Meet Our 2017 Madrona Teachers

Karen Aho • Sarah AndersonJanine BajusAndree BeddoeAnne Berk
Michele Lee BernsteinJC Briar • Lisa Carney-Fenton • Eveyln Clark • Carson Demers
Amelia Garripoli • Hilary Grant • Franklin Habit • Susanna Hansson
Sivia HardingIlisha Helfman • Daniel HerreraAmy Herzog
Mary Scott HuffDeborah Jarchow •  Galina KhmelevaCatherine Lowe
Judith MacKenzieSally MelvilleJillian MorenoJohn Mullarkey
Lucy NeatbyStephanie Pearl-McPheeChristina Peters • Marilyn Romatka
Debbi StoneSusan StrawnHarry Wells • Jean Wong


Karen Aho comes from Nordic 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.

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. She has gathered all her wonderful Fair Isle world into a book, The Joy of Color: Fair Isle Knitting Your Way available through her website. You can read about more of her current projects at feralknitter.com.

Andrèe Beddoe learned to knit when she was 6 years old from a close and dear family friend. She learned how to sew during summer vacations when she was a teenager. She taught herself how to crochet in her early twenties, because she loved making doilies.  When she graduated with an electrical engineering degree from the University of Washington in Seattle, she went to work in the corporate world for 20 years. After leaving Microsoft in 2011, she started knitting again for therapy and while looking for another job. She kept knitting, and knitting, and knitting and she could not stop. Andree enjoys developing new techniques as a way to improve a design and thinks each pattern should teach the knitter something new, making every pattern a fun learning opportunity for knitters. She has since become a prolific designer and teacher. Her projects can be found on Ravelry under “Andree Beddoe Designs”.

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,  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 annetarsia.com .

Michele Lee Bernstein has been knitting since her favorite aunt taught her when she was 14. She is particularly fond of texture (cables, lace, and entrelac), and loves teaching people how to be the boss of their knitting. Blocking is the final frontier, especially for lace! Michele blogs about knitting and other fun at PDXKnitterati.com. You can see her designs there and on Ravelry at Michele Bernstein Designs.

JC Briar confesses that knitting is an endless source of fascination for her.  She labels herself as a “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. She shares her enthusiasm by teaching at shops and fiber events and through her book, Charts Made Simple and, as the creator of Stitch Maps, a new kind of chart that lets you see how the parts of a stitch pattern fit together. Regardless of the topic, JC aims to build confidence by expressing concepts clearly and concisely, and by presenting skills and ideas in a digestible progression.  Find out more about JC and her knitting at jcbriar.com and stitch-maps.com.

Lisa Carney-Fenton is an independent knitwear designer and teaches four knitting classes each week.  She works part-time in a yarn store in Portland, Oregon where she is continually inspired by the customers and students in her knitting classes. As a designer, Lisa knits the designs, then she continues the process with a test-knitter and finally a technical editor to ensure her students and customers are working with ‘user friendly’ pattern designs and instructions. In 2005, Lisa left behind a 20 plus years and the long hours as a litigation paralegal to create Handworks NW. At that time she obtained a blocking wire business from knitter and author Myrna Stahman and began producing no-snag, hand-polished Blocking Wire Kits. Handworks Blocking Wire Kits are sold in the United States and Canada. You can learn more about Lisa’s pattern designs and blocking wire kits on her website www.handworksnw.com.

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 and she is the author of Knitting Lace Triangles and of Icelandic Lace Collection e-books. Her designs, patterns, and e-books can be seen on Ravelry and are available at evelynclarkdesigns.com.

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 ergoiknit.com.

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, an e-book on Power Spinning, and Interweave Press has recently issued 2 DVD’s of Amelia teaching Turkish Spindling and Support Spindling. Amelia is an active mentor in several online spinning groups including Spindlers and Spindlitis and you can view her teaching many techniques on YouTube. Amelia teaches workshops, private classes, classes at local yarn shops. Visit her website at thebellwether.biz.

Hilary Grant has always kept her hands busy doing crafts from an early age and is constantly exploring new ways to express her creative needs. Her latest adventure into the fiber arts started after she had bought a large stash of fiber to spin at Madrona 2015. An old friend introduced her to wet felting and she fell in love! So much so that in April 2015 she opened up her Etsy shop and Facebook page, In June of that year she submitted 10 of her pieces to the Black Sheet Gathering Fiber Arts Show where she received Five 1st place ribbons. By the end of November she had her scarves in five galleries.  Hilary now takes that beautiful and dyed roving and turns it into wonderful scarves and shawls making lovely soft and lacey cobweb scarves as well as spectacular ruffled Nuno felted pieces.  Check out Hilary’s scarves at www.etsy.com/fabulousfiberworks, and her own website at www.fabulousfiberworks.com.

