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You Meet the Most Interesting People…

October 28, 2012

Randomly connecting with the interesting people around me is one of my favorite treats in life. Yesterday started with a goal to respond to all these great fall and winter fabrics I’ve collected that are begging to be pencil skirts for the office. It meant a trip to gather notions from a local big box store –  not that this bothers me at all. To accomplish this, I took a snapshot with my phone of the stack of fabrics to remind me of what colors I was after. I eventually found myself standing in front of the Gutterman threads completely enthralled by the conversation of two young women next to me. They were lamenting the difficulty of finding good quality fabrics for her yet to be disclosed project while tackling the same task of matching threads to fabrics in her basket. It contained a stack of the softest pure cotton knits in shades ranging from pale peach to chocolate-brown to which she was matching threads. I believe great acquaintances are made after someone in these environments opens with, “What are you making?”  so I asked. I’m so glad I did!

Chris, as I learned after later introductions, makes dolls. She didn’t start out doing this of course. All truly interesting projects emerge rather than come as a result of some grand plan. It gets better. She shares with me that it all started because she makes her own wool – she literally has a source in Michigan where the sheep are raised, sheared, and their wool collected. I learned Florida is not a conducive environment for raising sheep or I believe she would probably be doing that as well.

Chris once lived in Michigan, and yes, she can shear a sheep. She regularly participates in the whole process when she visits Michigan. So, she spins and dies her own wool which has turned from a hobby into a cottage industry for her. Then I learn that this was a result of her passion for knitting and crocheting – of course! Like all passionate textile artists, Chris had lots of scraps that she couldn’t throw away, so when she decided to make a doll as a gift for someone, the wool scraps became the hair. Everyone fell in love with the unique design she created so she made a few more.  Since her wool yarn comprises her business and revenue stream, and she is busy raising a toddler, youngster, and teenager, she shared that her doll making has become her creative outlet and sanity stabilizer. After rave reviews she decided to test the market for them. She now has more orders than dolls, and she showed me a picture of one. They are adorable!

Chris shared with me that since she never sewed clothes, her difficulty is in outfitting these little things in well-fitting pieces. I shared my contact information with her and a promise to connect her to both a great on-line fabric source – due to the first part of the story – and someone I know who does pattern drafting and fitting. She was thrilled. It was so much fun to meet her, hear her story, and most of all, to be able to help her achieve the next step! There are so many interesting people standing right next to us no matter where we are. I’m glad I decided to make some skirts this weekend. 😉 Chris was delightful, and her dolls adorable. I’ll work on getting a link to her dolls and wool to share.

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