The Big Stitch event started in 2008 as a way to gather these knitters and crocheters to work towards a common goal of providing baby blankets and hats for Nashville General Hospital. In the last nine years Knit and Crochet Tennessee has expanded their charitable reach to more than thirty local groups donating more than 25,000 hats, scarves, afghans, baby hats and baby blankets. Five years ago Big Stitch University was added to further the skills of the more than 500 fiber friends who attend the quarterly Big Stitch each year.
InstructorsClick any name below to view the profile
- Joy Baskin
- Barbara Belden
- Penny Belden
- Wray Estes
- Janice Frank
- Jeanie Gulzau
- Christa Hedstrom
- Shauna Jared
- Michelle McClellan
- Sharon Melton
- Jo Meyer
- Sally Murphy
- Helen Shull
- Deborah Stillwell
- BJ Strickland
- Leigh Arino
- Louann Young
- Beth Wise
A passion for crochet was passed on to me by my grandmother when I was eleven years old. She patiently taught me how to make a granny square, and that is where it all began. Over the past thirty-five plus years, I have picked up and put down my crochet hook many times to pursue other needle crafts. However, I always come back to crochet. I think I have tried just about every type of needle craft there is, but crochet is my passion. Since I discovered the need for “charity” knitting and crochet, I’ve felt more satisfied with using my skills than I thought possible. I enjoy teaching others to crochet, and I especially enjoy teaching children to love yarn, crochet, and creative arts in general. By doing this, I am paying forward what my grandma taught me, and it keeps her memory alive in my heart.
Barbara Belden started knitting and crocheting at a very young age of 6, in northwest Ohio, with her Grandmother Wagner. Being a left hander, was quite a challenge in learning, but not to be undone, she persued on. Since then she has become the resident left handed crochet teacher. She has switched over to her right handed friends since reading patterns made no sense at all! She has taught the Entralec knitting technique, continental knitting, backward knitting and enjoys knitting and purling with friends whenever possible! Her crochet skills are being honed by surrounding herself with fellow friends “ Ravel Rousers”, whenever possible. She can be found at every Big Stitch!
I am a self-taught knitter and crocheter. I love using color and especially like to do scarves, shawls, socks and afghans. My yarn stash fill the entire guest closet in my condo! I started the Prayer Shawl Ministry at my church in Cleveland, OH and will be working with a church in Nolensville to get their ministry started. I worked in a needlework store for nearly 30 years.
My knitting life began in high school. I knit my first (yellow mohair cable cardigan) while on breaks at my summer job as a lifeguard. Mohair and sweat don’t mix well. I later learned crochet and enjoy having some of each going all the time. My retirement from 40+ years of microbiology is a joy.
Janice and Jessica Frank are mother and daughter, who along with Janice’s mom Patty Richmond make up 3 generations of the Happi Hookers. The Happi Hookers can take any type of willing material and manipulate it into a work of art. Each prefers a different size hook, resulting in a wide selection of products. Our passions include things for the home such as throws and afghans for any size bed, rugs for any floor, and baby blankets for your newest addition. Doilies, table runners & place settings help make up our home décor line. We’ve broadened our clothing line from ponchos, tank tops and beach cover-ups to include accessories such as belts and barefoot sandals. Also check out our purses, shopping bags, scarves & hats. We make kitchen accessories such as grocery bag holders, decorative dish towels, and great dish scrubbies that don’t hurt your pans. We are more than willing to try new customized works of art and we can’t pass up a challenge. Check out or website to see some of the items we’ve made over the years: www.happihookers.com. Once you’re hooked…you’re hooked.
Jeanie been knitting and crocheting since I was a child …got serious a few years ago when a friend and I opened a yarn shop. I love teaching, especially beginners..the light bulb moment ..is my favorite part, I know they’re hooked…watching their progress pleases me no end.
I was taught to knit by my aunt at age 5. My mother had me knitting in the round aka socks for dad when I was in second grade. In the fifties, crocheting, knitting, and sewing was taught in German schools an hour a week. Eventually, the projects became more sophisticated and I actually enjoyed crocheting tops paired with knitted skirts. Then followed a twentyfive year hiatus when I did not pick up a needle. Thanks to a colleague who sold me a felted purse in 2005, my knitting interest is rekindled. Since then I have attended some classes, joined knitting groups, took a bead knitting cruise (Laura Nelkin design). Knitting is a relaxing pleasure for me, love to try new patterns and techniques. The biggest challenge is to keep me from planning and starting too many projects.
Shauna learned to knit at a Big Stitch in 2009 and also learned to crochet shortly afterwards. Although she loves knitting, crochet has become her obsession… especially amigurumi (crocheted stuffed toys)! She also enjoys hand embroidery, cross stitch, sewing, quilting, reading, and cooking. Lately, she has been working on designing her own amigurumi crochet toy patterns. She can be found on her brand new blog, http://theplainrabbit.wordpress.com/ and on Ravelry as sjared. Shauna lives in Lebanon, TN with her husband and three year old son.
