Special thanks and appreciation go out to our wonderful instructors for 2018 Fiber-U who are joining us from 6 different states in the Midwest. This event would not be possible without them graciously sharing their talents and knowledge with all of us. So that you may get to know them a little better, below please find a short bio on each.

Bonnie Ahrens (Martinsburg, MO)  In 1989 Bonnie discovered the world of fiber art, primarily in the area of felting, and has since taken instruction with some of the leading felt makers from the United States and abroad.  Bonnie has worked with some of the finest instructors in the US and abroad.  She teaches felting classes and does her own fiber pieces for sale and gallery display.

DeAnna Amos (Gravois Mills, MO) DeAnna Amos is a fiber artist and longtime spinner and weaver.  She loves to share her experience and knowledge with students of all ages.  She makes handwoven garments from a variety of fiber and loves to spin and weave.

Diana Armes Wallace (Alton, MO)  Using the properties of Icelandic wool, Mohair & Angora fibers, Diana loves to mix and create all sorts of fibery things.  She enjoys using Old World processing tools: Viking Combs and Hackles are a mainstay in her life of fiber processing.  Collecting and growing natural dye stuffs on the farm, along with some purchased items rounds out her menagerie of playful fibery products.

Nancy Barnett (Cherokee Village, AR) Nancy has been spinning for 33 years and just recently retired from raising sheep and moving to a village environment.  She has been teaching at various fiber festivals throughout the Midwest and loves to share her knowledge of spinning and shepherding to her students.

Ester Boff and Christa Keltner (Billings, MO) Ester and Christa have been dyeing yarn and fiber for about 8 years using various acid dye techniques.  Both have a passion for color and sharing that passion with others.  They work with vendor Show Me Yarn that has been dyeing as a business for over 3 years.

Zelma Cleaveland (Chillicothe, MO) Zelma has raised llamas since 1987 and started spinning casually in 1990.  She graduated in 2017 from the Olds College Master Spinners Program, Olds, Alberta, Canada.  This was an intense 6 year program on history, fibers, techniques, dyeing, and spinning.  Although this course is behind her, she continues to take classes on various spinning techniques and weaving.  Through her experience, she hopes to answer many of the questions that spinners have, and to relate ways of fiber preparation, handling, and spinning all types of fibers to make spinning enjoyable.

Jack Cormack (Springfield, MO)  Jack has been making needle felting tools and teaching needle felting techniques for twenty years.

Judy Crouch (Aurora, MO) Judy is a mother, grandmother, great grandmother and retired Paramedic.  She has been spinning for over 35 years and loves it.  She felts and weaves and loves to pass on her knowledge to new fiber addicts.

Elaine Duncan (Purdin, MO) Elaine is a graduate of the Old’s College Master Spinning Program where she chose as her final thesis the study of luster in various types and twist of silk.  She persued spinning after retiring as a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher.  She learned to knit, sew and tailor in 4-H and credits her wonderful leaders for teaching her many skills that she has built upon throughout the years.  She recently has focused on weaving dyeing and advanced spinning techniques..

Rosie Dupuy (Bethel, MO) Rosie raised sheep for over 30 years and began spinning and weaving in the 70’s.  She is mostly self-taught.  She has helped form the Bishop HIll Fiber Guild, shared learning and doing workshops and taught weaving at Carl Sandberg Jr. College in IL.

Jan Eitel (Topeka, KS) Jan has been weaving baskets for 8 years and teaching for two.  She crochets and spins and loves working with fleece.  She has 3 grwon children, 2 dogs, a French Angora bunny, and a husband at home..

Robin Goatey (Sandoval, IL) Robin is an award-winning full time festival craftsman working fiber festivals in the Midwest.  He has recently served as instructor at the John C. Campbell Folk School.  Inspired by Tolkien’s Legendarium, he started carving Ents, Wizards and Castles after reading The Hobbit four decades ago.  His specialties include woodcarving, woodturning, hand-built ceramics, hot and cold glass, enameling, broom making, tool making, spinning and Navajo-style weaving.Teaching the traditional craft is his passion.  He also conducts a lively on-line trade in Heirloom-Quality Hand-made Fiber Tools.

