Q&A With Our Instructors



Kate Atherley
Why are your knitting classes so unique compared to other classes?
I’m all about the “small start” – we focus on building skills with my training socks. It’s a great way to explore a new technique and build skills without a major commitment of time or materials. I’m also all about mistakes – making them is the best way to learn. In my classes, I show you how to make them, how to avoid them, how to fix them --- and when to ignore them!

Why do you have such a passion for teaching knitting techniques?
Although I learned the basics from my grandmother, when I decided to pick up the needles again in my early twenties, I didn’t have any knitters close to me, and had to teach myself so many things. I remember very clearly my frustrations and disappointments in my early knitting. I very nearly gave it up. I love being able to help knitters expand their skills without getting frustrated, and it’s my mission in life to make sure knitters are successful right away, and to ensure they don’t ever give it up!

Can you share an important experience that was a direct result of your passion for knitting?
My knitting is a hobby, a pleasure, and my work – but it’s also saved my feet and hands. I suffer from poor circulation and a medical problem called Raynaud’s Phenomenon, which leads to me having very cold hands and feet. Living in Canada, I’m at risk of frostbite for several months of the year. Being a knitter has allowed me to make myself the warmest possible socks and mittens, to protect myself. Even my doctor has been impressed with how I’m able to help myself with the work of my hands.

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
My copy of June Hemmons-Hiatt’s “The Principles of Knitting” – it’s the master reference book, but also a fantastic read. I learn something from it every time I open it!

Fill in the rest of this sentence “If everyone in the world learned how to knit
our feet would be warmer and everyone would great a great new hat, scarf and mitts every birthday.


Anne Berk
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
I have a bag full of yarn butterflies that I have wound from leftover yarn when finishing a project. Whenever I need waste yarn, a small amount of yarn for repair, a section of a motif, a pompom, anything, or I want to swatch a new stitch pattern and see how it feels and looks…I go through the bag and can find what I need quickly and without breaking open a new skein of yarn.

What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?
Interaction between student and teacher allows the teacher to present the content in the individual student’s context. Listening to each other and watching each other presents an immense short-0cut in the learning process. The active, creative community formed in a knitting classroom is a very powerful things, and I never get tired of the magic that happens in the classroom.

Why do you have such a passion for teaching knitting techniques?
There is nothing more wonderful than seeing the light in someone’s eyes when they realize “Hey, I can do this!” I’m addicted to solving knitter’s problems, it is my favorite thing.

Fill in the rest of this sentence “If everyone in the world learned how to knit
people wouldn’t smoke or over-eat (their hands would be kept busy), and we would all be warmer and better-looking!


Sara Bixler
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
Color in Weaving is my great passion, it allows me to translate emotions within my subconscious into a tangible object. Color can affect the consumer, or wearer to create levels of excitement, tranquility and even nostalgia.

Why do you have such a passion for teaching weaving techniques?
It’s in my blood. I grew up in a household where the sound of the loom’s beater was incorporated into my subconscious from birth. I bring to the classroom a unique perspective as a 2nd generation weaving instructor with a wide base of knowledge at a young age. I am also able to relate back to many different media to help make the content being shared more relative to their own experiences such as knitting, paper making, dying, jewelry, glass and pottery.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a fellow weaver?
The greatest advice I’ve ever received from a fellow knitter/weaver was to embrace my mistakes, rather than become discouraged. Each time I made a mistake in working through a new technique I reminded myself that those mistakes are opportunities for me to grow as an artist myself as well as an instructor. If I was going to make errors so easily, so will my students and I need to master fixing those mistake rather than striving for perfection. In my opinion I feel the best instructors have made all the mistakes before and willing to admit it, and pass their experiences onto their students.


Ann Budd
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
I love working texture patterns, be they knit-purl, lace, slip-stitch, or cables. I like to see how the stitches interact with one another as I knit and I like that I don’t have to deal with multiple balls of yarn.
What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?
Students will learn my take on knitting, along with tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. The same techniques are certainly available in classes by other teachers, in books, or on-line classes, but I believe that knitters will learn something different from every source.

Why are your classes so unique compared to other classes?
Because I teach them.

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
My calculator. Even though there are all sorts of programs to help write knitting instructions, I still prefer to do it the old-fashioned way with pencil, paper, and eraser. A calculator is a must because I tend to make more than my share of math errors.

