“My grandmother taught me to knit when I was about six. My knitting was full of holes and dropped stitches, but she didn’t seem concerned and just told me to keep knitting, and I did. In fifth grade, I began knitting clothes for my Barbie and taught myself through trial and error how to join colors and make stripes. The summer before entering seventh grade, I knit my first sweater and wore it to school the first day. Knitting has always been a part of my life, the ups and the downs of it. During the months before my impending divorce, I continually knitted socks. Whoever said that knitting socks is cheaper than therapy was right. Although there are other aspects of my business involving fine arts, teaching knitting is a great joy as well as an important part of my income. I regularly teach knitting classes at Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling, WV; Lakeside Chautauqua on Lake Erie, and have an on-going group of knitters in the Wheeling area. People like my classes because I am not afraid to troubleshoot their patterns or let them see mistakes in my own knitting. I love seeing knitters succeed and excel at something I find so enjoyable.”
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-40′s and instantly became addicted. She’s very good at seeing things in patterns, which is why she gravitates toward designing lace. When not knitting, 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. You can see what she has to offer at www.lostcityknits.com, and you can meet Denise at her booth # 35.
Jane Bigleow is co owner of A B-ewe-tiful Design along with her daughter, Jill. Their patterns are sold through local yarn shops and also online. She has taught all levels of knitting classes at Kindred Spirits Yarn Studio in Franklin, PA as well as Knitter’s Fantasy and Knitter’s Day Out. She enjoys teaching and watching students realize the comfort that knitting brings. She has recently co-authored and published the book, with her daughter Jill, A Knitter’s Gallery of Mitered Squares, 45 Unique Designs in Color, Texture and Lace.
Jill Bigelow-Suttell was co-owner of Kindred Spirits Yarn Studio and Kindred Spirits Design Studio in Franklin, PA. She is past president of the Wooly Wonders knitting guild. Jill teaches at festivals and yarn shops all around the Great Lakes area, including Pgh Knit and Crochet Festival, Knitter’s Day Out, Knitter’s Fantasy, Ann Arbor Fiber Expo, Kindred Spirits Yarn Studio, Yarn Cravin’, Yarn Garden (of Michigan), Rae’s Yarn Boutique, and Knit A Round. She is co-owner of A B-ewe-tiful Design. Her designs have been published by Knitty.com, Dark Horse Yarn, Schulana, and Cast On magazine. She has recently co-authored and published, with her Mom, the book, A Knitter’s Gallery of Mitered Squares, 45 Unique Designs in Color, Texture and Lace.
I taught knitting and crochet at two local yarn stores outside of Reading, PA, for several years. I also taught knitting for some adult education classes held in several schools in that area. Since moving to the Grove City, PA area I have been teaching for Wolf Creek Yarns for the past 4 years. I was fortunate enough to teach at the Pgh Knit and Crochet Festival over the years.
An avid knitter for the past 30 years, Lisa began knitting model garments for the yarn industry, and at the same time, working on some of her own designs. She began doing freelance designing and her patterns have appeared in the collections of Classic Elite, Fiber Trends, Tahki Stacy Charles, Lion Brand Yarns and others, and have been published by Interweave Press, Knitters, Knit1, Cast On, Knit It and Annie’s Attic. In 2001, she launched her own business, Lisa Knits, a line of knitwear patterns that are available in yarn shops across the country. Her latest venture is filming an online class available through Annie’s.
Structural Engineer by trade, Robyn Chachula, uses her building design processes to create crochet projects in Pittsburgh, PA. In her first crochet book, Blueprint Crochet: Modern Designs For the Visual Crocheter by Interweave Press, she uses her engineering background to bring crochet to new learners with the basics of symbol crochet. In her follow up book, Baby Blueprint Crochet: Irresistible Projects for Little Ones, she dove deeper into the mysteries of crochet diagram through small parent friendly baby projects. Her latest books, Simply Crochet by Interweave and Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia by Wiley, explore the wide realm of crochet techniques. You can catch Robyn as a crochet expert on Knit and Crochet Today on PBS. Robyn also has two DVDs on how to branch out from the constraints of patterns and design your own crochet projects. Feel free to stop by www.crochetbyfaye.com to check up on what has inspired her lately.
