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The TNNA Summer Trade Show is the perfect place for needlearts professionals to learn about the newest products and techniques in the industry! Our classes are designed to develop and enhance your technical and business education, leaving you with new skills to take back to your business.

Check back often for updates to teacher bios and headshots!

Grace Akhrem

Grace Akhrem started out her interest in the arts with drawing and painting, then moved to photography and ceramics. Knitting was a natural progression for Grace that didn't require clean-up! Grace's designs are inspired by color, texture and fashion.  She loves working with vibrant and saturated colors that make her smile.  Her love of color is where she draws most of her inspiration. Grace has designed for many publications including Noro, Interweave Press, Sixth & Spring books, and many more. Grace is always trying to design patterns and classes around construction and technique.


Classes Grace Akhrem is teaching:

  • Converting Basic Garments to Include Short-Row Shaping | Saturday, June 10 | 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 
  • Cast Ons and Bind Offs | Sunday, June 11 | 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Kate Atherley

Kate is’s Managing Technical Editor, and a seasoned designer and teacher of all things knitterly. Her book 'Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet' was released summer 2015 by Interweave Press, to great acclaim, and her latest book, ‘Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns’ is prov-ing very popular among both new and experienced designers. She’s known for her attention to de-tail in her patterns and her classes, and she regularly teaches at stores and events across North Amer-ica, including Interweave YarnFest and Vogue Knitting Live. Her work has appeared in many books and magazines.

Classes Kate Atherley is teaching:

  • Pattern Writing | Thursday, June 8 | 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Oz Barron

Oz Barron has more experience than he cares to remember in sales, marketing, retail, and music. He has run his own businesses in the music, high tech, and now Needle arts field. With his wife Kris Gregson, they run The Ball & Skein & More, a full service knit, crochet, spinning, and weaving store located on the Central Coast of California in the sleepy little village of Cambria.

Classes Oz Barron is teaching:

  • Merchandising Techniques | Thursday, June 8 | 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Gwen Bortner

Gwen Bortner has been teaching since 1986 and is a recognized name at many national venues since 2003. Beginning early in childhood, Gwen has dabbled in all of the various needle arts with knitting finally taking center stage during her college years. Gwen has nearly 30 years of experience as a business consultant, trainer and executive working in a variety of business arenas including filling the role of Interim Executive Director for TNNA. Her "super power" is the ability to share new and valuable information in accessible, easy-to-process, bite-size pieces. Gwen can be found virtually on her blog at

Classes Gwen Bortner is teaching:

  • Make the Most of Your Online Presence (Even Without a Shopping Cart) | Friday, June 9 | 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Newsletter Necessities: Maximizing Your #1 Marketing Tool | Saturday, June, 10 | 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
  • 3 Surprising Factors That Are Seriously Damaging Your Business | Sunday, June, 11 | 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Liz Gipson

Liz Gipson has a passion for small looms that knows no bounds. With over 15 years experience in the yarn industry, Liz worked in the publishing and manufacturing sectors, gaining a deep understanding of the supply chain and its disrupters, as well as content creation that supports sales. In 2013, she launched a source for weaving know-how and inspiration. Her new book, "Handwoven Home", was released this year.

Classes Liz Gipson is teaching:

  • Small Looms, Big Payout | Sunday, June 11 | 8:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.

 Zontee Hou

Zontee Hou is the founder of Brooklyn-based consultancy Media Volery and a part of the respected Convince & Convert Consulting team. Her 10 years of experience in the marketing industry, including as marketing manager for Lion Brand Yarn, has garnered multiple awards including a Forrester Groundswell Award. Whether consulting for clients including Telogis, Indiana University, and the UN FAO or teaching at the City College of New York, Zontee seeks to connect marketing methodology and business goals.

Classes Zontee Hou is teaching:

  • Become a Video Whiz: Create Videos to Build Your Business | Sunday, June 11 | 8:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.
  • Create Content by the Numbers | Sunday, June 11 | 1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.

Barry Klein

Classes Barry Klein is teaching:

  • Moving Miters | Sunday, June 11 | 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Bobbi Kreb

Classes Bobbi Kreb is teaching:

  • The Best Kept Secrets of the Most Successful Shops - and How to Take Them Home | Friday, June 9 | 1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.