Fill in the rest of this sentence “If everyone in the world learned how to knit
the world would be a much more peaceful place.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a fellow knitter?
Nancy Bush once told me that if the thought crosses her mind that she should rip out, she should. She said that every time she tries to continue on, she’s sorry and ends out ripping out anyway. I’ve found this to be very sound advice.


Maggie Casey
Why do you have such a passion for teaching spinning techniques?
I love to teach beginning spinners how to spin. Spinning is a process that we don’t necessarily have a frame of reference for, so it can be overwhelming at the start. I can often see it come together in class. It is like the light bulb that comes above characters in a cartoon when they figure something out.

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
My most favorite fiber to spin is wool from a freshly sheared fleece that I have washed and prepared myself. The breed of sheep depends on my project, but the act of turning fleece into yarn and then yarn into a textile is most satisfying. Hand prepared and spun yarn has a character that just can’t be matched.

Fill in the rest of this sentence “If everyone in the world learned how to spin
it would be a much safer, kinder place. I love when past spinning students come and show me their work. I am overwhelmed by the beauty of some of the pieces and so proud of them. It is even more satisfying to know that many of my students are sharing their knowledge and teaching even more people how to spin.


Robyn Chachula
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
I love working in motifs. Something about making them one block at a time just seems like they fly off my hook. Watching the fabric that magically appears as I join them together never seems to get old.
Why are your crochet classes so unique compared to other classes?
My classes are extremely laid back. We have so many rigid rules in our life that I try to create a fun space in my classroom where we all can relax and enjoy. I have always loved taking new classes and I try to give that back to each one of my students.

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
I turn to superwash dk merino yarn day in and day out. I love the crisp detail it gives to stitch patterns, the squishy softness of handling it, and the draping resulting fabric.

If there is another instructor at IYF whose class you’d like to take, who’s would it be and why?
I love learning new techniques. I find that even when I think I know everything, I don’t. My favorite instructor is Annie Modesitt, she always has something new I haven’t tried doing and always keeps me giggling while I am learning.


Lily Chin
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
Whichever one I happen to be working on at the moment!



What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?
It’s more about the hands-on experience where I can see what you’re doing and correct it on the spot if necessary, you get instant feedback.

Why are your classes so unique compared to other classes?
You get ME and the way *I* teach, both with humor and remarkable demonstrations. You also get to see scads of my samples to illustrate what we are learning.

Why should students take your class?
What will they gain short and long term? I’m personable and funny ! They get the Lily Chin experience, which is unique in itself. They also get great descriptions that stick in one’s head so that they will remember what they learned. I take great pride in being a good teacher, which is a totally different set of skill from designing or writing.

Why do you have such a passion for teaching knitting/crochet?
Knitting and crochet are my passion and I enjoy sharing the wonder and the fun of it all.

Talk about your favorite memory from teaching.
I love it when that light bulb goes on for the “aha” moment in a student. However, there was a very funny instance where I told a student to place her handout on the table. She didn’t know I was referring to the piece of paper that you get in class. Instead, she literally put her HAND out on the table!!!

Can you share an important experience that was a direct result of your passion for knitting/crochet?
My passion for knitting helped me immensely to get through all the dreaded deadlines. If I didn’t love knitting so much, I don’t know how I could ever have made it through those stressful, sleepless nights.

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
I love my electric yarn winders (I have four) and my swifts (I have three).

Fill in the rest of this sentence “If everyone in the world learned how to knit/crochet
we would have a whole lot less road rage and maybe even world peace (or is that world FLEECE ???).

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a fellow knitter/crocheter?
The best thing about being in the company of fellow knitters is the feedback you get, not to mention the little tips. For instance, someone might point out that a yarn looks like a different dye lot and it turns out to be so. Or someone might mention a new tool or gadget that’s useful. That’s why we get together. Plus the company is always inspiring.


Darla Fanton
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
The “sister” techniques of double-ended hook and Tunisian crochet are my favorites. I love the soothing rhythm that develops as you work loops onto the hook, loops off the hook. I also enjoy experimenting with color and the many different options as to how to create the stitches since these techniques combine aspects of both knitting and crochet.