Franklin Habit is a writer, illustrator, photographer and author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new coloring book, I Dream of Yarn with Franklin’s original pictures to color, features a fantastic world imagined in yarn and showcases Franklin’s style and wit. He is the proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet, the-panopticon.blogspot.com. 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 (yarnshaming.tumblr.com), 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 Knitty.com, PLY Magazine and Lion Brand Yarns.  Several of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

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.

Susanna Hansson grew up in Sweden and learned to knit in the fifth grade, as did all young Swedish girls in the early 1960’s. She has been an instrumental influence in the renaissance of interest in the unique patterned colorwork Bohus Stickning sweaters and her collection of vintage garments was the centerpiece of a highly successful exhibit at the American Swedish Institute in 20019.  Susanna takes her workshops all over the United States and has taught in Japan, UK, and Scandinavia. her work is grounded in her love of technique, detail, history, and culture. She loves to teach as much as she loves to knit! For more information about Susanna, please visit her website at www.oneofsusannas.com.

Sivia Harding has worked in fiber art ever since she can remember.  Obsessed since youth, by adulthood she dabbled in weaving, spinning, and dyeing, but only learned how to knit in the year 2000. Almost immediately, she began to design. Sivia is known mainly for her exceptional lace bead designs, although her patterns also include accessories, garments, and imaginative Moebius creations. She has been widely published in books and collections, including Jared Flood’s Wool People series, online magazines such as Twist Collective and Knitty, and on Ravelry.  Sivia is known as an enthusiastic, warm instructor, and really enjoys the cross-pollination of ideas that happens in class setting.  See Sivia’s patterns and work on her website at siviaharding.com .

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 followthethread.com.

Daniel Herrera is amazingly versed in all forms of knitting, crochet, and needlework. His first experiences in the fiber arts was while traveling through Central America as a young child and absorbing everything he could about fiber arts. His love of fiber arts and cultures lead him to continue traveling with the US Navy before settling in Seattle.  Daniel thrives on puzzles and clarifying instructions to help find the key to move you forward. He is the best-kept secret in Seattle. He is on-call to a number of designers for technical editing and test knitting and has taught classes from absolute beginning to theoretical knitting.  His newest class Modern Knitting Techniques and Methods has been designed to demystify the techniques you aren’t frequently using and help you know when they can be of assistance in your knitting toolbox. Knitting and designing for over 30 years, Daniel is our resident expert at the Knitting Help Clinic at Madrona 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 three books, Knit to Flatter, Knit Wear Love and her newest book, You Can Knit That, with foolproof instructions for fabulous sweaters.  Amy’s classes at Madrona will give you her wisdom and just the direction you need to knit the sweaters you love.  She is also a knitting expert on American Public Television’s “Knit and Crochet Now.” She teaches classes across the country and on Craftsy.com, 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 customfit.makewearlove.com. To learn more about Amy, visit her website at amyherzogdesigns.com.

Mary Scott Huff is the author of five knitting books: The New Stranded Colorwork, Teach Yourself Visually Color Knitting, Fun and Fantastical Hats to Knit, Fun and Fantastical Slippers to Knit, and The Creative Kids Photo Guide to Knitting. An Information Technology refugee, Mary now leads a yarn-centered life. The many friends she’s found along the way have helped her become a nationally-recognized designer, teach and author. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Mary shares a wee little house there with her husband, two children, some Scottish Terriers and more yarn than is strictly necessary.  Join Mary and her adventures playing with string at maryscotthuff.com.

Deborah Jarchow discovered weaving in 1996 after many years of teaching, knitting and crochet and her love of fiber, texture and color came together.  Since then she has worked full time as a weaver and artist, including teaching, creating and selling wearable art, giving lectures, and showing in local, regional and national exhibits. Since 2004 she has been an artist in residence, teacher and weaver at Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Camarillo CA. Her work has been exhibited throughout the country and she’s won numerous awards and written articles for national publications. She has taught at many national conferences and loves helping fiber enthusiasts discover the joy of weaving. See Deborah’s work at her website www.deborahjarchow.com.

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 skaska.com.

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 catherine-lowe.com.

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.

