I have worked with fiber and art since I could remember. A few notable fiber events from my youth were having fiber pieces shown in the High Museum of Atlanta’s gift shop when I was 14, and being chosen to attend the prestigious Governor’s Honors summer program in fiber art when I was 16. By adulthood, I was a weaver, spinner, and dabbler in dyeing and other modalities, but only learned how to knit in my mid-forties. Almost immediately I began to design my own lace patterns. Now I am a knitwear designer known mainly for my work with beads and lace. I also design accessories and garments, as well as specializing in Moebius knitting. I love teaching because of the cross-pollination of ideas and enthusiasm that happens in a class setting. I am a warm and open instructor and often feel that I get the better part of the bargain since I learn so much from my students. My design work has been widely published under my own name, in many books and other collections including Jared Flood’s Wool People series, and in online magazines such as Twist Collective and Knitty.
I regard knit design as being sculptural because of its unique capacity to enclose the body in an imagined form. I usually begin to design with a particular shape in mind, which may be unusual or asymmetrical, or may drape over the body in a wonderfully unaccustomed way. Surface embellishment such as beads and lace adds diminension, interest and beauty to that form.
As a teacher, I appeal to the creative spirit, and few students remain untouched by my verve and passion for the craft of knitting. In my classes, technique – though important – is a means to an end: the delight of following the joyful knitting muse wherever it may lead.
Both my technique and my project classes and workshops serve as a jumping off place for discussions on all sorts of related knitterly things. Students will often find themselves inspired to experiment outside the realm of the original technique or project, sometimes coming up with highly original ideas of their own as a result.
One of my specialties is, of course, knitting with beads. I particularly love the magical effects that are conjured up when beads are used in conjunction with lace, cables, and other textural elements. My classes almost always contain some type of exploration of this exquisite partnership.
I consider myself to be a knitting mentor and I love what happens when knitters and budding designers are freed from the self-critical inner voice that can inhibit joyful creative work. I offer a safe place for play and discovery in my classes; all learning styles are welcome and all questions are heard. My classes are ideal settings for the transmission of inspiration and joy of craft.
Below are a few of the classes that I offer.
Akiko is a Japanese word meaning “Autumn,” and these beautiful mitts mark the happy onset of autumn for me. Crisp days and chilly nights call out for mitts! I hope you enjoy making, wearing, and gifting these well into the cold weather season.
The Akiko Mitts, worked entirely in the round in three sizes, feature complex twisted stitch configurations along with bewitching beaded lace. Learn my method for working twists without a cable needle and sail through this perfect pair of fall mitts easily and quickly! This is a three-hour class.
Aquitaine Beaded Cuffs
This class is a virtual cornucopia of beaded knitting techniques. Aquitaine is an elegant mitt with a heavily beaded hand covering (but no thumb), and a slim, ribbed cuff that can be wrist or elbow length. Up to three different seed beads may be used to embellish the stitches in the pattern. Students will come away with much bead know-how and the skills to make this darling pair of mitts. This is a three-hour class.
Does bling make your heart sing? Learn how to put beautiful beads in an assortment of stitch patterns, and in the process learn an amazing amount about knitting with beads in this hands-on tutorial. While working a small bracelet sampler, we explore four different beading situations while sampling learning firsthand about color effects with beads. You emerge with inspiration and tons of ideas. This is a three-hour class.
Diamond Fantasy Shawl with Beads
Hone your lace knitting skills while immersing yourself in the fascinating rhythm of this tip-to-top diamond lace triangle shawl, which features a garter stitch lace edging worked at the same time as the stockinette lace body pattern. We learn the basics of chart reading and we examine intuitive ways to increase accuracy and speed in your lace knitting. Short-rowed points and attached I-cord edging complete the shawl, and blocking is thoroughly discussed. The crochet hook add-as-you-go bead method is introduced as an ideal embellishment for lace, and we discuss choosing the perfect bead for your project and other fine points of this versatile technique.This is a great project for beginning and experienced lace knitters alike. This is a three-hour class.
Fill a Triangle with Lace
In this class we examine the structure of the top-down triangle shawl and insert our choice of lace patterns to create an original design, with an eye to shaping, esthetics, and flow. Charting patterns, shaping lace in pattern, modulation from one pattern to another, and using borders and edgings are discussed. Students receive the benefit of Sivia’s years of experience in designing innovative lace shawls and exceptional beaded lace. This workshop is the perfect blend of lace design skills, inspiration and discovery. You will learn all the skills you need to design your own top-down triangle shawl, and acquire many tools that carry over into other areas of knitwear design. This is a six-hour class.
Fitted Cowl Design
Cowls are certainly a simple idea; a covering for the neck. They can be as simple in execution as a circular knitted tube. However, the same neck covering can be a lovely blank canvas on which to project ideas as complex as anything the knitter’s imagination can conjure up. Aside from adding stitch patterns found in dictionaries, fitted cowls that are shaped to conform to the body are especially versatile because they can be worn inside or outside of outer garments, or instead of outer garments. You will receive a cowl template based on the shape of round yoke sweaters that works for any size, and we develop ideas for decorating this shape. This is a three-hour class.
