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Finding inspirations, Farm life inspires Hickman to make gifts

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Bushnell, Neb. – Melissa Hickman learned to knit and crochet when she was just seven years old. Little did she know that a skill she learned at such a young age would turn into a small business for her one day. 

“My mom handed me a crochet hook and some yarn with instructions to ‘learn.’ She wasn’t able to teach me her own methods because she was left-handed, and I am right-handed, but I worked it out and have crocheted ever since,” Hickman said.

Raised on the farm

The Bushnell, Neb. crafter lives on a small dairy goat and fiber animal farm, which inspires her creations in some way. 

“The biggest challenge for me is finding enough time to make all the things I want to make,” she said. “I have tons of ideas but never enough time.”

Hickman started her home-based crafting business in 2006 so she could home school her children and take care of one of her daughters, who has a medical condition. 

“My daughter has a very rare cranial condition, so I couldn’t work outside the home due to her surgeries and regular doctor visits. Having my Etsy shop allows me to make a little extra income for our family, while still being able to take care of her medical needs,” she explained.

Melissa has faced her own challenges since recovering from a stroke eight years ago. 

“I had to take a break from making and selling on Etsy to recover. I had to relearn to do pretty much everything in my daily life – and that included relearning how to crochet, but I persevered and eventually got back on track,” she proudly admitted.

Creative outlet

Hickman liked the creativity crocheting provides her. 

“There are so many things I can make with yarn and so many beautiful colors to choose from. I love watching as something comes to life in my hands. I find inspiration for my projects in many places, including my family, our goats, pets, nature and everyday life,” she said.

“We have a small dairy goat and fiber animal farm we started in 2006. We have Nubians, Nigerian Dwarf goats, alpacas, llamas, sheep, turkeys, geese, chickens, miniature pigs and a small pony,” she continued. 

These animals have all spurred Hickman’s creativity through life-like plush farm toys, animal hats for both animals and humans, farm animal Christmas stockings and a unique egg apron. Hickman makes the egg apron for children through adults and even makes a smaller version to fit dolls. 

“I love making anything farm or animal related. Right now, I’m really into making chicken items,” she said. 

Finding her passion

“I have a passion for creating crocheted items for the outdoors and farming lifestyle,” she continued. “People will find specialty farm items like crocheted egg collecting aprons, goat ear warmers and chicken sweaters in my shop, in addition to more traditional types of crocheted crafts like baby blankets and boot cuffs.” 

“I also write my own crochet patterns,” she added.

Hickman markets her creations through Facebook, an Etsy site and by word of mouth. 

She also donates items to charities and fundraisers when she has a chance.

“There are so many rewards to my business,” she explained. “I love making crocheted items for people. Seeing someone so excited about something I made for them is very rewarding.” 

“There is no better feeling than making something by hand for someone who really appreciates and loves that item. I also enjoy the new friends I make and having the opportunity to teach people about crocheting,” Hickman added.

Gayle Smith is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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