I have been crocheting as a full-fledged hobby since 2006. I learned to crochet as a child from my mother, but didn’t commit to the craft until I met my husband. I wanted to make him something to keep him warm as we were long distance dating at the time. My local Michaels held a crochet workshop and afterwards I was unstoppable. I learned to knit in 2009 as a result of having knitter friends who were relentless in their pursuit to make me a knitter. I’m glad I learned because it has made me a respecter and lover of all yarn crafting. Since my first scarf, I have enjoyed making projects for charity, gifts, myself, and my family. There’s just something special about making something for someone that will be beautiful, functional, and a symbol of your regard for them. As an instructor at the Big Stitch, I have enjoyed seeing students “get it” while learning new techniques, getting tips, and some learning for the very first time. My hope is that everyone who wants to learn will leave my class getting what they came for and then some. If I can offer any advice, it is to be patient with yourself. Keep at it, get help when you need it, and you will succeed.
Sharon taught for thirty-one years and is a retired teacher from Metro Nashville Public Schools. She learned to crochet on one of the first snow days she experienced as a teacher nearly thirty years ago. Most of her work has been with thread crochet because she fell in love with the lacy pieces she saw in some old crochet books she bought at a yard sale. She has delved into designing crochet since her retirement and has made a few designs with thread crochet and beads. Mainly she enjoys sharing crochet with others.
I’m a cross crafter that learned at a young age to crochet. I needed to make a doll sweater, so I took a knitting refresher course, and I haven’t stopped? I’m always learning and loving knitting and crochet!
Lefties are credited with being an artist, maybe that’s why I think of crocheting as an art form. Each piece you make is a piece of you, by your choose of yarn, color, hook you have created that one of a kind piece. I like to share that idea with others. I crochet jewelry and other art form pieces, like tassels and soft sculpture objects.
After my husband and I retired, we moved to Tennessee from California. To be closer to family. I now spend my time painting, crocheting, and traveling. I am an active member of the Tennessee Watercolor Society and Art Seen.
I learned to knit at a young age, 9 years old. I had been a sickly kid when in 4th and fifth grade. As I was recovering from scarlet fever, a kind friend of my mothers brought me a box of yarn and some needles. My mother was a knitters and from a family of Swedes that all knit. This activity would keep me busy and quiet as I was recovering. Ever since, I have been engaged in knitting projects. First a long just knitted stitch scarf to sweaters, and whatever was a challenge. Before coming to Nashville, I lived in Rockford , IL, and taught a knitting class once a week at local yarn shop. Yarn blends, various stitches, along with new projects keep the interest and challenge for me to keep knitting. It is so relaxing for me to sit and knit for even a short time. A teaching background makes me excited to teach someone to knit.
I knitted my first sweater in the fifth grade and continued on-and-off until my youngest daughter asked me to teach her. One thing led to another, Knit and Crochet Tennessee was created in 2009 and I’ve been organizing events, classes and donations for KCTN ever since. I started crocheting in 2011 when I realized that it provides certain looks and techniques that knitting cannot. I love them both!
BJ Strickland learned the start of knitting and crocheting when she was about 10. Using the popular green-covered Coats & Clark booklet with instructions for those plus several other needlework arts, she taught herself after that. She quickly decided that she preferred crocheting over knitting and she has tried hundreds of yarns, hooks, patterns and techniques over the last 50+ years. She loves to teach and is happy to share from her large pattern and book stash. BJ has lived in Middle Tennessee for most of the last 45 years and is constantly working on something for her granddaughter or friends.
Leigh Arino started crafting when she was a little girl with cross stitch and latch hook kits, when her mother would drop her off at the craft store. Her first experiences with continuous yarn were through free-form crochet, learning from a friend about 10 years ago. She has since branched out into crocheting all manner of items through patterns, knitting socks and sweaters, and learning new techniques with yarn. She enjoys teaching knitting and crocheting to ‘newbies’ regardless of their age and/or gender. She has one crafty son in middle school and a husband who both understand her yarn-capades. When she figures out how to get over their lack of opposable thumbs, she will also attempt teach her three dogs how to crochet.
Louann Young learned to crochet and knit as a young girl. The skills sat dormant many years and were awakened about 15 years ago when she saw friends creating adorable scarves from furry yarns that she’d never seen before. Realizing yarn had changed a lot over the years, she entered a local yarn shop, purchased yarn for a project, and hasn’t stopped knitting and/or crocheting since. She always has multiple projects on the needles or hooks. She discovered the efforts of the Knitted Knockers organization (www.knittedknockers.ORG) while surfing the web in Spring 2016 and joined the cause, having family members who are breast cancer survivors. She and Beth Wise created the local group, Knashville Knitted Knockers, to encourage knitters and crocheters in the area to participate with us in providing Knockers (knitted or crocheted) to women in need middle Tennessee and beyond.
Beth Wise learned to knit from her mother when she was young, but never got beyond basic knit and purl. After moving to TN 12 years ago, she joined an arts and crafts club, and the first project was knitting a decorative scarf with ribbon yarn. When she mentioned to someone at the knit shop where she went to buy needles and yarn that she was a little nervous about remembering what to do, the advice she was given was, “Just shut off your brain and let your hands take over – they’ll remember.” It worked! And she’s been knitting ever since, learning more complex stitches and patterns through the years. She’s passed the skill on to her children, and hopes someday to teach her grandkids as well. She found the Knitted Knockers organization when she was looking for something to make for a friend who was having a mastectomy, and enjoys working on projects that bring comfort to women who’ve been through so much. She looks forward to meeting more knitters and crocheters who can help us provide for the women in our community.