What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?
Students benefit from my 40 years of crochet experience, 30 years of design experience and 14 years of teaching experience during which I have discovered so many tips and techniques to improve the appearance of their crochet and make their crochet experience more pleasurable.

Why should students take your class?
What will they gain short and long term? In reviewing comments from previous conferences, students remark time and again on how much they appreciate my calm teaching manner and endless patience. Short term I hope to give my students a pleasant 3 hours full of as much education as they can absorb on a technique that may be new to them or to expand upon one they already enjoy. Long term I hope they will continue their exploration of the technique, referring back often to the extensive hand-outs I provide. I wish my students endless hours of joy with their crochet hook in hand.

Why do you have such a passion for teaching crochet techniques?
There is nothing quite like those “light bulb” moments when you see everything suddenly click for a student and they realize they understand a new-to-them technique or concept. Crochet has given me endless hours of enjoyment as well as helped me through some difficult times and it gives me great joy to provide the same to my students.


Abby Franquemont
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
I've got to say, I love using yarn in pretty much every technique I've ever tried, and I don't think I could narrow that down, but across the board, I always find that working with my handspun yarn makes for the most satisfying projects. Not having to be restricted in my work to what is commercially available is liberating, and I love the control I can have over the process and outcome when I determine everything about the materials from the fiber up. Spinning is an enjoyable process, and I do a lot of it, so it must be my favourite!
What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?
Why are your classes so unique compared to other classes?
Why should students take your class? What will they gain short and long term?
(this answers all three above, really)
One of the things I love about teaching at festivals is all the sharing and camaraderie that happens outside of and around classes, and in a setting where we can check out new things in person and buy them on the spot – you can't always do that for spinning ! Nothing's better than our fiber community, and I'm incredibly lucky to be a part of it. So, I want the folks who take my classes to have what they need to get the most out of being at a festival, and the ability to take the fantastic festival experience home with them for as long as possible. My mission is to help my students be the spinners they want to be, and my objective in every class is to give participants a set of tools they can use to keep improving. I don't want them to come and succeed in class, then go home and be unable to replicate that success. I want them to go home with things to practice, and lots of new discoveries that keep coming from what we did in class. I want them to go home (or to the fiber marketplace or the evening spin-ins!) excited and informed about spinning, with a sense of new options and the confidence to explore them independently and with their friends.


Why do you have such a passion for teaching knitting/crochet/spinning/weaving techniques?
I grew up making textiles, and so did my parents. In my teens, I tried to quit doing all of them, but that didn't really work out. Making textiles – spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting, macrame, braiding, all of it – just kept sucking me back in. When I would face hard times, I'd be glad of it, because having something to do with my hands, and then the resulting finished object, would save my sanity. There's no part of my life that isn't tangled up with yarn! I've been very fortunate to learn techniques and tricks all my life, from amazing fiber folks, and I want to pass all of that along as widely as I can. Why? Because so many people don't know how amazing yarn, and everything you can do with it, really is. I need to be there for, and with, the people who do know that.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a fellow knitter/crocheter/spinner/weaver?
There's no question about this – it's from Sara Lamb, who simply says, “Finish things.” She's absolutely right. When you imagine a project and set out to do it, then see it through every step, and then put it into use, you learn more than you could have imagined at the outset. What's more, then you have all these wonderful textiles you've made, either in your hands or out there in the world. Sometimes I avoid finishing things, either because I think the project won't be as great as I hoped, or I'm sad to see the making of it come to an end. But every time I push past those moments of doubt or letdown, I actually learn more and have a better finished object, and it keeps me on the path of making new discoveries and trying new things.


Kate Gagnon Osborn & Courtney Kelley
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
Although it may sound totally cheesy, we usually love whatever technique we’re working on at the moment! (This goes for the yarn we’re working with, too). We did a crochet feature this summer on our blog and Instagram, and as a result have really gotten deep into the craft and all of the possibilities it has to offer this year. When knitting, Kate loves stranded knitting (Fair Isle, Setesdal colorwork, and Bohus), and Courtney loves to do textured knitting – bobbles, cables, and knit/purl patterning.
Why are your classes so unique compared to other classes?
As a team who works full time, designs (both yarn and patterns), and teaches together, we have a lot in common, but are also very different in terms of teaching style and personality. We bring these differences together to give each student a well-rounded, balanced experience with a nice mix of humor, technique, and anecdote. One of the things we love most about teaching is helping our students understand as much about a particular topic as possible. We teach technique, but also the history, cultural significance, typical applications, and alternate uses of the craft in question. We thoroughly enjoy teaching students how to take the skill they’ve learned to the next level to make their experience more enjoyable, but also how to create quality hand-made pieces.

