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Gresham woman wants to crochet community together

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OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Gresham resident Julie Wilson has launched Sip and Stitch, a series of classes with the goal of bringing together people, local businesses and charities through crochet. The first gathering is Feb. 3 in downtown Gresham.We’ve all had those nights.

An idea pops into your head keeping you from sleep. But how often do those ideas become reality?

For Julie Wilson, a lifelong Gresham resident, her late-night lightbulb moment is taking shape next month.

Wilson launched Sip and Stitch with the goal of weaving together people, local businesses and charities through crochet.

“Literally two weeks ago I was about to go to bed and I just thought of it. It just popped into my head,” Wilson said. “My husband was already in bed and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I had a great idea’. I couldn’t sleep so I started writing down ideas of what I wanted to do and what I wanted to accomplish.”

The next day she posted the idea on Nextdoor.com, an internet forum for neighborhoods, then created a website, Facebook group and newsletter.

Once she saw some interest for her idea, she emailed local business owners asking if they would host her event.

Debbie Phillips, owner of Bella Cupcake in downtown Gresham, hopped on board.

“I wanted to learn how to make a scarf,” Phillips said. “She was just so nice. It was just a good way to bring the community together and it sounded fun.”

The first class is 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3 at Bella Cupcake, 101 N. Main Ave. The class costs $25 and includes the crochet needle, yarn, cupcakes and coffee.

Some of the proceeds will go to Bella, some will go to charity, and some will go to Wilson.

Her mission is threefold. One, bring people together over a common interest. Two, introduce people to local businesses. And three, donate some proceeds to charity.

Wilson learned to crochet from her grandmother, Arenia James, and picked it up as an adult again about six years ago. Then, in August, Wilson had a full hysterectomy which left her unable to work but gave her plenty of time to crochet.

“I started doing private crochet lessons on and off, here and there, then the idea (for Sip and Stitch) came,” Wilson said. “I’m not a very good patient and I don’t like just lying there. (The doctors) were like, you need to take it slow, and I said, ‘No, I need to get out of here and I need cup of coffee and I need something to eat’.”

Crochet works by creating a series of knots using a crochet hook to weave together yarn to make fabric. Wilson has made everything from king-size blankets to handbags and hats.

The first class will focus on scarves, which Wilson said is the “easiest thing to crochet in the world.”

Wilson plans to hold two classes a month that will increase in difficulty as she starts to get regular attendees. She also wants to hold events at different businesses to draw attention to all Gresham has to offer.

“I’m really excited because I love doing this and this is one of those things where I honestly can’t believe that people are excited about it,” Wilson said. “I thought, well I’ll try. You can’t hurt in trying.”

To register for the Feb. 3 event, visit Sipandstitch.net.