Monday, September 20, 2010

A call to arms. Or wallets.

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.

Ann Kingstone
Annie Modesitt
Carol Feller
Deb Robson
Debbie Bamford
Debbie Tomkies
Di Gilpin
Donna Druchnas
Liz Lovick
Ewa Kuniczak
Jane Harrison
Jared Flood
Joan McGowan Michael
Jon Dunn
Kate Tetlow
Kerrie Allman
Lucy Neatby
Mary Anne Mucklestone
Miriam Tegels
Nancy Bush
Nancy Marchant
Norah Gaughan
Rebecca Bonser
Sasha Kagan
Lorilee Beltman
Woolly Wormhead
Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer (Woolly Thoughts)
Ysolda Teague
Debbie Stoller
Amy Singer


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?

43 comments:

JelliDonut said...

This is a brilliant idea. Thanks. My holiday shopping just got easier. I had no idea this thing went down the crapper.

knitterotica said...

I'm in!

As a professional event producer, I have watched that cluster f*@! with my mouth hanging open. I realize not everyone who runs events are professionals, but this gave amateurs a bad name.

I have family that loves to shop from my wish list for the holidays which includes my birthday. I have no qualms about leveraging the sucky-ness of a December 26th birthday either. Not to mention all the knitters/spinners for whom I'd like to shop.

I'm off to hunt for purchasing info from these awesome fiber folk.

Sarah said...

This is a great idea!

I find some distant amusement in the commonalities between this disaster and some of the science fiction convention horror stories I've heard. There's a vicious downward spiral that's usually caused by over-enthusiasm and a corresponding naivety about the amount of work involved in a convention (or "camp") of this size.

tinamarie313@hotmail.com said...

Aww Jules, that is a fantastic idea! Will go scout out some now.

Arianne said...

Ysolda actually pulled out before any of that mess because a clause in the contract saying that she wasn't allowed to say anything bad about knit camp either before, during, or after the event.
She very rightly didn't want to be gagged!

ANYBODY- If you are looking for a great knitting retreat/convention in he UK I worked at Knit Nation this year and it was an AMAZING experience. It's run by Alice Yu and Cookie A. and the whole thing was beautifully organised and managed and i went so so so wonderfully! And Wollmeise was there.

xxx

Shoveling Ferret said...

Brilliant!

mary jane said...

You are so sweet! Thank You!

Alwen said...

Yeah, that whole event was just ... flabbergasting.

Some of my knitting friends up in Grand Rapids know Lorilee from her shop there, which was how I first heard about the whole mess.

At the time, I thought that was the worst: fly overseas and find out you can't teach? But then Lucy Neatby posted, and whoa. Fly overseas and back and teach for free?

Personally I wonder if the "organizer" (a word which needs broad air quotes in her case) should be under psychiatric care.

Sarah said...

Hey Julie did you try the wayback machine for the official website, just an idea.

I will definitely be putting these names on my christmas/yule wishlist!

scifiknitter said...

This is a wonderful idea! I read Lucy Neatby's blog, and was so sad to learn that the instructors are not being paid. I won't say I was surprised, though - that type of poor organization just burns through money.

And just to let you know - your critique of VK has become one of my reasons for living, or at least for reading knitting blogs!

My hubby and I homeschooled our daughter (who is now a PhD student and a very excellent knitter) using curricula like you are doing with your daughter. We were pretty open-ended at the beginning, and tightened the screws as the years passed. I hope you can find some way to interweave the relaxed and spontaneous into the lessons you have. Reading readiness, artistic expression, and increasing ability to follow directions are the goals, and a lot of that comes from just plain living. Give yourself some slack when totaling up those 600 hours - all the engaged parenting counts, not just the part where you are following the curriculum.

Louiz said...

Yeah, clusterfuck just about describes it. I heard about the unfolding chaos from people at Knit Nation, which seems to be on completely the other end of the spectrum - beautifully organised, well advertised and the only faces I saw were happy and smiling. And it's on again next year (good advert for the good running of the first one).

The only person I know in any way personally (and that's by being a customer for many years) is Kerrie Allman, who I want to be when I grow up. She will be at the Knit and Stitch show in London the second week in October, with her publishing company (hers, that she started from scratch)(Yarn Forward and Sew Hip are two of their magazines). I shall be bringing my usual box of chocs for the staff, but will also be buying a few extra bits - even though I'm on subscription.

Tammy said...

Thank you for organizing this list. I was so disappointed that Ysolda pulled out so early, as I had booked her classes. Now I know why and I have no qualms about her pulling out. She was replaced with Kerrie Allman who did her best with the time constraints put on her. I really learned from Kerrie though and I bought a subscription to her mag while over there. I will definitely be adding some other things to my birthday list (coming up soon) and my Christmas list as well as shopping for others.

I was just flabbergasted to hear of everything going on that I didn't see while at KC.

Tammy said...

