroom, where I would have preferred to have taught, could fit two classes' worth of participants (it was very full with a regular-sized class). To accommodate the shift, the other tutor had to move heavy equipment that had already been set up, and I don't think she had much warning or help. The items I had to move were bulky, but they were lightweight. My belated apologies to the other tutor for the inconvenience!

I was honored and pleased to have met so many fantastic individuals in my classes. If you were in one of my classes and our paths cross again, I may need to be reminded you were there; please do let me know! Having my attention divided by the behind-the-scenes concerns affected my ability to put faces and names together. The lack of nametags also was a problem for me. If I'd known we wouldn't have nametags, I would have brought them with me, and I wish I'd thought of them on site! (You'll all have noted that I brought about a third-of-a-suitcase full of handouts and record-keeping cards across the Atlantic because I suspected that having those supplies available was something I'd better take care of myself.)

Also if I had known that the starting time of the Saturday morning workshop was concurrent with the starting time of breakfast for people staying in the dorms (and there was quite a distance between the dining hall and the Pathfoot Building), I would have done something about that. If there'd been an all-camp communication channel, we could have started class a half-hour later. Even without a way to get messages to people, we could have come up with some food for you, from somewhere. Having to skip breakfast to come to the class was above and beyond. As we noted halfway through the morning when you mentioned this to me, the lack of fuel did affect the learning process.

The participants in the classes paid for the events and I am proud to be among the collection of tutors who all did our best to be sure they got their money's worth, despite the changed schedules and the background uncertainties.

The source of the problems?

These are my opinions based on my observation.

I do not think that there was malicious intent in the mismanagement of UK Knit Camp.

I think the organizer has gifts of a good heart, a generous nature, and ambitious vision.

I think she had difficulty determining which details were important to attend to and which were not; underestimated the work involved in presenting a complicated event; did not clearly understand the number of support staff she would need and the roles they would need to be playing; did not have the stamina needed to successfully stage such an event; did not devote attention to clear and prompt communication; and was unable to understand the types of consequences her actions might have on her own life and the lives of the people around her—family, instructors, participants, and others.

When difficulties began surfacing and I saw the organizer giving refunds from whatever cash was available without making any receipts or other notes (date, amount, to whom, and for what), I knew that the financial reckoning at the end of the event was going to be impossible. Even small amounts of money unaccounted for create bookkeeping nightmares. While I may have been alarmed at that point about whether we as tutors would be paid promptly, I envisioned separate funds allocated to the sponsoring company's different responsibilities and did not imagine that almost all of us had just turned into volunteers (who would, like the actual volunteers, have our efforts accepted without acknowledgment or thanks).

I have a great deal of concern for the organizer as a person.

I wish her—and all of the tutors and participants of UK Knit Camp—satisfying, creative, stable, and rewarding lives. To achieve this requires that we know our talents and our limitations, and that we learn as much as we can from our mistakes.

Reality check 1: The organizer wrote her "Reflections" blog post, linked above and here, on August 31. That was the day after I should have received reimbursement and payment, according to the contract we had signed (15 days after the conclusion of the event). During those two weeks, she said she had been enjoying her children's end-of-summer, knitting and spinning, and doing some housework. At the time she wrote, at the end of August, the tutors who had fulfilled their portion of their contracts were facing another month's bills and another month's interest on the plane tickets that had been charged to their credit cards.

Reality check 2: The same post said, "We legally have to deal with 'stuff' within 28 days of the end of the event, and we will do that." Twenty-eight days post-event was September 12. "Stuff" had not been dealt with and still has not.

Conclusion

I hope I have learned enough from the experiences that I have gathered over the past year and a half (since my first contact with the organizer about UK Knit Camp) that I will not repeat them. The instructive mistakes to make are new ones.

The real tragedy here is that one of the charming things about the knitting community has been people's ability to organize small, independent events. In the future, many instructors may be extremely cautious about the so-far-standard practice of having presenters front the money for transportation and other expenses. This will penalize responsible entrepreneurial types who could stage events effectively and may limit event sponsorship to large organizations with deep enough pockets to pay expenses up front.

Now I need to get back to work. I have commitments to meet and bills to pay. I don't know how I'm going to manage to meet my responsibilities, or when, and yes, I am experiencing anger, sadness, and fear as a result of the organizer's shortcomings and irresponsibility, but it's my job to stay on task and figure those things out, despite the aftershocks of UK Knit Camp.

I can help myself do this by moving my attention, whenever I think about the event, to the faces of the people in my workshops; to the cooperation and dedication shared by the instructors; to my memories of the Scottish landscape; and to the other pleasant sights, sounds, smells, and thoughts that I accumulated during the trip.

