It's Knitting Camp time, and I won't be there. Sigh! It's not in the budget this year. It has gotten more expensive while my income went down due to job change. I've only been twice to the one and only original Meg Swanson's knitting camp and that was in 1998 and 2000, so it's not like I'm an oft-timer, but I aspire to be.
What is the allure of knitting camp? Well, it isn't the Best Western hotel or the great nightlife of Marshfield, WI. (Although, contrary to popular pre-conception north central Wisconsin is scenic and the summer weather can be quite lovely.) No, what brings me back to knitting camp is Meg herself and the company of fellow campers.
Meg is one of the original knitting goddesses, descended from a knitting Saint, Elizabeth Zimmerman. Being Elizabeth's daughter and protege, Meg has a wealth of knitting knowledge to share. It isn't simply Meg's knitting know-how that I admire. I'm charmed by her wit, her humour and her slightly British manner. (Obviously Elizabeth's influence, but something that seems quite odd to me since I live in the same suburb of Milwaukee where Meg was raised and I know that hers is certainly not the local accent.) Although Meg has an incredible knitting pedigree, she is unpretentious and patient with even the newest knitter. Meg's classes are packed with knowledge and well presented. I know of no other knitting retreat that uses technology to such great advantage. With close circuit TV and large monitors around the room, there is never a struggle to see the teacher's knitting.
Of course, I'm not the only member of the Meg Swanson fan club. Meg's camp draws knitters from across the country and even from around the world. The camps I attended included a handful of Canadians, a Brazilian, and an American living in London who flew in just for knitting camp. Yarn shop owners and knitting designers were common in the crowd. Show and tell was inspiring, if not breath taking at times.
I find the fellowship of knitters to be rejuvenating. Among my fellow campers I've found community. At the 2000 knitting camp, I discovered two campmates lived within 5 miles of me. We enjoyed the camp experience so much that we decided to continue to meet when camp was over. I now knit at the local bookstore every Monday night with these ladies and a few other knitters that we've picked up along the way. They have become my best friends and have given me much emotional support over the years.
Yes, I'm missing knitting camp. I shall just have to sing the knitting camp theme song to get over it: (sung to the tune of Koom-by-yah,)
"Come buy yarn, my Lord, Come buy yarn, Come buy yarn my Lord, Come buy yarn . . ."