Business enriches lives of mother and daughter

Raejean Flatt’s multicolored, wool-socked feet steadily pump the pedals of her spinning wheel as she creates vibrant spools of yarn.

Though Raejean adores the creative space she’s shaped at Sheep to Shawl at CrossRoads Cottage, she admits there are days she’d prefer to stay home and garden. But Raejean said keeping the shop going means keeping her daughter Marissa going.

“This whole shop really is for her,” Raejean said. “I would go home and bake cookies … if I wasn’t here. I want to give her something meaningful to wake up to.”

The Flatts discovered Marissa had a condition called Neurofibromatosis when she was just 18 months old. Since then they have gone through dozens of brain surgeries to remove tumors the condition creates.

“When you go through something like we did with her, you loose contact with friends. You become isolated,” Raejean said.

The buzz of activity at the shop acts as therapy for both women. Flatts loves sharing her creative spirit with the fellow knitters who stop by. She uses the back of the shop as her studio. Sitting in comfy chairs women often come to learn how to create their own yarn –– everything from dyeing it the colors they choose, to carding it into shape, to spinning it. Raejean also creates works of pottery in the studio. She sells everything from tiny pieces of jewelry to full vases.

She said she especially loves sharing the space with Marissa, who will turn 31 this year.

She doesn’t love knitting or spinning yarn herself. But if your shoulders or fingers ache from knitting, she does love to give massages. Many days though the NF impedes her memory and often causes her to feel tired or ill. Marissa said other jobs in her life didn’t make her as happy.

“I couldn’t really complete the job 100 percent,” Marissa said. “Now, I sell the pecans that my mom and dad help me pick up out of our yard. I tell mom we should put up a sign that says we sell pecans too.”

Marissa also loves being around the people. She enthusiastically shows people around the shop, offering ideas for Christmas gifts or colorful yarn to use for their next project.

That’s why Raejean said she moved the shop from Main Street in Montevallo to Highway 22 earlier this year. She said she wants more people to see the shop, be curious and stop in.

“I want it to be busy enough for it to be beneficial for Marisa,” Raejean said. “I want her to have the interaction with people that she loves.”

Sheep to Shawl is open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The shop will be closed from Dec. 22 to Jan. 6.