2020 Tutors

This year, we’re thrilled to announce our 2020 tutors, a group of world-class instructors teaching a wide variety of courses.

André de Castro

André de Castro is a knitwear designer, researcher and instructor with degrees in design and fashion illustration who is based in Porto, Portugal.

André’s initial training was as a classical violinist, however, 8 years ago he decided to embrace the passion he has for the textile arts and dedicated himself entirely to knitting. From that moment on he has travelled around Europe to learn and develop in depth the most diverse aspects relating to his profession from the very best international experts on the individual styles.

Colourwork in the Portuguese Style

13 September, 10:00am – 1:00pm
Venue TBC

Portuguese knitting remains the dominant style of knitting in many countries today, including Egypt, Peru, Brazil, Bulgaria, Greece, and or course, Portugal after where it was named.

In this class students will learn how to work with more than one colour of yarn at the same time, while exploring typical Portuguese motifs, colour theory, colour dominance and how to make a motif “pop” out of the knitted fabric, how to catch floats behind your work, how to use the Portuguese style of knitting to maintain a constant and perfect tension.

Skills: Previous experience in stranded colourwork and the basics of Portuguese knitting is preferred but not essential.

Materials: A range of circular needles for magic loop (or double pointed if preferred) between 3.5mm and 4mm (US 4 and 6), sport weight or light DK yarn in at least 6 different contrasting colours in the same brand (if possible.)

Lace by Music Class

12 September, 2:30pm – 5:30pm
Venue TBC

Lace by Music is a type of lace border and edging knitting practiced by women in the most remote villages of Portugal. André continues to develop his research and personal collection of samples across the country in this inspiring field.

These lace patterns are mostly constructed using purl stitches and for that purpose a special “code” has been created to pass those designs from generation to generation. This “code” is the so-called “music” of the lace and is composed of a series of symbols created by women who at that time did not know how to read or write.

In this class students will learn:

  • The historical approach to Lace by Music
  • An explanation of the symbols and how to interpret them
  • Create music by lace samples

Jeanette Sloan

As a child Jeanette was always drawing, stitching or doing something creative and her Mum taught her to hand knit at the age of 7.  Her fascination with yarn, texture and colour led her to study for a degree in textile design where Jeanette specialised in hand and machine knitting, learning to crochet, bead and embroider along the academic journey. 

Colour is very important to Jeanette and her design process often begins with a search for an intriguing stitch that will inspire creative juices to flow or a decorative detail that will add a stylish, contemporary edge.  Jeanette has worked as a freelance textile designer and tutor teaching both machine and hand knitting and as an accessories aficionado has written 4 books on hand knitting.  Much lauded in the Industry Jeanette is consulted by some of the best hand knitting brands in the UK and her designs are commissioned in several UK knitting magazines including The Knitter, and  Knitting Magazine where she is a regular contributor responsible for the ‘Ask  Jeanette’ letters page, Yarn Reviews and A-Z of Techniques.

In 2016 Jeanette was diagnosed with two brain tumours which led to her seriously re-evaluating her work life balance; she is now thankfully recovered she made the decision to devote more of her professional time working on her SLOANmade label.  

In August 2018 – before the current wave of discussion on Instagram about racism in the global knitting and fibre communities – Jeanette wanted to challenge the statement that ‘black people don’t knit – they crochet’ which formed the basis of academic Lorna Hamilton Brown’s dissertation ‘Myth: Black People Don’t Knit – the importance of art and oral histories for documenting the experiences of black knitters’ and founded the POC (People of Colour) Designers and Crafters List which is published on her website.

Jeanette Sloan delivered our 2019 Keynote Lecture:  ‘BIPOC and the need for representation in the Knitting Community’, and is a member of the Vogue Knitting Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Beaded Colourwork Knitting

12 September: 10am – 1pm

Venue: TBC


Beaded knitting is a great way of introducing a touch of glamour to a simple knitted fabric. Armed with a bit of forward planning, some colour pencils and a chart, this class takes a slightly different approach to bead knitting.

During the class you will work from a charted design using blocks of colour to create beaded motifs that are worked into the knitting as you go. You’ll also learn how to chose the right beads for the right project, how to thread beads on in sequence and how to work the pattern from a chart using the basic bead knitting technique.

If you like your knitting with a bit of added bling; then this is the class for you.

Skills: Basic knitting stitches.

Materials: 50g of DK weight yarn, either one pair or 3.5mm (US 4) single point or circular needles with short cable (personal preference), sewing needle and thread for threading beads onto yarn, 2 x packets of 4mm (size 6) glass beads in contrasting colours (e.g 1 x packet pink, 1 x packet yellow), 2 colour pencils which match the colours of chosen beads (where possible), pencil, eraser.

Homework: To get the best out of this class it is recommended – but not essential – for students to check their tension matches 24st and 34 rows to 10cm measured over stocking stitch, using their chosen DK weight yarn on 3.5mm (US 4) needle. Please adjust your needle size as necessary to match this tension.

3 Shawls in 3 Hours

13 September: 2:30pm – 5:30pm

Venue: TBC


Have you ever looked at a shawl and thought, “I could never knit that, I don’t have the time?” Well, you could and you do.

In this class you will be using thicker weight yarn and large needles to learn how to create 3 basic shawls; 2 triangular and 1 ‘wedge’ shaped. You will make quick progress as you will be making mini rather than full size versions, and as you feel more confident you can add a simple texture, explore different edgings, or simply enjoy learning a new skill.