Oh, someone on Ravelry found the web designer and there is the original page of teachers. http://www.clementinedesign.co.uk/britishyarn/index.php/knit-camp/tutors

Catie said...

wow - I had no idea that all this went down! Thanks for putting this list together.

AnnaLou said...

Great idea! Will definitely buy a few patterns from some of the teachers. Ysolda wasn't actually involved in Knit Camp as she didn't sign her contract so maybe you could take her off the list?

unblinkered said...

Amy Singer of Knitty also got stung, since she never made it over thanks to the visa fiasco. Also, Jess and Casey of Ravelry were stung, I think, as they had already made travel arrangements before they cancelled. And yeah, Ysolda pulled out before things got *really* hairy, so I hope she didn't make any financial losses as a areasult.

Fantastic blog and idea, though...I shall be passing it on!

Lucy said...

A very, very kind positive thought. I'll post your list to the tutors - one or two have been paid, full or in part. Others are out everything, travel costs and teaching. I don't know whether it would be helpful to add this basic info to the list. Also perhaps website or ways to access the teachers products.
If you decide to add this info, I'm out teaching and travel. My web site is www.lucyneatby.com and my patterns may be purchased as downloads from www.Patternfish.com
Happy stitches to the warm woolly knitters of the world!

Mully Nex said...

A complete and final list of classe / tutors can be seen here: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AnSm7nVfeNhKdFZwMjNGdVE0blJ5ZGhfR0lMV21sQUE&hl=en#gid=0

In case that magically disappears (like many things involved in this) here is the list:

Ann Kingstone
Annie Modesitt
Carol Feller
Deb Robson
Debbie Bamford
Debbie Tomkies
Di Gilpin
Donna Druchnas
Elizabeth Lovick
Ewa Kuniczak
Jane Galbraith
Jane Harrison
Jared Flood
Joan McGowan Michael
Jon Dunn
Kate Tetlow
Kerrie Allman
Lucy Neatby
Mary Jane Mucklestone
Miriam Tegels
Nancy Bush
Nancy Marchant
Norah Gaughan
Rebecca Bonser
Sasha Kagan
Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer (Woolly Thoughts)
Woollywormhead

Deborah Robson said...

Thanks so much (from one of the tutors) for the idea and the lovely thought!

If anyone wants to buy books published by Nomad Press (that's me, working on a shoestring from a basement office) to give their friends as presents, both I and the authors (one of whom is another Knit Camp tutor) would benefit! Current Nomad Press titles in development have been delayed as a result of the unreimbursed expenses and the loss of income, and I'd love to get them moving again.

The title list is at http://www.nomad-press.com. The books can be obtained from many yarn shops and bookstores. I do sell directly from the website but (1) can't discount below retailers' pricing and (2) I'm currently on the road working, so shipping of website-direct orders may be delayed.

Anita said...

Hi Julie - as well as Ysolda pulling out in advance, so did Franklin Habit. You can check Jean Miles's blog to confirm.

Cheers
Anita

Donna Lee said...

You are brilliant. I completely missed this whole fiasco (not that I could affort to fly to Scotland anyway). What a mess. And I don't have the stomach to read all the vitriol, however well deserved it may be. I read Lucy's blog and felt so sad and disheartened.

Catherine said...

I love this idea. Thanks for posting!

Annmarie said...

This is so great, I've been watching this whole drama and it's been filling me with an impotent rage. I just want to fix it all for these poor people and had decided, like you, I will seek out their patterns and good when I buy am ready to buy something new. Thanks for compiling a list!

JustThoughtYouShouldKnow said...

Anne Modesitt has been openly vile to those criticising Jo, or even voicing minor misgivings as things started to go wrong.

I was gutted to read her writings regarding Knit Camp; I was *such* a fan beforehand.

Anonymous said...

I will happily buy patterns, books, etc. from as many of these out of pocket, unpaid Knit Camp instructors as I can with one or two EXCEPTIONS.

There are a couple of instructors on this list that I will NEVER give one dime of my hard earned money to, due to their conduct before, during and after the Knit Camp Shit Camp fiasco. I am convinced it was an instructor that was responsible for leaving that anonymous comment on her unhappy students blog telling her student that her bad health is "karma". This same tutor showed herself to be an extremely dishonest person just prior to Knit Camp kicking off. Another made some ugly remarks about those on Ravelry who had the audacity to point out that there were some MAJOR issues going on at Knit Camp with classes being canceled left and right, tutors being deported, etc.

I did learn that the vast majority of the instructors handeled this fiasco professionally, with good grace and INTEGRITY. I will gladly focus on helping to support these instructors who are so deserving instead.

Ann Kingstone said...

Thank you so much for suggesting this kind of support Julie. The kind concern of very many knitters is a source of immense comfort to me, as I am sure it is to many others who have been caught up in this dreadful mess.

