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2018 Retreat Instructor and Designer Bios

Brenda Schack

Brenda Schack and her husband live in a small rural community in costal Connecticut. She is a knitwear designer, jewelry designer, data analyst, cat wrangler, and a mom to the world’s most incredible daughter. Brenda learned the crafts she uses in her designs from the incredibly talented women in her life. She started crocheting and tatting at the age of 4, taught to her by Grandma Nettie. Although she crocheted most of her life, it wasn’t until her 30’s that she learned to knit from her best friend Kathy.


More recently her skills have earned her the reputation as a Forensic Knitter at Driftwood's Yarn Shop in Groton, CT. She has shown and taught multiple techniques to knitters of all abilities, skill levels, and ages on demand. She truly enjoys helping others to become confident knitters that are happy with their projects and newly acquired skills. 

Betsy Alspach

I have been obsessively spinning for 22 years and enjoy every step of the process from seeing sheep, washing a fleece, dyeing, carding/combing, spinning, knitting. I learned first on the spinning wheel but also appreciate the drop spindle, an ancient tool which was used long before there were spinning wheels.


Through my small business, Eagle Lake Fibers, I teach all aspects of the spinning process in a variety of settings. I sell yarns and spinning fibers at shops in MA and also in the Etsy shop

Pam Sluter

Pam Sluter is a knitting designer and teacher living in Rhode Island. She loves exploring different techniques, new yarns, and the problem-solving aspects involved in designing. She has a B.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a certificate in textiles. She has taught knitting at a variety of venues including the Fuller Museum, Barrington Community School, Slater Mill Knitting Weekend and local knitting stores.


When not playing with yarn, Pam likes hanging out with her family, dogs and chickens, as well as sewing and hiking. Pam welcomes you to view her designs at

Toby Roxane Barna

Toby Roxane Barna started her career as a full-time independent knitwear designer in 2012, and since then she has released over 70 patterns and self-published three books. From the start, she always specialized in designing with hand-dyed yarns, and so learning to dye her own yarn was a natural next step.


Toby fell in love with dyeing right away and now she especially enjoys being able to design patterns specifically for her yarn and vice versa. She finds inspiration everywhere, from classical architecture to the colors of the sky.

Barbara Kish

I knit. I spin. I weave, embroider, and sew. I was lucky to grow up in a family that not only enjoys handwork, but has a deep respect for the time and effort that goes into it. I was taught that the end product is only as good as what you put into it-from your own effort to the materials you choose.

Natural dyes rarely produce exactly the same result twice, even when using a recipe for extracts. I'm also attracted to the connection to the past natural dyes provide. Contemporary dyeing wasn't around until the late 1800s, but colored cloth? Just a little longer. For example, weld, or dyer's broom has been found on cloth from ancient Egypt.

And because I'm a pragmatic iconoclast, I'll offer one more thought: your time is precious. Don't waste it on ugly yarn.

Cheryl Merritt

Cheryl Merritt aka Dyenamic Dyestress is the co-owner of June Pryce Fiber Arts, and is the creative force behind the color creations, has been dyeing yarns and fibers for 8 years.  A top-notch chef, Cheryl was lured into the fiber community by her sister and partner, Jenn. First, dyeing quilting fabrics for family and friends.  Now her days are filled with a whirl of hand dyed yarns, traveling and shows.   While her home studio may be local to North Kingstown, RI Cheryl’s yarns have been selling worldwide. 


I’m a design crazed woman who likes pink a little too much and wallpapering things. Currently taking time off from my job as an ER doctor since they wouldn’t let me use my knitted stethoscope. I’ve been slowly building up my business and I take great pleasure in seeing what people do with my designs. I’m fascinated by civil aviation and spend too much time knitting and listening to air traffic control, especially Kennedy Steve. I’m waiting for the minute when I the TSA lets down its guard and I can yarn decorate (I’d better not say the “b” word) an A340.

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