(Warning: long wordy post with a few of my Crappy Pictures©. You know how I am with a camera.)
So. After several months of planning; 24 hours and 1680-ish KM of driving; and 3-ish days of fun and community in a lovely setting, here we are.
I’ve realized that a few people are wondering what I have to say about the event, as I am one of the instigators and attendees. Truth be told, I’m not sure what to say. I’ve been rolling around the blogs reading posts from a few of the attendees, and see that they’re a bit stuck for words as well. (And having listened to everyone chattering away on the weekend, I’m a bit surprised by this, but, oh well.) There was, I think, some sort of intangible magic that occurred and it’s hard to explain it. In fact, I’m a little…stunned, perhaps, at how favourably the event was received and how grateful the attendees were for it and the opportunities it afforded.
I was once told when you’re the organizer of an event, there comes a point when you have to let go of it and let the participants take it on. You don’t abandon it, of course: you still have to be there to facilitate the overall process and intervene if things get too far off track. But just as you can’t lead a horse to water and make it drink, you can’t put a group of event attendees in a room and make them have an experience that leaves them feeling satisfied. Joe has written that the success of this event really depended on a whole lot of things coming together: the venue, the organizing, the programming, and so on. And that’s true. But I want to thank all the attendees who took a risk to go to a place they didn’t know, for an event with no track record, organized by guys you only know online (whatever that really means), and to make it work. Each of you contributed to make this event a success. Applause for all.
All of the attendees know that we were sharing the space at Easton Mountain with a group of middle-aged to elder gay guys exploring issues impacting maturing gay men. They asked to sit in on our show’n’tell session, because, as their program facilitator said, they were completely intrigued that a group of guys would get together for a weekend to knit. (“You mean there are knitting camps? Like…people just go to a place for a weekend and knit, and swap ideas, and look at each other's knitting? Really? But what kinds of things do you knit?”) I think we exposed them to a subculture that most never knew existed, and you wowed them with your skill, humour, camaraderie, and the great stuff you showed and told. It was a wonderful cross-pollination of concepts and experience, and it meshed completely with the material they were considering in their program.
Thank you to the staff at Easton Mountain. You provided a great space for us to hang out and do our stuff. We hope you'll want us back next year.
While I’m doing the thank-yous, I want to list the companies that sent an item for us to give to the attendees in exchange for including their business card in the attendee’s information folders. Joe and I were astonished by people’s generosity. (“Sure I’ll send some yarn. How much would you like?”) So, in alphabetical order:
Black Bunny Fibers, Villanova, PA, USA
Briar Rose Fibers, Caledonia, MI, USA
Danny Ouellette Knitting, Toronto, ON, Canada
Green Mountain Spinnery, Putney, VT, USA
Hyphen Boy Designs, Bloomington, IL, USA
Louet North America, Prescott, ON, Canada
Nomad Press, Fort Collins, CO, USA
Oceanwind Knits, Teesewater, ON, Canada
Rabbitworks Fibre Studio, North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Red Maple Sportswear, Kittery Point, MA, USA
Shelridge Farm, Durham, ON, Canada
Schoolhouse Press, Pittsville, WI, USA
Spinning Loft, Howell, MI, USA
Threadbear Fiberarts, Lansing, MI, USA
Wild Geese Fibres, Cold Lake, AB, Canada
Woolcott and Company, Boston MA, USA
Thank you also to Alpacas of Easton, who hosted some of our group to see their animals and do I-don’t-know-what-else. (I missed that part of the trip as I was teaching the lace class.)
A final thank-you goes to Joe. The event may have been my idea, but without Joe it wouldn’t have happened. He did so much work on this that I am embarrassed when people thank me for organizing it. We shared the same vision for how it should unfold and run. He was on-board from my first mumbling about it, and jumped in to handle the arrangements with Easton Mountain, to track registrations, to reply to dozens of email and phone enquiries about the event, stuff swag bags and print out bingo cards. We additionally benefited from his level-headed common-sense, and ability to look at issues from a variety of perspectives to come up with fair and simple solutions.
And now for the pictures.
Michael spent a lot of time sitting on the lodge porch looking at the mountain and the pond. (So did several of us, but our hats were a lot less interesting.)
Here’s the mountain and the pond. You don’t get the feel for it from this photo. (A lot of us looked at the mountain and said things like "I never knew green came in so many colors." And compare with the photo in this blog post.)
I finally got to meet Kenny, whose knitting I've admired for a couple of years.
Guys spent time just hangin’ out, knitting and talking.
We had a class on spinning cotton.
Stephen and Sean would make a perfect comedy duo.
Til next year...