Please support the non-uk tutors first as their greater expenses (flights etc...) mean they are in much greater current need due to non-payment than those of us in the UK. (I hope the other UK-based tutors don't mind me saying this!)

Thanks,
Ann Kingstone (aka spinningmaid)

Emily said...

You are a gem of the ocean, as my mother would say. I had not heard of this disaster, but, believe me, it happens, and I've been a victim once or twice, though on a smaller scale. (Airfare?! Jeepers.)An orchestra I work for was damn near ruined by something similar; going after the bad guys in court turns out to be almost impossible. You have to wait in line behind the previous victims.

One learns instantly to watch out. But I absolutely love your suggestion.

Amy said...

I really like this idea as it seems like a wholly positive way to approach the issue. I don't need to (or want to) read all about what happened to feel that it would be a great idea to throw some financial support the instructors' way by purchasing from them.

Anonymous said...

I'd be surprised if Annie Modesitt wasn't the first person to be paid, since she couldn't stop tooting Jo's horn.

Anonymous said...

I'd be surprised if Annie Modesitt wasn't the first person to be paid, since she couldn't stop tooting Jo's horn.

Anonymous said...

There is one non- uk tutor who has been alluded to in another post whom I will not be supporting as she did not have any tact, is down right rude and abrasive. Her humour was not appreciated. We were only 4 miles from Dunblane and there were individuals in her classes who had lost family members in this massacre. Rabbiting on about Guns and shooting cause you are a American was not called for. The individual whom this tutor stomped all over had greater grace and a higher level of politeness not to challenge this woman but it did not stop the tears in the Ladies toilets.

April said...

Julie, you are a genius. I heard about this hot mess when it first started to go South, I had hoped that it would have all gotten resolved. I guess not. I'll be waving the credit card magic wand.

Meg said...

What a great idea. I would love to help in any way possible. Organizing, etc. Please let me know.

Meg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz said...

I was there; and yes, it was as much of a trainwreck, organisationally, as everyone suggests; tutors and knitters made it a good week for those of us students who attended, but we were aware before, during and after that there were serious problems, and the lack of basic courtesy was striking. So it's particularly sickening that those people who did really put themselves out have been shafted.

I blogged over the weekend with a couple of these links, and also a link to a post by the organiser which shows how far out of the universe as generally understood she seems to be, even after the event. (That's if the post stays for any length of time; things have a habit of disappearing).

Thanks for giving it wider publicity, Julie, and for adding the name I suggested earlier by e-mail. Although Debbie Stoller wasn't a tutor, she was a host for one evening and a speaker during the weekend, and ended up taking a short unexpected holiday with relatives elsewhere in Europe to overcome the shocking incompetence over work paperwork.

Angela said...

Holy Cow, I had heard vague rumblings that there were problems with Knit Camp, but when I did a blog search for it just over a month ago, I just got the organizer's strange blog post about having a great time and taking a holiday with her family.

I have to admit, once I started clicking your links I got sucked into reading the whole story. I hope everyone involved gets appropriately compensated and that everyone can heal and learn from these failures.

Hopefully, while some are concerned that this will hurt the industry I believe that it will only ensure that future events are organized better.

Amy Lane said...

Wow-- seriously... wow! I'd heard nothing of this--and it's really sort of depressing... *wanders off to check on links now!*

Anonymous said...

Ysolda pulled out some time before the event so probably best she's not on this list?

I'm sure all the tutors who are out of pocket and missing wages appreciate the efforts here.

It's hard to believe so many have been screwed over.

Roz said...

Wow. Just wow.

You rock, Jules, seriously.

Anonymous said...

GOOD FOR YOU!! Great idea - how could I not join in - the list contains some of my all time favorite artists. DS

Louiz said...

Julie, have you seen this?
http://independentstitch.typepad.com/the_independent_stitch/2010/10/fundraising-for-uk-knit-camp-tutors.html
a fundraising group, paypal etc has been set up for the tutors.

Pat Ashforth said...

This is the current list of the tutors who are owed money:

Ann Kingstone
Annie Modesitt
Carol Feller
Deb Robson
Debbie Bamford
Debbie Tomkies
Di Gilpin
Donna Druchunas
Ewa Kuniczak
Jane Harrisson
Jared Flood
Jon Dunn
Kate Tetlow
Kerrie Allman
Liz Lovick
Lorilee Beltman
Lucy Neatby
Mary Jane Mucklestone
Nancy Bush
Nancy Marchant
Rebecca Bonser
Sasha Kagan
mWoolly Wormhead

There are three more tutors whose position is not known.

Ysolda and Franklin have been mentioned in other replies. They were not the only tutors caught up in all this. In total, nearly 60 tutors were involved. Many were told they were not required, at very short notice.

maria said...

I want to say I will never, ever give one penny to Annie M ever, following her appalling behavior around this whole fiasco.

Sounds like there is someone else who should be on my list, per other comments, but this is the one I'm aware of.

The rest I'll go out of my way to support.