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STITCHES South 2015 Teachers


Denise Bell
Denise is the designer behind two books, each of which draws inspiration from a specific region and its culture. Her first book, Ultima Thule, is set in the Shetland Islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland, and features incredible lacework inspired by life on the islands. Her Kailyard shawl draws gasps when it is unfurled. Her second book, Deep Roots, considers the landscape and personalities of the Flint Hills of Chase County, Kansas, a unique tallgrass prairie uninterrupted by mechanized agriculture. Along with these two books, Denise has designed lace shawls, skirts, colorwork vests, sweaters, and other interesting garments.

Her teaching experience includes events from coast to coast and border to border at large conventions, small retreats, guilds, and yarn shops. Denise's goal is to encourage students at all levels to be intrepid and eclectic in their knitting adventures.


Denise and her husband Chris run Lost City Knits, a small independent company named for the town nearest their Eastern Oklahoma farm.


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Lorilee Beltman
Lorilee happily sees no end to where knitting curiosity can take you, so she loves to help knitters make new discoveries. For the past ten years she has enjoyed her students at national events, and she looks forward to meeting you in class! Lorilee is patient with every student and packs her classes with content and lots of extra tips you can really use.

Her articles and designs have been published in books, magazines, and online mags. She is a 2018 Knit Star teacher, the former techniques columnist at Knitty, and an online instructor at Interweave and at Craftsy where her classes are consistent best-sellers.

Tent-camping with her husband and boys has brought Lorilee to over twenty National Parks. Lorilee grew up in Pittsburgh, spent thirty years in west Michigan, and now calls Seattle home.

For more about Lorilee, go to lorileebeltman.com.


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Gwen Bortner
Gwen Bortner is a Craft Yarn Council Certified Teacher teaching at venues throughout the country, the author of Entree to Entrelac and the past Interim Executive Director of The National Needlearts Association.

Gwen's passion is teaching. Whether teaching through the local community education program, at a national knitting convention, or at the local yarn shop, meeting new people and sharing the love of knitting is one of her greatest joys.

Gwen's teaching philosophy can be summed up in the following quote, "My job is to make the students' toolbox bigger. If all you own is a hammer, everything looks like a nail! I believe there are lots of 'right' answers. The more options you have, the more skills you develop, and a better knitter is the result. My mantra is 'knitting is fun'. If you add something to your knitting toolbox and have fun doing it, then I consider that a successful class."

For more about Gwen, go to confidentknitter.com


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JC Briar
A self-confessed 'technique freak' and 'skill junkie,' JC dabbles in all kinds of knitting, but has a special fondness for textured knitting and novel construction techniques. If it involves lace, cables, or seamless construction, it's sure to catch her eye.

JC shares her enthusiasm by teaching at shops and fiber festivals and through her book, Charts Made Simple. Her latest venture is Stitch-Maps.com, a website for viewing and creating grid-free charts of unparalleled fluidity, authenticity, and beauty.

For more about JC, go to jcbriar.com


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Laura Bryant
After developing a life-long passion for color while earning a degree in fine arts from the University of Michigan, Laura began Prism Yarns in 1984. She continues as Prism's creative force, specializing in color, hand-dyed yarns, and developing designs and patterns that use them in exciting and innovative ways.
 
Laura has written six books including The Yarn Stash Workbook, The New Knitter's Template (coauthored with Barry Klein), and recently produced the DVD Knitter's Guide to Color with Laura Bryant and the video, Yarn to Fit with Barry Klein. Artful Color, Mindful Knits from XRX Books is her latest book.

Laura is a nationally recognized weaver with work in many major corporate collections and is a recipient of an NEA individual artist grant in support of her work. Laura teaches and designs with a 'no rules' approach, and her classes are designed to bring out the creativity within all of us.

For more about Laura, go to prismyarn.com


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Christine Bylsma
Chris retired from a career in marketing communications and advertising to pursue her artistic passion, knitting and texture play, at home in Madison, WI. Instead she is having a wonderful time teaching workshops from coast to coast – and beyond – for TNNA, shops, guilds, and conferences and has her own line of knitting patterns. She has also designed knit garments for the American Girl clothing line.

Chris finds inspiration in nature's colors and combinations, and her knitting designs reflect her pleasure in combining fibers, textures, gauges, and colors in ways that create fun, yet always wearable, knits.
For more about Chris, go to www.chrisbylsmadesigns.com.


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Lily Chin
Lily M Chin is an internationally famous knitter and crocheter who has worked in the yarn industry for over 25 years, as a designer, instructor and author of 8 books on knitting and crochet.  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 supermodels.

Lily was named a Master Knitter by Vogue Knitting and 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.


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Candace Eisner Strick
Learning both music and knitting at the age of three, Candace Eisner Strick has followed these two loves all her life. A former cellist, she now devotes her time to all aspects of knitwear. She is the author of eight books, her most recent being Knit My Skirt (XRX, Inc., 2016).

