Chart Reading, Adding a Personal Touch, and Beaded Knitting

Basic Chart Reading, 11:15-11:45 am, $5
Are you tired of seeing a great pattern and being discouraged because it’s in a chart? Well, fear charts no more. I can’t promise you that when you leave you will love charts, but you will definitely know how to read and follow one. And if you happen to start enjoying them, well, so much the better.

Marianna learned to knit when she was about seven years old. Her bear needed a scarf and her mom taught her how. She vaguely remembers a small scarf knit so tightly that the dropped stitch went absolutely nowhere. It wasn’t until college when, as a poor student in need of Christmas presents, she picked it up again. It was also at that time that she discovered something absolutely fascinating, her friend was knitting completely the wrong way! Why did she throw her yarn around so much instead of just picking it up with her needles? And thus she learned that there are various styles of knitting. You learn all kinds of things in college. She has been knitting for many years and enjoys sharing what she knows with those around her.

Adding a Personal Touch to Patterns, 12-1 pm, $10
Personal Touch Class Hat PhotoPersonal Touch Class Sweater Photo
A class for knitters and crocheters to learn about making changes to the color and texture of patterns. We will talk about adding lace, cable, colorwork, and other textures in basic shapes like hats, scarves, and simple sweaters.
If there are particular patterns you want to modify, please bring them. Otherwise, just pencil and paper are required for taking notes.

Amy has taught in the past at Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh’s East End as well as the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival. Due to her workload as an architect, she has had to give up full time teaching duties, but she appreciates the opportunity to teach occasionally at events like Indie Knit & Spin! In addition to self-published patterns available on, Amy has designs published in “60 Quick Knits from America’s Yarn Shops”, “Scarves, Etc 2015″ and will eventually have three designs published in the Cooperative Press Series “Fresh Designs Crochet”. Amy’s designs are also featured in kits sold by Ross Farm Fibers of Washington, PA. Keep up with new design releases and future teaching engagements at You can also find Amy on ravelry and twitter as Pghamers.

Beaded Knitting, 1:15-1:45 pm, $5
Learn how easy it is to add beads to your knitting! In this class, you will see and learn two different techniques for adding beads as you go. Materials to bring required: Swatch in fingering weight yarn. Cast on 30 stitches. Work 5 rows of stockinette. Materials optional: 1mm crochet hook, a few beads size 6/0, patterns that you would like suggestions on where to add beads to. Materials provided: beads, dental floss, and inspiration

This year we are offering a series of short, fun fiber arts classes.  Classes cost $5 for half an hour classes and $10 for hour long classes.  Sample things you have never quite been able to figure out yourself, listen to a fiber arts lecture, or enjoy several short classes throughout the day and shop in between.  Class sizes are limited to 6 people each.  To register, or if you have questions, email me at See all short classes here.

Kids Fiber Arts and Crochet for Knitters Classes

Exploring Fiber Arts (ages 6-12), 10-11 am, $10
Class description: Let’s explore all of the amazing fiber arts and choose which ones we like the best! “Exploring Fiber Arts” is a hands-on workshop for kids ages 6-12 to try out knitting, crocheting, and weaving, and to also learn about dyeing and spinning. Get your friends together and try it all out for yourself with instruction, resources, and materials provided by the teacher. This class is perfect for troops and groups (Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, homeschooling groups, etc.). Extending the activities learned in this workshop on your own may even help you to earn a scout badge. Parents are welcome to attend at no extra cost if they prefer to stay with their child during the class.  Supplies will be provided. Feel free to bring your own if you have something special that you would like to use.
Teacher Maggie Broderick is a professional educator, fiber artist, and Girl Scout troop leader.

Crochet for Knitters, 2:45-3:45 pm, $10
In this 1 hour class, we’ll discuss different crochet stitches and techniques to enhance your knitting. We’ll talk about binding off with your hook, slip stitches for embellishing and joining, different stitches for edgings, and the provisional cast-on if time. Bring worsted weight yarn, an H (5 mm) hook, and two stockinette swatches to join, or create the swatch detailed in the homework to practice some of the techniques we’ll discuss. Swatch instructions will be sent when you sign up for the class.

