We are almost at one of my favourite times of the year, Sock Camp. (Shhh… don’t say it out loud, but I’m pretty sure it’s only weeks away.) As we let this year’s theme seep into all the details, big and small, I can’t help but remember where we’ve been, how we got there, who we got there with, what we’ve learned, the crazy fun we had, and the the lasting bonds we formed.
This trip down memory lane happens for me every year. I quite enjoy it and thought maybe I should share some of what I remember and feel.
As we come up with the Camp theme, which in and of itself is boatloads of fun (The list for years to come is long) and colourway, I think back to all those very first camp chicken colourways. If I remember correctly, the first go around each tribe had their own colourway. (Can’t even imagine how I pulled that one off.) For my own sanity, I now do one colourway for the camp as a whole. I like it better. A many-hued glue that binds us. I love watching through the rest of the year what all the campers knit up with it.
Last night I was up to the wee hours of the morning watching some old video footage that I finally figured out how to download from Camp Cockamamie. It’s not the best quality but you can still get the feel. It certainly was the of start of something, you could feel it. That is when you sat down long enough to catch your breath you maybe could feel it. What boggles the mind (and what might be why we’re all reeling when this is all said and done) is the wide range of experiences we go through in 4 days. A veritable roller coaster ride.
We’ve learned a whole lot about anything remotely to do with sock knitting (traveling stitches, cast-ons, bind-offs, troubleshooting, dyeing, beads on our socks, lace, colourwork, cat-work…) from some pretty talented,adventurous and, yes, brave sock knit-wise teachers.
See? Very serious, mind-bending learning requiring wicked concentration and focus.
To wackily creative:
Camp projects. This has come to be one of my favourite parts. Every year I am amazed, just stunned by the creativity, talent and joy of knitters. Most of us end up in tears at some point along the way.
Where the fun starts before we all arrive. When I sent out my first homework kit and directions, never in my wildest dreams, and wild they are, did I think or hope for what our campers showed up with and keep showing up with year after year.
Every year I think it can’t get better and every time it does. I think they should be art installations and some should maybe be performance art because, as is so often true, it’s the story that carries the heart of it all. At Camp Crows Feet, the sockateers set up all the homework in a room and would not let me see it until it was all ready to go. I’ll never forget walking into that room. I was blown away. I was not the only one.
Someone asked me recently which of the themes homework wise was my favourite: the chickens, the raveny tp covers, the oceany goodness or the boobies. I love them all, but I have to pick the boobies because of the bravery that depth of sharing required from most of us. Laughing and crying in the same moment. Heartwarmingly beautiful.
Camp. The whole idea in the beginning was that it was campy. Kind of a cross between kids camp and knitters gone wild. I do believe we’ve achieved our goal. I also think we’ve retained the campiness throughout the years. We play games, have contests, get all crafty and work together for a common goal and good. We sat in circles the first 2 camps and knit together on the same blanket which we donated. We made sock monkeys, tiny little sock monkeys, and we dressed them, gave them names and personalities. We’ve made sock puppets twice now and believe we have the next new theatre craze. Yes, that would be sock puppet theatre. We made them from cotton tube socks one year and then an orphaned hand-knit one then next. We’ve had knitting races of all kinds. We knit under water. Knit as two handed duos. We’ve knit with some freaky weird stuff. (Some of us better than others. I sucked at this one.) We have scavenger hunts or challenges.
As I I look around at all of this joy and community I think maybe, just maybe this all might be a bit healing. It’s not just one component of it either. It’s the whole package as one.
Laughter is damn good medicine.
As I said in the beginning I love Camp. I love all the parts some a bit more than others. It’s great fun, exhausting and moving all at the same time.