Meet Our Teachers

Karen Aho •  Karen Alfke •  Sarah AndersonJanine BajusAnne Berk •  Nancy Bush •  Eveyln ClarkY’vonne Cutright • Carson Demers • Nina Elsohn • Amelia GarripoliStephenie Gaustad •  Linda GettmannFaina Goberstein • Franklin Habit •  Sivia HardingIlisha HelfmanDaniel HerreraAmy Herzog • Mary Scott Huff •  Galina Khmeleva • Kyle KunneckeCatherine LoweJudith MacKenzieCarol Milne • John Mullarkey • Lucy NeatbyStephanie Pearl-McPheeChristina Peters • Margaret RadcliffeGayle Roehm • Betty Salpekar • Debbi Stone • Jean Wong

Karen Aho comes from Scandinavian roots and learned to knit as a child.  As owner and guiding force behind Acorn Street Shop for 28 years, Karen was known for her expertise in many of the fiber arts. She has been teaching classes at Acorn Street in Knitting, Crochet, and Needlepoint since 1980, and also teaches at conferences and retreats. Although Karen has passed Acorn Street ownership into new hands, she continues to be involved in the knitting community and enthusiastically shares her vast knowledge with others.

Karen Alfke learned to knit while living in Germany in the 1980’s where she was taught to draft simple garments without patterns. She has since translated that experience into her line of “Unpatterns” which allow knitters to create garments with their own choice of yarn and gauge, based on measurements from favorite sweaters or tops they already own. Long active as a teacher at Churchmouse Yarns and Teas on Bainbridge Island, she also traveled and taught nationally for many years. She now stays closer to home, working in merchandising and design at Churchmouse — though she loves the chance to get out and teach! See more about Karen and “Unpatterns” at

Sarah Anderson has been fascinated by all things fiber since childhood and is the author of The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs published by Storey Publications which has become the “go-to resource” for spinners. She has contributed to the All New Homespun Handknit book published by Interweave and Spin Off, Handwoven, and PLY magazines. With a fascination for spinning techniques and constructions, Sarah’s enthusiasm for spinning techniques and constructions has driven her to create an extensive library of different yarn constructions that she loves to share with other spinners.  She has taught at SOAR, Madrona, NWRSA’s Spinner’s conference and for many guilds and shops. She has also filmed a new video about “The Building Blocks of Spinning” with Interweave Press.  Sarah lives, spins, knits and weaves in the Pacific Northwest with her husband in a small house FULL of fiber, wheels and spindles.

Janine Bajus, known as Feral Knitter, has been intrigued by the mysterious effects of Fair Isle knitting for years and she loves sharing her obsession by teaching the secrets of color knitting. Her designs have appeared in Color in Knitting (an Interweave eMag) and Sweaters from Camp. You can read about her current projects at

Anne Berk was certified by The Knitting Guild of America as a Master Knitter in 2003. Her DVDs, “Inside Intarsia” and “Intarsia InDepth” are available from Interweave.  Annetarsia Knits, newly published is a reference book for learning to knit intarsia flat or in the round, in stockinette or garter stitch. The book includes workshops, a motif library and 28 patterns for using the new techniques. She has written patterns and articles for many publications, including Piecework, Sockupied, Colorknit and Twist Collective. Anne has been a knitting instructor since 1998. She has taught at Sock Summit, Madrona Fiber Arts, and Interweave Knitting Lab and local yarn shops.   Anne is also an optometrist in private practice in Portland, Oregon.  Check out Anne’s website at .

