Faculty Members

Darla J. Fanton Darla J. Fanton, a needlework designer for over 20 years, is well known to plastic canvas needlepoint and crochet lovers alike. Her designs have appeared in magazines such as: Plastic Canvas Today, Plastic Canvas Crafts, Crochet World, Fast & Fun Crochet, and Hooked on Crochet. The author of over 50 plastic canvas booklets, in 1998 at her sister's urging, Darla turned her attention to designing projects for the double-ended crochet hook. Little did her sister realize that request would develop into what has been called "the hottest trend sweeping the crochet community."  By developing new stitches for the technique, Darla has breathed new life into a form of crochet that had been nearly unheard of for the last quarter of a century. At her urging, hook manufacturers have developed new styles of double-ended hooks to further enhance your crochet pleasure. Popular titles in her double hook style include: "Scrubbies", "Reversible Baby Afghans", "Reversible Ripple Afghans" and "Double-Delight Afghans". You can view Darla’s pattern line at darlafanton.com.

Whether teaching at the local level or at national conferences such as The Crochet Guild of America's Chain Link, Darla enjoys sharing her love of the needle arts with other crafters.

Awarded Certified Craft Designer status by the Society of Craft Designers in 1992, Darla continues to be an active member of the Society of Craft Designers as well as the Crochet Guild of America, where she currently serves as the Chair of the Professional Development Committee. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, 2 cats and a yarn stash nearly as large as some of the mountains of the region.

Diane M. Sack Diane M. Sack is well known for her unique knitwear designs. She has been designing and teaching for over 30 years. At the request of her then 10-year-old granddaughter, and a drawing she made, Diane designed a fairy hat for her doll. This led into the development of her own line of baby knits called Under 4. These baby knits have been sold in local baby boutiques and yarn shops. She has developed a special love for Entrelac and has developed many different ways to use it.

Diane loves to teach and share her knowledge and experience with others, emphasizing on technique and good finishing. She has taught for her town's Parks & Recreation department, many guilds, local knit shops, and the Marin Civic Center's Home Arts 101 program.

Diane has completed the three levels of the Master Knitting Program through the Knitting Guild of America. She has won many blue ribbons at fairs, including California State Fair 2002. She now is a judge at the Marin County Fair and the Marin Needlearts and Quilt Show. Diane has been a member of the Marin Knitting Guild since its beginning and has held many positions, including the President's seat.

Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer (Jackie E-S) is a long-time knitting enthusiast, who shares her love of knitting and knowledge through workshops and networking with other fiber artists. With a background in music and mathematics, she enjoys the process of capturing the melody of color and texture, and harmonizing it with the style and function of the intended article. Her professional careers in systems analysis and computers provided the analytical framework evident in her intricate-yet-simple designs.

Jackie is a certified master knitter and knitting instructor. Her interest in the myriad fiber arts extends beyond knitting to include spinning, weaving and dyeing.

HeartStrings FiberArts is the showcase for Jackie E-S's growing roster of patterns and designs. In translating her designs to written instructions, she strives for clear, complete instructions which include skill-building techniques and tips for the knitter. Her latest venture has been editor and publisher of The Sock Calendar.

Zelda K. Phoenix Zelda K (Phoenix) is an experienced crochet designer and instructor. Over 100 of her designs have been published in various crochet magazines, including Old Time Crochet, Hooked on Crochet, Crochet World, Crochet Home, Crochet Fantasy, Quick & Easy Crochet, and has had two doily pattern books published by House of White Birches. She is currently adding designs to her own crochet pattern line which is available to independent yarn sellers.

Zelda received CYCA (Craft Yarn Council of America) crochet instructor certification in 1996. Since then she has taught several crochet classes through a local independent yarn store, and will soon be offering this particular class through a local art gallery as a fiber art class. Zelda's crochet fiber art pieces have been on display in various exhibits during 2002, with other exhibits slated for 2003.