Teresa Goatey (Sandoval, IL) Teresa and her husband Robin both retired from corporate-type jobs and started a small farm in south-central Illinois.  She has enjoyed fiber arts for most of her life, sewing since her teens, rug hooking since 1980 and spinning and weaving since 1994.  Since retirement, her focus has been on expanding and improving her fiber skills and learning to care for their flock of Finish Landrace and Shetland sheep.

Elyse Hargis (Springfield, MO) Elyse was taught at the tender age of 6 to crochet by her grandmother and then the wonderful world of wool and spinning.  Later Elyse had the time to explore the fiber arts she love.  Over the years she has had several different breeds of sheep and learned that each breed has it’s own distinctive gift to offer.  She also has different breeds of Angora rabbits that she hopes to show.  She carries fiber from her own animals in her vendor booth as well as fiber related tools.  Elyse has learned that there is always something new that can be learned which is something that makes the fiber arts so enjoyable and exciting.

Jama Kilgore (Eldridge, MO) Jama was given 2 sheep 15 years ago and since then has fallen in love with the entire world of fiber arts.  Her passion is raising long wool breeds of sheep and is shepherdess to an eclectic flock on a small farm in SW Missouri. Dabbling in many fiber arts she has found loom knitting and the triangle loom to be her favorites.

Audrey Kruse (Macks Creek, MO) Although Audrey learned to crochet as a youngster, her passion for knitting and the fiber arts rekindled around 2008 when she became an empty nester.  With the kids all grown, she and friends dove into developing their knitting skills.  For Audrey, that wasn’t quite enough.  In 2011, she and her husband purchased their first alpacas, and her passion for fiber and fiber arts has been growing ever since.  In 2016 Audrey opened a yarn shop in Camdenton, MO called Fleeces To Pieces.  The shop features alpaca and other fine yarns, alpaca finished products, fiber arts classes, Sit & Knit, and “Make & Take Parties”.

Michele Lator-Murray (Springfield, MO) Michele is a retired art teacher, weaver, and spinner.  She demo’s all aspects of fiber arts at a local craft market.  She also makes and sells fiber tools.

Gina Levesque (Wagoner, OK) Gina has been working with traditional fiber arts since a young girl.  Gina works with natural dye stuffs, weaving, rug hooking, spinning, and traditional penny rug construction.  She has been dyeing with natural materials and researching their history for over twenty years.  Gina has taken (and taught) many natural dye workshops throughout the country.  Her fiber art business, Across Generations, provides supplies and beginning projects to those interested in inkle weaving, rug hooking, penny rugs, and natural dyeing.

Kay McCoy (Sabetha, KS) Kay McCoy is a self-professed “fiber fanatic” and enjoys finding new ways to feed her fiber enthusiasm.  In real life, she is a USDA employee with 34 years of experience as a Farm Loan Manager, but Fiber Arts has been her passion ever since she learned to spin 25 years ago.  Kay is a sister of Sally Brandon, owner of the Shepherd’s Mill in Phillipsburg, KS.  Kay’s fantasy job is to be the “reasarc and Development Specialist” at the Shepherd’s Mill because she loves experimenting with and learning new techniques in Fiber Arts.

Lorry McDonald (Odessa, MO) Lorry is an avid spinner who is enrolled in the Master Spinner program at Olds College in Alberta, Canada. She is a member of several fiber Guilds and just plain loves fiber! Creating works of art with fiber is a passion of hers and includes both wet and needle felting along with spinning. She lives on a small farm with her Icelandic Sheep, Alpacas and Angora goat wethers.

Donna McFarland (Union, MO) Donna is the Master Weaver Craftsman at Silver Dollar City, President of Franklin County Fiber Guild, Past VP of Weavers Guild of St. Louis and co-owner of Dewberry Ridge- A Fiber Art Company, loom designer, handwoven apparel designer and more.

