Stocking up on a keepsake
Deloris Bowers' creations can be found coast to coast. They're usually seen around Christmas -- but are treasured throughout the year.
Bowers has made 71 Christmas stockings for close family members, including her eight children, 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandkids.
She's made 11 more stockings for friends, acquaintances and other relatives, for a total of 82.
"It's just something I enjoy," said the 80-year-old Lake Park woman.
Bowers began making the stockings in 1989.
The first stocking went to a grandchild, who later told Bowers she should make one for his mother, Bowers' daughter.
That led to requests from other family members.
Each stocking's pattern is a little bit different, although all share a Christmas theme.
It takes about two weeks to make one stocking.
She's made as many as four or five stockings per year. She makes them now when there's a new addition to the family.
She's ahead of the game, recently completing a stocking to give to the next family member born.
Bowers has sewed since childhood. She continues to enjoy sewing, even while watching her beloved Minnesota Twins on TV.
"I'm not someone who can just sit around and watch TV. I have to be doing something else, too," she said.
Sewing has taken on extra significance in her life recently. Bowers is fighting cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, which reduces the feeling in her hands and feet.
"Sewing is great therapy for her hands," said Bowers' daughter, Connie McDougall of Hawley.
Bowers does other sewing projects for her family as well. For instance, she sends a cross-stitched wedding picture to each grandchild who gets married. Cross stitching is a type of embroidery.
Bowers said her large family gets along well. "When we get together, there's no arguing, no fighting," she said.
This summer, Bowers celebrated her 80th birthday in Lake Park. Most of her family was able to attend, and they brought along 75 of the stockings she made.
"There's such a great keepsake," McDougall said. "Each of these stockings is cherished by our family."
Jonathan Knutson is a staff writer for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.