Just under these words, you will see the list of teachers who have done us the honour of agreeing to teach at the Sock Summit. (Soon, my pretties, we will be posting what classes they are teaching and what it costs. Hang out at that website. Very soon.) I want to take a moment to thank not just the teachers who’s names appear here, but the generous sponsors making it possible, and that includes Simply Sock Yarn, Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks, WEBS, Skacel, The Southwest Trading Company, The Fold and a multitude of others without whom we would have just about Zip going on. I’m grateful to all of them, but particularly to those on this list who thought I was nuts when they first heard the idea and took the time to listen – or the ones who thought Tina was nuts when she called them and took the time to listen. (Actually, further to that, I Tina and I would like to publicly thank each other for the number of times we called each other and said this was nuts and took the time to listen.) As you might imagine, surveying that list, we were beyond intimidated by a few of the knitters. Lots of times we thought “They will never say yes in a million years.” or “Her? I can’t call her. Calling her is right out. Sorry. I have a cramp.” Once we got our respective nerves up and called despite the cramps there were even more phone calls back and forth between Tina and I where she would call me up and say “Darn it, I think I just gushed all over so-and-so” and I’d say “Yeah, well. I just flat out told so-and-so that I couldn’t even believe I was talking to them.” There were calls where we both had a lie down after, and there were calls where we both had a stiff drink after. There were whole days with the phone numbers of the sock knitterati sitting on my desk while I hyperventilated over them. All of the calls, all of them, every single one filled both of us with a tremendous glee and gratefulness and surprise and happiness and…we are stupid crazy lucky to get this fine a cadre of sock knitting teachers. I think you can see why we were delirious as the names added up. It’s a pretty historic list. Exceptional, in fact. As I told Joe, to put it in Rock Star terms, it’s like I just hauled off and phoned Mick Jagger, Joe Strummer, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Stipe and Lowell George and invited them over and they all said “Yeah man, Thursday’s great for me.” I’m so proud to have all of them. Every name on there is a sock knitting expert or an expert in a sock related technique. Everybody on there is someone I respect, and some of those names are people I just about worship. (I fully expect to need to be resuscitated the first time that I’m in a room with the sum total of them. Start your CPR training now.) We got exactly what we wanted, nobody said “no” and I could be wrong but I think everybody on that list either thinks this is a good idea or is faking well enough to convince me. I was typing that list last night and I thought wow.
If you build it, they will come.
Holy Crap. This could work.
Cookie A has designed socks for magazines and yarn companies as well as for her own pattern line which is internationally distributed. She has appeared on the television program Knitty Gritty and has taught workshops around the North America. Her book Sock Innovation is due out in April 2009.
Star Athena is a designer and writer living in Portland, OR. She has contributed both articles and patterns to a number of places in print and online, including Vogue Knitting, Knitscene, knitty.com, and through Ravelry. In 2007, Star was a guest on diy’s knitting TV show “Knitty Gritty” and in 2006, Star began her US version of an annual online spin-along, The Tour de Fleece. She is especially proud of the ribbons she won for homespun yarn at the LA County Fair in 2006 and 2007, and admits to loving the way a big fair can combine excellence in craft with deep fried Oreos on a stick. Star knits, designs and explores the Pacific Northwest, all while writing about it here.
Deb Barnhill received a life-changing gift in 2001: her first skein of sock yarn. Hundreds of pairs later, she still keeps at least one sock project on the needles at all times. She began designing in 2005, with sock patterns published in Knitty.com and the recent Interweave book Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns (written by Carol Sulcoski). In 2007, she completed the first 52 Pair Plunge in 6 months and 12 days. Sock interests include toe-up, unique constructions and clean finishing techniques. Deb is a wife, mother and pharmacist in Nova Scotia, where friends and coworkers enjoy raiding the “sock box” annually on their birthdays.
Judy Becker is the inventor of “Judy’s Magic Cast-On,” which has taken the knitting world by storm. She believes that knitting is an adventure, and loves bringing her innovative techniques to knitters everywhere. Read more about Judy’s fiberish journey on her website Persistent Illusion.