Fluency Fingerless Gloves
Secret beads hide in the shadows, emerging only when you put on these exquisite fingerless gloves. Several interesting techniques are covered in this class: the swirled beaded rib pattern which looks cabled but is performed with simple increases and decreases; a special twisted stitch pattern (performed without a cable needle) that adorns the thumb; and of course, the bead technique. I provide a treasure trove of glove knitting tips and tricks. This is a three-hour class.
Galatea is a beautiful and versatile I-cord neckpiece that borrows techniques from both beading and knitting. We learn about beads and their properties and the many attractive qualities of knitted I-cord. There are tons of possible modifications so each piece is guaranteed to be completely unique. This neckpiece is a highly regarded gift item! This is a three-hour class.
Harmonia’s Rings: Moebius and More!
The Harmonia’s Rings family (cowl, tunic and sweater) use Cat Bordhi’s Moebius cast on to achieve the mysterious spiral neck shape. They feature a stitch pattern that creates concentric rings reminiscent of ancient architecture. The cowl sits cape-like over the shoulders, and flatters a wide range of body types. This class introduces many techniques: the Moebius cast on, shaping and texture within the Moebius structure, and the charming beaded picot bind off, among others. We discuss customizing the cowl shape to fit any body type. This class is guaranteed to take you Through the Looking Glass and back! This is a three-hour class.
Heart to Heart Beaded Scarf
The Heart to Heart Beaded Scarf is a charmingly sweet bit of lace. This crescent shaped scarf, fetchingly strung with beaded hearts, combines garter stitch with a beaded lace border. Learn the easy sideways construction that accommodates any amount of yarn and features a clever slip-stitch tubular edging. In this class, students will learn some unusual lace stitches, tips for chart reading, strategies for keeping your place and reading your knitting, and how to place beads with the versatile add-as-you-go crochet hook method. This is a three-hour class.
Jo’s Pride Hooded Shawl
Beaded lace and garter stitch combine beautifully in this hooded shawl in two sizes which is cast on at bottom edge and worked up to the top of the hood, where a single seam joins it all together. Shaping produces an excellent shoulder fit, and the garter stitch overlap at the neck provides a lovely resting space for a shawl pin. Beads are added with the crochet hook add-as-you-go method.
This shawl first appeared in the Victorian Writers’ Club as a tribute to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, one of my favorite books while I was growing up. I always related best to Jo, the feisty young writer-to-be. Despite the rigid societal morés of the time, she had to live life on her own terms. I tried to bring out the complicated, exquisite hidden depths of Jo in this shawl design, which is practical as well as fanciful, and I have designed a garment that might have been worn by Jo as an evening coverup in those Civil War days. The beads add depth, mystery and intrigue.
In this class, we will work a swatch that is like a mini-version of the shawl, demonstrating the stitch patterns, shaping, and construction of the garment. After taking this class, you will have all the skills necessary to make the garment. This is a three-hour class.
This asymmetrical necklet is not as simple it seems. An addictively easy lace pattern provides the basis for bias shaping, and a scalloped border adds charm. You are done in a flash… knot up a corner and you’re on your way, or incorporate a beautiful button for a different look. The crochet hook add-as-you-go bead method is an ideal embellishment for knitted lace. We discuss choosing the perfect bead for your project along with other fine points of this versatile technique. This scarflet is a fantastic first beaded lace project. This is a three-hour class.
Moebius and the Mysterious Stitch Mirror
Moebius knitting is endlessly fascinating! I have been entranced by the possibilities of this knitted form for many years now. In this class, I share the magic of designing for this half-twisted, one-edged shape that truly has no inside or outside. We learn what stitches best interact with the structure, in which, amazingly, patterns appear to be mirror image and reversed on either side of the cast on round. Which stitches will produce symmetry? There are some guidelines, but also ways to bend the rules and produce stitch patterns, not all symmetrical, that are interesting and beautiful. As we work a sampler cowl in worsted weight yarn, I guarantee that students will have many “aha” moments as we see stitch patterns develop in amazing and sometimes unpredictable ways. Many Moebius garments are shown as inspiration. This is a six-hour class.
This necklace gets lots of notice, mostly from knitters who cannot believe it was knitted! A garden of beads is randomly strung onto lace weight yarn to produce a luscious, densely beaded necklace. Students employ bead stringing skills, learn how to easily manage strung beads, and employ the easiest short rows ever to shape this remarkably comfortable and very beautiful neckpiece. Guaranteed to be an addictive knit, and a fabulous, unique gift! This is a three-hour class.
