..and choking on it. Have been for, ooh, five weeks now. Yep, the car crash that was the organisation of KnitCamp continues (when I really, really, wish it was dead and buried). I'm not one for discussing such matters in public; I find such things distasteful, and this is a craft blog, not a soapbox.
However, I think Lucy, and presumably other tutors, including myself, have been treated appallingly. I don't even have the "benefit" of a contract. So, no gagging order. I could have spoken up some time ago, but didn't, in the foolish hope that I'd get paid, I could say "It was a bit chaotic but hey it was fun!" and that the car crash would somehow get fixed. That also means no real written confirmation of what, if anything, I'm supposed to be paid (the only information I have, was sent to me in Nov 2009).
However, I refuse to beg from anyone. I'm down £100 in petrol costs, plus the price of a breakfast I had to buy because I had no food voucher. This doesn't take into account any payment for the 180 minutes of tuition I gave to four students, of course. These are just my out-of-pocket expenses. All things considered, I guess I should count myself lucky that although I went overdrawn last month (there being a few annual bills on my car also falling due), I did at least have rainy-day funds elsewhere, to move about, to avoid the overdraft charges getting too out of hand. Machine knitting is my hobby, not my full-time occupation, although I often wish it was the other way around! :)
What I most resent is the betrayal, the poor communication, and the loss of two day's holiday that I COULD have spent elsewhere. Time is far more important to me than money; I am not fiscally motivated. Which is not to say I didn't enjoy teaching - I did, but it involved a lot of physical effort; knitting machines are bloody heavy things to move around and set up, and driving from Rugby to Stirling and back, alone, is a longer car journey than I ever hope to make again. I actually spent more time in the car than I did in Stirling itself.
I knew I didn't have a lot of students beforehand - it suddenly went from 6 to 3, and then one had to drop out because she was on a stand at the marketplace. I'm one of those people that if they say they'll do something, they'll do it. For the students, who have paid good money. If I say I'll do something, then I will, unless prevented by a road accident or death. Now? I just feel angry, disappointed and used. It didn't help that, although I was never "sold out", my classes disappeared from the website for months, and only reappeared days before the event. How the heck are you supposed to sell something that nobody knows is even taking place? It was a good job I took handouts, because nobody would have received anything otherwise.
So. Lesson learned, fingers burned. I think if I were ever to teach at such an event again, I would at least like my travel expenses paid upfront, as a mark of good faith or in lieu of a deposit. Mileage and petrol are pretty easy to calculate, after all.
Many thanks to the young girl who helped me shift all of my machines to another room at very short notice (sorry, I am terrible with names), thanks also to Kate and the other tutors and volunteers who did their utmost to keep everything together. You know who you are, and you rock, dudes. Keeping calm and carrying on, indeed.
Enough said. Let us never speak of this again.