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.