Nancy Bush found her way to traditional knitting techniques and uses of ethnic patterns via a degree in Art History and post-graduate studies in color design and weaving in San Francisco and Sweden.  Her passion is the wonderful knitting of Estonia.  She has published articles and designs in numerous magazines and is currently a member of “Piecework’s” editorial advisory panel.  She teaches workshops in the United States and abroad.  Nancy is the author of Folk Socks (1994), Folk Knitting in Estonia (1999), Knitting on the Road – Socks for the Traveling Knitter (2001), Knitting Vintage Socks (2005), and Knitted Lace of Estonia (2008) all published by Interweave Press. Find more info at Nancy’s website at

Evelyn A. Clark is a designer who lives in the Pacific Northwest. She left a marketing career to live a simpler life and developed a passion for putting holes in her knitting. Her designs have been published by Fiber Trends, Interweave Press, Knitter’s Magazine, Vogue Knitting, and Leisure Arts. Evelyn is the author of Knitting Lace Triangles and of Icelandic Lace Collection e-books. Her designs, patterns, and e-books are available at

Y’vonne Cutright is a Master Knitter with TNNA and a member of the Professional Designers Guild.  She has been knitting since elementary school and developed a love of teaching as a school teacher. Y’vonne lives in Portland and has taught all over the Pacific Northwest. Currently she is retired and devoting her time to making custom garments for clients and designing and teaching classes in Portland.

Carson Demers is a physical therapist and ergonomics specialist by day for a San Francisco Bay area medical center. Every other moment, he’s knitting, spinning, designing, or otherwise up to some fiber fun with a watchful eye toward ergonomics. His passion and experience in fiber arts combine with his expertise in physical therapy and ergonomics to create a unique skill set that he eagerly shares with the fiber community to keep us all creating healthfully ever after. Find more about Carson at

Nina Elsohn has been knitting for almost 60 years.  She was taught combined knitting using the easy purl method by her mother and grandmother and didn’t know she was knitting “differently” until she discovered a reference to it in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting without Tears. She has demonstrated and taught “Easy Purl” at retreats, at local yarn shops and held individual classes.

Amelia Garripoli “fell” into spinning when she purchased a house that came with two llamas. Since then, her spindle collection has taken over the book case! Amelia runs The Bellwether, a specialty spindle and fiber shop online and at local shows. She is the author of Spindling: The Basics, and is an active mentor in several online spinning groups including Spindlers and Spindlitis. Amelia teaches workshops, private classes, classes at local yarn shops. Visit her website at

Stephenie Gaustad has taught classes in spinning, weaving and dyeing for better than 40 years. Her articles have appeared in the pages of Handwoven; Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot; Spin Off; Jane Austen Knits; Knitwear and Ply magazines.  Her replicate textiles hand in Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. She illustrated The Alden Amos Big Book of Hand Spinning. Stephenie’s most recent book, The Practical Spinners Guide to Cotton, Flax, and Hemp was published this past Spring by Interweave.

Linda Gettmann is a veteran crafts person who escaped from her corporate office in the financial services industry to have more time for her favorite hobbies: kumihimo jewelry, weaving, knitting, scuba diving, and photography. An avid fiber nut, Linda teaches kumihimo and rigid heddle weaving at many festivals and events in the Pacific Northwest and belongs to several weaving and knitting guilds in Southwest Washington and Oregon. Her kumihimo necklaces, felted hats and handwoven scarves are now for sale at several Made in Oregon stores. She also sells her creations at local art fairs and boutiques under the name “Fiber Art Designs”.  You can see her winning rigid heddle scarf and kumihimo necklace combination, “Golden Sunset”, in the Sept./Oct. 2013 issue of Handwoven Magazine. She is always on the lookout for new ideas, and enjoys teaching others and experimenting in the realm of fiber arts.

Faina Goberstein learned to knit as a young girl in Russia without the use of patterns. She is the co-author of the bestselling book The Art of Seamless Knitting (Interweave 2013) and the teacher of “Sizing Knitwear Patterns”, one of the most popular classes on She collaborates with Interweave Press for a production of teaching webinars and DVDs. Faina loves teaching and took an early retirement from being a math professor to let her long-time passion for knitwear design become her second profession. She is best known for her elegant and well-fitted classic designs showing off textures, cables, brioche and slip stitch techniques. Her designs often appear in Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Twist Collective and various books.

