CV & Biography

Debbie Tomkies

Need to know a little about my “formal” credentials? Here’s my biography, cv and some of the projects I’ve worked on, places my work has featured, qualifications and anything else I think might be useful!


Tutoring experience

Delivery of workshops in knitting, crochet, felting, dyeing, screenprinting and textile arts for wide range of organisations including:

  • Public and third sector organisations, eg: Manchester Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, Rochdale MBC, Creative Hands, Armley Mills Industrial Museum
  • Shops and businesses, eg: Purl City Yarns , Ministry of Craft, Baa Ram Ewe, Spun, Texere Yarns, , The Make It Shop, French Knots Studio, Yarn Barn, Sitting Knitting
  • Tutor with the Knitting & Stitching show Learning Curve programme, teaching workshops on beaded knitting, hand embroidery and crochet
  • Tutoring workshops on hand-dyeing for spinners, weavers & dyers guilds including: London, Bradford, Eden Valley, Lancs and Lakes, North Cheshire, Bedford, Reading, Hallamshire, Wealden, Gloucestershire
  • Weekend and full week Summer School projects for the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers ( ).
  • Running screen printing, felting, sewing and needlecraft projects in secondary school, including setting up a successful KS3 after-school knitting group.

Educational and Professional Qualifications


  • Trained practitioner with the Craft Council’s Craft Club project – teaching people to knit at craft events, for example, the Knitting and Stitching Show, the Fashion Show.
  • Accredited to offer Arts Award levels Bronze and Silver
  • A participant in the Open Badges scheme, set up by the Mozilla Foundation and recognised and supported by many large global institutions and employers
  • Assessor for the dyeing modules of the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers Certificate of Achievement.
  • Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector – PTTLS qualification


  • Practitioner: Arts for Health and Wellbeing HE Level 6 (University of Bolton)
  • Bronze and Silver Arts Award qualified practitioner and registered Arts Award Centre
  • Craft Club trained practitioner (Arts Council)
  • Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector – PTTLS qualification – Trafford College


  • Association of Taxation Technicians (Institute of Tax) – Tax practitioner


  • Joint honours BA Classics 2:ii (Manchester University)


  • 4 “A” Levels (Leeds Girls’ High School)


  • 10 “O” Levels (Leeds Girls’ High School)

Selection of published work

250 Knitting Stitches – A Stitch Dictionary published by Search Press UK, Interweave Press USA/Canada, 2014 (ISBN 9781782211846)

  • An extensive manual for hand-knitters and designers including charted and written knitting patterns for 250 different knitting stitches including basic knits and purls, lace, cables, textured stitches, specialist stitches

Complete knitting skills – Quarto Publishing published by Search Press, UK and Barrons, USA, 2013 (ISBN 1 84448 901 9)

  • A comprehensive “how-to” knitting book with techniques and 25 accompanying online video tutorials

Writer – Ask the Expert and Technical Features – Knit Now magazine

  • Dealing with technical reader queries, resolving reader’s knitting problems, producing photo-illustrated knitting technique features

Technical feature writer for Simply Knitting magazine for 4 years

  • Writing technique articles on a range of knitting topics for knitters of all levels.

Hand-dyed Yarn Craft Projects published by GMC Publications Ltd 2004 (ISBN 1 86108 314 9)

  • A hand-dyeing manual covering a range of hand-dyeing techniques using procion dyes. Comprehensive instructions and illustrations for beginners and more advanced dyers.

Other experience

  • Featured on BBC Radio Manchester and has done live slots on the current popularity of knitting, why people knit and the therapeutic benefits of knitting and crafts.
  • Appeared on BBC One “Glorious Gardens from Above” as a textile dyeing expert as part of the Community Colour Garden project.
  • Featured in Craft Business, the largest UK industry publication for craft businesses.
  • Member of the team responsible for the production of the certificate in dyeing being developed by the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers.
  • Co-ordinator of a research project and exhibition to recreate an 1815 dyeing manual for Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills in conjunction with Leeds Museums and Galleries.

Business interests

  • Debbie is a partner in DT Craft & Design, an online and mail order textile arts business established in 2005.


Debbie learned to knit as a child, selling her first knitted designs when she was just 14. She went on to design for a knitwear manufacturer until she left Leeds to study Classics at Manchester University.

After spending 12 years working as a tax specialist, in 2007 Debbie left the accountancy profession. Since then she has worked as a freelance writer and designer for many well-known yarn companies and magazines.

Since 2007 Debbie has been teaching adults and young people a wide range of textile arts including hand-dyeing, knitting, crochet, felting, screenprinting and mixed media.

Debbie is a registered Arts Award practitioner and a Centre for delivery of the Crafts Council Bronze and Silver Arts Award. She holds a level 6 HE qualification in teaching Arts for Health and Wellbeing.

Debbie has a keen interest in the development and delivery of Lifelong Learning and was an active of the Learning Skills and Employment Network,(“ LSEN”) Strategy Group which sought to develop and promote Third Sector learning in the Greater Manchester area until its activities transferred to MACC in 2013. She is also a member of the Flourish network, Women Supporting Social Enterprise (“WSSE”) group, an organisation of like-minded female social entrepreneurs who provide support, mentoring and advice to startups and growing social enterprises.

Even when she isn’t working writing, teaching or designing you will normally find Debbie with a pair of pointy sticks and a ball of yarn or up to her elbows in a dyepot!