Hi, my name is Mary Gildersleeve. I began designing shortly after teaching myself to knit at the age of 8, primarily because I do not take commands very well and I also could not afford the fancy yarns back then. Knitting and designing were my constant activities throughout undergrad, grad school and family life until, in 1997, I finally went professional and established By Hand, With Heart ... traditional hand-knit designs with a modern twist. I now create designs for various knitwear outlets (including published designs in Knitters, INKnitters, Cast On), custom knit original designs, and self-publish my own patterns . I maintain a website (www.marygildersleeve.com) where I discuss my work, my findsÃâÃÂ (reviewing books and supplies) and suggestions for teaching everyone this age-old art. I particularly love teaching all aspects of knitting ... from beginner to expert, from learning to read charts to designing your own. On most Saturdays, you can find me working at my LYS, Dog House Yarns in Culpeper. I am the exclusive designer for the cashmere-farm, Spring Gate Farm, located in Barboursville, VA. I earned an MBA from the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA) in 1988 and a BA in Print Journalism from Gonzaga University (Spokane, Washington) in 1983. I continue with my knitting education by attending seminars, voraciously reading all knitting books, magazines, and websites, and constantly honing my practical knitting skills. I was an active member of the Association of Knitwear Designers (which shut down, unfortunately). I am married, have 5 children (10 to 23 yrs) and keep busy homeschooling, working on the computer, writing articles, and knitting, knitting, knitting in rural Virginia. In 2008, a book I wrote was published "Great Yarns for the Close-Knit Family: over two dozen hand-knit designs inspired by a dozen fantastic family read-alouds"; a year later, another book I wrote hit the bookstores, "In His Image: Nurturing Creativity in the Heart of Your Home" (both are available on Amazon and other book outlets)..