Franklin Habit is a writer, illustrator, photographer and author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). He is the proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on 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 (, because while he loves yarn, yarn does not always love him. Franklin’s other publishing 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 regular columns for, PLY Magazine and Lion Brand Yarns.  Several of his independently published designs are available via

Franklin 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. These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with an Ashford spinning wheel and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned.

Sivia Harding is known for her exceptional beaded knits. Her work can be seen online on Ravelry, Patternfish, Twist Collective, Knitty, and her website at . Her published work can be found in many books, print magazines, subscription clubs, and self-published patterns. She has been designing professionally since 2003.

Ilisha Helfman is a graduate of Smith College and the Yale University School of Design. She has been knitting quietly and creatively for over 40 years, has shown her knitted work in galleries in NY and Portland and had her collages in galleries and museums throughout the United States and Great Britain. Ilisha has a chapter in Knitting Art by Karen Searle (Voyageur Press, 2008) and has a book called Jazzknitting: An Introduction. She has worked as a Graphic Designer, Textile Designer and Toy Maker and currently is involved in making miniatures. For a more indepth look at Ilisha’s range of creative work, especially those using her JazzKnitting technique check

Daniel Herrera is amazingly versed in all forms of knitting, crochet, and needlework. He first learned needlepoint in Mexico when his grandmother took him to a coffee circle. Later, at age 7, Daniel picked up a pair of knitting needles with a scarf remnant on them, taught himself to knit and never stopped. He pursued all sorts of fiber arts as a teen and while traveling the globe for 6 years with the US Navy fixing computers. Daniel thrives on puzzles and clarifying instructions to help find the key to move you forward. He is the best-kept secret in Seattle. Knitting and designing for 30 years, he was discovered by Lily Chin in 2001 and became one of her “Urban Knitters”. Daniel teaches, designs, and solves knitting and crochet problems at the shop “Stitches” on Capital Hill and spinning yarn and playing the French Horn. Daniel will be our resident expert at the “Just-in-time Answers and Solutions Clinic” at the Winter Retreat and available to consult on any of your knitting or crochet problems that have you stumped. Find Daniel in the Rotunda near the Market on Saturday and Sunday.

Amy Herzog is passionate about sweaters people love to wear. She is the author of Knit to Flatter (STC Craft, 2013) and designs sweaters that flatter the figure and are easy to modify.  She is also a knitting expert on American Public Television’s “Knit and Crochet Now.” She teaches classes across the country and on, and her figure-flattering pattern designs have been published in Twist Collective, Knitscene, Interweave Knits, Knitty and more.  After several years of teaching knitting classes, she realized that knitters will skip modification math if they can, but would really like to wear sweaters that fit them well. So she created CustomFit, a website that produces custom sweater patterns. It can be found at To learn more about Amy, visit her website at

Mary Scott Huff lives in Fairview, Oregon, and teaches knitting all over the USA. Mary designs knitwear, writes books, blogs and generally pursues a yarn-centered existence. She lives in a little red house with her husband, two children, some Scottish Terriers, and more yarn than is strictly necessary. Her books are The New Stranded Colorwork, Teach Yourself Visually color Knitting, Fun & Fantastical Hats to Knit (to be out Spring, 2014) and Fun & Fantastical Slippers to Knit (to be out Winter, 2014).  Join Mary and her adventures playing with string at

Galina Khmeleva, owner of Skaska Designs and author of Gossamer Webs – The History and Techniques of Orenburg Lace Shawls and Gossamer Webs – The Design Collection, has earned the reputation as one of the most respected and knowledgable lace knitting instructors in the country.  As a former clothing and costume designer who worked with the “aristrocracy” of St. Petersburg’s music and theater society, Galina was a pioneer in breaking down barriers in the “new” Russia that allowed Russian women the opportunity to achieve ownership status in private companies. As the principal student to Orenburg’s lace knitting elite, Galina brings the classic style and revered traditional knitting techniques of Russian lace to her classes.  Her unique, inspiring and fun-loving teaching style has made her a favorite of lace students across the US and an unforgettable cultural experience. To find out more about Galina and her work visit

