By Cheryl Marsolais
Let me begin by saying.....Don't Put Your Dreams On Hold.
My name is Cheryl Marsolais and I have a handknitting business from my home called SQUIRRELS' NEST HANDKNITS. I have always been interested in needlework, especially crochet and knitting.
It all started when my grandmother taught me to crochet ripple afghans when I was in my late teens (many moons ago). I would sit and work on a project day in and day out. I still have some of my projects from way back when. My daughters have them on their beds and one sits nicely on the arm of my sofa comforting us as needed. Such a great feeling! (Some don't realize the satisfaction of a project made with your own two hands.)
Anyhoo......My knitting started when I was 19 yrs. old and I was renting a room from a Swedish woman. She would knit for hours on end producing beautiful garments for the members of her family. And I would be sitting near her crocheting my afghans. For some reason her knitting was something I had to know how to do. I asked and she gladly taught me the ins and outs of that amazing craft.
For about a year or so everyone I knew had an abundance of hats and mittens. They must have been great friends because they took my not so perfect productions with a smile.
From then on, I have always had a dream of doing this for a living. Something that most could not understand.
I got married and had children and the end result was that my passion had to be put on hold. Not for long though. When my girls were about two I took up knitting again. And it's been full force since then. I took a handspinning class, went to wool shows throughout New England, started a knitting guild, taught knitting classes.....basically, associated with as many fiber people as possible over the years. And I subscribed to as many knit or fiber related magazines as I could. I wanted to work for myself as I am not one to take orders...it must be the Libra in me. Other Librans will understand. The added bonus to working for myself is being able to stay at home with my children.
I made a phone call to a local merino sheep farm to find out if there were any other knitting related activities in the surrounding area and I landed my first "real" knitting job. The sheep farm was in need of someone to knit their sweater samples to take with them to sheep and wool festivals in New England. It's been about 7 yrs. now. Designing for them is in progress now and my patterns will be sold in kit form starting Spring 2000. Designing allows the creativity to flow. Along with not taking to authority very well, adhering to others patterns is not on the top of my list of favorite things to do.
I have expanded my horizons a bit to knitting samples for yarn shops and other designers who need to concentrate on customers and business. And another outlet is knitting custom sweaters. I follow your measurements, your ideas and can help with colors, etc. I don't expect to make millions on this venture and I do work part time to supplement my income. But I am striving for my dream of owning my own shop of one-of-a-kind sweaters of mine and other professional knitwear artists. And to have my sweaters in high end boutiques.
Just some words of encouragement to those who have dreams and think they will never see them:
Your dreams are what you make of them. Hard work and persistence are a must if you expect to succeed at anything. Life is what you make of it. Negativity in your life will keep you down. Get rid of it and those who bring it to you. This may sound harsh but ask others who have achieved in life and they will tell you the same.
Think of life's obstacles as adventures and you'll do fine!
If I can do it so can you! I am a widow of 3 yrs and a single mom raising 2 children. When my husband passed we had $600 to our name. No insurance policies....nothing! Now I'm back on my feet and stronger than ever!
Squirrels' Nest Handknits