Paulette Berry of Brainerd has plenty of yarn and the magical hands to bring it to life.
Berry, 63, crochets and she has done this craft since 1979. She first learned the basics from a friend on how to make scarves and hats. Then over the years she taught herself newer, advanced skills and has since made pretty much everything.
Her new crochet craft? Making little girl dresses. In the past 18 months, Berry has made more than 200 dresses that are geared for girls 18- to 24-months old. Berry said it takes about 10 hours to make one dress.
It takes Paulette Berry of Brainerd about 10 hours to make one crocheted dress. Berry, who has made more than 200 crotchet dresses in the past 18 months, says making the dresses keeps her busy and her mind off the sad things that happen in her life. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
"They're fun to make," said Berry. "I started making them and I never thought about what I'd do with them afterwards. I've made so many because I'm trying to use up my yarn."
In October, Berry took a few of her crotchet dresses to the gift shop at the Lakes Area Senior Activity Center in Brainerd. She sells the dresses for $31.25, but so far she hasn't sold one.
"I don't know what I'm going to do with all these dresses," said Berry. "I've sold a few dresses in the past at bazaars and other things I crocheted to make a little money. It never covers my cost. It's a labor of love for me, a talent God gave me to share with others."
Berry began her craft by making gifts for her family and friends. She'd make baby clothes, slippers, towels and afghans and even stuffed animals. When Berry and her husband moved to Alaska, where they lived for 18 years, she had more time to crochet and her crafts began to add up. Berry said she worked at JoAnn Fabrics in Alaska and she sold her crafts at sales.
The red, green and white and red and white crotcheted dresses were made with the Christmas holiday in mind. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
In 2004, the couple moved back to Brainerd. Berry said it was tough to pack because she had to bring 15 18-gallon totes full of her crafts and materials back to Brainerd. Currently of the 15 totes, five of them are full of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 ply yarn.
Berry has plenty of crafts, but she can't seem to stop. Crocheting is something she loves to do and it also helps keep her mind busy.
"I need to keep busy to get me through the grieving process," said Berry, whose husband died four years ago on Dec. 5. "I have to keep busy."
Wherever Berry goes she has her crotchet things with her. When she has free time she works on it. She brings it to work at Movies 10, where she sells tickets and she crotchets on her breaks. If she's at the doctor's office she'll crotchet in the waiting room.
Paulette Berry of Brainerd has made more than 200 crotched dresses that are made for girls 18- to 24-months old. Berry sells the dresses at the Lakes Area Senior Activity Center in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
"I can't just sit there, I need to be doing something," said Berry. "I need to burn off all my nervous energy."
Over the years, Berry has shared her talent by teaching others how to crotchet, including her two sisters, her daughter and five friends in Alaska. Berry would like to teach more people her talent and host a class at her home. No classes have been set up yet.
Berry may start making smaller dresses for dolls and sell them at a children's store.
Not only can Berry crotchet, but she also can do other crafts, including quilting, sewing, wood crafts and embroidery. Her other passion in life is playing the piano and organ.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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