Kyle Kunnecke is a San Francisco designer and has a not-so-secret passion for color work. Tirelessly creative, he puts himself to sleep at night dreaming of new design concepts, collaborations and outreach projects. Through his fiber workshops he provides inspiration to his students; exploring the skills necessary to continue their personal knitting journeys. His patterns are published in numerous knitting books and magazines, by yarn companies and under his own label, Kyle William.  He is currently finishing up projects for his first book, scheduled for release Spring, 2016 with Interweave! Learn more about Kyle and his work at

Catherine Lowe is known for her original and unique construction techniques and her pairing of luxury fiber with elegant design. She has developed an approach to hand-knitting that rethinks the traditional technical and design vocabularies of the hand-knitter and translates the distinctive elements of haute couture dressmaking into refined techniques. Her designs have appeared in Vogue Knitting and in Interweave Knits. Her articles on couture knitting technique have been featured in Vogue Knitting, and she has been profiled in Interweave Knits, Knitting Lessons by Lela Nargi, and in KnitKnit: Profiles + Projects from Knitting’s New Wave by Sabrina Gschwandtner. See all that Catherine has to offer at

Judith MacKenzie is a nationally known teacher, master weaver, spinner, dyer and fiber artist now living in the State of Washington. Judith teaches as only she can— with depth of knowledge honed by years of practice, scientific and historical knowledge, patience, creative informality, personal perspective, great humor, and hands-on expertise that demystifies any process. Classes with Judith are an experience in learning the story behind every fiber and process. Judith is a regularly featured author in Spin-Off Magazine and she has published a book, Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning. Her second book The Intentional Spinner published in 2009 by Interweave Press became an instant best seller. You can now experience a Judith workshop in your own home with one or more of Judith’s best selling spinning DVDs released by Interweave Press. You will experience the history of each process as it has been performed through the ages and come away with a depth of knowledge that raises your skill towards excellence.

Carol Milne is the lone pioneer in the field of knitted glass. Pushing the limits of her material through persistent and relentless experimentation, she developed a variation of the lost wax casting process to cast knitted work in glass. Combining her passion for knitting with her love for cast glass sculpture, her knitted work is technically complicated and unlike any cast glass work being done today. “I see my knitted work as metaphor for social structure. Individual strands are weak and brittle on their own but deceptively strong when bound together. You can crack or break single threads without the whole structure falling apart. And even when the structure is broken pieces remain bound together. The connections are what bring strength and integrity to the whole and what keeps it intact”.  Carol is our Friday evening speaker at Madrona and she will also be in the Rotunda all day on Saturday with a display. To see more of Carol’s amazing knitted glass art, visit her website at

John Mullarkey has been spinning and tablet weaving for nearly a decade. He has had works displayed in the Missouri History Museum and won awards from Interweave for garments featured in Handwoven magazine.  He has developed software (freely available on his website at that enables one to easily design tablet weaving patterns.

Lucy Neatby is an internationally recognized teacher, designer, and writer who thrills knitters around the world with her inimitable charm, knowledge, and uniquely colorful designs. Her passion for nurturing and empowering knitters, and putting them in control of their art, is legendary! Lucy is the author of three books: Cool Socks Warm Feet, Cool Knitters Finish in Style, A Little Book of BIG Holes for Hand-Knitters! and the Learn with Lucy DVD series (16 titles). Learn more about Lucy – her patterns, designs, DVD’s and her teaching – at

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a writer, mother, blogger, knitting humorist, and philosopher and the author of seven funny books about knitting, one of which spent a glorious week at the very bottom of the New York Times bestseller’s list. Another book will be published soon and on to knitting fame. The real mystery is how Stephanie manages to knit, spin and weave when she is writing so many books. Stephanie has knitters around the world laughing out loud and reveals the real truth about obsessive love of knitting and its culture. Along the way, she imparts her unique perspective that clears up many a knitting mystery and shines light onto some of life’s secrets. Most of all it is important to have fun and in Stephanie’s world there are no mistakes only opportunities to knit more. After all, “Knitting is not defusing a bomb!” Stephanie lives in Toronto, Canada and has dedicated herself to support Doctors without Borders enlisting knitters worldwide into Tricoteuses Sans Frontières/Knitters without Borders. Together they have donated more than 1 million dollars to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders. She keeps the blog in her inestimable spare time.

