Hi!  I'm Ileen Levy from Hannibal, Missouri. I started as a hand knitter, but I prefer machine knitting which I've been doing for over 30 years. I started as a hobbyist and became a custom knitter within a year after buying my first Brother punchcard machine. This gave me lots of experience knitting all kinds of projects. I also began attending knitting seminars in my area.

A few years after starting Ileen's Needle Nook with my custom knitting, my husband, Mike, wrote a computer charting program to help me save time charting. Shortly afterward, we began selling this program and called it Design-A-Pattern. About that time, I also became a Brother dealer and added several more lines of yarn to the shop. In 2001, I became a Silver Reed dealer, and I became a distributor for Cotton Spandex yarns in 2002.

Since the original DOS-based program in 1987, our Design-A-Pattern program expanded to five different volumes for Windows computers.   In fact, we were the first machine knitting program to come out for Windows.   In 1996, Bramwell Yarns & Crafts of England became our importer and distributor for DAP in England and Europe.   In 2001, we introduced DAP on CD's as well as adding a new selection of neckline trims and collars.   Design-A-Pattern XV7 volumes have been re-invented since 2008 for the latest versions of Windows - including Windows 8.   Design-A-Pattern customers are located around the world.

One of my favorite aspects of machine knitting is teaching.   Mike and I have travelled extensively to knitting conventions, seminars and workshops where I have taught numerous knitting classes (including Design-A-Pattern of course).   I love working with beginners to help them understand and explore ways to use their machines.   I am also very active on the internet knitting forums where I try to answer questions for new and experienced knitters.   It's a wonderful feeling knowing you have helped someone .


I follow this lesson plan in my shop to teach people how to use and maintain knitting machines,

Lesson #1 topics
Machine set-up; Review main bed & carriage; Cast-on; Knit even; Cast-off; Basic Blocking; Latch up panels; Knit a 5-panel baby blanket from pattern; Take the machine down.

Lesson #2 topics
Review baby blanket; Fast increase; I-cords; Hand Seaming; Knit a baby sleeper from pattern

Lesson #3 topics (1-2 sessions depending on knitter's progress)
Review baby sleeper; Using waste yarn and ravel cord; Mock ribbing; Hanging a hem, Full fashion increase and decrease; Button holes; Knit child’s cardigan from pattern.

Lesson #4 topics
Review cardigan; Woven cast-on; Short-rowing; Duplicate Stitch; Kitchener Stitch; Knit Xmas Stocking.

Lesson #5 topics
Review Xmas stocking; Stitch designs (fairisle; tuck; slip); Make a swatch; Gauges; Knit a Stocking Cap.

Lesson #6 topics
Review Xmas cap; Neckline shaping; Armhole shaping; Attaching trims (ribbing) to neckline and armholes; Knit a Sleeveless Pullover pattern.

Lesson #7 topics (if a ribber is purchased)
Ribber set-up; Review ribber parts and carriage; cast-on; 1x1; transfer stitches between beds

Lesson #8 topics
Learn how to take accurate body measurements, review swatches and calculating gauges, design a sweater using Design-A-Pattern Charting Program volume #1.

Over the last 30+ years, I've taught and demonstrated at the following Knitting Expositions, Seminars and Knit Clubs:

Midwest and Great Lakes:
Kansas City MO (Knitcraft Seminars); Peru IN (Charlene Shafer Seminars); Chicago (Sitiches), Burr Ridge IL; Amana Colonies IA; Columbus Junction IA; Grand Rapids MI; Minneapolis MN; St. Cloud MN; Detroit Lakes, MN

Boston MA; Long Island NY; Cortland, NY; Oley PA; Indiana PA; King of Prussia PA, Erie PA

Raleigh NC; Tampa FL; Lakeland FL; Houston TX; Dallas TX; Atlanta GA; Nashville, TN

Sacramento CA; Fresno CA; San Diego CA; Ontario CA; Salem OR; Seattle WA; Reno NV; Tempe AZ; Denver CO; Portland, OR

Sydney, Australia ;  Wagga Wagga, Australia ; Birmingham, England ;  Colne, England


Cables and More Cables
Cables can be knitted on all machines. This is a hands-on demonstration covering both single bed and double bed cables.

Knitting with Cotton Spandex Yarns:
Learn how much fun it is to knit socks that fit and stay in place.  These are the most comfortable socks you'll ever wear, and they are easy to knit.  A handout is included with the hands-on machine demonstration. 

Tips and Techniques:
This class includes lots of tricks to make machine knitting easier.  The demonstration includes ways to use  triangle weights, 2-prong weights, colored ravel cord on bobbins, 7-needle tool and many more.  Machine cleaning tips are also offered as time permits.

Ribber Refresher:
Many of us put our ribbers aside and forgot about them when the garter carriage came on the market.  This class is a fun way to get re-acquainted with our ribbers.

Blocking with Wires:
We go through the process of  making and marking swatches before blocking them with wires.  We discuss how to take swatch measurements and use them with your body measurements for good-fitting knits.

Assembling and Finishing Garments
I will have some completed garment pieces, and we will go through how to do the "mattress stitch" for seaming sides of garments, "kitchener stitch" for assembling open stitches in shoulders, toes of socks, etc. and "back stitches" for sewing in sleeves and other parts that need to be attached to a garment.

Knitting Curved Yoke Sweaters

These sweaters are back in style again and are fun to knit.  We will go through the set up of several fairisle designs for a yoke, decreasing evenly across the bed to do multiple decreases and using the garter bar or scrap & ravel cord to fill in decreases before continuing to the next fairisle yoke section.  I will bring along knitted front, back and sleeve panels to demonstrate how to attach the yoke to the garment pieces.

Single and Double-bed Buttonholes
My latest book shows you how easy it is to make buttonholes on our knitting machines.  We will go through several different types of buttonholes in this class.

Taking Accurate Measurements and Design-A-Pattern Charting (2 class periods):
This is a complete overview of taking accurate body measurements and applying them to various garment styles using Design-A-Pattern charting programs as a "knitter-friendly" tool.  A class volunteer is used for this demonstration, and handouts are included for participants.

I work on Brother and Silver-Reed knitting machines.   My daily fees include up to 5 classes (normally one hour each) with separate fees for travel, room and board.   Flexible arrangements can be made for local housing and meals in lieu of hotel/motel fees, and travel fees reflect either car mileage or airfares depending on distance from Hannibal, MO.

My shop is located at 4106 West Ely Road in Hannibal, Missouri.  As shown in the maps below, drive to the intersection of Routes #61 and #36/72.  West Ely Road crosses Route 61 just south of this intersection. Drive 0.5 miles up West Ely Road (past Walgreen's), and my shop is on the right side of the road.   

E-mail : ileen@ileen.com
Phone : 573-221-9456 for information
Shop Hours : Weekdays by appointment
Shop Address: 4106 West Ely Road, Hannibal, MO 63401

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This page last modified on Monday, July 08, 2013