Darlene Megli (Lamar, MO) Darlene lives in SW MO on a farm raising Romney and BFL sheep along with a couple of Alpaca fiber boys. She is a retired RN after working in the medical field for 50 years! She has a small fiber business, A Twist In Time, with her best friend Judy Crouch and they travel to a few shows each year and teach classes both at shows and at home. She mostly spins and weaves, but also knits and crochets. She has a circular sock machine she is currently learning how to use-she’s named it Harold! She loves to share her knowledge of the fiber arts with others and hope they enjoy it as much as she does.

Nancy Meyers (Garfield, AR) Nancy lives in northwest Arkansas and along with her husband, raises sheep and alpaca.  She has been knitting, spinning, weaving and dyeing fiber for a number of years..

Liz Mitchko (Lebanon, MO) Liz became interested in fiber and fiber arts when faced with an overflowing closet full of alpaca fleeces from their herd of Huacaya Alpacas at Whirlwind Ranch that she owns with her mom Linda. She soon took a dyeing class and was hooked- enjoying the endless colors options- that more than stimulated her creative side. She enjoys sharing that by teaching dyeing and weaving classes at their farm and at other fiber events. Her absolute favorite is incorporating her hand-dyed creations into award winning weavings and selling them to customers who truly appreciate them. Liz’s “other life” included a Marketing degree, consulting on international trade shows and driving race cars.

Bex Oliger (Columbia, MO)  Bex was raised in her mother’s (Carol Leigh Brack-Kaiser) fiber arts studio and was spinning, weaving and natural dyeing in her early teens.  She developed the knitting side of the business to the point that it needed its own space, so Bex as run several incarnations of yarn shops in Columbia, MO for the last 15 years.  She has taught over 30 different class topics in weaving, dyeing, crochet and knitting and now works as a knitwear designer and instructor.  Bex is the founder and owner of Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe.

Patricia Ruether (Paola, KS) Patti is an Olds College Master Spinner who enjoys weaving, spinning, knitting, and all things fiber!  She lives in Hillsdale, Kansas with her husband, Greg.

Tammy Taylor (Odessa, MO) Tammy has always lived in a creative atmosphere where hand crafting and creating is a way of life. She has worked in many fiber/fabric mediums, but her love of strings and colorful threads brought her to a special love of Kumihimo. Always learning new techniques, she is especially happy when she is able to share her knowledge and encourage other people to learn this beautiful art of Japanese braiding.

Vicki Thomason (Staunton, IL) Vicki has been knitting since age 7 and has always loved yarn.  She began spinning in spring 2013 and has been dyeing her own yarns and fiber since Jan 2014.  She opened Victoria House Fibers in Apr 2016.

Jarita Thomson (Plato, MO) Jarita is a fiber/pottery artist and an angora goat shepherdess.  She first learned to crochet when she was only 4 years old and was taught by her grandma.  Throughout her life, she has ventured into many artistic venues including pottery and spinning, but has always retained her love and passion for crocheting.

Brenda Virkler (Jefferson City, MO) Brenda is a self-taught needle felter of free-standing gnomes.  She has been in the art and fiber world for 40 years..

Jennifer Watkins (Effingham, IL) Jennifer “Daizie” Watkins is a self-taught knitter, spinner and indie dyer.  A love of hand knit socks brought her into the fiber arts world 12 years ago.  Currently, Daizie is working her way through the Master Knitter Program.  Spinning fiber and dyeing them seemed the logical step in the fiber arts.  In Sept of 2011 Daizie Knits opened as an etsy shop offering a range of hand dyed yarns and fibers.

Susan Wilson (Salem, MO)  Susan Ream Wilson is a professional fingerweaver who has been practicing her craft for over 25 years.  Her work is in the collections of six museums.  To her knowledge, Susan is the only contemporary person to fingerweave shawls.