Lily M. Chin is an internationally famous knitter and crocheter who has worked in the yarn industry for more than 30 years, as a designer, instructor, and author of books on knitting and crochet. Author of 7 books, including the very popular “Tips and Tricks” for both Knit and Crochet from Potter Craft and “Power Cables” from Interweave Press, Lily teaches extensively around the world. She now has instructional DVD’s out, distributed by Interweave Press, on Reversible Cables, Mosaic Crochet, Knitting Tips and Tricks and Crochet Tips and Tricks. Her online classes (Knitted Short Rows, Crochet Stitch Sampler) are available at anniescatalogue.com. She has created looks for the New York Fashion Week runway collections of designers Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Diane von Furstenberg, and Isaac Mizrahi, and her work has been on the backs of celebrities and super models. She was named a “Master Knitter” by Vogue Knitting. She is regularly cited in media across the U.S., including the Late Show with David Letterman, Martha, CBS Morning News, CNN, HGTV, and more. Lily Chin has lived in New York City all her life and has been involved in some aspect of the fashion industry since age 13.
Marge Connelly is a self taught knitter who has been at it for over 30 years. She has made at least 75 prayer shawls using the same pattern and some other variations. Marge teaches knitting and crochet most Saturdays at the Coraopolis Public Library to all comers (free classes). She has been teaching children and adults to knit and crochet for at least 20 years and loves the ecumenical service that comes with a Prayer shawl ministry. Having gone to all of the Bedford Springs Knittreats and to the festivals, she knows many of the attendees and is willing to help with problems during free time. She is gracious and kind and is delighted to be teaching and sharing her knowledge with everyone.
Inge Herre Deneen learned to knit as a child growing up in Germany, knitting through high school and college. Not about to leave her needles behind when she moved to the United States, she safely tucked them away in her luggage. Developing her own patterns began as a necessity, but soon she realized she had a valuable skill that allowed her to customize her knitting and to design sweaters and cardigans and other knitwear. She believes that learning how to “fit” a garment is an essential skill. Her projects always begin with a “test drive”, i.e. a good size swatch, before she commits to a knitting journey.
Inge has taught knitting and fiber arts since 2009, first in Alexandria, VA and more recently in Indiana and Michigan. In 2013 she launched “fiber accent”, a line of hand dyed yarns and fibers available in select stores and on etsy.
Adina DeRoy-Stouffer is a native Pittsburgh artist and graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. Her design studies have taken her as far away as Rome, as she continues the family tradition in the jewelry industry, designing, creating, and selling jewelry. She is also a fiber artist, knitting and selling her designs and work throughout the area. She teaches jewelry making, knitting, and fiber arts at various locations, including Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley, PA.
Lauren Etling has been crocheting 18 out of 26 years of her life. She completed her BFA from Seton Hill University and crocheted all of her artwork that was included in her thesis show. Learning how to fuse her love of crochet and sculpture was a pivotal moment in her artistic career. She has shown work in venues such as the Andy Warhol Museum and the Chicago Art Department, and belongs to arts organizations such as the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh and the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. She started her arts and design business, Hooktastic Designs, in 2009.
Nicky Epstein is a world renowned knit wear designer, teacher and author of over 20 bestselling books. Her knitting and crochet books range from highly original resource books, to historical books, to travel books, to Barbie Doll books, to amazingly creative design fashion/pattern books. Her books are “must haves” in the libraries of designers and knitters alike, and she has won the National Independent Book Publisher’s Award for Best Craft Book Of The Year…three times!
Her innovative, fashionable, whimsical and award winning designs have appeared in every major knitwear magazine, in museums and on television, and she has taught classes to knitters around the world and hosted many Vogue Knitting Tours overseas as well as others. Visit www.nickyepstein.com
She has also designed her own beautiful line of silk scarves, buttons, clasps and note cards. www.nickyepstein.com
She loves to share her expertise and enthusiasm for knitting, with countless fans, who appreciate her imaginative techniques along with her seemingly unending creative designs.
Nicky grew up in a small town, Spelter, West Virginia, where they root for the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins, so she has a close affinity with Pittsburgh. She now lives in New York City but travels extensively, always bringing her knitting along.
Amy has been fascinated with fibers forever. She learned to knit at age 3 and sew at age 7. She longed to spin as a child, and finally realized her dream when she had her parents’ antique spinning wheel re-built after she finished college. Amy taught both high school art and home economics for 22 years, while raising three boys and helping her husband, Greg, on their sheep farm. Ten years ago, Amy and Greg bought a woolmill and brought it to the farm. The mill business has grown into Amy’s full-time job – washing, dying, picking, carding, felting, and knitting with the fibers from the mill. She is best known by her customers for her unusual and creative colorway rovings. Amy and Greg reside on their farm in Paw Paw, MI, with their two dogs, two cats, 32 chickens, and a dove.
