2014 Instructor Bios

Amy Tyler

Amy Tyler is from Lake Ann, Michigan. First a dancer, then a neuroscientist and professor, Amy now devotes herself full-time to the fiber arts. She has taught spinning and knitting at Rhinebeck, SOAR, Michigan Fiber Festival, and for many other events and guilds. She has written articles for Spin Off, and PLY, and she self-publishes her knit designs. Her art and science backgrounds give her a keen understanding of learning movement skills, composition, pattern recognition, and systematic exploration. The result is her focus on spinning and knitting technique, texture, three-dimensional structure, and knit designs that exploit handspinning techniques. You can find out more about her work on her website http://www.stonesockfibers.com and on her blog, http://stonesockblog.blogspot.com.

Andrea Myklebust

Andrea Myklebust is a spinner and shepherdess at Black Cat Farmstead in rural Stockholm, Wisconsin. She is a sculptor by trade who began spinning several years ago and has gone happily down the rabbit hole of traditional fiber arts. She does repair and restoration work on antique wheels in her western Wisconsin studio, and is presently involved in research and documentation of the 70+ spinning wheels in the collection of the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa.

Anna Smegal

Anna learned the basics if knitting over ten years ago from her sister and then taught herself everything else from books. She teaches classes in her community, enters project sat fairs, and never finishes her Christmas presents on time. Find Anna on Ravelry ender the username aersknits. Anna’s the bad sheep in the family as she hasn’t returned her sister’s favor—her sister is still stuck at the scarf knitting level.

Becky Utecht

Becky Utecht raises sheep and makes art in rural Mora, MN. She is passionate about felting and has studied felting with renowned feltmakers from the US, Japan, Scotland, the Netherlands, and Canada. Her felt work has won fine art awards and was selected for inclusion in the recent publication, “500 Felt Objects”. She loves to share the fun and magic of felting with others. She operates River Oaks Farm & Studio, www.riveroakssheep.com

Carol Wagner

Carol Wagner has been a spinner since 1988 and uses the yarns she produces in knitting, weaving, and felting projects. She is passionate about fiber and promotes quality production of the fiber to be spun. The quality begins with the animal, includes carding, and finally spinning excellence!

Carol and her husband Paul raise registered Coopworth sheep and have a flock of approximately 200. They also own Hidden Valley Woolen Mill near Valders, Wisconsin where the goal is to assist the customer with the creative process.

Dan and Chiaki O’Brien

Chiaki and Dan O’Brien took a Bengala Workshop in Japan in the summer of 2012 and both got hooked right away! Chiaki was fortunate to take another series of Bengala workshops in NYC later in 2012. Chiaki and Dan (Studio “FUN”) are now one of two U.S. Bengala distributors and instructors, as well as SAORI instructors. Chiaki went to Japan to learn more about the traditional Japanese dyeing techniques as part of the Jerome Foundation Fiber Artist Grant from the Textile Center of Minnesota. She had her first solo Bengala Dye exhibit in her hometown in Japan in 2013. She has taught at Shepherds Harvest, Weavers Guild of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa Sheep and Wool Festivals, and in her home studio in Chaska, MN.

Deb Jones

Deb is from Black River Falls, Wisconsin. She is an enthusiastic handspinner and teaches spinning workshops throughout the state, including Sievers School of Fiber Arts and the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Deb is the owner of The Fiber Garden, a year-round fiber arts school and shop that has been featured in such magazines as American Small Farm, Impressions, and Positive Thinking. For Deb it’s a means to promote fiber arts and combine her love of spinning, teaching and country living!

Dee Heinrich

Dee began with a very small flock of Romney sheep in 2000. As her fleece sales grew, so did her flock. Before long, it became obvious to her that color in sheep was NOT created equal: there were different mechanisms that produced color in sheep, and they were predictable. She began to sort her sheep accordingly. Eventually, she added a flock of CVM/Romeldale to produce the finewool fleeces that her customers were requesting. In 2009 she was elected President of the National CVM/Romeldale Conservancy – a position she still holds today. Most recently, Dee completed the technical editing of Margaret Howard’s upcoming book on sheep color genetics: The Coat of Many Colors: A Survey of Sheep Color Pattern Expression. She and her husband currently over-winter 45 Romney and Romeldale/CVM ewes and miscellaneous rams at Peeper Hollow Farm in Marion, Iowa.