Christina Peters grew up in Germany and learned knitting and crocheting early from her mother. Handwork was taught in school and included sewing, embroidery and knitting of socks. This turned into a lifelong passion for many fiber arts. Christina works and teaches at the Knitting Bee in Portland, Oregon.

Margaret Radcliffe has been a knitter for 45 years, a designer for 25, and a teacher for 17.  She is the author of the bestselling Knitting Answer Book, The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques, Circular Knitting Workshop and most recently The Knowledgeable Knitter. In 1997, she founded Maggie’s Rags and publishes a line of knitting patterns under that name. She is well known for her ability to help all knitters to become independent and creative.  Like many knitters, Margaret has a varied background. She has degrees in Medieval Studies and English Literature, and has been a teacher, auditor, programmer, business executive, research administrator, dancer and editor.  Margaret’s website is

Gayle Roehm has been teaching knitters across the country how to enjoy Japanese Designs for many years now.  She speaks Japanese, has lived in Japan, and she has used Japanese patterns for many years. Her earlier career as a management consultant took her all over the world.  Her classes have been popular at events such as Stitches, Interweave Knitting Lab, Vogue Knitting Live, Yarnover, Madrona, Sock Summit and more. Her designs have been featured in Knitter’s Magazine, Interweave knits, A Gathering of Lace and other publications. Gayle also sells original hand knit items through a local fiber arts gallery. You can learn more about Gayle and her designs at

Betty Salpekar now lives near Atlanta but recently enjoyed a three year residence in the Netherlands. Her explorations of sock-knitting made her a winner in two XRX sock contests – the miniature Christmas stockings in Socks, Socks, Socks and the Leopard Spot socks in “Think Outside the Sox”.  Further experimentation with the solefull architecture in the Leopard Spot socks led to a breakthrough which simplified construction and opened exciting new doors for unique design potential. Her book about those refinements, Solefull Socks was published in February, 2014 and her solefull designs have been published by Interweave and Knitty.  See the Summer, 2014 issue of Interweave Knits for more information about Betty and her Solefull Socks designs and at

Debbi Stone having learned to knit and crochet at an early age from both of her grandmothers, fiber arts have always been an important part of her life.  Debbi’s designs can be found on Ravelry at “The Stitches of My Life Designs” and she goes by the name of “cockeyed” for obvious reasons.  She chronicles her family and her designs at and lives in rural northwest Oregon with her husband and her brown dog, Porter.

Jean Wong is a NAC certified knitting instructor trained by the rigorous Japanese Nihon Vogue Knitting Association. The certification took four years and allows the certificate holder the privilege to teach others to become instructors. Her wealth of experience includes over 20 years of teaching, and her patient ways are an encouragement to any knitter. Have you ever seen a pattern that you really liked, but either couldn’t find the yarn the pattern called for or wanted to use a different type of yarn with a different gauge and didn’t know how to make the adjustment? With Jean’s courses, you can now break free and use yarns of your choice. Jean’s Nihon Vogue course offers techniques that also produce a professional finished look. Her step-by-step instruction will enable both beginner and master knitters to customize projects to fit. Currently in Vancouver, Canada Jean teaches 4 levels of instruction courses of varying degrees of difficulty along with a number of year-round certificate courses that, upon graduation, will equip you to teach these techniques. Jean has a DVD, Knitting with Jean: Professional Finishing Techniques, and more information is available on her website