Erin Hopfensper | St. Paul, MN
Lori Nelson | St. Paul, MN
After living here and following the Saints for 3 years, I was excited at the opportunity to participate in a group creative arts project.
A knitter for over 50 years, I enjoyed creating something with a story and without a pattern! I grew up in the Red River Valley (NW Minnesota) in a small town that had two train depots and lines; the Great Nothern and the Soo Line.
My cozy is at Union Depot, so I incorporated train tracks into the design. I planned to make Northern Lights over the Tracks, but instead decided on “Twilight over Snowy Tracks”.
As a child I walked through the snow in wintry darkness across Highway 75, the Great Northern tracks, and the local dealer’s farm implements to the high school hockey rink. In the warming house I changed into skates and hit the ice for multi-age games of “pom-pom-pole-away, if you don’t come we’ll pull you away” and “crack the whip”.
Special thanks to Lois Lund, who taught me to knit and my mother Elaine who shared her love of art in all forms.
Pam Werb | Plymouth, Minnesota
Caitlin Anderson and I just joined this group. I want you to know the story of our joining the cozy project. Our yarn will mean so much more.
Caitlin’s mother, Helen, was my girlfriend and business partner for 41 years. We met at the University of Minnesota, married our college sweethearts, had children and raised our families sharing all that time and we ran a consulting firm.
Helen died suddenly on Oct 25. The loss is beyond words. Caitlin and I have always been close but this grief is just really something like a tidal wave.
Caitlin and I baked spritz cookies on Dec 14. This is something Helen and I did every year. But his year, without Helen, I called Caitlin.. We laughed and cried. All of our traditions need to be built again. Thursday was also Caitlin’s birthday, so just imagine. On Friday morning she called me grateful for a lovely day spent together and explained as best she could this cozy project and she had signed up and would I too? Of course I said yes. She said something about just knitting a rectangle and lightposts. I thought a 3 inch by 3 inch square and being part of a process. I am really a mitten and baby sweater knitter so my skills are not expansive!
Caitlin enrolled me as I was out doing errands and imagine when I got home to see your website and what you are up to.
This project of threads is a beautiful new connection for Caitlin and me. And I am thrilled for a whole lightpost. My cozy is maroon and gold in honor of Helen . She was such a proud University of Minnesota Alumnae. And our children are proud alumnae of the University of Minnesota too. We are an entire clan of Minnesota Gophers! So this lightpost, for this project, sings Minnesota Hail to Thee.
Cozy Dedication: “In loving memory of Helen Roemhild Wilke.”
Meet the Maker! Watch video here.
JobyLynn Sassily-James | St. Paul, MN
I am a full time photographer, painter, mixed media artist who resides in Lowertown and sells art out of a bus/gallery. While I am in awe of those who can create with yarn, I have no talent for that. The knitting sticks and I, we just don’t get along so I approached this project with what it is I actually can do, a little screen painting, a little acrylic and ink painting and a very limited amount of stitching (that old sewing machine isn’t a fan of me either) and this is what I came up with.
A lot of what drives my work these days is just plain and simply, beauty and chaos. The world is a confusing and frustrating place on so many levels these days and while we may not all agreed about which side is right in politics or if global warming is fact or fiction, I do think that most do agree that on this planet on one, some or many levels we are living amidst chaos while simultaneously surrounded in beauty.
I have been painting my abstracts through the chaos and beauty of the Earth and its dwellers and the stars and beyond.
Through brushstrokes and colors I try to release just enough of that to keep a balance. The days I was painted and stitched my stars panel, happened to be David Bowie’s birthday and day of his death. It influences that part of this piece as I repeated what I’ve been using as a mantra, “what would David Bowie do?” Thinking about it is a mood leveler…
Cozy Dedication: “To David Bowie.”
Lidia Cocchiarella | St. Paul, MN
Meet the Maker! Watch video here.
