Some of our teachers were with us in past years. When we received comments about them on our student exit survey, we included them at the end of the bio (only two comments each, in some cases there were many more).
Lost City Knits
Denise Bell offers hand-dyed, fine yarns and creates original designs through her business, Lost City Knits, named for the community nearest her Oklahoma farm. Although Denise always performed some kind of handwork growing up, she came to knitting in her mid-forties and was instantly addicted. She's very good at seeing things in patterns which is why she gravitates towards designing lace. Denise teaches at a variety of shops and festivals including Stitches Expos, DFW Fiber Fest, Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza. When not knitting, teaching, dyeing, or designing, Denise puts her pattern seeking abilities to work solving cryptic crossword puzzles, and because no one should be just one thing, she kayaks on lakes and streams near her eastern Oklahoma home.
Classes: Estonian Style - Nupps and Starflowers, Get The Skinny On Lace
Artist, Lynne Bergschultz, has been working with polymer clay for over 10 years and continues to be amazed at its versatility and creative possibilities. Just as this medium has gained recognition in the area of fine art and craft, Lynne’s work has also grown. Her polymer accessories have been published in Belle Armoire and Quiltmaker magazine and are sold at shops, galleries, and fiber festivals around the country.
Lynne taught art for 10 years, followed by a career as an illustrator and designer and now focuses primarily on polymer clay buttons and fiber arts. Teaching workshops gives her the opportunity to share her expertise and enthusiasm for polymer clay with others; bringing her artistic career full circle.
"Lynne was very patient, and spent time with every student in the class."
"Excellent teacher, loved the creativity"
Classes: Bead Basics, Pretty in Polymer, It's A Frame-Up!, Photo Transfer Pins and Pendants, Wool + Beads + Nature's Design
Beth Brown-Reinsel has been passionately teaching historic knitting workshops nationally, as well as internationally, for over 20 years. Her book Knitting Ganseys has been deemed a classic. She has made three DVDs: Knitting Ganseys with Beth Brown-Reinsel, Color Stranded Knitting Techniques, and Sanquhar Gloves with Beth Brown-Reinsel. Her articles and designs have appeared in Threads, Cast On, Interweave Knits, Knitting Traditions, Piecework, Shuttle, Spindle, and Dye Pot, Vogue Knitting, Knitters magazines, as well as The Knitter, a magazine of the UK. She continues to design for her own pattern line Knitting Traditions. Beth's website, blog, and email newsletter can be found at www.knittingtraditions.com. She lives in Vermont and loves winter!
Classes: Color Stranded Knitting Techniques - Part 1, Color Stranded Knitting Techniques - Part 2, Swedish Cast Ons, Textured Twined Knitted Fingerless Mitts
TLD Design Center & Gallery
Tammy L Deck operates her own creative art studio, "TLD Design Center & Gallery" in Westmont, IL a Suburb of Chicago where she has been teaching Felting Classes (together with weaving, knitting, and sewing) since 1995. Tammy's formal education includes Fashion Design at Harper College (Palatine, IL) a BS degree and post grad studies in Clothing & Textile Science with Fiber Art from Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL). Tammy is on the Board of Advisers and adjunct faculty in Fashion Design at College of DuPage.
The majority of Tammy's wet felt ArtWear is focused on fashion-forward hats, scarves, clothing, purses, collars and cuffs which she exhibits and sells through Chicago Area Fine Art Festivals, the Illinois Artisan Shop of Chicago, the One of A Kind Show at Chicago's Merchandise Mart and her own studio/gallery in Westmont, IL. She has captured numerous awards for her body of work, including "Best of Show" designations in LaGrange, Hinsdale, Northbrook and Batavia. She had a solo exhibit of her work fall 2013 at the Hinsdale Public Library called "Fractured Felt" and she travelled to the Yukon, Canada to teach wet-felting for the Northern Fibres Guild Oct. 2013. Her laminated (nuno) felt work has been featured in national publications and she authored "Free Hand Felting Unleashed" for "Belle Armoire- Art to Wear" magazine Nov 2006 and "Recycled Sweater Hats" for Altered Couture Magazine Nov 2006. She demonstrated fabric painting and laminated (Nuno) felting techniques on the HGTV show "Crafters Coast to Coast" and DIY network's "That's Clever" and has two felt works included in the book, "500 Felt Objects" by Lark Books (2011).
Classes: Felt Flowers : Wet Felting with Mixed Media Inclusions, Bracelets and Cuffs: Wet Felting for Beginners , Tapestry / Flat Felt Scarf for Beginners, Felt Boa Collar/Scarf: Wet Felting for Beginners
Jane Grogan from Madison,Wisconsin started weaving on a 4-shaft table loom in 1979, but it wasn't until she acquired a 7-foot triangle loom in 1990 that she found her dream tool. The "instant" warp while you weave has provided endless hours of fascination. Jane has since added smaller size looms to her collection which are perfect for "on the go" projects. Jane has held workshops on continuous strand weaving technique at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair, Black Sheep Gathering, MKG Knit-In, and the Great Midwest AlpacaFest.