If there is another instructor at IYF whose class you’d like to take, who’s would it be and why?
Last year, Galina Khmeleva taught an Orenburg lace class at Interweave Knitting Lab. In the moments we got to share with her at teacher’s events, we soaked up as much information as we could about her knitting, life, and the unique qualities of Orenburg lace knitting. We would love to be able to take a whole class with her!


Sara Goldenberg White
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
My favorite weaving technique to work in is actually plain weave. It creates such stable cloth that can then be transformed into garments. Plain weave also lets me really explore color interactions and pattern as well as the properties of different yarns. It is a structure I always return to and never tire of.


Why are your classes so unique compared to other classes?
The weave a scarf in a day class is so unique because it gives new weavers the full experience of rigid heddle weaving. The class goes from set up to final project all in one day, a rare experience for new weavers. The class really allows the student to dive right in and see just how wonderful weaving can be!

Why do you have such a passion for teaching weaving techniques?
My passion for teaching weaving stems from my personal love of the process and the excitement that my students have when they are introduced to all of the possibilities weaving has to offer. Weaving is such a unique and versatile process. The possibilities of what one can create with weaving are basically endless. From functional pieces to fine art, there is always something to be discovered and in teaching I find that I keep learning and rediscovering just how wonderful weaving truly is.


Galina Khmeleva
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
I generally do not choose favorites; I love and respect all of the techniques that I get to work in, BUT, especially the traditional.

What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?
The traditional approach to Orenburg-style knitted lace, and the historic/cultural traditions that are involved.

Why are your classes so unique compared to other classes?
The cultural and historical nature of my approach to teaching.

Why should students take your class? What will they gain short and long term?
My students will learn the 'why' and not just the 'how' of my style of lace knitting.  Students will embrace the cultural aspects of Orenburg lace.

Why do you have such a passion for teaching knitting/crochet/spinning/weaving techniques?
It is important for me to have students that understand and appreciate what Orenburg lace knitting has meant for the knitters of the Orenburg Region of Russia.

Talk about your favorite memory from teaching.
Many years ago, a student showed up for class with her bobbins and pad, expecting to learn Russian bobbin lace techniques.  She had traveled hundreds of miles to get to class only to learn that she miss-read the class offerings.  She was quite distraught but, at the urging of the other students in the class, she decided to stay and take part.  She had a wonderful experience and left class intending to become a lace knitter.

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
Cashmere/quiviut yarn(s) and fiber.

Fill in the rest of this sentence “If everyone in the world learned how to knit/crochet/spin/weave
I'd be gainfully employed the rest of my life!!

If there is another instructor at IYF whose class you’d like to take, who’s would it be and why?
Ann Budd

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a fellow knitter/crocheter/spinner/weaver?
You can't please everyone in your class.


Kate Larson
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
One of my favorite things about handspinning is that the beautiful yarns we produce are both finished pieces and the raw material for other crafts. I keep plenty of handspun yarn around as a completed object—yarn that is perfect just as it is. But as many knitters, crocheters, and weavers will also understand, the potential energy of yarn simply waiting to be given new shape and form can be utterly intoxicating... Long live the yarn stash!

Why do you have such a passion for teaching textile techniques?
For me, textiles are about connection and context. When we create yarn or cloth, we are connecting to the environment the fiber came from, the cultural traditions we carry forward through craft, and to our own creative identity. The work of our hands is a beautiful tangle of traditional and modern ideas. I love inspiring awareness of how the stitches we create in the present connect to the past and can live on into the future.


Annie Modesitt
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
Why not ask me which is my favorite child? Cables and stitch texture are favorite ‘go to’ techniques for me because they’re fast and you can generally see the results quickly.


Why do you have such a passion for teaching knitting techniques?
Because I like meeting my students, and it’s cool to teach knitting for a living.

What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?

They can learn when my birthday is, and how I met my husband… Seriously, though, there are a LOT of knitting teachers who teach magnificent classes. A good student/teacher relationship is like chemistry, and I like to think that I’m able to work as the catalyst for many students as they look for that special spark that will add more life to their knitting.