Those things help me develop the strength to deal with, one day at a time, whatever comes next.

Which appears to be figuring out how to file papers as an unpaid creditor of a business in the U.K.

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22 Responses

  1. Margaret Graham

    Deb,
    I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you were wronged, and you are left cleaning up someone else’s mess. I see your grace and strength and vision. Love,
    Margaret

  2. What a nightmare. Thanks for clearing up your status, and giving some facts about the situation. I appreciate, as always, the clarity of your thoughts, and the generosity of your spirit.

  3. Thank you Deb for putting your experience into writing. I was there as a student and had a wonderful time. I had an inkling that something was going on behind the scenes, but had no idea how desperate things were going to be. I have the utmost respect for you and all of the tutors. I hope that some good can come of this. One day when you are back in the PNW, I hope to attend a class by you.

  4. I am so, so sorry you’re having to go through this. 🙁 What a mess.

  5. Wow. So sorry to hear this. As musicians my friends and I refer to this type of experience as “Another golden moment in showbiz.” I appreciate the way you spoke of the organizer of the event. It is easy to assume malicious intent behind someone’s incompetence and insensitivity as to how their actions affect others, especially when we are the others in question. I hope the stresses of having been through this ease quickly.

  6. Thank you Deb for writing this! It’s much worse than I had understood, and I hope you can leave it behind you in a reasonable time. As one of your students at UK KnitCamp I thank you for your wonderful classes.

    Barbro

  7. I was the “other” tutor, and no hard feelings – I had planned a jog around the lake, but shifting four knitting machines was more than enough exercise that night. Luckily a young lady helped me out – those corridors got very narrow! Apparently someone had been trying to find me all day to tell me, but forgot that she had my mobile number and could have called me 🙂

  8. I had a lovely class with you and squeaky is still squeaking a bit but it seams to have calmed down a lot. Leather has been replaced but it still squeaks. Another owner of the Wendy has replaced the metal U Bolt with leather to get the squeak out and it seams to have worked for her.

    I thing talking about the stress has helped others to get a clear picture of the effects and I am so glad we now have a fighting fund for the tutors. I think you should contact JanKAL on Ravelry if you have not already been in contact as things are afoot to try and help the tutors. She was the lady on my left in the class if you need to remember who she was in your class groups. So it was squeaky and then JanKAL.

    http://www.ravelry.com/people/JaneKAL

  9. Hearing that the participants had a good time and learned fun stuff makes the tutors' hearts sing. I just heard that three folks I got started as spinners in the half-day sessions at Knit Camp are off this weekend to learn more about the craft . . . together! What a delight.

    Thanks for everyone's good thoughts.

    Tammy, I have roots and family in the Pacific Northwest, and I love being there (I lived in Seattle and Port Townsend for a number of years).

    Doug, I remember the "showbiz" comment from when I was in my ex's band (rhythm guitar and harmony vocals, once in a while dulcimer). Now we say, "Another opportunity for learning and growth!" (with "egads" under the breath).

    I appreciate your checking in, Jane, and that you had not already taken your jog around the lake. I got lots of exercise walking around Stirling to keep my equilibrium fairly present from Saturday (I think that's when the cracks started showing up) through Wednesday morning, when we could begin to teach. (All of the photos above came from those rambles.) Those corridors were amazingly narrow. Especially down where my most-of-the-time and your sudden-change classroom was.

    Kotaatok: changing that U-bolt out to something softer would, I think, be a good plan. The metal-against-wood is going to wear the wood, in addition to squeaking. Leather is a good option. Oil your leather lots, wherever it is on the wheel. Dry leather squeaks. Well-lubricated leather should be silent.

    There is a tutors' group (thank heaven we are not all going it alone), and through that channel we have heard about Jane KAL's plan. We have been developing a database of who is owed what. Even the thought that people are aware is heartening to us. And I remember both squeaky and Jane, and that you were on the windows side of the room, fairly near where I was standing (or, rather, walking around) most of the time.

  10. Hey Deb,

    I am so terribly sorry to hear of the times that you have been enduring and facing!

    You appear to be handling this awful situation with great dignity and grace!

    I took a drop spindling class with you, at Knit Camp, thank you … your enthusiasm for you craft and knowledge is stimulating and infectious!

    I have done some practicing, and keep looking out for a mushroom spindle like yours … a potential business for someone!?

    I am so gutted to hear about all the trouble that has been caused by the fall out from knit camp, and how upset people are.

    On the Ravelry boards before knit camp, I believed people were being mean and unfair about the organizer ….

    For me the worst bit has been how the aftermath has been dealt with.

    I feel like she could have made it a whole lot better by just communicating with the people whose lives she was directly affecting!