Lorilee Beltman is the owner of City Knitting, an urban neighborhood yarn shop known for it’s eclectic collection of characters we call “Yarnies”. Sometimes referred to as “Cheers” for knitters, the Grand Rapids, Michigan shop has annually received the local Townie Gold Award for best yarn shop since opening in 2005. In the shop, she most enjoys teaching and observing relationships develop between those drawn together there. Her continental knitting video on youtube.com has garnered considerable praise.
When not entangled in yarn, she enjoys the woods, coffee, napping, being on water in any non-motorized craft, and camping with her husband and three teenage boys.
Anne Berk is a TKGA certified Master Knitter who loves to collect knitting resources and learn new knitting techniques. She enjoys complex knitting, but is also drawn to simple knits, beautifully executed. She feels that her job as a teacher is to make students comfortable, while encouraging them to try new things and discover what they are drawn to. Anne aspires to grow happy knitters, who will get great value from the time and money they spend on their craft.
Cat Bordhi has been a full-time writer and knitting detective since 2002, and also teaches knitting workshops, gives talks at knitting retreats and to knitting guilds, and teaches writing workshops. She lives in a yarn-filled house tucked away in the woods on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest, where she is working on the next book in her New Pathways for Sock Knitters series, jumping out of bed in the middle of the night with new ideas more often than is wise. She is the indefatigable author of Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles, A Treasury of Magical Knitting, A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting, New Pathways for Socks Knitters, and the novel Treasure Forest, and is also the creator of more than a dozen entertaining and instructive Youtube knitting videos, like “Slim and Trim SSK’s,” guaranteed to cure your SSK’s of wobbles and flabbiness.
JC Briar: A self-confessed “technique freak” and “skill junkie,” JC Briar 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 events such as Stitches, online through NeedlecraftUniversity.com, and on the high seas through CraftCruises.com. Regardless of the topic, she aims to build confidence by expressing concepts clearly and concisely, and by presenting skills and ideas in a digestible progression. When not teaching, JC brings clarity to knitting patterns as a freelance technical editor.
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. She has published articles and designs in Knitter’s, Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting, and Threads. She has been the knitting contributor to PieceWork Magazine and is currently a member of the editorial advisory panel. She teaches workshops in the United States and abroad. She owns The Wooly West, a mail order yarn business in Salt Lake City, Utah. She 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:Techniques, Patterns, and Traditions (2008), all published by Interweave Press.
Laurel Coombs is a passionate and experienced knitter who loves the variety of techniques available inside the sphere of sock knitting. She loves to spread the love of knitting, and wants everyone to enjoy making their socks, their way. She’s been designing for three years, as Lobug of Lobug designs, including sock patterns for the Unique Sheep’s Lord of the Rings Sock club. Laurel knits and designs at home in Portland with her husband and three children.
Angela Davis is a CYCA Certified Knitting Instructor who manages licensing for rock bands by day and knits for fun. She has taught knitting at Abuelita’s Knitting and Needlepoint, and at Blair I.B. Magnet School. She lives in Eugene, OR, and is positively wallowing in sheepy, fibery, happiness.
Carson Demers By day, Carson is a physical therapist who runs an ergonomic program 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 and physical therapy combine with his expertise in ergonomics to create a unique skill set which he eagerly shares with the fiber community to keep us all creating healthfully ever after.
Amy Detjen was the “List Mom” of the original Knit List for over 4 years, and started “Knit U” for XRX (Knitter’s Magazine) while not organizing Stitches events for almost 2 years. For the last 12 years, she has been Meg Swansen’s assistant at Knitting Camp, an esteemed position, indeed. She is passionate about teaching knitting and helping people learn about their knitting options. Amy has been teaching in the Madison, Wisconsin area for 7 years.
Laurie Drew is a knitter and an Instructional designer for Yahoo! She learned to knit because she needed something to counter the mechanics of technology and to relax and move her hands in different ways. An interest escalated to a need when she took a job at the University of Southern California where she worked on film shoots that specialized in “hurry up and wait”. At her day job at Yahoo! Laurie teaches and writes instructions for a living, which means that her talents as a knitting teacher are very well honed. She loves teaching sock knitting because there are so many magic “a-ha!” moments in a sock to make her students feel talented and clever.