Why are your knitting classes so unique compared to other classes?
My classes have huge amounts of humor in them, but I also expect my students to work hard (and learn a lot) and get their money’s worth! I feel that by using humor, my students are allowed to ‘be themselves’ and relax, and therefore learn a lot more than they might in a tenser situation.

Why should students take your class? What will they gain short and long term?
In the short term a student will have a great time and be amazed at how much they learn in 3 hours. In the long term, I’ve had many past students email me that my classes have had a last effect on the amount of joy and intuition they bring to their knitting. Those are the two most important parts of knitting to me - joy and intuition.

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
I love my signature needles. I am a pretty fast knitter, but with the signatures I’m crazy fast, which allows me to get a lot of work done (and ripped out and re-done) in short time periods.

Fill in the rest of this sentence “If everyone in the world learned how to knit…
there would be a lot more yarn sold.”

If there is another instructor at IYF whose class you’d like to take, who’s would it be and why?
I’d love taking a class with ANYONE teaching at IYF!


Jillian Moreno
Why do you have such a passion for teaching spinning techniques?
I love to spin and use my handspun for knitting, weaving, embroidery, weaving – just about anything. I hope I communicate the joy of not only spinning to my students but of using the yarn they’ve made. I love the look on a spinner’s face when they are wearing something they’ve made from their handspun. They joy that they have orchestrated the process from buying the braid of beautiful fiber or the fleece all the way through the finished knitted project. Plus, when they are complimented on their finished piece they can say, “Thanks I made it, and I spun the yarn too!”

Talk about your favorite memory from teaching.
I love when I teach classes and I can tell the students are absolutely exhausted and energized at the end. They’ve thought of things differently and tried new things and colors. I love when the ‘trying all the things’ energy flows through the class, which happens a lot in my color classes. My students get into this amazing flow of trying different colors and techniques to control color, they share fiber with each other and dive into the big pile in the middle of the room in this circle of grabbing fiber and creating yarn. By the end of class they are exhausted and ready for a glass of wine, but there is this bright spark in their eyes that tells me they connected to something in a new and wonderful way.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a fellow spinner?
There are two and I pass them on to every spinner I know – spin every day, even for 15 minutes and sample everything you spin through a fiber purpose – knitting, stitching, weaving. I would add to that – write everything down as you are sampling. I am always sure I will remember, but I find myself frequently staring at a small pile of yarn and knitted swatches wondering what I did to make them.


Alasdair Post-Quinn
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
Estonian lace, of course! No, I’m only kidding – I design almost exclusively in double-knitting, and I do it because I love this reversible technique and can’t stop seeing new possibilities for it. I feel like I’m on the frontier of this particular niche of knitting that hasn’t been explored very deeply. I’m not the only explorer out on these fringes, but I’m going in my own direction and I hope you’ll follow me.

What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?
Many of the techniques I teach, especially in my more advanced workshops, are techniques I discovered myself. As a direct consequence of this, I am the only one teaching some of these techniques. There may very well be people out there who have learned from me and have gone on to teach their own double-knitting workshops – and more power to them! But I am always developing new techniques and integrating them into new workshops, so that both new and experienced generations of double-knitters will always have something to learn from me.

Why should students take your class? What will they gain short and long term?
Many people feel that double-knitting is frightening and difficult to do. I want to let everyone know that, just like every other branch of knitting, it’s only knits and purls and there is no magic to it – no matter how much it seems that way. I’ll do anything I can to help you toward that “A-Ha!” moment – and once you’re confident in your new knowledge, you’ll have a new foundation on which to build more knowledge in my advanced classes. And once you realize how double-knitting isn’t as hard as you thought, who knows what other assumptions you’ll challenge?


Biggan Ryd-Dups
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
Continental Knitting is my preferred technique for everything I knit, as it is the quickest way to knit any project. It also makes it much easier to switch from knit stitch to purl stitch when you work in rib and moss stitch. This also applies to fair-isle knitting when swapping from one color to another, as you can hold both yarns on the same finger.


Why should students take your class? What will they gain short and long term?
I have knitted in the continental way all my life and have managed to teach this method to a lot of happy students, who now prefer to knit in this way. Even in a big class I give each student a lot of one to one tuition, so they can work in their own pace and fully understand the process. They all find it a faster and easier way to knit with some practice, even when knitting in fair-isle. It also tends to give a more even tension to their work.