Sally Melville loves all aspects of life as a ‘professional’ knitter: teaching, writing, designing, and explaining what this all means! Her work takes her around the world teaching and speaking to people who want to be more intuitive about their craft. Sally’s first book, Sally Melville Styles, now a classic, continues to inspire. Sally next embarked on a series of three books The Knitting Experience, which continues to be the best introduction to knitting a new knitter can have. The Einstein Coat, a signature pattern from the series, has been declared the most-knit garment of all time! Sally continues to write and design this time with her daughter — Mother/Daughter Knits — 30 designs to flatter and fit (spring 2009), Warm Knits, Cool Gifts (fall 2010) and her latest Knitting Pattern Essentials which Sally calls the culmination of her Life’s Work. Sally says of how she wants this book to be used, “My favorite knitting is most often from an existing, non-knit garment. I measure it, find yarn, swatch, draft and knit. And that is what I wish for you.” See all that Sally is up to at www.sallymelvilleknits.com

Jillian Moreno is passionate about making things with handspun yarn. She is perpetualy curious and loves to dissect creative processes. She loves to inspire other spinners to think a little differently. Jillian is the editor of Knittyspin and ad manager and catalyst of Knitty Magazine. This means she is often the brains behind the exciting new ideas implemented at Knitty and is a key par to the success the magazine has enjoyed over the past 12 years. She is a regular contributor to Ply Magazine and currently sits on the editorial board. Jillian has been a knitter forever, and a spinner almost as long.  She touches fiber everyday. Her just published book, Yarnitecture, for Storey Publishing showcases spinning for knitters. In an exclusive class at Madrona, based on her new book, Jillian takes you through the spinning process to create yarn for the knitted project of your dreams.  Jillian likes vintage dresses, British murder mysteries and if you ever go into a bookstore with her, don’t expect to leave empty handed. She lives in a house well insulated with fiber and books in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Find out more about what Jillian is doing at www.jillianmoreno.com.

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 malarkycrafts.com 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 lucyneatby.com.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a writer, mother, blogger, knitting humorist, and philosopher and the author of “too many to count” funny books about knitting, one of which spent a glorious week on the New York Times bestseller’s list.  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 yarnharlot.ca in her inestimable spare time.

Christina Peters grew up in Germany and learned crocheting and knitting early from her mother. Handwork was taught in school and included sewing, embroidery and sock knitting. This turned into a lifelong passion for many fiber arts. Knitting lace shawls and learning new techniques are among her favorites. She works and teaches at the Knitting Bee in Portland, Oregon.

Marilyn Romatka began her professional life in biochemistry, but Life soon side-tracked that. Later, when the family bought a pack of llamas that gave bags of fleece, she found her second passion. She started down the Yellow-Brick Road into weaving and living folk art crafts. Marilyn teaches a wide variety of folk art crafts from painting techniques to weaving, the common thread being that the techniques are all deeply-rooted in a culture from around the world. Beginning 15 years ago, Marilyn started sharing these living folk art crafts in her local home school cooperative and now teaches at major fiber arts events around the country. She is the author of Creative Crafts of the World, a book of crafts to teach groups of kids – from scouts to homeschoolers to grandkids.  You can learn more about Marilyn and see all the folk crafts in her repertoire at www.taprootfolkarts.com.

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 goddessknitters.blogspot.com and lives in rural northwest Oregon with her husband and her brown dog, Porter.

Susan Strawn is a lifelong knitter, museum curator, knitting scholar, textile historian and a professor with a Ph.D. in Textiles and Clothing. She finds joy and challenge in the search and discovery of lost knitting designers and their stories and patterns which she brings to life in her talks, teaching and in the pages of Interweave’s PieceWork Magazine where she has been a prolific contributor since the beginnings of the magazine. her articles and knitting patterns have also appeared in Knitting Traditions, Jane Austen Knits, and The Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits. Susan’s book, Knitting America celebrates a cultural history of knitting and the emotional narrative of history from colonial times to present day that has unfolded in the hands of the nation’s knitters. Here enthusiasm for fiber, knitting, and textiles has captivated her students, and her search for knitting stories will fascinate you during her Friday evening talk. Susan will also be teaching two mini classes at Madrona. After spending many a summer knitting in Seattle, Susan is now retired as professor emerita from Dominican University in Illinois and writes and knits year round in the Puget Sound.

Harry Wells has been a handwork enthusiast from age 6 when his mother taught him embroidery and he learned knitting from a Childcraft book at age 8. He has been a handspinner for over 20 years and an adult knitter for about 15 years. Harry has taught his entire professional life, in higher education for 21 years, and then retiring early to pursue a fulltime career in knitting. He has been the manager of Northcoast Knittery in Eureka, CA since 2010.

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 or wanted to make adjustments to the size or style? With Jean’s courses, you can now break free and use yarns of your choice and draft your own patterns to fit custom measurements. Jean’s Nihon Vogue courses offer techniques that also produce a professional finished look. Her step-by-step instruction will enable both advanced beginners and master knitters to draft patterns for custom projects that fit. Living in Vancouver, Canada, Jean teaches 4 levels of instruction courses in both Vancouver and Seattle.  Jean has a DVD, Knitting with Jean: Professional Finishing Techniques, and more information is available on her website knittingwithjean.com.