Get to know the workshop instructors and what they are teaching

Amelia Garripoli Barbara Quinn Bonnie Meltzer Debbie Ellis Diana Purkey
Diane McKinnon Flora Carlile-Kovacs Hazel Spencer Heather Campbell Heidi Leugers
Ilisha Helfman Jan Larson Jayne Deardorff Judy Taylor Laurie Weinsoft
Laurinda Reddig LeBrie Rich Linda Hartshorn Linda York Lisa Ellis
Loyce Ericson Margaret Stump Mer Stevens Michele Bernstein Rosanne Anderson
Sheila January Sivia Harding Terry Mattison Wanda Jenkins

Amelia Garripoli using a power spinner

Amelia Garripoli founded The Bellwether in 2001 to share her joy of all things yarn, wrote Productive Spindling in 2009, and plays in The Bellwether Studio in Port Ludlow. Filled with spinning wheels, looms, dyes and fibers, the studio is a playground of fiber.

Barbara Quinn is a string slinger. She has been slinging string for over 50 years and has been a member of NwRSA for 25 of those years. She spins, knits, tats, crochets, beads (both off loom and on), works on leather and has tried her hand at weaving. In the process of pursuing her past time, she has been known to design a sweater or two. Hand spinning (both with wheel and spindling) has opened new doors for creation finding that handspun yarns didn’t have the same properties as commercial yarns. This brought her to explore yarn structure, fibre properties and knitting original garments. She willingly shares her knowledge with anyone who will listen. She lives in Vancouver, WA, retired, and gives her time to teaching, travel and enjoying the company of her Springer Spaniel, Zoë and Hannah Belle, her mini-dachshund. She has been teaching needle arts for 30 years.

Bonnie Meltzer is a crochet innovator whose artworks have been in exhibitions (Mary Hill Museum), collections (University of Washington), books (“The Fine Art of Crochet”, “Crocheted Wire Jewelry”, and “Artistry in Fiber”) and TV (OPB’s Oregon Art Beat). She recently taught crochet workshops at Sitka Center for Art, Pendleton Woolen Mills, and Museum of Contemporary Craft.

dyed ribbon by Debbie Ellis

Debbie Ellis has had her head in the dyepots since 1995, when she learned to skirt, wash, clean and dye a huge Suffolk sheep fleece. Shortly thereafter, she took spinning, weaving and dyeing classes in profusion. She credits Judith MacKenzie, Judilee Fitzhugh, Deb Menz, India Flint, and many other remarkable teachers with stoking the fires of creativity, not only in dyeing (including natural and eco-printing), but also in weaving, paper making, and book arts. Debbie markets her art yarns, batts, rovings, eco-print scarves, weavings, and other artwork at local and regional fiber events, art shows and galleries, under the name Artisan Fibers.

Diana Purkey says, “We had the privilege of moving to the central Oregon high desert six years ago and this is where our shepherding story began. Our last teenagers are raised now so ‘Mom and Dad’ are delighted to be raising a small flock of Shetland sheep, enjoying almost every minute.”

Diane McKinnon is an avid weaver and spinner who especially enjoys seeing her students discover their own potential as they have fun with fibers. Her first loom was a rigid heddle loom that she bought while she was still in high school. Diane went on to study weaving during college. She did additional color, textile, and weaving studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Attending conference classes, working for two years in a weaving shop, and doing production weaving increased her skills and knowledge over the years. She teaches at The Black Sheep Gathering, NwRSA’s Annual Conference, Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival, and holds regular fiber classes in the Thistle Patch Fiber Studio at her home. She was honored to be selected as an Invitational Artists for 2012 Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. Diane is an enthusiastic spinner as well and she uses her collection of looms to weave her special yarns into unique hand-woven items. She especially enjoys sharing the wonders of weaving with beginning weavers.

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The award winner of several wearable art shows, Flóra Carlile-Kovács is a professional felt artist born in Szeged, Hungary, now living and working in Seattle WA. In her work she incorporates two bodies of knowledge, the nomadic traditions and the urban, modern style of feltmaking. Coming from the European tradition of craftsmanship and quality, she is constantly experimenting with ways to improve not only the visual artistic aspect of her work, but also its physical integrity as a functional object appropriate for everyday use.