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
My own Biggan Design Merino Pure Wool yarn, in DK and finger-weight, is, of course, my very favorite yarn to work with. It has all the properties I look for in a yarn such as super softness, easy to knit with, 64 brilliant colors that are never discontinued, machine washable on wool cycle and holding its shape after many washes and long wear.


Nancy Shroyer
Why do you have such a passion for teaching knitting techniques?
Knitting can be food for our souls. For me it has brought comfort in bad times, joy to be creative, and patience when I had to wait. I want everyone who comes to my classes or sits next to me at knit night to know that knitting can be a balm for their busy lives. That in my classes there is no ripping, there are no mistakes, that we can be good to ourselves and each other to make the experience a reprieve from the chaos, sadness, messiness, and speed of our lives outside the room; that for just a little while we can slow down, take a deep breath, and learn a little something new to make knitting even better.

What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
2 color stranded work/Fair Isle – When I was 17 I knitted my first 2 color stranded work sweater. It was a Scandinavian pattern all white and Navy blue with snowflakes. I didn’t know anything about using one hand for each color or cutting steeks but I forged ahead and then wore that sweater when I went to college in Boston. I LOVED how the knitting was all from the right side and how the pattern had a rhythm to it and how each row just seemed to flow from my hands. Eventually I learned a lot about making the fabric better and lots of techniques to make the knitting go smoother and faster and how lots of colors can be used, but only 2 per row. I learned the whole history of knitting on Fair Isle and learned to respect the reasons those women had for better knitting and adopted them as my own. I love all knitting – even ripping is ok because it is something that can be fixed, but Fair Isle knitting will always be my #1 love.

Can you share an important experience that was a direct result of your passion for knitting?
I met my husband because of knitting - I was 21 years old and had just moved into an apartment in Boston with 3 friends. We had the apartment that was ½ underground and right in the front of the building so everyone who came up the stairs to the door could look down into our window. I was a constant knitter even then and since we had only a few lamps, the best light was in the window. That was where I sat as often as possible, knitting. One day there as a knock on the door and when my roommate answered it, she said it was for me. I went to the door and there was a cute guy about my age holding a pair of ripped jeans. He said: I saw you sewing in the window and thought maybe you could sew the hole in my jeans?” I said I was knitting and not sewing but he was lucky because I could sew too. I asked if he wanted to come in and wait while I sewed and he readily agreed. As we talked, I sewed slower and slower with smaller stitches so he wouldn’t leave. When I finally finished he asked me to go out to dinner with him to repay me. I did and we have been together ever since. A few weeks after I fixed his jeans, I noticed he never wore them so asked him about that. He said they were an old pair he was going to throw away but ripped the hole in them instead for an excuse to meet me. He had seen me knitting in the window. He is now my partner in Nancy’s Knit Knacks and father to Lisa Shroyer. Both things have changed the lives of many knitters.

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
As the owner and developer of Nancy’s Knit Knacks, I am partial to a lot of our equipment and knitting accessories. They were all developed because as a knitter I had a need that didn’t seem to be in the market place. In the beginning I would make a prototype (out of lots of different materials) and then give it to my husband Bob who would figure out how we could get it made. Now we have a team of engineers and people who help to get the product to the market and some of the ideas come from other knitters. To try to pick a favorite is difficult because they are all my babies. Right now, though, I can’t knit without my Yarn Pet. My yarn is no longer rolling around the room, I don’t have to give a tug when I want more yarn off the ball, and it keeps the extra twist from being introduced into already twisty single yarn. Then again, when I spin, my Katie A Go Go is my best friend. The first one of those I drew a picture and my daughter made it in her shop class. Oh, then there is the Kneesel – the perfect pattern holder in the car and on airplanes…….see hard to pick just one.


Stephanie Flynn Sokolov
What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?
Of course students can take class from other instructors and should. Each individual instructor has new and unique information for their students. In my classes I offer a relaxed environment and encourage experimentation and creativity. I am an excellent teacher that understands student’s different learning style and adapt to teach the most information in the time the class allows.
Why are your weaving classes so unique compared to other classes?
I encourage the question of “why?” If you can’t answer why you do a certain technique a certain way then there may be a better way for you. I applaud a student’s ability to challenge convention and investigate the possibilities.

