Instructor Bios

Meet our Instructors!

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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 in 2010.  She loves to blend colors and textures in her fiber work as well as try out new and unusual fibers and spinning techniques.  In addition to her fiber arts business Hello Purl Melissa is a mother of two little boys.  She has German Angora rabbits who supply her with fiber to spin and two cats who don’t.  She loves to knit with chunky art yarns and on needles larger then US 10.

Jill Colbert

Jill has a small sheep farm in Minnesota.  She raises coopworth, cvm and lincoln sheep.  She has a few alpacas as well as a guard llama.  Jill spins, dyes, and weaves and enjoys making beautiful creations with fiber.

Leslie Granbeck

Leslie Granbeck is a feltmaker and instructor based in Minneapolis. Leslie loves sharing her knowledge of fibers and their magical transformation into felt. She teaches traditional wet felting, nuno felting, needle 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. Visit


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 9 years at various Sheep and Wool Festivals, Fiber Festivals, Knit-In’s, Madison College, and the Wisconsin Craft Market.

In the last 5 years, she has added Chair Caning classes to her teaching repertoire and has taught local classes in addition to classes at the WI Sheep and Wool Festival and MI Fiber Festival.

Under her designer name of Jo Harris, Mary Jo designs knitting patterns and has written a book entitled ‘Double Knitting – Inside Out’ which is available through Amazon or Ravelry.  An active member of the Madison (WI) Knitters’ Guild Mary Jo 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.


Deb Jones

Deb is from Black River Falls, Wisconsin.  She is an enthusiastic handspinner and teaches spinning workshops throughout the region, including Sievers School of Fiber Arts, The Clearing, 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. Deb’s latest fiber venture is as a travel consultant, sponsoring fiber arts travel tours.  She enjoys promoting fiber arts in a way that combines her love of spinning, dyeing, teaching and country living!


Ellie Lida

Ellie has been designing, weaving, and teaching basket weaving for over twenty years.  She teaches at various conventions, special interest groups, and her home studio.  ” It is good for the soul to work with our hands and create something unique and natural.  Friendships are forged as people share ideas and expand creativity.”


Pam Manthei

My love of fiber and all things creative began in grade school. As an adult I have enjoyed spinning, knitting, felting, playing any and every way  with fabrics and fiber. In 2011 my husband and I went to Iceland for sheep and wool and came back with fish! Fish leather that is. Intimidated at first by such a luxurious material, I have come to enjoy and appreciate working with this lovely, lightweight leather. Turns out fish leather is an easy product with which to work. Home sewing machine and sharp scissors are all the special equipment needed. I continue to work with fabrics and fibers, continually exploring how to include fish leather in my products.


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 Icelandic & BFL crosses, Karakul and Tunis sheep. Linda currently lives on a farm in Isanti, MN and enjoys sharing what she has learned through classes and lectures.


Chiaki and Dan O’Brien

Chiaki and Dan O’Brien are SAORI Leader Committee Certificate recipients. She worked as an instructor for the SAORI head office in Japan and she moved to Minnesota in 2004. Dan is a very first non-Japanese SAORI certified instructor. He and Chiaki take turn teaching when they both are able to attend events like this as Dan is a school teacher.  Chiaki is a teaching artist for the Weavers Guild of MN as well as other few art organizations in Minnesota.   She has taught PreK-12 at the Blake school in Minnesota as a 2015-16 visiting artist. She also visits independent living to do SAORI sessions with older adults.  She teaches at Shepherd’s Harvest (MN) and other fiber related festivals around Minnesota and neighboring states. She was awarded a Jerome Fiber Artist Project Grant in 2012 allowing her to study “Bengala Dyeing” in Japan and she now teaches this natural soil dye process as well. Chiaki and Dan have Studio FUN  in their home in Chaska, MN. SAORI Weaving taught Chiaki the way to create by following her heart. She wants to convey the “Joy of Exploration” to student in her classes.  Website:


Margaret (Meg) Stump

Margaret Stump, nicknamed Meg, is the author of Pin Loom Weaving; 40 Projects for Tiny Hand Looms, which was introduced at last year’s Shepherd’s Harvest Author’s Nook. Due to the continued interest in pin looms, Meg has just finished a second book devoted to pin loom weaving to be published in late 2016.  This weaving project is one of several that will be featured in the new book.

Meg has been weaving with pin looms, creating a variety of projects out of tiny squares of fabric, for more than 40 years. Her work has been heralded as creative, original, and fun. Her early work developed in Tucumcari, New Mexico, where she worked to recreate the old brick and adobe buildings in woven, pieced blankets and hangings.

Meg is a long time advocate for this vintage fiber art and is delighted to see so many artists and craftspeople rediscovering the power of pin looms. She lives in Mankato, Minnesota, and can be found online at


Carole Wurst & J. 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.

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 held each fall at Rocking Horse Farm.