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Deb Robson and Tussah

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« UK Knit Camp aftermath, and human/dog creative play | Main | Fundraising for UK Knit Camp tutors »

October 01, 2010


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Margaret Graham

I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you were wronged, and you are left cleaning up someone else's mess. I see your grace and strength and vision. Love,

Deborah Robson

Thanks so much, Margaret. Knowing your thoughts are out there supporting us is a blessing!


What a nightmare. Thanks for clearing up your status, and giving some facts about the situation. I appreciate, as always, the clarity of your thoughts, and the generosity of your spirit.


Thank you Deb for putting your experience into writing. I was there as a student and had a wonderful time. I had an inkling that something was going on behind the scenes, but had no idea how desperate things were going to be. I have the utmost respect for you and all of the tutors. I hope that some good can come of this. One day when you are back in the PNW, I hope to attend a class by you.

Janice in GA

I am so, so sorry you're having to go through this. :( What a mess.

Doug Berch

Wow. So sorry to hear this. As musicians my friends and I refer to this type of experience as "Another golden moment in showbiz." I appreciate the way you spoke of the organizer of the event. It is easy to assume malicious intent behind someone's incompetence and insensitivity as to how their actions affect others, especially when we are the others in question. I hope the stresses of having been through this ease quickly.


Thank you Deb for writing this! It's much worse than I had understood, and I hope you can leave it behind you in a reasonable time. As one of your students at UK KnitCamp I thank you for your wonderful classes.



I was the "other" tutor, and no hard feelings - I had planned a jog around the lake, but shifting four knitting machines was more than enough exercise that night. Luckily a young lady helped me out - those corridors got very narrow! Apparently someone had been trying to find me all day to tell me, but forgot that she had my mobile number and could have called me :)


I had a lovely class with you and squeaky is still squeaking a bit but it seams to have calmed down a lot. Leather has been replaced but it still squeaks. Another owner of the Wendy has replaced the metal U Bolt with leather to get the squeak out and it seams to have worked for her.

I thing talking about the stress has helped others to get a clear picture of the effects and I am so glad we now have a fighting fund for the tutors. I think you should contact JanKAL on Ravelry if you have not already been in contact as things are afoot to try and help the tutors. She was the lady on my left in the class if you need to remember who she was in your class groups. So it was squeaky and then JanKAL.


Deb Robson

Hearing that the participants had a good time and learned fun stuff makes the tutors hearts sing. I just heard that three folks I got started as spinners in the half-day sessions at Knit Camp are off this weekend to learn more about the craft . . . together! What a delight.

Thanks for everyones good thoughts.

Tammy, I have roots and family in the Pacific Northwest, and I love being there (I lived in Seattle and Port Townsend for a number of years).

Doug, I remember the showbiz comment from when I was in my exs band (rhythm guitar and harmony vocals, once in a while dulcimer). Now we say, Another opportunity for learning and growth! (with egads under the breath).

I appreciate your checking in, Jane, and that you had not already taken your jog around the lake. I got lots of exercise walking around Stirling to keep my equilibrium fairly present from Saturday (I think thats when the cracks started showing up) through Wednesday morning, when we could begin to teach. (All of the photos above came from those rambles.) Those corridors were amazingly narrow. Especially down where my most-of-the-time and your sudden-change classroom was.

Kotaatok: changing that U-bolt out to something softer would, I think, be a good plan. The metal-against-wood is going to wear the wood, in addition to squeaking. Leather is a good option. Oil your leather lots, wherever it is on the wheel. Dry leather squeaks. Well-lubricated leather should be silent.

There is a tutors group (thank heaven we are not all going it alone), and through that channel we have heard about Jane KALs plan. We have been developing a database of who is owed what. Even the thought that people are aware is heartening to us. And I remember both squeaky and Jane, and that you were on the windows side of the room, fairly near where I was standing (or, rather, walking around) most of the time.


Hey Deb,

I am so terribly sorry to hear of the times that you have been enduring and facing!

You appear to be handling this awful situation with great dignity and grace!

I took a drop spindling class with you, at Knit Camp, thank you ... your enthusiasm for you craft and knowledge is stimulating and infectious!

I have done some practicing, and keep looking out for a mushroom spindle like yours ... a potential business for someone!?

I am so gutted to hear about all the trouble that has been caused by the fall out from knit camp, and how upset people are.

On the Ravelry boards before knit camp, I believed people were being mean and unfair about the organizer ....

For me the worst bit has been how the aftermath has been dealt with.

I feel like she could have made it a whole lot better by just communicating with the people whose lives she was directly affecting!

