Meet Our Teachers

Esther Beckwith


Teaching is Esther’s passion. She taught elementary school for over forty years and upon retiring began to teach knitting to adults. She has been teaching here at The Yarn Center since 2010. Esther’s goal is to take each knitter from basic skills and knowledge to being a confident and adventurous knitter

Joan Contraman

Joan holds a BA in fine arts and has been working with fiber for over 45 years. Joan owns a sheep ranch in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley of Montana and has been developing domestic spotted sheep. She has owned and operated her spinning and weaving business, Crosspatch Creations, for the last 20 years.

Hope Lockwood


Hope has been knitting for over 60 years. She started knitting for others 30 years ago and began teaching 20 years ago. Hope finds that the art of knitting is both a relaxing and challenging endeavor and she is excited to have the opportunity to teach the art to others.

Jasmin Strain

Jasmine has been crocheting for 20 years and is passionate about bringing a new flavor to the art of crocheting and helping others realize the joy of the art and how modern it truly is. Jasmine has won the Grand and Grand Reserve Champion prizes for thread crochet at the Ravalli County Fair for the last 6 years running!

Chris Mattingly


Chris began spinning, weaving, and basket making in 1984 on a “dare”! She had found her calling and has since taught and demonstrated her skills in numerous venues. The Yarn Center is grateful to have Chris on board as both staff and instructor.

Lauren Parker


Lauren began knitting in 1990 while shivering in front of a woodstove in a non-winterized Adirondack cabin near Lake Placid, New York. She knit her first sweater, a three-color Lopi, and never looked back. Arriving in the Bitterroot Valley in 1997, she taught knitting classes at Wild West Wools and designed knitting patterns for Mountain Colors. Currently, she enjoys sharing her passion for knitting with Yarn Center patrons.

Lisa Johnson


Lisa brings a scientific flair to knitting. Her background in science and mathematics brings an interesting dimension to her understanding of patterns and knitting. Lisa began knitting and crocheting when she was a child with her grandmother who was from Italy. She revisited the craft about 15 years ago and has been an avid knitter ever since