Blue Hill artist Kaytlin Cousins cuddles some of her crocheted creations. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTOS BY JENNIFER OSBORN

In the Cousins clan, crocheting goes back multiple generations



 

BLUE HILL — Kaytlin Cousins seems to have been born with crochet hooks in her hands.

A beloved aunt to many young children in the Cousins clan, she creates animals, sea creatures, Easter baskets, jumbo baskets, blankets, mittens, hats and scarves, baby headbands, Halloween costumes and more. Seemingly, any creation is possible for Cousins if she’s armed with a skein of yarn and her needles.

The Isle au Haut native has been crocheting since she was a very young child. She learned from her father, Maine Forest Ranger John Cousins, who learned from his mother, Mary Wallace Cousins.

“He says I surpassed him in skills by the time I was 11,” she said.

Her father had traveled out of state one winter for park ranger school.

“Before he left, he knit us a pink, purple and green blanket,” she said.

Cousins used to teach her classmates on the school bus how to crochet and now, she’s teaching a few of her eight nieces and nephews, who range in age from 7 months to 12 years. Her niece Addie seems to be following the most closely in her footsteps.

“As soon as she could hold a crochet hook, she wanted to learn. She would sit in my lap and I’d guide her hand.”

Doing business as the Fairie Ring, she sells her pieces at local craft fairs and through word of mouth and on Facebook. Crocheted blueberry hats and matching shoes are among the most popular. You can also find some of her baby things at Elizabeth’s in downtown Ellsworth, where she has worked the past two years.

She also does special orders. Just call or email with your idea.

“Someone just commissioned me to make Falcor, the dragon from “The Neverending Story,”” That’s a fantasy movie from 1984.

“I just like the challenge of creating a piece,” she said.

Kaytlin Cousins devises her own patterns on graph paper.

The 2007 Deer Isle-Stonington High School graduate never intended to start her own business. But, she was always crocheting things for nieces and nephews, which others would see and ask to buy their own.

Cousins uses a variety of materials for crochet, including acrylic, mohair and an acrylic/burlap blend. She usually stays away from wool because she’s allergic.

“I get most of my yarns from thrift stores actually. I love getting deals because I love passing my savings onto my customers.”

Last year, she crocheted coverings to adorn shatterproof ornaments she found at Goodwill.

Cousins sews everything free-hand — no patterns — except the ones she draws herself.

“I was never taught to read the patterns, so I just do it free-hand,” she said.

Why the name Fairie Ring for her business?

“Growing up, I was always into fairies,” she said. “I read ‘Ella Enchanted,’” she said. That novel explains that people who are tall with small feet, as Cousins is, are part fairy. “I thought that was really cool.”

“Crocheting is what I do most of. But, you name the craft, I probably do it,” Cousins said. “Summer people would come and teach us arts and crafts,” she said, recalling her childhood on Isle au Haut.

“[Stonington artist] Anne-Claude Cotty was my elementary school art teacher,” she said. “She taught us how to make books, how to do pinhole photography, how to make paper.”

To contact cousins, call 460-4462 or email her at [email protected]

 

 

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.

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