Valoree Dowell | St. Paul, MN
Like most knitters, my mother taught me and my sisters to knit. Being the youngest kid, they were are very proficient by the time my turn rolled around, and I was discouraged. But, my mom did not give up. She gifted me some beautiful sky blue yarn, a pattern and needles, perfect for making an Aran pullover of Icelandic wool. Her timing, however, was not perfect. I was in the hospital having just delivered my second son and on leave from a busy professional job. However, I gave it a start. And then went back to full-time life.
Fast forward 18 years. Early retirement. Kids at college. Rattling around a big house, I start cleaning closets. I find a bag with Icelandic yarn, pattern and some project on needles. Other than the receipt with the date on it and still in the bag, it’s a mystery. I have no idea where to begin, or rather, re-begin. Sister to the rescue. She helps me find my place, my way, my errors and how to fix them. We do this over cups of coffee, feet up on the ottoman, telling stories, laughing till we cry, breathing quietly as we concentrate on a tricky spot, coffee turns to wine, we occasionally leap up to admire that tricky spot well-executed. Soon enough, the sweater is finished. It fits! It’s gorgeous! Better still, 16 years later, every time I pull it over my head, my mom and sister give me a delicious hug.
But the story doesn’t end there. Son heard the Sweater Story so often, he thought the sweater was for him. Naturally, the next one was. He lived in Dublin then, his brother in California. Naturally, I traveled a bit. The sweater went with me. When I got stuck (as you do) I turned to knitting shops for help. I believe women who work in shops are all somebody’s sister, because they pour coffee—even wine on occasion—find your mistake but teach you how to fix it, laugh and tell stories, just as sisters should. That sweater was finished (while earning its own Frequent Flier card), fits and is gorgeous, too. I hope it feels like a hug, because there are many knitted into those grey merino cables.
Thus a hobby, or more like a way of living, was discovered. More sweaters, afghans, socks, hats, mittens, shawls for the sick, christening gown for the newborn, even dishrags for the newlyweds have been produced. Sisterhoods of knitting buddies have been found everyplace I’ve lived, including teaching the tradition to two granddaughters so far. And now, with encouragement from a sisterhood of virtual buddies, I’ve knitted a cozy for a lamppost in my new home of Saint Paul. It’s not fancy, but you can count on the hug.
Paige Norton | Lino Lakes, MN
Sierra Scheet | St. Paul, MN
When I was 19 years old, my mom realized that she never taught me to sew, a skill that all the women in our family had. She went out a purchased a used sewing machine for me. She gave me a quick lesson. For years I moved that sewing machine for apartment to apartment with very little use. In my mid-twenties my close friend got pregnant and a baby shower invitation showed up. I decided I could make a baby quilt. With the help of the internet and my mom, I made my first quilt which was a simple and small. I fell in love with quilting for that moment on. Most of the quilts that I have created are for close friends and family. They are all made with love and passion. However, I have sold a few quilts too. My brand is called thequirkyscheet (a play off my last name). I love picking out the fabric and creating a very special gift for someone. Fur babies and the elderly have also received my creations.
The piece I created for my lamppost is completely made out of scraps from my past creations. My cozy has fabric from my first quilt as well as my most recent one. I sewed similar color scraps of fabric together then cut 6 inch squares. Then I put the square back together and tried to create ombre effect. My “Frankenstein cozy” was a great way to re-visit my past work while creating something completely new for the Saint Paul Cozy Project.
Cozy Dedication: “To my grandma who kept her family quilts in perfect condition.”
Giesla Hoelscher | St. Paul, MN
Since re-discovering the crochet skills my mom taught me as a kid, I’ve really enjoyed taking on new projects and challenges. I crocheted 16 doilies for my wedding centerpieces 3 years ago, and last year’s challenge was to win a blue ribbon at the State Fair. I’m happy to say I succeeded! I’m going to try for another ribbon this year, but after hearing about the lamppost cozies I had to put that project on hold to make a cozy. I love Saint Paul and the Winter Carnival so much that participating was a must!
Cozy Dedication: “To my mom who taught me you can never have enough yarn, and my husband who has an admirable amount of patience for all of my projects!”