Rebecca DeSensi has been crocheting and knitting for more than a decade. She works for a nationally-known, Pittsburgh-based, crochet designer and author, providing technical editing, pattern support, and sample creation for books, magazines, DVD workshops, and TV shows. She also has worked independently as a technical editor for publications and as a designer for a large national yarn company. She’s tried every technique and stitch out there, so it was a natural progression to jump into the business side of yarn. With her friend Karen, they dye and sell yarn as Amelia and Wiggles. Their booth can be found in the marketplace.

This year we are offering a series of short, fun fiber arts classes.  Classes cost $5 for half an hour classes and $10 for hour long classes.  Sample things you have never quite been able to figure out yourself, listen to a fiber arts lecture, or enjoy several short classes throughout the day and shop in between.  Class sizes are limited to 6 people each.  To register, or if you have questions, email me at See all short classes here.

All Classes IKS 2015

Spinning Classes with Lauren Haiken

9-12     Worsted? Woolen? What? – Exploring the two main spinning styles
2-5       Taste the Rainbow – Exploring the Many Splendors of Multicolor Spinning

More information about Lauren’s classes here.

Quick Classes – 30 minutes to an hour

10:00-11:00       Exploring Fiber Arts (ages 6-12)
11:15-11:45       Basic Chart Reading (lace)
12:00-1:00         Altering Patterns
1:15-1:45           Beaded Knitting
2:00-2:30           Conservation Wool Breeds (lecture)
2:45-3:45           Crochet for Knitters
4:00-5:00           Dyeing Wool with Plants (lecture)

More information about quick classes here.

2 Hour Classes

1:30-3:30      Design It, Write It
3:45-5:45      Anatomy of a Sock Heel
1:15-3:15      Eastern European Knitting
3:30-5:30      Yoga and Yarn

More information about 2 hour classes here.

1-5 Dyeing

More information about Dyeing can be found here (I haven’t figured out the details for this class yet, but save your afternoon if you want to take it!)

10-12:30 Button Making

More information about Button Making can be found here (I will have this information up soon).

Spinning Classes with Lauren Haiken

I’m pleased to announce that this year at IKS we will have a truly fabulous spinning teacher (and a friend of mine) joining us.

Lauren Haiken will be offering 2 awesome workshops for more advanced spinners: Worsted? Woolen? What? – Exploring the two main spinning styles and Taste the Rainbow – Exploring the Many Splendors of Multicolor Spinning

Classes will be limited to 15 people, but must have a minimum of 8
Lauren has been spinning for twenty years and teaching for ten. She has learned at the knees of Judith McKenzie, Rudy Amman, Michelle Boyd, Stephenie Gaustad and many other venerated teachers. Lauren lives in Bellmore, New York with her husband and daughter, and she prefers to teach people that there are no spinning police.

And here are some answers to questions I asked her

How did you get started:
I grew up on Long Island, N.Y., in an area where there are no sheep, and we are all sad. Learned to spin at my first visit to MDS&W, more than twenty years ago. (She also learned to spin before she could knit!)

How many spindles/wheels do you own:
I’m owned by fourteen wheels, and upwards of fifty spindles. I love them all, but usually choose to spin on my cherry Matchless, or my Hansen Minispinner. My most unusual wheel is my Journey Wheel, and my first wheel was a single treadle Joy. My most unusual spindle is a mid whorl Mongold Norge.

Where have you taught spinning:
I’ve taught spinning at Homespun Yarn Party for… Every year it’s been in existence, but two, the first and 2014. I’ve also taught at local yarn shops in Maryland, workshops for Dragonfly Fiber, and The Verdant Gryphon, and private lessons. (Homespun Yarn Party is an amazing fiber show in DC that partially inspired IKS.)

Geekiest spinning habit:
Kate from Dragonfly would tell you it’s that I finger spin fiber, any fiber, when I pick it up. It’s a habit, and I’m not thinking about it when I do it. I have little finger spun yarn bracelets from most of the events I’ve been to.

What do I like to spin most:
I like to wash wool, raw wool, one lock at a time, on a bar of soap, and I love to spin that washed wool from the lock. I have a lot of handspun, and it’s all hanging up in my closets.

