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.
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, she knows most 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.
Cheryl Geschke has owned her knitting store, Soft ‘n Sassy for nine years, and has been knitting since she was a pre-teen. She has taught hundreds of women and children to improve their fiber skills and loves that knitters form a community to help one another grow in their skills. She also was instrumental in developing the Yarn Discovery Tour in northern Ohio, in which many yarn store owners come together to support one another through a yarn shop hop. Cheryl has also delved into needle felting, wet felting and felting knitted items and her work has been featured in several art shows. She lives in Broadview Heights, Ohio.
Barbara Grossman is the organizer of the Annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival, as well as the “Knittreat” fiber retreats. Self-employed her whole adult life, she had been a yoga teacher for almost 20 years and has been dabbling in the fiber arts field for over 10 years. Her daughter Sarah taught her to knit when she was in the first grade at the Waldorf School, which is where the very first Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival was held. “Although my knitting skills are certainly not accomplished, needle felting has been a favorite of mine since I first tried it in the year 2000.” Barbara says. “Fiber has a special appeal to me, and I love the feel of it, the texture and the colors.” She uses gems, fiber, fabrics, recyclables and old jewelry to make one-of-a-kind accessories; necklaces, pins, bracelets, and purses. She is pleased to be a teacher at the Knittreat, and to be able to share her ideas and techniques. She is a member of the Fiber Arts Guild of Pittsburgh, and hopes to be able to fulfill her passion for fiber through the classes at retreats she will be organizing in the future. Barb enjoys getting everyone up and doing some simple yoga stretches at the “Knittreats”.
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.”
Ann Szilagyi is Barb Grossman’s sister and has begun working with Barb in the planning and administration of both the Knittreat and The Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. Ann enjoys gardening, baking, crafting and paddling whitewater in the warm summer months. She recently made a career change to work with Barb and do some consulting from home after a year’s hiatus, healing and recovering from her diagnosis with Leukemia. She continues to be in good health, great spirits and is enjoying her new career path in this fresh new field that offers a creative vitality and is rich in historic legacy. She is especially pleased to be working with Barb again (and Barb is grateful for the help!). She lives in West Virginia with her husband, dog, and 2 cats and loves living in the fresh country air.
Kathy Zimmerman, an accomplished knitter, teacher, and nationally recognized knitwear designer, is the owner of Kathy’s Kreations, a yarn shop specializing in quality handknitting yarns and accessories. Her designs are currently featured in KNITTER’S, Knit Simple, Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting magazines. Kathy is a freelance designer for Classic Elite Yarns, Fiber Trends and Nashua Handknits. She is best known for her designs featuring textures and cabled stitchwork patterns. Kathy is kind, cheerful, helpful and can answer just about any knitting related question! She was recently honored at the 9th Annual Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the fiber industry.