Okay. For those not in the loop, there was a knit camp at Stirling College (University?) in Scotland in August. Long story shorter, it was a complete, horrific clusterfuck of epic proportions. American instructors were deported for not having work visas (the responsibility for the visas was on the camp organizers, not the instructors); nothing went off as planned. The marketplace was horribly organized. You can read details of the whole thing unraveling as it happened over on the Ravelry board originally organized for the camp. (Warning: it takes a strong stomach.) Lucy Neatby has written a heartbreaking blog post on the subject that makes me want to fly to Canada and give her a hug. One of the volunteers has written honestly about her experiences, and I think she's also due a hug or ten. One of the vendors has been writing honestly about it from the start, on her blog, here, and getting piles of shit heaped on her by (I assume) friends of the organizer. (Who wishes someone bad health? Really?)
So, I've been sitting here feeling bad for these people - the instructors, for the most part, HAVE NOT BEEN PAID and are not only out teaching fees, but air fare and the money they could have made doing something better organized for the ten days they were in Scotland being treated rudely by the organizers. (The students, by all accounts, were awesome. I'm not sending any wrath their way at all.) These instructors, KNOWING they were going to be losing money, still pulled themselves together, acted professionally, taught their students, and otherwise were awesome people.
I'd love to send each of these people a quick twenty bucks, but honestly, I can't afford to. But, laying in bed this morning, I had something of a minor epiphany. Christmas is coming up, now, isn't it? We request all kinds of good knitty stuff for the holidays, and buy it for each other. So why don't we throw our business to these folks, who got ripped off so badly and acted so wonderfully? They've certainly earned our respect and produce a great deal of books, DVDs, yarns, and other products that are worth buying. Whatta ya say? Spread some love around, show these folks they're valued by those of us in the trenches, knitting and enjoying their work. We all buy stuff anyway. Why not buy theirs?
I've done what I can to reconstruct the list of instructors at Scottish Knit Camp; the organizers are currently in hiding and have deleted the official web site, so I've lurked through the Rav board to find the names. I KNOW I've missed people. PLEASE let me know, and I'll add them.
Joan McGowan Michael
Mary Anne Mucklestone
Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer (Woolly Thoughts)
ETA Several more names, including machine knitters, crocheters, and weavers who were slated to teach classes and might not be immediately recognizable to me, a Just Hand Knitter.
ETA AGAIN: I think this is the final, accurate list. Thanks to everyone who has checked in with information and for all the positive feedback. I've got myself some awesome blog buddies.
Not all of these folks actually TAUGHT at knit camp. Some got deported before they had a chance. With, near as we can figure out, no recompense for travel or inconvenience. If anything, I think that makes them more deserving of our business.
Spread the word. I know knitters can accomplish amazing things when we work together. How hard is it to buy some stuff?