Abby Franquemont is a textile evangelist living in Lebanon, Ohio. She has been spinning since she learned how in the Andes of Peru at the age of 5, and can’t resist teaching others. She blogs at Abbysyarns.com, and has written for Spin-Off, Knitty, Twist Collective, Spindlicity, and more. She is the author of Respect the Spindle, forthcoming this fall from Interweave Press.
Chrissy Gardiner designs knitting patterns for her Gardiner Yarn Works pattern line as well as various publications such as Interweave Knits, Knitty and Twist Collective, from her home in Portland, Oregon. While she designs all sorts of knitted items, she has a particular fondness for and obsession with socks.
Priscilla Gibson-Roberts (also known as PGR) has been called a living treasure of the textile world. Library Journal says Priscilla has “led the current revival of techniques used by traditional fiber artisans,” and her sock-knitting has been featured in Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits, among other places (check out the cover of Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Sock Book . . . those are Priscilla’s socks). Among her books areSimple Socks, Plain and Fancy, which presents her favorite sock-knitting techniques and Ethnic Socks and Stockings.
Marjan Hammink founded Yarnissima in March 2007 and lives in the Netherlands with her husband and three young sons. Marjan has been knitting for as long as she can remember, and as a small child, her grandmother patiently taught her the art of knitting and crochet. She vividly remembers all the socks and beautiful pullovers that flew off her granny’s long, steel needles. Her mother was herself a multi-talented crafter/quilter/designer – and taught her the fine points, as well as the lesson to work with the finest materials and tools you can find. Some years ago, an infatuation with the beautiful, hand dyed Rohrspatz & Wollmeise yarns from Claudia in Germany inspired her to design her own patterns, and socks walked off her needles. Yarnissima fine footwear designs are down-to-earth, but always with an unexpected little twist in them somewhere.
Anne Hanson is Knitspot’s owner and designer, a life-long knitter with a background in the fashion and graphic design fields, who began designing knitwear sometime in the 1970s. Anne also teaches and writes about knitting, spinning, and designing at her blog, knitspot.com, and lives in Ohio with David, who loves wool, too. Anne’s background as a patternmaker/draper, technical designer, and costumer in New York City’s garment district informs her work, providing a rich source of experience in garment construction and fit, as well as knowledge of a wide range of fibers and fabrics. Anne’s design work has been included in Knitty, Interweave Knits, and Twist Collective, as well as several upcoming publications. In addition, her designs have been commissioned for several popular sock and lace clubs, including the Rockin’ Sock Club, the Woolgirl Sock Club, the Yarn4Socks club, the Fearless Fibers Seven Deadly Sins sock club, and the Wooly Wonka Seasons of Lace Club.
Sivia Harding learned how to knit in 2000 and has being churning out patterns since 2003. Her work has appeared in magazines and books such as Knitty.com, Big Girl Knits and No Sheep for You, plus designs featured in the Rockin’ Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts and the Year of Lace 2008 subscription club from Make One Yarn Studio. This year will see several other designs in publication. Sivia is known for her work with exceptional beaded knits
Stephen Houghton: As an Eagle Boy Scout, Ironman triathlete and aspiring circus freak, Stephen has an intimate connection with socks. This knitter and designer can be heard on Y KNIT, a knitting podcast, genetically-speaking. His proudest accomplishment is teaching sock knitting long-distance over the phone to his mother, after her 35-year hiatus from the needles. Today, they make quite a pair.
Janel Laidman is the author of “The Eclectic Sole, socks for adventurous knitters” as well as the owner and editor of Spindlicity.com, an online magazine for handspinners. Janel is a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest, where she is hard at work on her next book.
Judith MacKenzie McCuin is an internationally valued teacher, master weaver, spinner, and fiber artist now living in the State of Washington. We love her for thinking outside of the box, teaching only that which she has proven through experience and combining textile knowledge and skill with patience, creativity, stories, history and allegory that hold it all together. Judith is a regular Spin-Off Author and has written two books, Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning, and The Intentional Spinner.
