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Carroll County Times
Carroll County Lifestyles

An Eye for Art: For Hampstead craftsperson Ruth Colson, sewing ‘gives me something to look forward to’

Ruth Colson is a craftsperson living in Hampstead. Colson got started in crafts when she attended Franklin High School in Reisterstown. Colson loved her home economics teacher, Mrs. Duncan. Colson went to the home economics room while she waited for the bus to pick her up. Her teacher taught her more advanced sewing because Colson caught on so well, making skirts and aprons in class.

“I have always sewn,” Colson said. “I made all three of my daughters’ clothes, including dresses and pajamas.” She also made a lot of clothing for herself — dresses and skirts.

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As her girls got older, Colson had more free time. In the 1980s, she and her girlfriends started making crafts. They made pillows, placemats and table runners. Then Colson got interested in crocheting and started making baby blankets. Many blankets were made for project Linus, a non-profit organization that donates blankets to local hospitals for infants to use as security blankets. She also made quilts for babies and for all ages of children.

Colson quilted blankets for her daughters when they got married.

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After her girls got married, Colson worked full time and sold her handmade crafts at 15 shows a year, including those held at the Carroll County Farm Museum. Colson sold crocheted items for babies. She also sold sewn items including bibs and taggies (a small blanket that has ribbons on the edge for a security blanket). The silky ribbons are a tactile item for babies.

Currently, one of Colson’s specialties are items made from Ravens logo fabric. They include lanyards, key fobs, potholders and bookmarks. She also sews many items for the kitchen. She uses holiday and kitchen-related fabrics to make microwave bowls, aprons and potholders. Colson also makes six-pocket totes. She uses children’s fabrics and adult fabrics as well.

Colson also makes items such as placemats for cats and dogs. The dog mats are made in the shape of a bone and the cat mats are made in the shape of a fish.

Ruth Colson is pictured with her hand sewn crafts. Photo by Lyndi McNulty

She also makes Christmas stockings for people, and cats and dogs. “I just completed 20 personalized Christmas stockings as a commission for one family,” Colson said.

Colson and her grandson, Jim Curtis, also wrote a book titled, “Grandma and Eddie” (her dog). Curtis was just 4 years old at the time. “Things he said reminded me of a story and so I wrote it and we published the book,” Colson said. Her oldest grandson, Josh Bonin, did the graphics for the book. She also sells books at the crafts shows.

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Her latest creative idea is a farmhouse-style button. Her first two designs include a flag and a Christmas tree. “Being a seamstress, I have hundreds of buttons so I found a creative use for them,” she said.

Colson sews almost full time for the Maryland Store. She makes aprons, microwave bowl holders and baby sundresses and bibs in Maryland-related fabrics, including crabs and the state flag.

Some of the shows she participates in include the Liberty High School spring and fall craft shows, Pleasant Valley Fire Department Show, Shipley Arena Sykesville Marketplace and Grace Bible Church in Manchester.

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Colson also makes tote bags, tissue packets, potholders and aprons for Independent of Autism to sell. It is a nonprofit organization that sponsors support groups and counseling.

“Sewing is my therapy. It keeps me busy and gives me something to look forward to when I get up in the morning. I cannot imagine ever not sewing,” Colson said.

She can be contacted at sewinggaggie@comcast.net.

Lyndi McNulty is the owner of Gizmo’s Art in Westminster. Her column, An Eye for Art, appears regularly in Life & Times.


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