Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"This is fiber, this is big"

When I told Dolores that I was going to FiberCamp, she took it in stride.

Over the past several years, I have volunteered at over a dozen unconferences. She has heard me go to PodCamp, HealthCamp, NewbCamp, she figured this one was like the others, based around technology. And given the load of commercials by Verizon touting their FIOS, "this is fiber, this is big". She didn't given a second thought.

So when I came home Saturday night for diner and started talking about knitting, she looked at me with one of those looks.

You know the kind!

Her eyes were asking: Where did you go today? She couldn't believe that I actually wanted to go to this event.

Well, an unconference is an unconference!

People coming together in a peer to peer learning environment. It doesn't matter whether the topic is technology or health care or yarn. Creating a learning conversation around a common theme is something I love to see happen.

Every conference needs a registration/welcome desk. I can do that! I take pride in meeting and greeting the folks as they arrive. In other conferences, I'll get into some sessions. For FiberCamp, I was comfortable manning the desk and talking with the folks there. I still learned a whole lot.

What is the difference between podcamp and fibercamp?

One difference I noted with a sherku:
was unique.
no heads down
over laptop;
heads down
needles fly

One surprise: of the 40 odd knitters amongst the 50 plus folks in the auditorium on Friday night, I could only hear one set of needles clicking, I guess I thought there would be more. So when working the registration/welcome desk on Saturday, amongst the conversations, facility and schedule overviews, I was able to talk with a couple of folks to ask about this (and one thing leads to another off course).

Most needles are quiet these days, more have wooden tips, some are acrylic, the steel ones tend to be noisy

There is also a combination of fiber and knitting styles that can contribute to the noise factor

There is continental or American knitting, or to describe it more in terms of the action, it would be more like a catching vs. a throwing style

There are a multitude of patterns, there are multitude of yarns (colors and textures) the combinations thereof hence quickly become exponential.

Alasdair Post-Quinn does marvelous double knitting. The geometrical designs are simply amazing. I don't have a photo but he did a regular round knit cap with the four points of the compass on the four points with a geometric pattern. Turn the cap inside out and the four points retain their proper orientation in the different color design! This is a scarf to show some of his design work.

How serious is Alasdair about knitting? He went to lunch with a group and returned to the Welcome desk to get his knitting. He felt left out, all the others at the lunch table were working on projects.

While some of the fibercampers had Twitter id's more had and wanted to know each others revelry account name.

Revelry is the online community for sharing patterns, sharing comments on what you did with the pattern, etc. One recommended that to choose a pattern with at least some number of downloads should give you a good sense of what it will come out like.

Viewing the variety of interpretations of a pattern is sometimes quite staggering but immensely revealing

Some folks use straight needles, some prefer circular

Both have their pluses/minuses, circular can allow for knitting a full sweater without seems, but if comfortable knitting a seem, the straight needles arrive at the same place; a nicely done and wearable fiber product

I had the opportunity to talk with Adrianne Sloane, an "architectural" knitter, she does art works:
Knitting shapes have long been defined by the human form. By moving the context of knitting from clothing geometry to sculpture, knitting becomes a medium with a link to a rich and complex fiber tradition that has the power of history behind it. To be able to turn a single strand of yarn into fiber building blocks with form and function, texture and color is also energizingly low tech.
Working in what has long been considered a traditional woman's medium, I aim to an artistic aesthetic informed by traditional craft, art and politics. My work aspires to dissolve the boundaries between craft and art, mindful of the historical context of the medium.

I knit to rejoin the frayed and unraveled places around me.


I had the opportunity to talk with Heidi Vernon, who was fortunate to be displaying her knitted sweaters. She does those in collaboration with designer Irina Taytslin. Irina will start to set the vision, Heidi will collaborate with her on the colors, types of yarn, etc.


Amanda - who in business does SEO marketing, was at the first PodCamp Boston, We had a good discussion meandering our way through memories and current events.

Guido Stein came by to teach me some basics of spinning. It was interesting to do, the fiber definitely has a feel to it, the threads are interlaced and connected and spinning makes them all the stronger to use.

At the end, folks were reluctant to go out the door. There were still tips and tricks to understand.

Let the learning go on!

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