Betsy McCarthy is a designer, instructor and author, and has been knitting and exploring fiber arts since she was a child. She loves sharing her knowledge and inspiring others. Over the past 11 years Betsy has taught widely at national, regional and local knitting events, including Stitches and the Black Sheep Gathering. She lives in Vancouver, WA, where she teaches and supports the local knitting and spinning communities. Her book Knit Socks! was published by Storey Press in 2004.
Denny McMillan (“Ohhhh, *that* Denny!”) is a multifacted textile enabler who can be found working at Toronto’s Lettuce Knit yarn shop. She has a lengthy history of turning even the unwilling into knitters, spinners and weavers — and they like it when she does. It has been said that Denny could teach rocks to spin, and we don’t doubt it.
Melissa Morgan-Oakes was taught to crochet, tat, and sew by women who encouraged her to work without commercial patterns. Looking for new inroads in fiber art, Morgan-Oakes taught herself to spin and knit, designing patterns for her handspun yarns as she went. She brings the perspective of a self-taught knitter to her classes. Morgan-Oakes began teaching at Webs 4 years ago, and hasn’t looked back. Her first book, 2-at-a-Time Socks, was published in December 2007. She writes, designs patterns, teaches and lives in beautiful Western Massachusetts.
Lucy Neatby is a passionate knitter, who designs and writes patterns to entertain the mind as well as the fingers. She shares her love and knowledge of the art of hand knitting by giving a myriad of entertaining workshops. Lucy has won many design competitions, including The Knitting Guild of America’s International Design Challenge and her work has been exhibited widely. She is former Merchant Navy navigating officer and now the owner of Tradewind Knitwear Designs Inc. and author of “Cool Socks Warm Feet” and the Learn with Lucy DVD series.
Tina Newton is the owner of Blue Moon Fiber Arts and the braniac behind Socks That Rock, Sock Camp and the Sock Summit. She knits, spins, has forgotten more about dyeing than a lot of other people will ever know, has a thing for chickens and answers to the name of “depraved dyer” most days. There’s not much she likes more than socks, and that’s good news for everyone. She lives in Oregon with her lovely husband and three charming children, all of whom tolerate the wool as best they can.
Heather Ordover is a contributor to Spin Off magazine, Weavezine.com, Cast-On.com, and is the host of the long-running podcast Craftlit: A Podcast for Crafters Who Love Books. She lives, teaches, knits, spins, and writes in Tucson with her extremely supportive husband, two goofy sons, a couple of loving dogs, and a single melancholy skink.
Clara Parkes spends her days playing with yarn and writing about it every week in Knitter’s Review, which she founded in 2000. She is also also author of The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitters Book of Wool, and a frequent contributor to Interweave Knits and Twist Collective.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a writer, mother, blogger, knitting humourist and philosopher and the author of six funny but mostly useless books about knitting, one of which spent a glorious week at the very bottom of the New York Times Bestsellers list. She lives in Toronto, Canada with assorted teenaged daughters and a long suffering husband, all of whom have her outsmarted. Stephanie avoids housework, loves to teach knitting and works very hard at both. She keeps the blog Yarnharlot.ca in her inestimable spare time.
Deborah Robson is a fiber generalist, with specialized knowledge about spinning, knitting, and weaving. She served as an editor at Interweave Press for fourteen years, including twelve years as editor-in-chief of Spin-Off: The Magazine for Handspinners. She also edited Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot and has worked for a number of other presses. Her sock-specific background includes collaborating with Rita Buchanan on Spin-Off’s “The Joy of Socks” issue (Winter 1992) and Socks: A Spin-Off Special Publication for Knitters and Spinners. She contributed an essay called “Traveling Socks” to The Knitter’s Gift and never tires of knitting, or wearing, handmade socks.
Merike Saarniit has been teaching workshops in knitting, spinning, weaving and dyeing for almost 20 years, and at most Stitches events since 2000. The combination of her traditional Estonian heritage and her contemporary degree in Studio Art contribute to her unique designs and workshop presentations.