Favorite spinning teacher:
Really, you’re going to make me pick? I’ve taken the most classes with Judith McKenzie. The teacher that taught me the most was Margaret Stove. The teacher who taught me the technique that I had the most fun with was Sarah Anderson (Wrap and Roll yarn). The teacher whose class I met the most long term friends in was Rudy Amann. The teacher who probably finds me most annoying, because I’m a ringer every time, is Maggie Casey.

If you need a one liner for that, go with Judith. I admire her because she’s used spinning to bring her through every life situation.
Now the classes! Each class lasts 3 hours and costs $45.  If you sign up for both, you get in for $40/class.  Each also has a material fee to be paid to the instructor on the day of the class. To register or if you have any questions, send an email to

Worsted? Woolen? What? – Exploring the two main spinning styles
Saturday November 14th, 9-12
You want to create a yarn that’s shiny and smooth. How do you do it? Spin it worsted.

You want to create a yarn that’s fuzzy and extra warm. How do you do it? Spin it woolen
You want to learn more? That’s what this class is for. We will explore Worsted yarn and its properties, spinning both Top and Batts to create Worsted and Semi-worsted. Then we will explore Woolen yarn and its properties, spinning Batts and Top to create Woolen and Semi-woolen. While we’re spinning we will discuss some of the best uses for each type of yarn, and work on improving your spinning in each style.

Skills Required: Students should be able to spin a continuous yarn.

Equipment Required: Students should bring a spinning wheel in good working condition

Materials Fee: $20 per student – includes class handout and fiber
Taste the Rainbow – Exploring the Many Splendors of Multicolor Spinning
Saturday November 14th, 2-5

Do you have a gorgeous, many colored braid of fiber, and you don’t know what to do with it? In this class we’ll try several techniques to split and spin that fiber. We’ll create intentional barberpole yarn, color blocked yarn, and fractal spun yarn. If time allows, we will play with ply structure and its effect on colored yarns, spinning three ply and cable ply yarns. Each yarn will be unique, and they will all be beautiful. Which one will be your favorite?
Skills Required: Students should be able to spin a continuous yarn.

Equipment Required: Students should bring a spinning wheel in good working condition

Materials Fee: $20 per student – includes class handout and fiber

IKS call for vendors 2015

Indie Knit and Spin marketplace will run 10-4 on Saturday the 14th of November, 2014 at the Wilkins School Community Center. Classes of varying lengths and subjects will run from 9-5:30.

To apply to be a vendor at the marketplace send an email to with the name of your business and ‘IKS application 2015′ in the subject line

This is a juried show. All applications need to be in by June 21 in order to be considered. Notification of acceptance or not will be sent via email by June 28. September 30th is the last day you can pull out of the show and get a refund.

Booths cost $50
Half Booths cost $25

Each vendor is also required to donate an item or two in order to lure in volunteers to help with the show.

Teach a short class! Spread your love of fiber arts!

I am looking for folks to teach short classes – 30 minutes to 1 hr. I have 2.5 hrs left.

These are fun little classes for a maximum of 6 people, where you can share whatever you are passionate about!

Already being offered:
Kids Fiber Arts
Altering Patterns (adding cables, lace, stripes etc)
Lace Chart Reading
Crochet for Knitters

Other ideas:
Cabling without a cable needle
Finishing of some sort
How to size something (I could totally do a 30 minute how to size hats to fit heads class)
or anything you can think of!
think specified technique or something you love to do and want to share

email me at if you’re interested

Dates and Call for Teachers 2015!!

IKS 2015 will be Saturday November 14th! Save that date.
Marketplace will run 11-4
and Classes will run 9-4

Now I am in search of people to teach classes similar to the following at the IKS in November and a new one in February. Please inquire by sending me an email at cosymakes(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll let you know how classes work. Classes are purposefully kept pretty small, last 2 hours, and pay by the head.

Pattern Writing
Design – Shawl
Design – Sweater
Altering Patterns

Lecture on natural dyeing?
Lecture on or hands on workshop in expertise on spinning particular fibers?

Spindle Spinning
Advanced Spinning
Spinning Fiber Prep

Color Theory / Choosing hand dyed yarns and matching with patterns etc

Advanced Crochet
Crochet Design

Darning/repairing knits


**Anybody with a house in/near Regent Square who would like to host a class during IKS. I’m particularly interested in finding someone who would want to swap dye lessons for allowing a dye class to be taught in their kitchen.