Debbie Maier Jacknin turned 50 and she reinvented herself. Her mother taught her to knit and crochet when she was a young girl and her daughter, Jenn, taught her to make jewelry. Now, she teaches those skills to others at JoAnn Fabric and Crafts and at the Pittsburgh Public Market. Debbie enjoys spending the week knitting, crocheting, and creating unique jewelry, which she sells with items her daughter creates at Jenn’s Jems located inside the Pittsburgh Public Market located at 2410 Penn Avenue between 24th and 25th streets. https://www.facebook.com/JennsJems and www.etsy.com/shop/jennsjemsjewelry
I first learned to crochet in 2008 because I wanted to make amigurumi. I discovered that I loved crochet and I haven’t been able to put down my hook since then. When I am not working my day job as a Spanish instructor at Penn State, you can find me teaching crochet classes at my local yarn shop, Stitch Your Art Out. I also write a crochet blog, www.crochetyourway.com, where I post tutorials, hook & book reviews and share projects I have been working on. The Tunisian Crochet Entrelac Scarf/Neck warmer pattern is my first crochet design and I am excited to be offering it as a class.
Amy Maceyko is an architect who has been knitting and crocheting obsessively for almost a decade and teaching locally for several years. This is her third year teaching at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival.
Recently, Amy has been designing in knit and crochet as well. Designing with yarn has shown her the many ways in which architecture is similar to the fiber arts – the texture, the thought process, the creativity, the math and the structure – all are critical in both pursuits.
Amy has self-published patterns available on Ravelry.com and a pattern in the book “60 Quick Knits from America’s Yarn Stores”. She will also have three designs in the Fresh Designs Crochet series of books by Cooperative Press, planned for release soon.
Upcoming pattern releases, works in progress and teaching news for Amy can be found at StructuredStitches.wordpress.
I started knitting after I came home from Scotland with a bag full of wonderful yarn and no idea what to do with it. My friend who lives in a house right out of Gone with the Wind, invited me over for the weekend to sit on her veranda, drink rich dark coffee and learn to knit. I fell in love with knitting, coffee and the South on that weekend. That was thirty years ago and since then I have tried every style of knitting I can find and love it all. I have taught classes in Tulsa, OK and Clarion, PA over the last five years. The Fair Isle techniques I will be teaching will prepare students to do very complicated sweaters in the future.
I come from a family of doing fancy work on both sides – sitting idly was frowned on. My mother taught me to sew as a preschooler to keep me out of her serious sewing (she’d thread a needle and give me scraps while she made clothes for herself, me and my sister). Being left handed no one taught Mother to knit or crochet, but both my grandmothers crocheted all the time. At seven I insisted on putting lace on the edge of Woolworth’s finest pillow cases that I’d embroidered.
By the time I was eleven, I was over pillow cases and made my father’s sisters show me how to knit. This, I decided, was really fun and fortunately Aunt Emily lived in Ann Arbor, so I saw her about every 6 weeks for guidance – learning such useful things as you couldn’t just keep repeating rows one and two of a cable pattern if you wanted to have it twist. I wanted to take a knitting class in high school, but my father wouldn’t hear of it – one learned that sort of thing at home! I did knit during lunch hour in high school and also did a lot of knitting and helping new knitters while at U of Michigan. I’ve given up sewing and use crochet just for finishing now, but I knit every day.
After a Masters in Teaching, working in special education administration and raising 2 children, I came full-time to my love of yarn and knitting. I worked in several yarn stores and at Rainbow Mills designing and teaching. Then I put it all together, opening my own yarn store, Bonnie Knits, from which I retired after almost 20 years. I take classes whenever the opportunity presents and avidly read knitting books and the wonderful magazines that are now available. I will have to live for a very long time to use all the yarn and ideas that I have for my knitting.
Ellen Oehlbeck is from Mercer, PA. Knitting is her first passion, teaching is her second. Her grandmother taught her to knit at the age of 5. She is a Certified Extension Master Knitter Instructor through the Craft and Yarn Council of America, and The National Homemakers’ Council, Inc. She has been teaching for over 20 years in public schools, knit shops, Knitters Fantasy and at home.
Natalie Roberson, RYT, is a Hatha and Yin Yoga instructor based in Pittsburgh, PA. Her classes focus on teaching a strong and varied practice with emphasis on accessibility, challenge and fun. Her schedule includes teaching group yoga classes and workshops, as well as private and semi-private yoga sessions. She also hosts The Lotus People blog featuring her adventures in yoga, knitting and technology. www.thelotuspeople.com
Shelley Shaffer, is the owner of B’ewe’tiful Knits Yarn Boutique in Clarion, PA. I started knitting as a young girl with my grandmother and have been in love with fiber ever since. Since opening the yarn shop I have engaged young and old alike into the wonderful world of fiber. Taking them from knitting or crocheting scarfs to I’m ready, let’s go! Currently I am also teaching fleece to fiber classes. With the opportunities afforded me of the surrounding fiber farms, I am able to engage students to learn how yarn is truly created.