"Great teacher, took her time answering questions and helping everyone."
Classes: Beyond the Dishcloth, Weave
a Dishcloth, Weave a Heart, Weave a Rectangle
Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008) and proprietor of The Panopticon (the-panopticon.blogspot.com), one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep. He recently founded Yarn Shaming (yarnshaming.tumblr.com), because while he loves yarn, yarn does not always love him back.
Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Knitty.com, PLY Magazine and Lion Brand Yarns. Several of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.
He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Midwest and East, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.
"He's delightful and infectious."
"Franklin's depth of knowledge is extraordinary."
Classes: Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Shadow Knitting, Artfully Agitated Stripes: An Introduction to Mosaic Knitting, Weave the Center, Knit the Edge: The Ligeia Stole Workshop (with John Mullarkey)
Elmwood Park, IL
Self-taught designer and maker of felt and felt accessories from repurposed wool. In love with color and texture. Since 2006 I have been making and selling felted wool accessories at arts and craft shows throughout Chicagoland. I am committed to recycling, repurposing and to zero waste in my business.
Classes: Pincushions! Not Your Mother's Tomato!
The art and craft of weaving has inspired Jennie Hawkey for over 30 years, both as an artist and a teacher. She is the owner of Hopewell Weaving and teaches weaving to both beginning and more advanced weavers. Jennie has a passion for teaching and has presented at weaving workshops and festivals in addition to teaching students at her home.
Working from her home studio located in Hopewell, Illinois, she produces handwoven creations using four and eight harness looms. Though she specializes in hand weaving, Jennie is also adept at leatherwork and embroidery, often combining her skills to create intricately detailed pieces. She has studied leather craft with Kathryn Brenne, founder of the Academy of Fine Sewing and Design in North Bay, Ontario and has used the skills she acquired at the academy to develop a line of purses and accessories.
Jennie is an active member of the Illinois arts community. She is a long-time member of the Handweavers' Guild of Peoria, president of the newly formed Prairie Fiber Arts Guild and a founding member of Three Sisters Folk Art School.
Classes: Weave-It: Small Looms/Big Fun!, Weave-It Weaves
Handspun by Stefania
St Charles, IL
Stefania has been a life-long knitter, and started spinning and dying to supply herself with “the best yarns in the world!” She got her Certificate of Excellence in Handspinning from the Handweaver’s Guild of America in 1997. Since then she has opened her own business called Handspun by Stefania and taught numerous workshops dealing in natural dyes, spinning and basket making. She has spoken about the fiber arts to numerous groups, and has appeared on Home & Garden TV as a guest on the Carol Duvall Show. She sells handspun, natural hand dyed yarns, original knitting kits using her own yarns and patterns, hand dyed roving dyed with natural dyes, and handmade baskets. She was previously a high school English teacher, and now enjoys teaching spinning, dyeing, and knitting to fiber enthusiasts. Most recently, Stefania has authored a book on natural dyes called In Search of the Perfect Green–and Orange, Too!
"great hands on work as well as info from this lovely teacher"
"I loved the variety of the dyes used in the class and a pleasure to learn from Stefania."
Classes: Leaves, Roots, Bugs, and More! A Natural Dye Workshop, Spinning the Luxury Fibers!
Big Rock, IL
Interweaving the worlds of art, education and agriculture together are the passion of Natasha Lehrer’s life. As a shepherd, she strives to represent the beauty of creation in her work. She dyes, spins and felts the fibers, starting at the source while infusing depth and meaning to the pieces. Her portfolio includes installation pieces, wearables and sculpture. Pieces have been juried into exhibits nationally and internationally. Natasha teaches across the Midwest at guilds, libraries and schools, as well as at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, Illinois Art Educator’s Association and Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Festival. She is owner of a vibrant fiber arts studio, Esther’s Place, located about an hour from Chicago, providing an inspiring retreat for fiber enthusiasts. Her blend of vintage inspiration, romantic styling, strong color theory and uninhibited originality make her work and teaching a trademark for creativity in the fiber arts community.
Classes: Balloon Vessels, Lil Lovebirds
Jen Lucas Designs
Fox River Grove, IL
Jen has been designing just about as long as she has been knitting. She has produced many accessory patterns over the years, but is most well-known for her shawl designs. She is the author of the best-selling book, Sock-Yarn Shawls, released in January 2013. You can see all of Jen’s designs on her Ravelry designer page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/jen-lucas
Classes: Design Your Own-Sock Yarn Shawl
Ann owns Alpacas d’Auxvasse and has been raising alpacas since 2003. Starting with three Suris, the herd has now grown to forty alpacas, both Huacaya and Suri. Her main business focus has always been on fiber production and her goal is to use every bit the beautiful fleece the animals produce. Her yarn and roving is carried in local yarn stores, and sold at fiber festivals throughout the year. Ann is dedicated to producing the best yarn and roving possible in a rainbow of colors for the pleasure of fiber artists worldwide. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with other fiber folks and has taught at many fiber retreats and events.
