Teacher Feature: Meet Lisa Ellis!

by Sharon Crowley

Lisa Ellis is a prolific knitwear designer, and we are so excited that she's back to teach at Knit Fit this year! Lisa has had two books published by Leisure Arts, as sole designer/author: Wardrobe Favorites, and Fun Time Sweaters. She has also published designs in several other books and magazines, and she sells individual patterns in her Ravelry store.

Browsing through her designs on Ravelry gives an immediate sense of her excitement and versatility. She has designed for all ages, everything from sweaters, socks, and other accessories to decorative items for the home. Throughout, her work shows a flair for the visual, with pops of color and texture that keep things both useful and interesting.

Lisa learned to knit through the Camp Fire Girls - her mom was the leader. But her interest really took off in college, while she was studying overseas. First, her Spanish host mother made her a cashmere cardigan using neither a pattern nor measuring tape. Lisa says, “She would just put the pieces up against me and physically gauge when to start the armhole decreases and so on.  It turned out gorgeous!”

Later, while studying in France, Lisa saw a young Norwegian woman making sweaters in one of her classes. Not only did this young woman knit without a pattern, she also did color work without looking. Says Lisa, “I was mesmerized and intrigued!  This opened up my world of knitting without a pattern.  To knit without relying on a pattern is truly invigorating and liberating.”

These days, Lisa has shifted her focus away from her design business. She is enjoying the freedom to knit without deadline pressures, along with the opportunity to spend more time exploring the craft. She gravitates toward unusual fibers (bison, mink, yak, and possum, for example), and loves that she has more time to knit herself and her family. Her knitting passion now, she says, is "bar none, teaching."

Lisa’s sense of adventure is a prominent strand that runs through all of her classes. Read through the descriptions, below. You’ll notice a few key themes: techniques for adding color, new tools to try, and different ways to achieve more professional results. Lisa emphasizes patience in her teaching, creating space for people to learn at their own pace. At the same time, she encourages students to try new things and to keep their knitting fresh. “Like I say in my classes, if you become complacent with your knitting, you will move on to another craft form.  My goal is to teach new techniques, finesse the practice and bring new excitement to knitting.”

Check out Lisa’s classes, below – and register here!

Connect with Lisa online: Website, Ravelry

Knitting Techniques

This year, we have a great set of classes to help you expand your bag of tricks! Maybe you'd like to have more options: cast-ons, bind-offs, ways to create crisper cables. Maybe you have a few knits that you've loved a little too much, and want to learn how to mend them so they look even better than before.  Learn how to "pick" your knits if you're a "thrower" - which opens the door to stranded color work. Learn to knit Portuguese style - which is simply ingenious and cool - but also might help if you're experiencing hand strain.

Here's a handy array of classes that cover these topics and more - or you can check out the Classes page to see everything!