    It is great that someone has set up a tutors fund .. hopefully this will help financially reimburse tutors?

    I can only hope that the trust will settle down and be restored. That American tutors will again attend and impart their great crafts’ knowledge over here, and that they will not forever be put off visiting these shores for the purpose of teaching?

    Thanks for being so honest with us all, I can appreciate that your post must have been a difficult one to write!

    becky

  11. Becky, so glad to have you in one of my classes, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! 

    If you're talking about the spindle I think I was using (it was the only personal spindle I had with me), it was made by John Jenkins at Magpie Woodworks in Grand Junction, Colorado–his small top-whorl spindle perfectly fits my traveling spinning kit (which I blogged about not long ago). The Maggie spindles are reasonable and beautiful, and shipping for a spindle should not be too expensive. http://magpiewoodworksusa.com/id28.html 
    (I don't know if you noticed that my spindle has a slight flaw in its shaft, like a burn mark, which I actually like: it gives it personality. Very few of John's spindles have flaws, though.)

    I think that the Knit Camp organizer was doing the best she could, and that she was completely overwhelmed. I don't think she was capable of handling the communication as well as the other issues to which she needed to give her attention. I also think that the negative discussions on Ravelry taxed the resources that she did have. It was unfortunate all around.

    My major hesitation in releasing this post is that I think the other people involved in the event have been doing their very best to clean things up as well as they have been able to, and I don't want to disparage their efforts in any way. They have been valiantly patching a very leaky boat. This includes the organizer's family and friends, who were major allies of the participants and the tutors throughout, while caring for the organizer as well.

    The tutors have been communicating and supporting each other. The *thought* of the fundraising alone has lifted our spirits. None of us wants to be a charity case {wry grin}. Nor is it anyone else's responsibility to deal with the financial shortfalls. Yet the sense of community around us has been wonderful.

  12. Deb,

    Thank you for the fair and thoughtful post, and for letting those of us on the outside know what went on. I’m appalled that anyone would contract with you and the other tutors and then not pay. That’s beyond ignorant. I’m going to keep my hopes going that the rest of the organizers find a way to pull the finances together to pay everyone back, and/or that fundraising fills any remaining gaps. If there’s a fund going to reimburse tutors, can you let us know so anyone who can contribute knows how? I’d surely chip in for the good of the community…

  13. Hey Deb,

    You said it better and more completely than I ever could – I second everything you say!

    I’ve been hesitant to write about the aftermath because I feel so burned in two ways:

    1) Financially, and in a non-malicious way by the event organizer.

    2) Emotionally, and in a VERY malicious way by Rav rubberneckers who seemed to take such great joy in watching others in pain.

    Dividing these two forms of pain, dealing with them individually, and just getting ON with life has been very hard. You know how hard.

    Thank you so much for writing. Meeting you in person was one of the best parts of the entire adventure.

  14. I’m so sorry to hear that you haven’t been paid properly for the amazing work you did at Knit Camp and I’m really sad to hear that it actually cost you money to come here and teach us.

    I am a full-time student and although the classes were very reasonably priced, because of my budget, it was a carefully weighed decision to pay to come to them and one I made in the spirit of wanting to invest the cash I do have in things I really believe in. Like rare breed sheep, amazingly talented knitting tutors getting paid, etc.

    I am sure I am not the only person who bought tickets for classes at Knit Camp in this way, in good faith that the right people would be paid the right amount, and that in spending my money I was supporting a fair system of trade, exchange and valuation.

    And I am sure I am not alone in feeling frustrated to find that my money has not been used as I was led to believe it would be when I spent it, and that the tutors who gave me knowledge and insights in my classes have not in fact been paid for your skilled work, your expenses, and your time.

    I am aware that I am very lucky compared to a lot of knitters at Knit Camp, as I was able to attend the classes I had paid for, and the classes were excellent. I admired how you and my other tutor delivered fantastic information and created good learning atmospheres in stressful and difficult conditions.

    However I am saddened by your account, and angered by the idea that my funds were misspent by the event organizer in all the chaos.

    I really enjoyed your class and it expanded my knowledge of the rare breed sheep, put me in touch with some lovely people who were also in the class, and inspired me… which is exactly the kind of project I want to invest in.

    I admire your poise and your ability to write with such grace and dignity about what has obviously been a horrible experience of being inconvenienced, misinformed, out of pocket and – whether intentionally or not – exploited.

    You and all the other tutors should not have had to go through this.

    I hope that if one thing can be salvaged from the mess, it is that knitters value the skills of tutors and others enormously. I know everyone else who went to your classes will be angry to hear that you haven’t been paid.