If you are looking for a traditional shawl workshop this is not the class for you. This class will focus on providing you with basic skills and inspire you to make shawls that are less ‘lace weight heirloom’ but more funky, everyday-wardrobe staples.

Skills: Students should be familiar with knitting and purling. Some knowledge of yarn over increases and decreasing stitches would be helpful but not essential.

Materials: 150g aran or chunky weight yarn and appropriate needles as recommended by the ball band, locking stitch markers or waste yarn for use as stitch markers, notebook and pen.

Di Gilpin

After 30 years of working in the industry, Di’s client and collaboration black book boasts some of the very best labels in couture and innovative fashion; Nike, Mark Fast (for Kanye West), Margaret Howell, April Crichton, Hancock VA, Topshop Unique, Cabbages & Roses, Paul Hardy, Sophia Kokosolakis, Graeme Black, Meadham Kirchhoff, Erdos 1436, Bette Midler and Helena Bonham Carter.

Di continues to design pattern collections under her own name which can worked in her luxury scottish yarn brand, Lalland Lambswool. Her patterns explore and create new symbology through deep-rooted gansey stitch patterns, combine techniques such as intarsia and circular knitting with traditional stitch patterns and cables.

With support from her Production Manager, Sheila Greenwell, Di Gilpin Ltd has recruited an elite core of knitters who live within a 15 miles radius of her Studio – a lovingly restored 16th century stone bothy just outside of St Andrews.  Individual catwalk pieces or bespoke items can take as long as two months to complete.

Among her well deserved accolades, Di was named Belvenie Artisan of the Year 2005, and presented the Balvenie Masters of Craft Award in Textiles 2012.

Traditional Gansey Socks

13 September: 2:30pm – 5:30pm

Venue: Boardroom, Dewars Centre


This class will explore traditional sock knitting techniques using a set of 4 double-pointed needles – or short circulars needles if preferred. Students will be following one of Di’s own patterns rich with Gansey patterns, working with her own brand Lalland Lambswool, and there will also be the opportunity to incorporate your own Gansey designs and initials should you wish.

Di will bring a selection of traditional Ganseys on the day which will only students of this class will have access to during the Festival.

Skills: Knitting, purling, and casting stitches onto either double-pointed needles or short circulars.

Materials: Pencils and eraser, short length 3.25mm (US 10) double-pointed needles or short circulars in 3mm (US 11) or 3.25mm.  A kit containing the Lalland Lambswool, pattern and graph paper will be provided.

Louis Boria

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Louis Boria had been knitting for 10 years before one fateful day when he was snapped crafting on the subway – wearing Army fatigues and a baseball cap – by Frenchie Davis. The resulting picture went viral and led to more people learning about the work Louis was undertaking under the guise of Brooklyn Boy Knits, including working with the “Hat Not Hate” Campaign.

Louis loves to change people’s perspectives on knitting, firmly believing that no one should worry about doing what they love because of the fear of judgment from others. He actively works on breaking down the barriers and expectations regarding gender roles in crafting as a hobby and within the Textile Industry. The inspiration for his bold, colourful, urban couture work comes from the subway, walking down the street, crossing the bridges, watching the sun set on the ever-changing skyline of the City that Never Sleeps. Most of all, Louis is inspired by collaboration; with those who attend his classes as well as those Industry figures and brands, which include Knitter’s Pride, Lykke, Lion Brand Yarn Co, and Disney.

2019 saw Louis being invited to join the newly formed Vogue Knitting Diversity Advisory Council, alongside Perth Festival of Yarn tutor and keynote lecturer, Jeanette Sloan, and delivering his first TED Talk, “Making the Most of Your Moment.” At the 10th Anniversary Vogue Knitting Live in New York City this January, Louis curated the Kaleidoscope Fashion Show.

Knitting has taken Louis throughout the United States, Austria and Spain; but this is the first time we welcome him to Scotland.

Design Your Own Knit Couture Dress

12 September: 2:30pm – 5:30pm

Venue: Boardroom, Dewars Centre


In this class Louis will show you how to turn that simple knitted skirt or dress into a runway worthy piece

that will have folks turning heads. This class will focus on the skirt section only. Louis will show you how to

incorporate different yarn in creating beautiful fabric and his signature technique that he calls “Yarn Tufting.” Louis will guide you to make a waist belt, incorporate appliqués, gems, feathers and other textiles to create that “one-of-a- kind” look.

Skills: Casting on, casting off, knitting and purling stitches, previous experience in knitting a basic sweater or top pattern, and basic hand sewing.

Materials: A small sewing kit (needle, thread, thimble, measuring tape, scissors, pins), trimmings of choice such as those detailed above.

Homework: Students must make the “Sally Skirt”, by Hobbii Design in a solid colour.

This pattern is available for free on Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sally-skirt

Denim and Knit, Oh My!

13 September: 10am – 1pm

Venue: Boardroom, Dewars Centre


In this class Louis will show you how to deconstruct a used pair of jeans or denim jacket into new fashionable streetwear. You will learn how to properly cut sections of denim (using them as knit templates) and replacing sections with knitting. In addition, students will learn how to apply patches, how to treat knitted fabric with fabric stiffener, and learn sewing techniques to secure your newly constructed garment.

Skills: Casting on, casting off, knitting and purling stitches, basic hand sewing.

Materials: A small sewing kit (needle, thread, thimble, measuring tape, scissors, pins), a used pair of jeans or denim jacket, 5mm (US 8) or 5.5mm (US 9) 16” circular knitting needles, worsted weight superwash merino wool, sharp darning needle.