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Woolly Works Knit Shop & Alpacas

When she was a small child in her hometown of Koblenz, Germany, Edie Fisher’s grandmother spent hours teaching her to knit and crochet. “I loved it,” Fisher said.Fisherís grandmothers would take turns babysitting Fisher and her siblings while their parents worked in post-war Germany. “We didn’t have much but no one else did either so it was normal for us to make use of scraps of all kinds, be it food or yarn,” Fisher said. “We were all expected to contribute to the family in some way.”As a young adult, Fisher felt confined in Germany, and in 1976, she ventured to the United States. “I wanted to experience the big, wide American spirit,” Fisher said. She ran out of money while visiting friends in Chicago, so she joined the Air Force. “I needed stability, a source of income and an education, and I figured the military could offer me all those things,” she said.Fisher earned her bachelor’s degree in business management through the Air Force and became a civil engineer. “I figured as a civil engineer I could go most anywhere,” she said. She was stationed in Florida when she met her husband, Clyde Fisher, a satellite communications specialist. “He was sent to the Azores, and I was sent to Alaska,” she said. “After a very long distance romance, they married while on leave in Florida in 1985. “I told him I needed four months to make my wedding dress. I finished my tour in Alaska and he in the Azores and then we both were sent to Mississippi.”In Mississippi, Fisher rediscovered her love of knitting. “I didn’t have much spare time in the other places,” Fisher said. Her husband asked her one day what she would like to do when they retired, and Fisher told him she wanted to start a knitting business. Worried that they would end up in Mississippi until retirement, Clyde Fisher took an assignment in Korea that would after a year send him to Germany where Edie Fisher would join him. They would eventually end their careers in Colorado. “We had purchased some land in New Mexico that we intended to build on when we retired and Colorado was the closest we could come to it,” Fisher said. Before leaving for Korea, Clyde Fisher purchased Edie’s first knitting machine for her. “I still have it and use it,” said Fisher. “I was alone for year while he was in Korea, and I spent many hours with that machine.”After a year in Germany, the Fishers were sent to Colorado in 1992. “We sold our New Mexico property and decided to stay here,” Fisher said. They retired in 1998, and, in 1999, Edie Fisher opened her business. “I started out by knitting only custom orders,” Fisher said. “I made a lot of sweaters and Christmas stockings.” To gain exposure, Fisher rented booths at craft fairs and expanded into selling yarns, which she buys from wholesalers. “The first couple years I spent a lot time learning how to market my business,” Fisher said. “Learning how and where to advertise was the key to my success.”Fisher ran her business out of her Falcon Hills home for a few years but because of the growth of the business and her love animals, she decided they needed a bigger home. “I had two alpacas in my backyard for three years in a residential development,” Fisher said. They purchased land in Latigo Trails and built their home.Her love of alpacas started when her mother sent her husband a scarf and hat for Christmas from Germany. “I called her and asked what they were made of because it was so soft,” Fisher said. “She told me it was alpaca hair. I asked her what an alpaca was because I’d never heard of it.” Curiosity sent Fisher to the Internet where she learned about alpacas. “I went to a few farms and fell in the love with them,” Fisher said. Traveling with a friend to Nebraska to attend an auction, Fisher bought her first alpaca. “He had been neglected,” Fisher said. “He hadn’t been shorn in five years.” Her friend purchased a llama and together with their two dogs that went along for the ride, they all trucked back to Colorado in a van.Today Fisher’s Latigo Trails home also is home to her business, where she has a fully stocked store, a workroom with six knitting machines that also display swatches of various yarns, patterns and stitching; and an open area where she holds classes and keeps her spinning wheel and an assortment of different animal hair that she spins into yarns. In addition to her home store, Fisher also has space in the Antiques Mall at Constitution Avenue and Academy Boulevard, where she sells yarns, patterns, supplies, some clothing and teaches knitting and crocheting classes. She also gives lessons at the Hobby Lobby on Palmer Park a couple days a week. “I only teach hand crocheting and knitting,” Fisher said. “I don’t carry around my knitting machines because they are too big.”For those who think using knitting machines is “cheating,” Fisher had this to say: “It’s no different than using a sewing machine instead of hand stitching. It is a tool that allows me to stay competitive and sell a high quality product. A knitting machine has 200 needles on it and learning to use it is like someone learning to use a computer. I still draw out my own patterns and program them into the machine. Everything I make is handmade.”Fisher’s husband is currently working in the Middle East in Qatar, but Fisher is far from alone at home. She shares her home with one dog, one Angora rabbit, three cats, four alpacas and six birds. The dog acts as a guard for the alpacas, the cats keep mice out of the house, the Angora rabbit and alpacas provide hair for yarn and the birds’ feathers are used for craft projects. Just as Fisher learned as a child in post-war Germany, “Everyone contributes.”

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