Hazel Spencer is owner, with her husband Randy, of Hazel Rose Looms and has been making small weaving looms since Oct of 2000 and have sold looms worldwide. She taught art, including weaving & other fiber arts, to K-8 kids . Weaving small looms is a passion.

Heather Campbell has raised rabbits and been a spinner since she was a teen. Her rabbitry Oceanside Angoras, ranks as a top breeder of Satin and English Angoras. Heather is also the owner/operator of Purly Shell Fiber Arts, in Ilwaco WA. Spinning and bunnies is her life!

Heidi Leugers is the owner of Reclaimed Wool, a success small wool crafts studio and business that has operated with a zero-waste practice since 1998. Her finished items are sold locally and nationally to over 35 museum stores, American craft galleries, and other speciality retailers including New Seasons Market, The American Folk Art Museum in New York, Chihuly Garden and Glass as well as at juried retail events.

Ilisha Helfman invented Jazzknitting, a form of intentional pooling of hand-painted yarns. She has written books on Jazzknitting and Butterfly Knitting (symmetrical intentional pooling with paired strands), and is currently working on a book of Tiffany Glass inspired spinning and knitting. Ilisha has taught at Madrona, OFFF, BSG, and other shops, guilds and festivals around the Western states. She is a graduate of Smith College and Yale University and is featured in Knitting Art, by Karen Searle.

Fiber artist for over 25 years (weaving, spinning, knitting, quilting, etc.), Jan Larson loves to create Wearable Art, that encompass many forms of materials to create ‘texture.’ She accomplishes this by combining fiber, yarn, thread, fabric, and the ‘Kitchen Sink’ (anything goes) in creating unique and “one of a kind” garments.

Jayne Deardorff, A 2013 graduate of Olds College (, completed her Master’s Thesis on spinning and blending Cashmere with other quality fibers. She graduated and received her Master Hand Spinning Certificate in 2013. Her thesis findings and her methods for blending Cashmere provide the foundation for this hand spinners’ workshop. In addition, she completed Levels 1 and 2 of the wool judging Certificate. Jayne is the Beginning Spinning Teacher at Olds College Fiber Week ( ), and teaches other one day classes at Fiber Week.

Judy Taylor

Judy Taylor has been rug hooking and teaching for over 20 years. She has written two award winning books on the subject. She breaks rug hooking down so it is easy and fun for folks of all ages to make treasured heirloom rugs.

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Laurie Weinsoft has been one of the top spinning teachers in the Portland area for the last twenty-five years She started teaching spinning within months of learning herself. She has taught a continuing class for beginning and returning students at Northwest Wools in Portland, Oregon for more than 14 years. Laurie is one of the original members of the Twisted Sisters spinning group and was a contributor to the Twisted Sister’s Sock Book and Twisted Sisters Sweater Workshop. Her handspun sweater and pattern is the last sweater design in the workshop book. Her work also has been published in Spin-off and shown in the Contemporary Crafts Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Laurie has taught special workshops for PNCA.

Laurinda Reddig is a crochet designer and author who loves sharing her passions through teaching. She especially enjoys experimenting with unusual techniques and working with handdyed yarns. When she is not crocheting, Laurinda enjoys spinning, needle felting, and sharing her love of all fiber arts with her children.

LeBrie Rich is an artist living in Portland, Oregon. Her work emphasizes experimentation in materials and processes and often employs pattern, print and fiber. LeBrie makes both temporary and permanent work for diverse settings including museums, galleries, storefront windows, art vending machines, and craft shows. LeBrie is the proprietress of PenFelt, a line of hand-felted wearables that can be found in craft galleries throughout the country. LeBrie has been teaching feltmaking for 12 years.

Linda Hartshorn with dye buckets

Linda Hartshorn is known for unique dyework and lively use of color in her handwoven textiles. With over fifteen years of teaching experience, Linda shares her positive, fun and supportive style in workshops all over the country. When she’s not teaching, Linda weaves and dyes at her home in Northern California.

