I arrived at the Knitters' Guild of NSW (Inc) Camp on Friday evening at 5:20, after an almost three hour trip - half an hour of which I spent travelling just four kilometres (2.5 miles). A police operation was underway in Castle Hill (a motorist been shot by the police the day before) so there were major roads closed in the area.
I was given a nice twin bed motel-style room with en-suite which I shared with a member of my own knitting group so the accommodation was much better than I was expecting. The word "camp" conjures up bunk beds and dormitory style rooms so it was a very pleasant surprise. The food was quite good and there seemed to be enough for everybody although those at the end of the queue missed out on pumpkin for dinner one night.
I took my camera, charged the batteries overnight and then was too busy to take any photos!
On Saturday I tutored an all day workshop on entrelac knitting. I am by no means an expert but I have knitted quite a few blankets in garter stitch entrelac so I am very familiar with the technique.
All the samples I prepared were knitted in acrylic (I don't like "wasting" wool for knitting samples and I hope they'll be protected from insect attack!) and unblocked: I wanted the participants to see what their work would look like on the needles - which is not always like a blocked piece; this is especially true of entrelac.
In the first session of the day, I taught the participants how the squares of entrelac are joined together. We worked in garter stitch: but some of those squares were knitted entirely in purl. The samples show the same square knitted in one handpainted yarn and in two contrasting yarns. The participants all made the sample with two yarns so that hey could see how it comes togehter.
After lunch came the harder session: not only did the participants learn how to knit traditional entrelac in stocking stitch, which meant making triangles at the base, sides and top of their sample, but I also taught them to knit backwards and asked them, if they could, to knit with the right side facing for the rest of the day. Knitting backwards is knitting the work from the right needle to the left needle; this saves turning the work around at the end of every eight stitch row which, with practice, is actually faster than knitting and purling.
Most of the participants got it and were happy to keep knitting that way (slowly) for the remainder of the afternoon. Some of them said they really enjoyed knitting backwards, which was a real bonus!
The sample shows the difference in size and finish knitting the same pattern in stocking stitch versus garter stitch - same needles, same yarn, same number of stitches, same knitter.
For the fast finishers, there was a bonus sample: lace entrelac. Well, a combination of lace and garter stitch as seen below.
I was given many thanks and compliments for the workshop which I really appreciated.
On Sunday I was exhausted. 8:30am-5:50pm was a long, long day for me! The weather was miserable, and got worse as the weekend progressed. I had planned to leave on Sunday afternoon after the intarsia workshop I was taking, but the combination of heavy rain and fatigue made me decide to leave at lunch time on Sunday.
I had a good drive home, despite the heavy rain at the beginning of the trip, and was home in about two and half hours. It was the first time in a very long while since I had driven that kind of distance (170km - 106.5 miles - each way) so I was quite pleased with myself.
I had a wonderful time (despite the weather and the exhaustion) and would encourage Guild members to start saving now for Camp 2013. And be sure to let the Committee know what workshops you would like to see at the next camp.