It is great that someone has set up a tutors fund .. hopefully this will help financially reimburse tutors?

I can only hope that the trust will settle down and be restored. That American tutors will again attend and impart their great crafts' knowledge over here, and that they will not forever be put off visiting these shores for the purpose of teaching?

Thanks for being so honest with us all, I can appreciate that your post must have been a difficult one to write!


Deb Robson

Becky, so glad to have you in one of my classes, and Im glad you enjoyed it!

If youre talking about the spindle I think I was using (it was the only personal spindle I had with me), it was made by John Jenkins at Magpie Woodworks in Grand Junction, Colorado--his small top-whorl spindle perfectly fits my traveling spinning kit (which I blogged about not long ago). The Maggie spindles are reasonable and beautiful, and shipping for a spindle should not be too expensive. http://magpiewoodworksusa.com/id28.html
(I dont know if you noticed that my spindle has a slight flaw in its shaft, like a burn mark, which I actually like: it gives it personality. Very few of Johns spindles have flaws, though.)

I think that the Knit Camp organizer was doing the best she could, and that she was completely overwhelmed. I dont think she was capable of handling the communication as well as the other issues to which she needed to give her attention. I also think that the negative discussions on Ravelry taxed the resources that she did have. It was unfortunate all around.

My major hesitation in releasing this post is that I think the other people involved in the event have been doing their very best to clean things up as well as they have been able to, and I dont want to disparage their efforts in any way. They have been valiantly patching a very leaky boat. This includes the organizers family and friends, who were major allies of the participants and the tutors throughout, while caring for the organizer as well.

The tutors have been communicating and supporting each other. The *thought* of the fundraising alone has lifted our spirits. None of us wants to be a charity case {wry grin}. Nor is it anyone elses responsibility to deal with the financial shortfalls. Yet the sense of community around us has been wonderful.

Susan J. Tweit


Thank you for the fair and thoughtful post, and for letting those of us on the outside know what went on. I'm appalled that anyone would contract with you and the other tutors and then not pay. That's beyond ignorant. I'm going to keep my hopes going that the rest of the organizers find a way to pull the finances together to pay everyone back, and/or that fundraising fills any remaining gaps. If there's a fund going to reimburse tutors, can you let us know so anyone who can contribute knows how? I'd surely chip in for the good of the community...


Hey Deb,

You said it better and more completely than I ever could - I second everything you say!

I've been hesitant to write about the aftermath because I feel so burned in two ways:

1) Financially, and in a non-malicious way by the event organizer.

2) Emotionally, and in a VERY malicious way by Rav rubberneckers who seemed to take such great joy in watching others in pain.

Dividing these two forms of pain, dealing with them individually, and just getting ON with life has been very hard. You know how hard.

Thank you so much for writing. Meeting you in person was one of the best parts of the entire adventure.


I'm so sorry to hear that you haven't been paid properly for the amazing work you did at Knit Camp and I'm really sad to hear that it actually cost you money to come here and teach us.

I am a full-time student and although the classes were very reasonably priced, because of my budget, it was a carefully weighed decision to pay to come to them and one I made in the spirit of wanting to invest the cash I do have in things I really believe in. Like rare breed sheep, amazingly talented knitting tutors getting paid, etc.

I am sure I am not the only person who bought tickets for classes at Knit Camp in this way, in good faith that the right people would be paid the right amount, and that in spending my money I was supporting a fair system of trade, exchange and valuation.

And I am sure I am not alone in feeling frustrated to find that my money has not been used as I was led to believe it would be when I spent it, and that the tutors who gave me knowledge and insights in my classes have not in fact been paid for your skilled work, your expenses, and your time.

I am aware that I am very lucky compared to a lot of knitters at Knit Camp, as I was able to attend the classes I had paid for, and the classes were excellent. I admired how you and my other tutor delivered fantastic information and created good learning atmospheres in stressful and difficult conditions.

However I am saddened by your account, and angered by the idea that my funds were misspent by the event organizer in all the chaos.

I really enjoyed your class and it expanded my knowledge of the rare breed sheep, put me in touch with some lovely people who were also in the class, and inspired me... which is exactly the kind of project I want to invest in.

I admire your poise and your ability to write with such grace and dignity about what has obviously been a horrible experience of being inconvenienced, misinformed, out of pocket and - whether intentionally or not - exploited.

You and all the other tutors should not have had to go through this.

I hope that if one thing can be salvaged from the mess, it is that knitters value the skills of tutors and others enormously. I know everyone else who went to your classes will be angry to hear that you haven't been paid.