Here at Needlecraft University, Zelda shares her experience as a Crochet instructor, but she is also a talented Fractal artist. Her expertise and passion for this art form have resulted in the creation of numerous eye catching and stunning fractal images. Zelda is currently combining her love of both fractals and crochet into one of a kind eye catching shawls patterned after fractals.

JC Briar JC Briar learned to knit to fill her free time, while living as an exchange student in Chile. On her return to the US, she had to re-learn knitting terminology in English! This language gap didn't slow her down, though, as she dabbled in all types of knitting, and developed a special fondness for textured knitting and novel construction techniques. If it involves lace, cables, or seamless construction, it's sure to catch her eye.

JC's designs have appeared in numerous publications, including Creative Knitting, INKnitters magazine, Janet Szabo's Twists and Turns newsletter, and books published by House of White Birches. Most recently, Blue Moon Fiber Arts has chosen to publish some of her sock designs. Many of her designs begin with "what if?" questions: What if you wanted stripes that zigged one way and stitch patterning that zagged the other way? What if you mixed cables with intarsia, or with lace? What if you wanted to make an entirely reversible sweater?

It's this sort of out-of-the-box thinking that JC likes to encourage in her classes. Regardless of the topic, she aims to build confidence by expressing concepts clearly and concisely, and by presenting skills and ideas in a digestible progression.

When not teaching at Needlecraft University or fiber festivals, JC brings clarity to knitting patterns as a freelance technical editor. She is also a member of the Association of Knitwear Designers.

Bonnie Franz Bonnie Franz learned knitting at the age of 4 from her mother. After making a blanket for her doll, she dropped the needles until she was in college. While at Amherst College, she re-learned the basics from her dorm mates and the staff at Webs, and since then she has been self-taught. She progressed through the Master level of the Knitting Guild of America program and soon began designing her own patterns.

Bonnie's designs have been published in Knitters, Cast On , Family Circle Easy Knitting, Interweave Knits, INKnitters, and Knitting Digest magazines, and Twists and Turns and Heels and Toes Gazette newsletters, as well as in books from Vogue Knitting on the Go! and House of White Birches, and in booklets from yarn companies such as Classic Elite and Lion Brand yarns. You may have seen the giant hat (10 feet by 4 feet) she made in the Lion Brand Yarn Co. Christmas window.

In 2002 Bonnie started
Stranded newsletter to create a forum for colorwork discussion, history, and designs. She writes a regular column for INKnitters on knitting history from around the world.

Nazanin S. Fard Nazanin S. Fard, Nazee is an accomplished designer, well known in Needlecraft circles such as Knitting, Crochet and Silk Ribbon Embroidery with more than 300 published designs. Her designs are regularly published in magazines such as: Knitter's, Knitting World, Knitting Digest, Crochet Digest, Crafts 'n Things, Pack-O-Fun, Crochet World, Annie's crochet newsletter, Hooked on Crochet, Crafts, Quick & Easy Crochet, Crochet Fantasy, Great American Crafts, RibbonWorks Design Club and Complete Knitting Collection. Her designs are also published in pattern books such as "Quick & Easy Rag Rugs", "Pineapple Wearables", "Knit Heirloom Doilies", "Side-to-Side Sweaters" and "Ultimate Book of Knitted Pineapples". You can checkout her designs at her web site Craftland.com.

Nazee is a Certified Knitting Instructor by CYCA (Craft Yarn Council of America), and has taught many courses in Knitting and Crochet. She has served as president of Marin Crochet Guild, Marin Knitters Guild, and also as the judge in many craft shows. Nazee is the co-founder of Needlecraft University.

She learned knitting at the age of 4 from her mother, an avid knitter. She then learned Crochet in her teenage years. After completing college and receiving Bachelor's of Science degree in Systems Analysis and Computer Applications, she worked for several years as computer programmer. In 1988, after the birth of her first son, she switched her beloved hobby, Needlecraft, to her profession and started to work as a Needlecraft Designer. She lives with her husband, and two teenage sons in Novato, California.

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