Ahmelie Skistad has been sewing all her life.
As the oldest of seven children, the Good Thunder native grew up doing "a lot of sewing for the kids." Her mother taught sewing lessons in the home, and Skistad herself was on the 4H competitive sewing team, exhibiting regularly at county and state fairs.
These days, Skistad is an artist with an eye for striking patterns and adventuresome color combinations. Working nearly full-time from her Madison Lake home, she operates a pair of websites — www.ahmelie.com, and www.etsy.com/shop/Ahmelie — in addition to teaching lessons and designing her own patterns. Less than a year removed from receiving a trademark on her latest creation, she is among more than 40 vendors who will be exhibiting their wares during the Maker Fair on Saturday at the Blue Earth County Fairgrounds in Garden City.
"I was looking in my closet when I had an 'Aha!' moment," said Skistad, recalling the inspiration for Slox, the fashion accessory she trademarked last year. Slox are, essentially, long sleeves that can be worn as a stylish addition or as an extra layer against the elements. "I saw a pair of long socks and I put 'em on. My husband laughed at me the entire day. He even made fun of me on Facebook."
Skistad, however, is the one having the fun now.
At the end of the night, Skistad said her husband admitted he liked the idea. She applied for the trademark last November and received it in the spring. She is now manufacturing a wide variety of Slox styles in addition to her handmade lineup of swaddling blankets, burp cloths, teething rings, dresses and blouses.
Skistad envisions Slox having both practical and fashionable uses, from gown-wearing prom-goers and fashion-forward moms to athletes and runners. Skistad said her kids have used them during soccer matches, peeling the sleeves off when their bodies have warmed from the exercise. Joggers have worn them for the same reason.
"They are a fun, functional accessory," Skistad said. "They work well for exercising and for athletes. I wear them mostly as a sassy accessory, to dress an outfit up or down."
The Maker Fair began last year when Vernon Center native Sara Krosch organized a craft fair during a return trip from her current home in the Philippines. She was hoping to find a handful of other vendors to join her while she sold her homemade Just Coco virgin coconut oil products. So many people signed up, however, that organizers had to expand the event to accommodate all the interest.
This year, the event expanded even farther, relocating from the fire hall in Vernon Center to the fairgrounds. This year's event will also include make-and-take crafts for kids as well as good and beverage vendors.
For more information, visit www.makerfair.org.
If You Go What Maker Fair When 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday Where Blue Earth County Fairgrounds in Garden City Admission Free More info www.makerfair.org