2018 Teacher Biographies

Melissa Bohrtz
Melissa is one half of the fiber arts duo that runs Hello Purl. She has been carding and creating textured art yarns since she began spinning. She also loves to knit and weave with the chunky art yarns that she creates. She loves to use colors and textures in her fiber work including her embroidery art. In addition to her fiber arts business Hello Purl Melissa enjoys spending time on her little homestead with her husband, two boys, chickens and four cats.


Jill Colbert
My name is Jill Colbert. I have a small fiber Farm in Minnesota. We raise Sheep, alpacas, chickens and Bees. I have a few of several breeds of sheep and like to mix breeds to get the fiber I like! I love working with fiber and finding fun ways to use it!


Kimberly Darling
Kimberly Darling is a native Iowan. She worked in a number of midwestern cities, then settled in the Quad Cities in eastern Iowa. She recently retired after 25 years of teaching art and interior design at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges.

Kimberly is a fiber artist, and a spinster, or maker of yarn, at heart. She loves the smell of a fresh raw fleece, and will wash, dye, card, and spin the wool into a beautiful yarn. She knits, crochets, and weaves with her handspun yarn. Kimberly does wet felting and nuno felting incorporating recycled fabrics into her artwork.

She is a member of the Quad Cities Fiber Arts group and the Valley Spinners and Weavers guild.


Stacy Drenckhahn
Stacy Drenckhahn is a fiber artist and the owner of Beelighted located in Zumbrota, MN. Stacy enjoys encouraging fiber frivolity in all forms. She creates 3-D needle felted pieces that can be found at the SEMVA gallery in Rochester, online, and at a variety of art events in SE Minnesota. She enjoys being surrounded by assorted fiber supplies including color packs, batts hand spun and custom dyed yarn in her Zumbrota studio. She teaches 3-D needle felting at Shepherd Harvest, at other regional fiber events, and in her Zumbrota shop.

To discover more, visit BeeLighted.com. or stop by her booth in Building C during the festival.


Leslie Granbeck
Leslie Granbeck is a feltmaker and instructor from Minneapolis. Leslie loves sharing her knowledge of fibers and their magical transformation into felt. She teaches traditional wet felting, nuno felting, and her favorite ‚three-dimensional seamless felting. Her classes are full of color, creativity and adventure. They also include a free workout as feltmaking is a ‚”physical art”. When not teaching, you’ll find Leslie in her home studio working on new fiber projects.


Mary Jo Harris
Mary Jo Harris lives in the knitting mecca of Madison, WI. She has been a teacher all of her adult life and has formally taught knitting for the last 10 years at various Sheep and Wool Festivals, Fiber Festivals, Knit-In’s, and teaches locally for Madison College, Olbrich Gardens, and the Wisconsin Craft Market. In the last several years, she has added Chair Caning classes to her teaching repertoire. Mary Jo designs knitting patterns and under her designer name of Jo Harris, has written a book entitled ‘Double Knitting – Inside Out’ which is available through Amazon or Ravelry. As an active member of the Madison (WI) Knitters‚Äô Guild she has an almost constant opportunity to discuss anything and everything knitting-related.


Stefania Isaacson
Stefania has been a life-long knitter, and started spinning and dying to supply herself with “the best yarns in the world!” She got her Certificate of Excellence in Handspinning from the Handweaver’s Guild of America in 1997. Since then she has opened her own business called Handspun by Stefania and taught numerous workshops dealing in natural dyes, spinning, knitting, and basket making. She has spoken about the fiber arts to numerous groups, and has appeared on Home & Garden TV as a guest on the Carol Duvall Show. She sells handspun, natural hand dyed yarns, original knitting kits using her own yarns and patterns, hand dyed roving dyed with natural dyes, and handmade baskets. She was previously a high school English teacher, and now enjoys teaching spinning, dyeing, and knitting to fiber enthusiasts. Most recently, Stefania has authored a book on natural dyeing, titled In Search of the Perfect Green, And Orange, Too!


Linda Johnson-Morke
Linda has been a fiber enthusiast for the majority of her life. Knitting started at 5 years old and twisting her hair at an even younger age. Knitting led to spinning (something more that her hair) which led to sheep and rabbits. Felting led to different sheep, trips to Norway and Mongolia and a passion for understanding why wools felt differently. Being an engineer by training and curious by nature resulted in many years of fiber experimentation as an outlet for her creativity. A 10 year hiatus from the corporate world led to a line of fulled wool products sold both wholesale and retail. A shepherd for more than 30 years, Linda has shepherded Navajo Churro, Border Leicester, Cheviot, Hampshire, Karakul, Finnish Landrace, Icelandic, Texel, Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) and Tunis sheep. Her current flock consists of Karakul & Icelandic BFL crosses. Linda currently lives on a farm in Isanti, MN and enjoys sharing what she has learned through classes and lectures.


Connie LaTendresse
Connie LaTendresse has been an assistant and teacher for Katherine Buenger’s Sami art classes for the past year. A weaver, Connie loves to work with a variety of fibers and looms. She teaches rigid heddle weaving at the Weavers Guild and other Twin Cities’ locations. An avid fiber lover, nothing makes her happier than to help others find their creativity.


Chiaki or Dan O’Brien
Chiaki O’Brien is a SAORI Leaders Committee Certificate recipient. She worked as an instructor for the SAORI head office in Japan before moving to Minnesota in 2004. She teaches both SAORI and Bengala Dye at variety places to all ages and all abilities such as schools, fiber festivals, libraries and assisted livings. She is happy to bring joy to people through weaving and dyeing. She is a distributor for both SAORI and Bengala Mud Dye.


Tracey Schuh
Tracey Schuh is the owner and dyer of Interlacements Yarns . I started out as a weaver, creating rag rugs and soon all the other fiber arts came into focus too. I love to create new things, and I love to mix up the mediums and create a new item.  My husband Jim has joined our travel team, and mans the booth with me, stop in and say hi and let us introduce you to our world of colors.


Kim Specht
Kim lives on a farm near Prairieburg, Iowa. Kim recently retired from teaching but still can’t find enough time in the day for the knitting, spinning, and felting she loves to do. And weaving is ‘looming’ in the not-too-distant future!   Kim’s Romney and Border Leicester fleeces have won awards at festivals in six states. At these festivals, she regularly attends classes taught by nationally known artists. Kim loves combining her love of teaching and the fiber arts.


Sheryl Thies
Sheryl Thies’ passion for combining fiber, texture and color provided teaching opportunities both near and far; from local yarn shops to international waters aboard cruise ships. She is the author of numerous knitting and Tunisian crochet books, published designs in magazines and designs for yarn companies. When not knitting or crocheting, she can often be found on the bocce court either playing or refereeing.


Carole Wurst
Carole Wurst is a fiber artist, knitwear designer and instructor based at Rocking Horse Farm in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. She is a nationally known lecturer and seminar teacher. Carole has written for several knitting publications and is the author of several knitting pattern books, garment construction books, and fiber instruction books. Her passion for knit textiles is shown by her enthusiastic promotion of the wonderful world of knitting and fiber arts.


J. Wurst
J. Wurst is the editor of MACHINE KNITTING INSPIRATION, a quarterly publication with patterns and knitting machine instruction. He was kept awake during his childhood by his mother’s knitting machine, and has gone on to design and demonstrate knitting machines on a national level. His published patterns have appeared in Machine Knitters Source and other publications. He organizes an annual design contest for machine knitters and coordinates classes at September Seminar for Machine Knitters and Fiber Artists.