The first name that comes to mind is Maile Mauch. She has been a free lance designer of knitwear since 1974. Her designs have been published in a variety of places. At the present, some of her creations are available at the site for Pisgah Yarn and Dyeing Company.
Somehow a few years ago I ran across her website: K1,P1, Keeping You in Stitches. One of my goals at that time was to learn to knit lace. It was a technique I had never had the courage to try. I was amazed at the abundance of free patterns on her site with most of them being lace.
Soon after I discovered her site she announced the establishment of a Yahoo Group called: Cloth Of The Week. She was offering to teach new knitting techniques on a weekly basis. And so she has for almost the past three years. I have learned many skills from her ranging from t how to make a yarn over following a purl stitch to feeling comfortable following more complex patterns.
Maile's lasting gift to me is Courage: Courage to try new techniques…Courage to play with yarns and tools I have never used…Courage to think: "what if " and then to try out my idea… Courage to explore new patterns…Courage to try my hand at designing…Courage to go where I have never been. For this I will forever be grateful.
Shortly before Thanksgiving Maile had a stroke. At this time she continues to be recovering from this event.