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I’ve been knitting for 30 years and crocheting for 40: basically all of my life.  I was fascinated by my older sister’s knitting at age 6, and have been crocheting and knitting ever since.  The name of my website, TessKnits, is just a statement of fact.

I love to knit, but I also love “knitting”.  Knitting is at once both simple and complex, historical and practical.  Something as basic as pulling a loop through another loop turns into anything you want it to be, from a garter stitch washcloth to a piece of intricate lace.

I also love the history of knitting: to see a medieval painting showing the Madonna knitting in the round, exactly as we do today, or to know that the Old Shale stitch you are learning has been used by countless other knitters for at least two hundred years, is to be connected to history in a very personal, human way.

And we have so many techniques that show us knitting’s practical side: we knit Fair Isle to use up leftovers, with steeks to avoid weaving in all those ends!


I also love helping knitters learn about knitting.

When I was still in high school, I made what we now call a “bucket list”.  Somewhere near the top was “teach someone to knit”.  By now I have no idea how many hundreds of knitters I have taught: everything from casting on and those first wobbly stitches, to sweaters and socks, cables and entrelac and more.

I have knowledge of a vast catalogue of knitting techniques, decades of practical experience, plus a love of fashion, some creativity, and a sense of humor, and I teach in a fun and always non-judgmental atmosphere.  I will help you fix your old project, or explain why it can’t be fixed; or help you choose a new project, based on what you want and what you can do.

But my engineering background gives me another unique perspective on teaching knitting.  I always try to teach you not just “what” to do but also “why”.  My goal is for you to understand your knitting, and to be empowered to make your own good choices.  Because when you learn how to make good choices, and you have the skills to execute them, you become a smart, fearless, and above all, happy knitter.


I’ve been teaching knitting in the PDX area off and on for over 10 years. In that time, I’ve found there are a number of things that a lot of knitters don’t know, that I think knitters probably should know. Things that make your knitting life easier, and your knitting better. I’ve also found there is a lot of knitting misinformation out there, and I hate to see good knitters following bad directions or advice.  (I’m a big fan of accuracy and technical proficiency. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.)

This site exists as a home for some of the class material I’ve written over the years, to allow it to reach a wider audience, so that knitters who want help and expert knowledge, beyond the basics, can find at least some of it here.

You’ll find tips to polish your knitting skills; answers to common questions; thorough explanations; innovative, interesting or useful techniques; and comparisons of the different ways of accomplishing a knitting task and why one way may be better than another in a given situation.  You’ll also find my original patterns posted here, as well as walk-throughs of some of my own knitting projects from start to finish.  Plus here and there, a few posts that are just for fun.

And, I hope this will all help you be a happy knitter.


Deep down my fashion taste is that of a nine-year-old.  My favorite colors are green and red, but my (not-so-secret) real favorite color is pink.  My absolute favorite fiber is MOHAIR, as much for its vintage-y feel as its fluffy fuzz and warmth.  And I am a sucker for sequins, glitter, satin, tulle, fringe, marabou, and anything else sassy or eye-catching.

But I promise I won’t make you knit any of that if you don’t want to.