You might have seen these little stocking caps for sale in my store.
Well there’s a story behind these hand-knitted miniature stocking caps. I don’t knit, but I can tell you a little about the woman who did make them. Today I want to share what I can of her sad story.
I was driving around Twin Falls, Idaho (a town near where I live) this past spring, and I saw a sign in front of a church that said, “Crafters’ Rummage Sale and Exchange.”
Of course I couldn’t pass up the chance to see what was being offered at this “Crafters’ Rummage Sale.” At the very least, I thought I could exchange business cards with some of the other crafters.
In the church building, they had set up booths for crafters, many of whom were simply trying to de-stash their craft supplies by selling rolls of fabric, bags of buttons, skeins of yarn and embroidery floss, etc…
I approached one booth, where a lady had mini quilts and pre-cut quilt squares spread out or folded on her booth’s table, among other bits and bobbles.
On a rack that was sort of hidden behind her table I found a bag of teeny-tiny, hand-knitted stocking caps in a variety of colors.
I thought they might fit dolls like Barbie and smaller, but I wasn’t sure.
“Are these for sale?” I asked.
“Oh, those? Yeah, I guess. I’m not sure what to charge for them though.”
“How does two dollars sound?” I was thinking I would buy just one hat for that price.
“I didn’t make them,” the lady said, “Evelyn did. And we were in charge of going through her stuff — you know, her estate — so I just sort of brought them along today, but I didn’t know if anybody would even want them.”
I stood there, sort of dumbfounded. The woman in the booth must have assumed I was a member of their church and knew who Evelyn was. But I wasn’t a member of their church, and I didn’t know Evelyn.
The way she talked about Evelyn was sort of demeaning though, and I wondered why the woman in the booth would assume that I would share such a low opinion of her. Did every member of this church talk about Evelyn that way?
It sounded like Evelyn had died. But what was her story?
Was she a relative of the lady behind the booth, or just a fellow church-member who’d entrusted this woman with her belongings after she’d passed?
Had Evelyn been a hoarder, and this lady was resentful for being in charge of the estate after Evelyn’s death? Or was Evelyn her mother-in-law, and perhaps the two of them didn’t get along?
I imagined Evelyn living out a lonely existence, with no one coming to visit. In my imagination, she sat in her fluffy chair, knitting tiny stocking caps for a project no one would ever learn about.
Clearly Evelyn had spent long hours making these tiny stocking caps. There were about a hundred of them in the bag.
But the woman in the church rummage sale booth was very nonchalant about this bag of little hats in a lovely variety of colors. I wanted her to show some respect for Evelyn’s hard work.
The stocking caps were so tiny! So small! Each of them would fit on the end of one of my fingers!
“These little hats must have been a true labor of love,” I said.
But the lady in the booth didn’t seem to care one whiff about them! “Yeah, I don’t know what she thought she was going to do with these things. What a waste of time, making a gazillion of them for nothing.”
Determined to honor the memory of Evelyn and all the work she had put into these tiny stocking caps, I asked, “What sounds like a good price?”
“You can have the whole bag for ten bucks. I just want rid of them.”
I bought them on the spot, determined to make something wonderful with them, to honor Evelyn’s memory. Even if she had been a hoarder, every human life is important to God.
Evelyn’s hard work wouldn’t go unnoticed!
Within a week’s time, I found a little Remco I Dream of Jeannie doll at the Goodwill, and thought, “This doll will fit in Evelyn’s little hand-knitted hats.” And I made this little dress and coat to go with one of them:
You’ll see this image in my store, where I’m trying to sell some of Evelyn’s hand-knitted stocking caps.
But I’m not sure I’m marketing them well.
Tomorrow I’ll do a blog post, where I’ll ask your opinion about some of the different ways I’ve thought of marketing these little hand-knitted hats.
I’d love it if you’d help me brainstorm ways to honor the memory of Evelyn by getting her little stocking caps into the hands of people who will love and adore them, respecting all the hard work Evelyn put into them.
I can’t be sure that Evelyn is someone who lived alone and had no family to visit her; I don’t know if she was a hoarder; I don’t know much about her at all, only that she made a plethora of tiny doll-sized hats, and that a woman at a church rummage sale in Twin Falls spoke of Evelyn with distain and sold her bag of tiny hats to me with an attitude of “Good riddance!”
However, I did get the impression that Evelyn has passed away, and no matter who the crafter is, no matter how they lived their lives, the objects they made by hand should be honored with the respect deserving of any human being.
I intend to turn Evelyn’s creations into something memorable, in honor of the woman who made them.
Side note: Evelyn is a pseudonym I used to protect the identity of the crafter about whom this story is written.
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To honor the trademark rights of the doll companies mentioned in this blog post, I am including links to their websites here. Please feel free to visit their website and consider purchasing one or more of the dolls mentioned.