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Carolyn Christmas has spent most of her life involved with needlearts. A fourth generation seamstress, quilter and crocheter, she learned to knit and crochet at age 5. Growing up in sparsely populated West Texas, she often knitted and crocheted to pass the time on her 110-mile round trip school bus ride. Far from the distractions of shopping malls, movie theaters or even telephones and consistent television reception, Carolyn filled her time at home with painting, sewing and other creative pursuits.
Carolyn studied art, journalism and political science in college, then started offering her original crochet, knitting, plastic canvas, needlepoint and cross stitch designs to publishers in 1984 shortly after her second and third children, twin daughters, were born. Carolyn recalls, "At home with my babies in my twenties, I pored over issues of McCall's Needlework and Crafts and other magazines, reading the tiny print with designer credits. I knew there were people out there succeeding at designing things for publication. I finally got up my nerve to investigate how it all worked and began with great trepidation to send out my work."
Over the two decades that followed, Carolyn shared her love of crochet through her roles as author, magazine and book editor, publisher, product designer and teacher. She created literally hundreds of designs for publication - everything from fashion to afghans, stuffed animals to doilies. And all the while, she held down corporate jobs in needlework publishing and in advertising and marketing.
In 2002, she left the corporate publishing world to begin working at home, publishing her own line of crochet patterns under the Gourmet Crochet name. Her popular wearable designs are easy-fitting and flattering for all sizes, created with real women's body shapes in mind. Most include sizing up to 5X.
Inspired by her love of artistic cloth dolls, Carolyn has recently released Gwendolyn, the first in a new collection of patterns for creative crocheted dolls. "I love dimensional crochet and the very exacting process of interpreting a flat sketch into a stuffed crocheted item. I've been hired several times over the last few years to create licensed characters in crochet for publishers. And I've always loved sewing artistic cloth dolls, so creating whimsical original dolls in crochet was kind of a natural evolution," said Carolyn. "Gwendolyn and her upcoming friends are a bit on the untamed side with their colorful clothing, varied body shapes and wild hairdos. Making dolls, for me, has always been very liberating and laugh-out-loud delightful, and I really hope the people who buy my patterns get that same kind of enjoyment from them."