Why should students take your class? What will they gain short and long term?
Anyone looking for that little nugget of knowledge or tidbit of information or short cut that produces similar results should take my class. They will learn to cheat when they can and weave more.

Can you share an important experience that was a direct result of your passion for weaving?
As a result of my passion for weaving I co-authored a book, Woven Scarves-26 Inspired Designs for the Rigid Heddle Loom, and was featured on Knitting Daily TV. This passion has opened doors to teaching at incredible venues and meeting unbelievably creative people throughout the fiber world.


Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
Brioche. It’s such an unusual stitch, and the possibilities never cease to keep my interested and challenged.
What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?
A special take on Brioche stitches and construction, unusual short row manipulations to create fun patterning, and easy knitted-in edgings. I like to keep things as unfussy as possible, while still creating striking knitted effects!

Why are your knitting classes so unique compared to other classes?

I do try to keep my students laughing! Really, I just want the classes to be as fun as they are educational. So if that means some self-deprecating jokes and silly knitting humor along with good teaching, I want to make the class memorable.

Why should students take your class? What will they gain short and long term?
In the short term, students will gain a good skill set for working brioche techniques. In the long term, I’d like to pass on a sense of capability and independence so that students can begin to work past the boundaries of the class material and printed patterns, freeing them up to work their own adaptations on brioche

Why do you have such a passion for teaching knitting techniques?
I love passing on knowledge to my students that makes them feel capable and creative.

Talk about your favorite memory from teaching.
It has nothing to do with actual knitting, but in one of my last Knitting Lab classes, I was joking about how much I love the TV show “Columbo,” and several of my students chimed in to share their favorite episodes! I was amongst my people! We laughed so much.

Can you share an important experience that was a direct result of your passion for knitting?
Honestly, I still wake up most mornings in awe that I have a career that is based around something I love so much. Being able to connect with other knitters all over the world about something creative and fun makes my day!

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
After many years of use, and frequent addition of new parts, I am still madly in love with my Hiya Hiya Interchangeable needle set. The sharp stainless steel tips are a pleasure to knit with.

Fill in the rest of this sentence “If everyone in the world learned how to knit…
No one would complain about the long lines at the DMV.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a fellow knitter?
At the last Knitting Lab, I got to meet Galina Khmeleva, and she sweetly corrected my tensioning technique. Such a little shift of wrapping the yarn made a great difference to my knitting tension


Mary Beth Temple
What is your absolute favorite technique to work in and why?
That's a terrible question - why pick just one? I knit and crochet and do Tunisian crochet - my latest obsession is Bruges crochet.
What can students learn from your classes that they can’t learn anywhere else?
Even if I am teaching basics, I have a broad technical depth in all of these class subjects I teach, so I can make sure I am setting the student up not just for one successful class, but for as much exploration that they care to do moving forward.

Why are your classes so unique compared to other classes?

Because I am both a knitter and a crocheter, my classes utilize vocabulary from both crafts so that whatever your fiber art background, you will hear and see something that resonates with you.

Why should students take your class?
What will they gain short and long term? I guarantee you will never fall asleep in one of my classes! You will gain not just technical basics, but technique that will lead you naturally from one level of expertise to the next.

Why do you have such a passion for teaching knitting/crochet/spinning/weaving techniques?
I am chatty, and I want to bring everyone in the world over to the fiber-y dark side.

Talk about your favorite memory from teaching.
Actually the coolest thing is when you hear from a student days, weeks, or even months after they have taken a class, and they tell you how much they love that technique now, and talk about the projects they have made.

Can you share an important experience that was a direct result of your passion for knitting/crochet/spinning/weaving?
I would have to say that a lot of my childhood memories of time spent with my mother involved one or the other of us - or both - having some yarn in our hands.

What is your favorite tool, accessory or yarn in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?
I am loving all the choices available in yarn with a long, slow color repeat. There are so many techniques that look amazing simply by using one of these yarns.

Fill in the rest of this sentence “If everyone in the world learned how to crochet
we would all be a lot more patient.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a fellow crocheter?
At the end of the day it's all yarn - no one will die if you do something different, and no one's life depends on your stitches being perfect!