Ophidian Beaded Shawlette
This top-down triangle shawlette is a perfect first lace project. We start off with a discussion of the triangle structure and learn my favorite tab start for top-down triangles. Shaping begins easily in simple garter stitch, which comprises the upper part of the shawl. Soon a lovely textured lace pattern emerges, which is embellished with crochet-hooked beads. We cover the basics of chart reading and discuss intuitive ways to increase accuracy and speed in your lace knitting. The crochet hook add-as-you-go bead method is introduced as a perfect embellishment for lace, and we discuss choosing the perfect bead for your project and other fine points of this versatile technique. This is a three-hour class.
This striped garter stitch scarf features two different kinds of short rows: one for the little color wedges that flare the short edge, and one for the long rows that go up and around the long edge, creating the ram’s horn shape. We learn about these two methods of short rowing (and why you need two!) while we work up a sample swatch utilizing these techniques. We talk about color stripes and all the issues that you will encounter such as weaving in ends and carrying yarns. And then, of course, there is lace and beads. Warning: this scarf is a very addictive knit! This is a three-hour class.
River Rock Scarf
This luxurious scarf uses oodles of beads that create the illusion of natural “rocks” of luminous beads embedded in a flowing “river” of 2x2 rib. The simple ribbed structure with a bit of lace provides a perfect backdrop for an imaginative bead treatment. Students learn how to manage large numbers of prestrung beads with ease, and explore the creative possibilities of this technique. Students may choose to either follow one of four charted designs or throw caution to the winds and make a freeform piece. In either case, this heavily beaded scarf is a unique work of art! This is a three-hour class.
Sideways Lace Design
Side-to-side crescent shaped shawlettes are easy and satisfying to knit, and provide a fun introduction to designing with lace edgings. We explore the world of lace edgings and choose one to showcase in your shawlette. You will decide between a few basic options to put together your own lace shawl design. We discuss lace stitches, charts, and charting. This is a no-fail method of producing a striking and unique lace garment! This is a six-hour class.
Shapes of Lace
This class is a presentation of basic knitted geography. Ever want to knit half-circles, center-out squares, and everything in between? We delve into the fascinating world of knitted shapes, and we don’t stop there. We start there, and end up outside the box in an open-ended destination. We foray into inserting lace patterns into our chosen shapes with an eye to esthetics and flow, and talk about modulation between patterns, graceful endings, borders, and edgings. Many samples of shaped lace garments are shown as inspiration. This is a six-hour class.
Toe Ups for All!
This class is a comprehensive introduction to toe-up sock knitting, suitable for all sock knitters, including beginners. Students start from their own stitch and row gauge and foot measurements to create a perfectly fitting sock. We start with Judy’s Magic Cast On and progress through my clearly explained gusseted heel flap construction. The class is demonstrated on 2 circular needles. Students receive my Toe-Ups for All! pattern template which includes an array of sock sizes for either sport or fingering weight yarn. This class is taught in 3 sessions of 2 hours each, or 6 hours total.
This class presents the opportunity to drape a new shape using cotton jersey fabric from old T-shirts, and then knit that shape. Some basic templates will be given, but the actual draping will be either on a real body or on a dressmaker’s form (if one is available). There will be no sewing involved. We will form the shape, cutting away fabric to subtract, and using fusible tape such as Stitch Witchery to add fabric as needed. Thus, the shape can build organically, and there is no fear of making a mistake. In this experiential, no-holds-barred exercise, unusual joinings and wildly asymmetrical shaping will be encouraged and celebrated. Then we will knit the resulting shape without the need for a pattern, although we may want to carefully record what we do in order to create a pattern eventually. We will knit a gauge swatch and strategize how to maintain the structure of the shape while increasing and decreasing as needed. This is a six-hour class.
Mending: More than Making Do!
We examine past and present methods of mending and darning knits with a cross-cultural emphasis. Mending and Making do is a principle we are all familiar with, usually thought of in association with the frugality of the War years in this country and in Europe. But mending and darning have traditions that are far more ancient and of far more philosophical interest to craftspeople like ourselves. A slide show of beautiful mended textiles from around the world engages us visually and viscerally. I present several utilitarian and attractive mending techniques not commonly used (but they should be!), including my own knitted mend. Finally, we discuss embellishing our repairs with texture, color, and stitches. This is a three-hour class.
This necklace gets lots of notice, mostly from knitters who cannot believe it was knitted! A garden of beads is randomly strung onto lace weight yarn to produce a luscious, densely beaded necklace. Students employ bead stringing skills, learn how to easily manage strung beads, and employ the easiest short rows ever to shape this remarkably comfortable and very beautiful neckpiece. Guaranteed to be an addictive knit and a fabulous, unique gift! This is a three-hour class.
Wild Iris Moebius Cowl
Wild Iris is a Moebius creation which adds the interest of a more complex stitch pattern and a buttoned, asymmetrical edge that incorporates a bit of lace and beads. What’s not to love? This class is taught in 2 sessions of 3 hours each, or as a one-day six hour class.