If I had known at the time what was going on, I would have demanded a refund and then handed the cash over myself.

I hope it gets sorted. x

Diana Troldahl

Sending thoughts and energy that the loss is balanced with some unexpected financial gain for you.
What a blessing you were as a teacher to those students who attended. Your financial accounts may be strained, but your karmic account is overflowing.


In regard to a comment further up, I would just like to say that I have seen little to no indication of folks on Rav taking any pleasure in the pain that this event has caused. What I have seen is a great deal of empathetic folks who are trying to get to the root of the matter, expose the truth of what has happened and who is affected, and then doing what they can to help, if at all possible. The closest thing to malice I have observed is the anger stemming from the treatment of tutors and volunteers. Those very same folks being accused of "take[ing] such great joy" in the pain of this disaster are the same individuals making a great deal of effort to spend their dollars in blog tip jars and products/services offered by tutors affected. Those rubberneckers are the ones working to help make a difference.

I wanted to attend this event but it was simply impossible to fly over the Atlantic and spend a week doing what I love in a country I long to visit. As such, I paid very close attention to everything that has transpired and yes, I have experienced relief that the money I would have needed for this trip did not exist. That does not mean that I have in any way taken one iota of pleasure in the fiasco, nor does it mean so for those who are also following the aftermath. If I wasn't following the information, I would not know to whom to donate funds nor would I learn what to watch out for in future events I may be fortunate enough to attend. If folks are using humour along the road to the truth, well, I'm happy to be able to giggle to relieve the tension.

If I made my living in the fibre arts (oh how I wish I could!), I would be extremely hesitant to continue to insult the very people you hope to do custom with in the future.

To Deb, my heart breaks for you and those who have gone through this mess. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and painting a clearer picture of what has gone on. I truly hope compensation is on its way to you to help ease the financial burden. I look forward to taking a class from you in the future.

Savasana on Rav


Deb, I will keep a look out for you in the Portland area, if you are back this way for a teaching class. : ) I am interested in the above conversations about squeaky wheels. We have a couple of them and are always trying to figure out where to oil next to make the squeak go away.


Hi Deb, I was also in your Saturday morning Drop Spindle class. I just wanted to also add my props that you were an amazing teacher to learn from and an inspiration to pick up spinning as a new craft to learn. I have been practicing with my drop spindle since my return home and I love my newly learned skill so much thanks to your excellent tutelage. Thank you for being a highlight of my weekend!

I think this financial fiasco is terrible way to treat such an amazing array of tutors. I sincerely hope things get sorted and in some timely way for those with financial difficulties.

I also wanted to add good luck with the book you are working on. From the way you talked about it I am excited to see it in print some day and hope to get a copy so I can learn more from your amazing depths of spinning and fiber knowledge.


ps - I have photos I took in your drop spindle class still to send you!


Deb, so very, very sorry. It's so discouraging to hear that it's worked out like this.



There are hundreds - thousands - of wonderful folks on Ravelry.

But there are also folks who have taken their shots and have seemed to enjoy the discomfiture of anyone associated with the Knit Camp.

I don't believe I've insulted anyone by saying that - I'm sorry if you think I have.

The boards at Ravelry can become incredibly heated, and in the case of Knit Camp they were incendiary. That is a fact. When the boards get so hot, a lot of innocent folks get burned, and it's usually just a couple of folks who fan the flames.



In re-reading what I wrote, I don't want you to feel I am being flip when I say, "I'm sorry if you think I have."

I really AM sorry if my original tone expressed a blanket damning of folks on Ravelry. The good folks to flamers ratio is probably 100 to 1.

I'm afraid that, being burned, I sense fire more easily than I should. As in any community, online or otherwise, all aspects of humanity are presented.

What Deb's done here is to beautifully navigate through the very difficult terrain of explaining how difficult Knit Camp was, while at the same time NOT denigrating all of the effort of everyone involved in it.

That is a hard thing to do, I know I couldn't do it as well.


Deb I'm so sorry you had to go through all this stress, I am sorry I didn't get to meet you at knit camp maybe another time. I do know that it was ONLY through the Ravelry forums that most folk knew what was going on while actually at knit camp. I don't mean all the deleted threads forum either. I know a lot of people have messaged me to say how glad they were that they had a forum where they could check on what was supposed to be happening and what was happening, where they could speak out about all their worries and where they knew it wouldn't be edited or deleted as so many threads were.
I felt and still do feel that if there hadn't been the rav forums it c ould have been much worse to find out information

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