Elaine Smith started her own custom embroidery business about 14 years ago. “I learned to crochet in high school and have enjoyed it through the years. About 7 years ago I learned to knit and decided to incorporate a yarn shop into my pre-existing custom embroidery business 5 years ago. I have been teaching knitting and crocheting in the shop to many students as well as at our local vocational school for 3 years. I carry a full line of yarns and accessories at my store in New Waterford, Ohio.”
Cynthia Spencer has always cared about reading and writing — and she even expected to become a professor to study these subjects. Her Ph.D. in educational psychology was about how students learn to write. But the year after she graduated, a series of events led to her co-owning a knitting and quilting store near Penn State called Stitch Your Art Out. The store has been open for over 5 years, and Cynthia continues to care about reading and writing: She works hard to help her customers understand how to read knitting patterns, and also writes patterns for her side business, “Really Clear Instructions.”
Julie Stunden received her MFA in Painting from Yale University, and her BFA in Painting from Indiana University in Bloomington. She is currently teaching part time in the Studio Art Department at the University of Pittsburgh. She teaches woodworking to Middle School Students at the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh, as well as owning and operating her own tile installation business. In addition, Stunden maintains an Artist’s studio in the East End of Pittsburgh. She shares the space with Annie Stunden, a quilter, and her mother.
Stunden recently participated in the Stormworks public project, Rain Barrels on Parade, to raise awareness to the issues of storm water runoff. Her Painted Rain Barrel was on exhibit at the USX tower in downtown Pittsburgh. She also exhibited a donated sculpture for a Breast (cancer) Reconstruction Awareness event at the Mattress Factory. She had artwork on exhibit in the most recent downtown Pittsburgh Gallery Crawl. She had artwork in an exhibit at the Frick Fine Arts Gallery, “Deconstructing Portraiture”, and had an exhibit of her South African Bird Paintings at the Pittsburgh Aviary. Stunden is a multi media artist that explores the reinventing and reapplication of a range of materials that are influenced by the context and relationships of the materials to a given project.
Eleanor Swogger is merchandise manager for Kraemer Yarns in Nazareth, PA. She works on development of new yarns and on color additions for existing yarns. She teaches at the Yarn Shop at Kraemer Textiles and at Tangled Yarns in Bethlehem, PA. Eleanor is also a sample knitter for Kathy Zimmerman and several other designers. Eleanor lived in western PA for 31 years and was active in Golden Dome and Laurel Highlands Knitting Guilds.
“I can’t remember when I didn’t knit. I have taught locally and regionally and have been fortunate to study with nationally and internationally recognized knitters. I love to lead students to the joy of knitting and then watch them become independent knitters, helping them create their own designs and make decisions about how they want to adapt patterns. My special passions are cables, lace, domino knitting and two-color knitting such as Fair Isle and Scandinavian patterns.
I feel privileged to design for several yarn companies and am published in Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting, Knit Simple and several books; including More Baby Quick Knits. I also spin, weave and quilt but if, perish the thought, I had to decide on one activity, it would be knitting.
One of the joys of teaching and knitting has been to participate in the warmth of knitting with others and experience its healing and supportive powers.
In 2009, I designed a banner for the G-20 Conference in Pittsburgh and then coordinated about 30 knitters to make it. I assembled the pieces and it was accepted to be hung at the Pittsburgh County Airport, where the delegates arrived. It will hang there for a year and then move to the Pittsburgh International Airport. The Pittsburgh Airport Authority has submitted it to an international airport art competition.
I also teach at LYS, Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival, Chautauqua Institution and I lead and participate in knitting retreats.”
Melissa Yoder Ricks teaches spinning classes at all levels; at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, SAFF (Southeast Animal Fiber Forum in Asheville NC) as well as at her studio, at yarn shops and retreats. “I’ve taught beginner classes, starting with the drop spindle, but my favorite classes are those that inspire spinners to move beyond the basics and explore the creative potential of spinning. I had a number of people at the festival last year comment that they would love a class on spinning the kind of handspun yarns that I have in my booth — call them ‘art yarns,’ creative, textured, or whatever you want: my focus is on developing the skills and techniques that allow a spinner to control their fiber and product the yarns that they want to create.” Melissa owns and operates Wild Hare Fiber Studio and can be found at www.wildharefiber.com, and will be at booth # 63.