Class(es): Crochet and Felt a Roving Rug
St Paul, MN
A native of Ohio, I taught myself to knit at age 25 before a move from NYC to Texas. The Texas tenure didn’t last, but knitting did, and upon my return to the NY area I began knitting for other designers and designing for major knitting magazines.
My work has appeared in Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting, Knitters Magazine, Cast On, Family Circle Easy Knitting, McCalls Needlework and many international fiber & yarn oriented publications.
I teach worldwide and across the United States. I knit using the Combination Method and believe that there truly is no wrong way to knit. I'm co-owner of ModeKnit Yarn, an independent hand dyed yarn company based in Minnesota, our slogan is, "Make something nice!"
I live in St Paul, MN with my husband, kids and assorted pets.
Classes: Embellishments, Mad About Plaid, Combination Knitting, Universal Mitered Bag / Modular Knitting
St. Louis, MO
John Mullarkey has been tablet weaving for almost a decade. He is primary author of "A TabletWeavers' Pattern Book" and his work has been on display at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, MO. He has woven garments featuring his card woven bands that have been in both national and international fashion shows His new obsession is the pin loom and discovering all of the different things that can be made with small woven squares. He designed the new Zoom Loom being produced by Schacht Spindle Company which has created a whole new generation of pin loom weavers.
Classes: Tablet Weaving: 3/1 Twill , Weave the Center, Knit the Edge: The Ligeia Stole Workshop (with Franklin Habit)
Mary Libby Neiman
On The Surface
Mary Libby has been working with and teaching beads and fibers
for over 15 years. She has authored two books on beads and fibers,
Bead Crochet Basics, and Bead Knitting, as well as several articles
for Beadwork and Bead & Button magazines. Her tassel and cord
projects as well as bead knit and bead crochet projects have appeared
in numerous books.
Recently she has researched and written about Green issues and
will continue to promote more earth friendly ways of managing a
business and a home.
Classes: Kumihimo For Beginners, Multi Wrap Bracelet with Leather and Beads,
Twisted Fiber Studio
Morton Grove, IL
Shari Pontillo’s earlier career in meeting planning and her love for arts and crafts were the perfect combination that led her to found Twisted Fiber Studio, a full-service craft workshop provider. Shari works with individuals, event planners and caterers who are looking to bring fun and creative projects to private events such as wedding & baby showers, birthday parties and to organizations who provide regular activities for their communities such as libraries, senior centers and corporations wishing to do team building activities. Shari’s goal when she works with a group is to help each class participant to recognize his or her own abilities as that is what brings her the most joy in her work. For more information on Shari, Twister Fiber Studio and her programs, please head to TwistedFiberStudio.com
Class(es): Fruit & Veggie Fabric Painted Tote Bag
Buffalo Grove, IL
Inna Voltchkova was born and raised in Kiev, the oldest city in Eastern Europe, and is a graduate of the Kiev National University of Technology and Design.
Then, a trip in 1991 to Chicago introduced her to the love of her life. She moved to the Chicago area and for the past 20 years Inna's passion has been lace knitting, especially Russian Style Lace. Inna has worked with Galina Khmeleva Skaska Designs for many years.
The Russian folklore theme is a common motif in Inna’s lace design, a well-thought out use of Orenburg knitting traditions with modern lace create interesting designs with bright ethnic character. Winner of the 2010 TKGA Design Contest in 2010, Inna's beautiful lace designs have been featured frequently in the pages of Piecework magazine since 2009. Inna’s Russian Knitting Design page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/russianknittingdesign?ref=hl#!/russianknittingdesign
Classes: How to Knit Triangular Shawl the Russian way: The Old Russian Triangular Shawl, The Orenburg Lace Tradition: Basic Elements Sample Lace Cowl Scarf
Farm & Woolen Mill
Carol has been a spinner since 1988 and uses the yarns she produces
in knitting, weaving and felting projects. She is passionate
about fiber and promotes quality production of the fiber to be
spun. As a carder by trade, Carol enjoys creating with a
drumcarder as that allows for the creation of truly unique yarns. There
is great satisfaction working with fibers you have processed yourself.
Carol and her husband Paul raise registered Coopworth sheep and
have a flock of approximately 200. They are often asked to
speak to sheep breeder groups to promote wool and to help producers
add value to their wool clip. The also own Hidden Valley
Woolen Mill near Valders, Wisconsin where the goal is to assist
the customer with the creative process.
Classes: Drumcarding.....The Basics and Beyond, Painted Skeins.....Wonderful Colors
Battle Creek, MI
Emily Wohlscheid is a jewelry and fiber artist based out of Battle Creek, MI. In 2007, she earned her BFA in studio art where she concentrated on metal and fiber, and combining those two media have been her focus since. She teaches spinning and jewelry classes locally in addition to traveling to share her knowledge through workshops.
Classes: Beginning Wheel Spinning, Thick 'N Thin Yarn, Wire Corespinning
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