Melissa Leapman

One of the most prolific designers and teachers at work in the US, Melissa Leapman is the bestselling author of several knitting and crocheting books. Her next book, 6000+ Pullover Possibilities is due out in February of 2017.

Classes Melissa Leapman is teaching:

  • Ahead of the Curve: Designing Crescent Shawls | Thursday, June 8 | 12:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.
  • Plug 'n Play the Perfect Custom Pullover | Friday, June 9 | 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Mosaic Knitting: Color Knitting the Easy Way | Friday, June 9 | 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Patty Lyons

Patty is a nationally recognized knitting teacher and technique expert who is known for teaching the 'why' not just the 'how' in her pursuit of training the 'mindful knitter.' Patty teaches nationally at guilds and knitting shows around the country, and her popular classes can also be found online and on DVD at Interweave, Annie's and Craftsy.

Classes Patty Lyons is teaching:

  • Pricing Strategies & Goals in Retail | Thursday, June 8 | 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Twice the Fun, Half the Time | Thursday, June 8 | 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Tools for Successful Inventory Management | Friday, June 9 | 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Building Your Buying Plan – Open to Buy and More | Friday, June 9 | 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Managing Cash Flow | Saturday, June 10 | 7:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Nancy Shroyer

Nancy Shroyer is a knitter, spinner, weaver, dyer, designer and teacher from Cary, NC.  As the founder of Nancy’s Knit Knacks LLC, Nancy, along with a select team, designs and develops a line of tools and equipment for yarn shops, fiber artists and producers. Nancy personally invented 15+ tools for knitters and spinners.  Nancy is an author and designer.  She has 2 published books and over 30 published patterns.   Nancy has been teaching fiber arts classes for 40 years.  She has 23 different workshops in knitting, spinning, dyeing and weaving.   Her students love her kind easy going manner.

Classes Nancy Shroyer is teaching:

  • How To Select Color Palettes for Knitting and Other Fiber Arts | Thursday, June 8 | 12:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Fair Isle Knitting 101 | Friday, June 9  | 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • How To Select Color Palettes for Knitting and Other Fiber Arts | Friday, June 9  | 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Tara Swiger

Tara Swiger is the author of Market Yourself, a workbook for makers who need a marketing plan. She began her entrepreneurial journey as a yarn-maker and transitioned into teaching and writing about marketing for handmade businesses. Her superpower is translating complex business principles into the language of artists and makers while creating doable Action Plans. She's taught traditional artists in rural North Carolina, yarn shop owners at TNNA, and to designers and makers around the world at conferences, conventions and workshops.

Classes Tara Swiger is teaching:

  • YouTube for Shops | Saturday, June 10 | 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
  • Fill your classes | Sunday, June 11 | 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Stacey Trock

Stacey Trock is the entrepreneur and social media maven behind FreshStitches, the uber-popular and innovative craft design and supply company. Her experience running one of the largest subscription clubs in the fiber world, teaching internationally, and developing her own overseas-manufactured products provides her with unique insight into how to merchandize and market in the yarn industry. Stacey has a sharp understanding of the motivations that underlie consumer purchases, and she specializes in connecting small businesses with easy-to-implement and trendsetting marketing ideas.

Classes Stacey Trock is teaching:

  • Creating Exclusive Products for Your Shop | Sunday, June 11 | 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
  • Strategies for Handling Difficult Customers and Your Online Presence | Sunday, June 11 | 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m

Jill Wolcott

Classes Jill Wolcott is teaching:

  • Basic Garment Grading for Designers | Saturday, June 10 | 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
  • Using Color Trends to Entice and Entrance | Sunday, June 11 | 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m

Gale Zucker

Classes Gale Zucker is teaching:

  • Social Media on the Fly | Thursday, June 8 | 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Smarten Up Your Facebook Page | Thursday, June 8 | 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m
  • Hands-on Workshop for Mobile Photography and Writing | Friday, June 9  | 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m
  • iPhone/Smartphone-ography for Your Business | Saturday, June 10 | 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m

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