Joan Schrouder loves teaching knitters to reason out solutions. Intriguing construction details, seamless knitting and ethnic styles fascinate her. She teaches classes at national knitting conventions such as Stitches and TKGA, plus travels the country teaching for guilds and yarn shops. She also answers technique questions on various internet knitting lists and Ravelry, and has designed for knitting magazines and yarn companies.
Charlene Schurch – Charlene is a process knitter who also likes to wear great knits. She learned to knit on the couch from Mom before she could read. She is also a spinner and dyer and fascinated with all the intricacy and beautiful simplicity available to the knitter with only two sticks and a ball of yarn. She is the author of Mostly Mittens, Hats On!, Knits for Girls and Dolls, Sensational Knitted Socks, More Sensational Knitted Socks and The Little Box of Socks. Charlene has also contributed to; Knitters, Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Piecework and Belle Amoire. The reason socks fascinate her is that they are sculpture.
Amy R Singer is the editor of the online knitting magazine Knitty.com which has had more than 65 million site visits since its launch in 2002. Most people who learn she’s a knitter and knitting magazine editor who is allergic to wool think it’s hysterical. Ha. She’s perfectly happy knitting with cotton and silk, and wrote a book on the subject (No Sheep for You; Interweave Press, 2007). Amy lives in Toronto with her husband and their two rabbits, Boeing and Squeeze.
When Meg Swansen was 5, her mother, Elizabeth Zimmermann, taught her to knit.
At present Meg runs Schoolhouse Press, publishes books, produces instructional knitting DVDs, teaches at Knitting Camp, has written four knitting books, designs for Wool Gathering, has a regular column in Vogue Knitting and continues to be obsessed by knitting. She lives with her cats in central Wisconsin.
Barbara Walker (Note from Steph: Yes. That Barbara Walker.) is the author of the four Treasuries of Knitting Patterns, plus “Knitting from the Top,” “Mosaic Knitting,” “Barbara Walker’s Learn-To-Knit Afghan Book,” twelve other books on various subjects, and numerous magazine articles. Her paintings are featured in “The Barbara Walker Tarot Deck” and the card deck she designed for “The I Ching of the Goddess.” Her “Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets” was named Book of the Year by the London Times. She has received the Humanist Heroine of the Year Award from the American Humanist Association, the Women Making Herstory Award from New Jersey NOW, and the Olympia Brown Award from the Unitarian Universalist Association. She is also listed in that prestigious publication, “Who’s Who in Hell.”
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Barbara has worked as a journalist, dance teacher, professional knitwear designer, artist, and women’s group leader. She currently lives in Florida and serves as secretary to the local mineral club (she is an enthusiastic collector) and is an active member of the Gulf Coast Humanists and the Unitarian congregation, for whom she has presented more than thirty sermons. She is at work on a new collection of essays.
Karen Whooley learned to crochet from her Italian grandmother at age 7 in 1974. In two hours she was literally “hooked”. Never quite happy with the way a pattern was designed; she would always adjust something to suit her needs, or create her own. In 1998, Karen started designing and selling patterns at the urging of another well known crochet designer she met through an online crochet list. Since then she has had patterns published by a variety of magazines and books. Her latest books are Savvy Single Crochet and Shower of Cables. Karen is also a nationally recognized Crochet Instructor, and her classes include a wide range from basic crochet to advanced techniques which include several different types of media in crochet. A California native, Karen resides in the Seattle, Washington area with her husband and two children. She is inspired by the lush environment and the creative art of her home state. She is a Professional Member of CGOA.
Anna Zilboorg is a reknowned knitter and designer. She was educated at Harvard, taught at MIT and then fled academia and set out on a pilgrimage that finally left her a hermit on a mountain, in love with wool. She is a teacher of note and experience, and the author of Magnificent Mittens, Knitting for Anarchists, 45 Fine & Fanciful Hats to Knit, Socks for Sandals and Clogs and Fancy Feet: Traditional Knitting Patterns of Turkey.