“My grandmother taught me to tat and I finally “got it” when I was 10 years old. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and have taught many tatting classes. I am a retired high school librarian, weaver, spinner, crocheter, and seamstress.” –Linda York

Lisa Ellis is a freelance knitwear designer, owner of a wholesale pattern line and traveling knitting instructor in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area. Lisa has two publications with Leisure Arts and is also a contributing designer to more than a dozen other books and magazines.

Loyce Ericson worked for twenty+ years in high tech as a mechanical designer, and then she took a personal and professional turn to follow her passion of making felt and teaching her craft. She has been making felt since 1999 and began teaching in 2001. She travels and teaches nationally as well as in her private studio Gaston, Oregon. She has taught at SOAR”s Autumn Retreat 2013, Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, and Black Sheep Gathering. Loyce”s felted pieces have taken many awards at the Black Sheep Gathering and placed Best in Show 2000, Best in Class 2001 and 2003 at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. Loyce says she loves color and texture when she makes felt. She’s a product oriented teacher, preferring to teach felting techniques as students produce a finished piece in the class. She approaches her classes as a time for fun and open creative expression and teaches that there is never only one way to make felt. Her greatest delight is to see the smiles on the faces of her students as their felt comes together.

Margaret “Meg” Stump is a fiber craftsperson with work focused on pin looms and pin loom weaving. Meg is the author of Pin Loom Weaving; 40 Projects for Tiny Hand Looms, published by Stackpole Books. Due to the upswell of interest in pin looms, she has just finished a second book devoted to pin loom weaving to be published in late 2016.

When Mer Stevens isn’t designing, dyeing, knitting, spinning, or teaching, she’s hard at work helping adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities get jobs they love. A lifelong knitter, Mer has most recently thrown herself into the world of color by co-founding The Dye Project and producing exceptional yarns.

Michele 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 designing accessories that make the most of one skein of beautiful yarn. She is the designer of Rosaria, the 2014 Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Knit Along Shawlette, and has been published most recently in Doomsday Knits from Cooperative Press and the Under 100 Knit Collection from Knit Picks. She also enjoys teaching people how to be the boss of their knitting! You can view her blog at

“I raise my own small flock of non-lamb burger sheep, love anything fibery and also enjoy all the prep work to see a year’s worth of dirty growth turn into beautiful fluff! I attend various fiber conferences and fairs in order to keep current, look for new opportunities to learn and teach, and just enjoy the ambiance of the fiber world!” –Rosanne Anderson

Shelia January learned to knit as a child and has knitted continuously since, working in financial services in many states. She has returned to her roots in Oregon, where she now lives on a farm with her sheep, a cow, chickens, cat, husband, and her extensive spinning wheel and yarn collections. She became a spinner 16 years ago and has spent time in Europe and South America to study Old and New World traditions in knitting and spinning. She knits and designs, judges at fleece, spinning and knitting competitions, and teaches spinning and knitting. Her patterns are available on Ravelry, and she has been published in books, Spin-Off and Ply magazines.

Sivia Harding

Sivia Harding has been churning out patterns since 2003. Her work has widely appeared in publication under her own name, plus being featured in Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People Series, Twist Collective online magazine,, and in many published collections. Sivia has taught her techniques widely across the US and Canada. She is especially known for her exceptional beaded knits.

“I am a fiber artist who fell in love with Pygora goats at first sight (about 15 years ago), and have never regretted my tiny flock of Pygora wethers! I’ve focused on Pygora fiber exclusively: shearing the goats, dehairing the fiber (yes I’ve a dehairing machine in my garage), dyeing, blending, spinning, knitting and weaving. I’ve sold Pygora fiber online and at fiber festivals for the past 12 years.” – Terry Mattison

Wanda Jenkins has enjoyed playing with yarn and threads since childhood but didn’t cotton to spinning with a top-whorl spindle. When a Turkish spindle was placed in her hands, a decade ago, the spinning concept clicked. Now she’s enamored with spinning all kinds of fibers on her spindles in all sorts of places.