    If I had known at the time what was going on, I would have demanded a refund and then handed the cash over myself.

    I hope it gets sorted. x

  15. Sending thoughts and energy that the loss is balanced with some unexpected financial gain for you.
    What a blessing you were as a teacher to those students who attended. Your financial accounts may be strained, but your karmic account is overflowing.

  16. In regard to a comment further up, I would just like to say that I have seen little to no indication of folks on Rav taking any pleasure in the pain that this event has caused. What I have seen is a great deal of empathetic folks who are trying to get to the root of the matter, expose the truth of what has happened and who is affected, and then doing what they can to help, if at all possible. The closest thing to malice I have observed is the anger stemming from the treatment of tutors and volunteers. Those very same folks being accused of “take[ing] such great joy” in the pain of this disaster are the same individuals making a great deal of effort to spend their dollars in blog tip jars and products/services offered by tutors affected. Those rubberneckers are the ones working to help make a difference.

    I wanted to attend this event but it was simply impossible to fly over the Atlantic and spend a week doing what I love in a country I long to visit. As such, I paid very close attention to everything that has transpired and yes, I have experienced relief that the money I would have needed for this trip did not exist. That does not mean that I have in any way taken one iota of pleasure in the fiasco, nor does it mean so for those who are also following the aftermath. If I wasn’t following the information, I would not know to whom to donate funds nor would I learn what to watch out for in future events I may be fortunate enough to attend. If folks are using humour along the road to the truth, well, I’m happy to be able to giggle to relieve the tension.

    If I made my living in the fibre arts (oh how I wish I could!), I would be extremely hesitant to continue to insult the very people you hope to do custom with in the future.

    To Deb, my heart breaks for you and those who have gone through this mess. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and painting a clearer picture of what has gone on. I truly hope compensation is on its way to you to help ease the financial burden. I look forward to taking a class from you in the future.

    Savasana on Rav

  17. Deb, I will keep a look out for you in the Portland area, if you are back this way for a teaching class. : ) I am interested in the above conversations about squeaky wheels. We have a couple of them and are always trying to figure out where to oil next to make the squeak go away.

  18. Hi Deb, I was also in your Saturday morning Drop Spindle class. I just wanted to also add my props that you were an amazing teacher to learn from and an inspiration to pick up spinning as a new craft to learn. I have been practicing with my drop spindle since my return home and I love my newly learned skill so much thanks to your excellent tutelage. Thank you for being a highlight of my weekend!

    I think this financial fiasco is terrible way to treat such an amazing array of tutors. I sincerely hope things get sorted and in some timely way for those with financial difficulties.

    I also wanted to add good luck with the book you are working on. From the way you talked about it I am excited to see it in print some day and hope to get a copy so I can learn more from your amazing depths of spinning and fiber knowledge.

    Amy

    ps – I have photos I took in your drop spindle class still to send you!

  19. Deb, so very, very sorry. It’s so discouraging to hear that it’s worked out like this.

  20. Pam,

    There are hundreds – thousands – of wonderful folks on Ravelry.

    But there are also folks who have taken their shots and have seemed to enjoy the discomfiture of anyone associated with the Knit Camp.

    I don’t believe I’ve insulted anyone by saying that – I’m sorry if you think I have.

    The boards at Ravelry can become incredibly heated, and in the case of Knit Camp they were incendiary. That is a fact. When the boards get so hot, a lot of innocent folks get burned, and it’s usually just a couple of folks who fan the flames.

  21. Pam,

    In re-reading what I wrote, I don’t want you to feel I am being flip when I say, “I’m sorry if you think I have.”

    I really AM sorry if my original tone expressed a blanket damning of folks on Ravelry. The good folks to flamers ratio is probably 100 to 1.

    I’m afraid that, being burned, I sense fire more easily than I should. As in any community, online or otherwise, all aspects of humanity are presented.

    What Deb’s done here is to beautifully navigate through the very difficult terrain of explaining how difficult Knit Camp was, while at the same time NOT denigrating all of the effort of everyone involved in it.

    That is a hard thing to do, I know I couldn’t do it as well.

  22. Deb I’m so sorry you had to go through all this stress, I am sorry I didn’t get to meet you at knit camp maybe another time. I do know that it was ONLY through the Ravelry forums that most folk knew what was going on while actually at knit camp. I don’t mean all the deleted threads forum either. I know a lot of people have messaged me to say how glad they were that they had a forum where they could check on what was supposed to be happening and what was happening, where they could speak out about all their worries and where they knew it wouldn’t be edited or deleted as so many threads were.
    I felt and still do feel that if there hadn’t been the rav forums it c ould have been much worse to find out information

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