Diane Augustin

Diane has been a knitter and crocheter for most of her life, and an independent instructor, teaching at many local yarn shops. She takes great care in explaining instructions to students, ensuring that everyone has a positive experience and a lot of fun. She draws on many years of knitting, crocheting, and graphic arts experience, as well as her love of all things fiber and bead. Diane’s patterns have been published in Fiber Art Almanac for 2013. In January 2014, Berroco Yarns posted a write-up on their blog, Designer Spotlight: Get-Up-and-Go Cowl by Diane Augustin. The pattern is free download on Ravelry.

Elizabeth Harrington

Elizabeth Harrington was introduced to spinning in the summer of 2006. She taught herself to spin on a CD spindle and quickly fell under the spell of fiber arts. She spins, dyes, weaves, knits, and occasionally felts. Elizabeth loves sharing the discovery of spinning and weaving with others.

Ellie Lida

Ellie Lida has a passion for weaving baskets and sharing that love with others. For over 15 years, she has been teaching in her home studio, at workshops, community education classes, and special events. Intrigued by the limitless possibilities, her enthusiasm spills over into designing new baskets and using black walnuts to dye the finished basket! Teaching others to enjoy basket weaving is rewarding. Friendships are forged as people share their stories and bond while weaving.

Jan Zita Grover

Jan Grover teaches multi-session spindling classes throughout the Twin Cities, emphasizing joy, patience, practice, and connections to Minnesota and Wisconsin’s extraordinary communities of spinners, fiber farmers, and textile traditions.

Kandys Bleil

Kandys has been involved with fiber arts most of her life. She learned to knit at the age of 8 and has been knitting on and off all her adult life. She learned to spin in 2008, and shortly thereafter began exploring dyeing, carding, weaving and felting with a passion. She retired from her real-world job in 2010 which has allowed more time to do what she really enjoys—anything to do with fiber!

 Kay Crowthers

Kay learned knitting basics through 4-H almost 50 years ago, but her knitting passion exploded while an exchange student in Norway, and Nordic color patterns are still her favorite knitting. After a career of travelling the world courtesy of the U.S. Government, she is happy to be back in Minnesota where warm mittens and hats are essential. She is always working on small projects that use that odd ball of gorgeous yarn from the back of the bin. Kay’s focus is teaching new knitters and encouraging them to be Thinking Knitters always in charge of their knitting.

Leslie Granbeck

Leslie Granbeck has been an avid beader and teacher for 15 years. Leslie’s talents took a new direction when she discovered the art of turning wool fibers into beads. Intrigued by color, texture and always looking for new challenges, her love of felted beads and jewelry blossomed to include the art of feltmaking. “Feltmaking is magical. Imagine turning simple wool fibers into scarves, purses, jewelry, even garments.”
Leslie has traveled around the globe, is a professional photographer and speaks Spanish. When not felting or beading at home, you’ll find Leslie teaching at Hopkins and White Bear Centers for the Arts, ArtiCulture and Beadhive in South Minneapolis.

Melissa Bohrtz

Melissa has been carding and creating art yarns since she began spinning in 2010. She loves to blend colors and textures in her fiber work as well as try out new and unusual fibers. In addition to running her fiber arts business Hello Purl, Melissa is a mother to two little boys. She has two German Angora rabbits who supply her with fiber to spin, and a cat who doesn’t. She loves to knit with chunky art yarns and hates to knit on needles smaller than 10.

Patsy Sue Zawistoski:

Patsy understands the art and the mechanics of spinning. She receives accolades for her teaching techniques and her extensive knowledge of all aspects of spinning and spinning wheels. She delights in seeing her students reach that “aha” moment in their spinning skills set. Patsy’s three videos continue to be favorites. Always creating, always refining her skills and knowledge, Patsy is sought after as teacher, workshop leader, and lecturer. Relaxed and thorough—you’ll enjoy working with Patsy in class.

Roseanne Anderson

Roseanne has been locker hooking for many years after she attended a fiber show in Montana and saw a huge, beautiful wall hanging. She attends fiber conferences and fairs in order to keep current, look for new opportunities to learn, and just enjoy the ambiance of the fiber world! She raises a small flock of mixed breed, non-lamb burger sheep which is shorn once a year, and she spins, dyes, knits, locker hooks, and weaves with the results. She is fortunate to have a willing husband who will build almost anything for her sheep and her craft. Usually.

Stefania Isaacson

Stefania has been a life-long knitter, and started spinning and dyeing 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 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 dyes called In Search of the Perfect Green—and Orange, Too!