By ABBY BELDEN
Some people are just born with a crafty gene.
Amanda Manning is one of those people. She has created fake flowers, props for photographers, crocheted hats, blankets and more.
She can crochet an adult-sized hat in less than an hour.
Manning, who lives in Hays, hasn't been crocheting all her life though; she picked it up approximately two years ago.
"I've always liked sewing ... but the crocheting -- my mom gave my daughter a hat when she was little and I loved it, and I said, 'I need to learn how to do that,' " Manning said. "So, I did. I made one, went to Walmart and ended up getting three orders."
Oh, for the Love of Crochet was born and the orders started to trickle in.
"They told their friends, and I kept on getting more and more orders," she said. "The next thing I know, I had a website and orders galore."
The story of how Manning came up with the name for her business resulted in an early morning epiphany.
"I couldn't sleep, and everyone was like, 'You need a website.' And I was up at like 3 in the morning, and I was like, 'Oh, for the love of ... crochet,' " she said.
The name stuck, and the business has kept her busy since it began two years ago.
Manning, who has two children and is a stay-at-home mom, works on a variety of crafts such as crocheting hats, creating skirts and pillowcase dresses throughout the week, averaging approximately 20 to 30 hours.
Some of Manning's products have shipped throughout the states. She has shipped orders to Chicago, Texas and New York.
In addition to sending an order to Seattle, her friend's son was used in an ad while wearing the hat Manning crocheted.
"A friend ordered a hat from me, and her bank was like, 'Oh, we love this hat, we want it on our billboard,' " Manning said. "So it was on billboards and buses and on the side of two-story buildings. This hat was on her little boy.
"It was really cool. It was all over town."
When the cold weather starts to move in, Manning said she is busy between September and March.
"In the winter, I'm making 50 to 60 hats a month for orders," she said. "I think this last year, I had 40 hats on order at all times for three months straight."
With some of the orders of hats here in Hays, Manning has witnessed her product in action.
"It's weird," she said. "We went to the Christmas thing out at the Old Fort, and there was like five of my hats just wandering around, I'm like, 'Wow, this is really weird.' I'm kind of looking forward to seeing some of the cancer hats though. That will be neat."
In addition to crocheting popular sellers such as Cookie Monster hats or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hats, Manning also has specials from time to time.
Manning had a special in December, and for each hat purchased, she crocheted a hat to be donated to Dreiling/Schmidt Cancer Center.
Manning said she donated 47 hats to the center.
She said there were some people who donated yarn so Manning could make the hats to donate.
During the winter months, Manning normally crochets hats and blankets, but with the changing seasons comes different products.
Instead of working on more hats, Manning has been sewing skirts and pillowcase dresses.
"Well, last year, I wasn't making them because my sewing machine broke, so I didn't really sew any of them and then I got a sewing machine and posted pictures and everyone was like, 'How much?' "
But Manning isn't stopping there.
"I have all kinds of plans," she said. "I ordered some patterns to do some different dresses, and they are really, really cute."
Some of those plans might include craft fairs.
Even though Manning has not ventured to any craft fairs, it is not an entirely new thought for her.
"I keep getting asked to, but I never have enough time to get it going," Manning said. "So I am hoping this summer I can just stockpile everything and get a bunch."
To browse Oh, for the Love of Crochet products, visit www.facebook.com/ohhfor.the.love.of.crochet?ref=stream.