She lives in rural Connecticut with her pianist/knitting husband Ken, rescue wonder-bunny Abraham, and a parrot who owns her. Her designs can be found at the Ravelry store and at Love Knitting website. Appropriately, 'strick' means 'to knit'.


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Nicky Epstein
Renowned knitwear designer, Nicky Epstein has gained worldwide recognition for her distinctive, innovative work and informative workshops. She has authored numerous books including the top selling Knitting On The Edge, Knitting Over The Edge, Knitting Beyond The Edge, Nicky Epstein's Knitted Flowers, Knitting On Top Of The World, Knitting In Tuscany, Knitting A Kiss In Every Stitch, and her latest, blockbuster best selling Knitting Block by Block.


Her designs have been featured in many knitting publications, as well as on television and in museums.
She has also expanded her artistic talent by creating a line of designer buttons, clasps, scarves, and artwork, all to be found on her website www.nickyepstein.com

Nicky lives in New York City but travels extensively around the world sharing her love of knitting with countless fans.

For more about Nicky, go to nickyepstein.com


View Nicky's Interview

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Margaret Fisher
A TKGA Master Knitter and past co-chair of the Master Hand Knitting Committee, Margaret Fisher is a nationally known knitting instructor and a designer of one-of-a-kind garments and accessories.



She learned to knit at the age of ten and was self-taught for many years, driven by her teenage enthusiasm for knitting colorful, stylish, and trendy clothing. She is still passionate about knitting garments, focusing on well-made, well-fitting, contemporary clothing that has a timeless appeal. Many of Margaret’s classes give students practical skills and techniques used in garment knitting. She believes that when knitters understand the 'how' and the 'why' of techniques, it allows them to make choices in their own projects. Her classes focus on teaching techniques that empower knitters and increase their confidence.

She is the author of Seven Things that can “Make or Break” a Sweater,® a knitting technique book.


For more information on Margaret, go to margaretfisher.com.


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Betsy Hershberg
Betsy Hershberg is a life-long knitter whose knitting world was turned upside down and inside out when she learned how to bead knit in 2002. As ideas for combining beads and fiber began to take over her knitting brain, she found herself on a completely unexpected journey which has forever altered the way she thinks about her 'left-brained' self and the creative process. She shares some of these discoveries, along with unique bead-knitting techniques in her book Betsy Beads: Confessions of a Left-Brained Knitter. Betsy takes enormous pleasure in teaching, feeling it is especially rewarding to help knitters reach new levels of technical knowledge, confidence, and independence that will free them to explore their own individual creativity.

You can view her work at studiobknits.com.


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Jenny King
Jenny King is Australia’s most innovative and amazingly diverse crochet designer. Crochet is her passion, and she has been extremely lucky to have made her obsession her profession. She is surrounded by vibrant color at home in Tropical Queensland, and this color inspires her designs. Her work ranges from glamorous one-off runway fashions to soft felted dreadlock dolls, with bags, jewelry, baby wear, quirky Australian animals, and botanically correct crochet native flowers inbetween.
Jenny is a passionate teacher with 30 years experience. She is forever pushing the boundaries of crochet; she delights in teaching the rules and how to break them to get the best results. Jenny is a yarn store owner and has 16 books to her name including Fashions to Flaunt in Noro, Bavarian-to-go, Figure Flattering Plus Sized Fashions, and a new DVD on Bavarian crochet. Jenny has been working with Annie’s to present up-to-the-minute crochet fashions since 2000.

For more about Jenny, go to jennykingdesigns.com


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Melissa Leapman
Melissa is one of the most prolific American designers at work today. Her recent books include The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook, Knitting The Perfect Fit, and Melissa Leapman's Indispensible Stitch Collection For Crocheters.

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Dawn McCormick
Knitting since the age of 6 (thanks to mom's and grandma's patience—that's mom Jean Frost, jacket knitter extraordinaire), Dawn has been privileged to experiment with all types of knitting traditions and projects. Attending STITCHES for many years and learning from the best teachers in the field further enriched her knitting repertoire. Growing up with the adage "I don't need patterns" has given Dawn the freedom to acquire fiber first and then create something beautiful when inspired. She strives to instill this knitting confidence in all the people she works with.

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Brooke Nico
Brooke began her designing activities by sewing her own wardrobe, inspired by drape and color. She brought her talents to knitting almost 10 years ago, first exploring modular construction, then lace. In 2006 Brooke became part owner of Kirkwood Knittery. As a dedicated teacher, Brooke guides knitters through the intricacies of techniques to make their projects as polished as possible.

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Kate Oates
Kate Oates is the designer for Tot Toppers and the author of Knits for Boys and Knitting Clothes Kids Love. She enjoys designing hats and garments for babies and children that reflect a whimsical spirit. Kate'™s When I Grow Up line features a modern classics style for those of us who are not tots.