IKS 2015 class survey

Hi IKS fans!

Please take this survey and let me know what classes you’d be interested in taking at IKS!

We are looking for unique classes that aren’t necessarily offered elsewhere – design, spinning, pattern writing, yoga and yarn etc. And we are looking to seriously limit the class sizes this year and create a great learning and teaching environment.

This coming Saturday!

Indie Knit and Spin is coming right up!  You can find information here!  Here are a couple of things to remember:

We have classes this year
You can sign up at the show if there is still room, or email me cosymakes(at)gmail(dot)com. We have a nice variety of classes:  Toe up Socks and How to use Variegated Yarns, Support Spindle and Drop Spindle, a class on making your own preparations to spin, Stranded Knitting, and a Yoga and Yarn class.

Give away take away table
This table will be in the hallway again this year.  A table (or two) to get rid of the fiber arts stuff that you just have lying around collecting dust. And maybe to score something new that makes you happy. Books, patterns, needles, knitting, crochet or spinning supplies all welcome! You do not have to bring something to take something or take something if you bring something.

If you feel so inclined to volunteer – more info here.


The Ross Farm

Name: Amy Ross Manko
Business name: The Ross Farm
Website(s): The Ross Farm Website
What kind of items do you make?
We produce fleece, roving, locks, batting and yarn from our flock of Heritage and Rare Breed sheep that we raise on our PA Century Farm.

How long have you been in indie artist?
I’ve been an indie artist for as long as I can remember. I’ve been producing wool products for about a year.

What got you interested in your art of choice?
I was looking for a way to ‘work smarter. not harder’ with our wool flock and I wasn’t interested in raising animals specifically for meat, so fiber animals seemed like the perfect fit. We chose to work with Heritage and Rare Breeds because our farm has been in my family for over 100 years and is on the National Register of Historic Places so anything that wasn’t “old school” seemed like it would be less than authentic.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
Two things: Lambing season and shearing! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cute little lambies but the big payoff is when we shear and the fleece falls off the animals in silky, shiny locks. It’s like Christmas! You see, on the animals, it looks sort of scraggly and muddy and blah, but that’s just the outside. Inside the fleece is where the magic is. They may look like light brown marshmallows in the field but when you peel that back they may be shining silver or midnight black or warm dark chocolate on the inside. I just love that.

What most inspires you?
What inspires me most is my sheep. I know that sounds stupid, but I feel like my products have to do them justice. They worked a whole year to grow that fleece, and it’s my responsibility to make it SPECTACULAR. It’s different when you have a relationship with your product.
What makes your creations unique?
What makes my creations unique is their simplicity. All of my yarn is 100% natural wool. “Un-fooled-around-with” as the commercial says. The color you see is the color it grew on my sheep. It never ceases to amaze me how many shades and tones you can get from these guys!

Do you have a favorite item or colorway?
My favorite item is Moonbear Snuggle, a bulky yarn I make from my registered Romney ram Moonbear. He’s such a dear, darling ram and his fleece is just soooo smooshy! (Please don’t tell the others… they are fabulous too!)

What is something you strive to offer the fiber arts community?
I strive to offer the fiber community an alternative to the gorgeous hand-painted and hand-dyed BFL and Merino yarns that most folks use. Believe me, I love those too! But, if you dig natural stuff, I’ve got you covered!
Does being an indie fiber artist affect other aspects of your life?
Yep. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t heard my topic on the critically endangered Leicester Longwool sheep that we raise and the importance of preserving rare breeds for their beauty and versatility. I’m a shepherd. It’s who I am.

What is your fiber arts superpower?
My fiber arts super power is the ability to teach myself to make just about anything as a sample for our booth by watching a video on youtube. That, and predicting what the offspring are going to look like when I’m planning my cross-breeding of my sheep.

How is the fiber arts world different for you today than it was five years ago?
Five years ago I was a non-profit manager and I knew the fiber arts world existed, but I wasn’t involved. Now I’m a compulsive knitter and I’ve discovered spinning competitions, my new ‘sport’!