Special thanks and appreciation go out to our wonderful instructors for 2017 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.

DeAnna Amos (Gravois Mills, MO)  DeAnna Amos is a fiber artist and long time 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.

Linda Arment  (Wyandotte, OK)  Linda has always wanted to paint, but didn’t like the drying time.  Painting with fiber gives her the best of both.  Fiber artistry has been a part of Linda’s life for over 60 years.  Most importantly, she enjoys sharing and helping others learn the arts.

Nancy Barnett (Alton, MO) Nancy lives in the Missouri Ozarks and has been spinning and raising sheep for 27 years and Angora Rabbits for 25 years. She likes to share her “homespun” knowledge with beginners and encouraging them to try new things.  Her classes are easy and simple, perfect for the beginner.

Connie Blechle (Perryville, MO) Connie is the owner and operator of Breezy Ridge Alpacas LLC.  She creates and designs accessories and fashions.  Connie has been talented since her teenage years, and has translated that through working with her fibers, as if the fiber speaks to her.

Sally Brandon (Phillipsburg, KS)  Sally’s roots were planted in fiber arts through 4-H.  Her earliest explorations were in knitting, crochet & wheat weaving, but a 4-H IFYE trip  to Finland revealed her passions of weaving and bobbin lace.

Zelma Cleaveland (Chillicothe,MO)  In June 2015 Zelma completed the Master Spinner Program through Olds College 6 Year Program with only the in-depth study remaining.  She has learned so much from taking the classes, teaching different techniques, and sharing with friends, too and is delighted to continue learning, no matter how many classes she takes.

Brenda Courtney (Mercer, MO)  Brenda’s farm, “BE-Ewe-tiful Acres” is located in northern Missouri where she raises Icelandic sheep.  She has spent over 5 years learning to work with the wool and found that is fabulous for felting.  She has lived in several countries and US states, done many different hand crafts, and has taught many other types of skills around the world including felting to her grandchildren.  She feels she will be able to offer a very good introductory level of knowledge about the craft, as well as an excitement for the magic that stabbing a blob ob lifeless wool into something delightful can bring (not to mention what a great stress reliever it is!).

Judy Crouch (Auroa, MO) Judy is a retired Paramedic with a desire to continue helping people. This time helping them to learn new fiber arts such as spinning, weaving, felting and dying. She has been working with fiber arts for over 20 years and has learned from some of the most amazing teachers.

Christian Davies (Maxwell, IA)  Christian, along with his wife Michelle, have been involved in the alpaca industry for the last 10 years with both Huacaya and Suri Alpacas.  In 2012 they opened C&M Acres Fiber Mill & Alpacas and learned first hand the importance of skirting fleeces, no matter what type of fiber, as it shows directly in the quality of the finished processing.  Christian has been teaching a wide range of fiber arts since 2007 including fiber skirting.

Jonee Davis (Wheaton, MO) Jonee has been active in the fiber arts since 1991.  She first learned to weave then took up spinning.  She is also an avid crocheter while dabbling in all the other aspects relating to fibers.  She feels that we are never too young or too old to learn new things about the world of fiber arts and loves to share whatever knowledge she has with others.  Jonee has raised animals all her life and comes from a family of ranchers.  She now has a small hobby farm where she and her husband are the caretakers of a multitude of livestock that come with a farm.

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.

Steven Fegert (Clinton, IL)  Steve is one half of Leading Men Fiber Arts.  He has been knitting for over a decade and always has a boomerang on the needles.

Robin Goatey (Columbia, IL)  Woodcarver, Wood turner and Student of Folklore, Robin owns and is a core Maker providing hand made fiber tools and teaching and preserving traditional craft folkways since 1987.    Spinning at festivals is a major aspect of his business and he also has a blog TheImaginariumForge that chronicles the creative processes behind the scenes.

Teresa Goatey (Columbia, IL)  Teresa is a weaver, spinner and rug hooker.  The Fiber Arts have been a passion for her for 30 years.  Her concentration has always been on original designs in rug hooking and skills building in Spinning and Weaving.  A desire to understand processes from beginning to end is the Genesis for Oak Knoll Farm and their flock of Shetland and Finnish Landrace Sheep provide the wool for many of their projects and products.  Their Marrema dog keeps an eye on all of it.

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.

Gina Levesque (Wagoner, OK)  Gina has been working with natural dyes and surface design techniques for several years.  As an instructor, she has taught this and many other dye classes throughout the US.

Kay McCoy (Sabetha, KS) Kay loves fiber- and loves finding new ways to feed her fiber enthusiasm.  In real life she is an FSA Loan Officer, but fiber arts has been her passion ever since she learned to spin 24 years ago.  Kay, her sister Sally Brandon, and their Mom own the Shepherd’s Mill Retail Store in Phillipsburg, KS which is located with the Sherpherd’s Mill.  Kay’s fantasy job is to be the “research and Development Specialist” at the Shepherd’s Mill because she loves experimenting and learning new techniques for the 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 has been enjoying crafts her whole life and fiber arts the last 10 years.  She raises alpaca and Shetland sheep in NW AR.  She spins, knits, crochets and weaves.

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 has Alpaca Patti’s Fiber Farm, a small farm with alpaca, sheep, goats, chickens and horses.  She has been weaving for over six years, and also enjoys spinning and working with fiber “from sheep to shawl.”  Patti is an Olds College Level IV Master Spinner, working on completing Level V.  She lives with her husband, Greg, and two dogs in Kansas.

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.

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.