In her non-knitting life, Kate holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Florida. She lives with her husband and 4 sons in South Carolina.

For more about Kate, go to tottoppers.com.


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Sarah Peasley
Sarah is a designer, teacher, and technical editor. She teaches at local yarn shops and guilds, for regional and national conferences, and on Craftsy.

Sarah's passion is making knitting accessible to everyone. She is known for the patience and humor with which she teaches, for the relevance and detail of her class notes, and for her ability to instill confidence and provide her students with a wide range of lasting skills.

For more about Sarah, go to sarahpeasley.com.


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Alasdair Post-Quinn
Alasdair is a computer technician in the Boston area who spends much of his spare time as a knitting designer. He focuses on double-knitting, which is a knitting technique that creates a fabric with no wrong side. Until recently, a typical double-knit fabric was either tubular or reversible with the opposite side showing a mirror image design in opposite colors. Over the past few years, people here and there have been expanding the definition of double-knitting to include more complex color and structure variations.

While Alasdair cannot claim to be the only one pushing these boundaries, he is among those on the forefront of innovation in double-knitting. His books, Extreme Double-Knitting and Double or Nothing, document his repertoire of esoteric double-knitting techniques, but he is continuing to develop techniques and apply them to new designs.

Alasdair has been teaching double-knitting around North America since 2005 and adds new techniques to his workshops regularly so that even experienced double-knitters or veterans of his previous workshops will have something new to learn. 

For more about Alasdair, go to double-knitting.com.


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Merike Saarniit
Merike Saarniit has been teaching workshops in knitting, spinning, weaving, and dyeing for over 20 years, and at most STITCHES events since 2000. The combination of her traditional Estonian heritage (including serious research of Estonian knitting) and her contemporary degree in Studio Art contribute to her unique designs and workshop presentations.

For more about Merike, go to Liisu.com


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Judith Shangold
Judith owned a yarn shop in Brooklyn for 10 years. She was a sales rep for several yarn companies and then the importer and distributor of Manos yarns. She was a weaver before she became the knitwear designer behind Designs by Judith, A Bear in Sheep’s Clothing and many Manos del Uruguay patterns. Using a rigid heddle loom, she now enjoys combining knitting and weaving and bringing her design skills to the woven garment. Her book Weave • Knit • Wear (XRX Books, 2014) features stylish clothing that does not require a lot of cutting and sewing. She is also interested in exploring the ancient Japanese techniques of braiding called Kumihimo to make jewelry.

For more about Judith, go to judithshangold.com


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Leslye Solomon
Having taught at STITCHES events for more than 20 years and at a variety of knitting seminars from England to Alaska, Leslye Solomon is an enthusiastic, energetic, and empathetic teacher with extensive knitwear training.

Leslye owns Woolstock Yarn Shop in Glyndon, Maryland. She shares her experience and knowledge in instructional videos, DVDs and books. Subjects covered include sweater finishing, making socks using double points and a single circular needle, techniques in buttonholes and bands, a wonderful method of continental knitting, bead knitting, and machine knitting, including a book entitled The Uncomplicated Knitting Machine. Leslye has also created KnitSpeaker, an iPhone, iPad, iPod timed-audio pattern-repeating app for knitters.

A class with Leslye is an experience that will arm students with valuable knowledge. Their only concern is whether they will remember it all!

For more about Lesyle, go to woolstock.com.


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Stacey Trock
Stacey has been bringing fun into the craft world with her successful designs and blog, FreshStitches, since 2008. She is the author of multiple books and the instructor of several Craftsy courses. Stacey firmly believes there is no 'right way' to knit, crochet, or craft and experiments with a variety of techniques to achieve her desired finished product. This philosophy spills over into her teaching style; she enthusiastically guides students in the way that works best for them...crafting should be fun, of course!

For more about Stacey, go to freshstitches.com.


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Beth Whiteside
A former software professional, Beth now mixes her enthusiasm for instruction and illustration, writing and editing, and design of all kinds in the world of things made with string as Beth Whiteside Design. She's taught classes locally in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2003, nationally at events like STITCHES since 2005, and online at Annie's Craft Store and Craftsy/Bluprint. Her goal in creating and teaching classes is to further each student's knowledge and skill, opening their mind to new creative possibilities. Her instructional style takes into account the many ways we learn and breaks class content down into manageable chunks that build on one another. Beth's love of teaching is driven by a search for the 'Aha!' moment and she revels in finding new ways to make those light bulbs turn on in her student's heads.

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Anna Zilboorg
Anna is an Anglican solitary and an Elder of the knitting community. She devotes her remaining energy to teaching the living craft ( as opposed to just following directions). She has been called the Anarchist Knitter because of her book Knitting for Anarchists, and the Mad Bobbler due to her love of three-dimensional stitches. Other books include Magnificent Mittens and Socks and Splendid Apparel, both available, as well as Fancy Feet (Turkish patterns) and Hats, both out of print.

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