Hooked at an early age

Clarkston teen has crocheted too many projects to count

click to enlarge Hooked at an early age
Caitlin Beesley/Tribune
Penelope “PJ” Mosman laughs at a joke her brother, William Mosman, just told as she crochets at the family dinner table in Clarkston. Mosman, 17, learned how to crochet as a child but took up the hobby in earnest during the pandemic and has been selling her creations at fiber festivals and on the website Etsy for the past year.

Editor’s note: The days are dark, the excitement of the holidays waning. The winter doldrums loom, but it can also be a time for introspection and creativity. Over the next couple of months, Inland 360 will highlight arts and crafts, including handiwork like the crochet featured this week, that help some of our readers find peace in the moment and pass the time until the days are brighter.

Penelope “PJ” Mosman, of Clarkston, learned to crochet from her grandma Patsy Rogers.

click to enlarge Hooked at an early age
Caitlin Beesley/Tribune
Mosman’s current project, a rainbow alpaca, is worked on in this photo. One of the alpaca’s legs is worked on by holding a skein of white yarn double with another skein of rainbow-colored yarn.
“She knew how to, but she forgot, so she relearned with me,” Mosman said. “I started when I was 4.”

Mosman, now 17 and a high school senior, said it’s difficult to estimate how many projects she has completed.

“Just in the last year has probably been over 150,” she said. “So, hundreds.”

Her productivity ramped up last year when COVID-19 hit, and she began crocheting custom creations. 

click to enlarge Hooked at an early age
Caitlin Beesley/Tribune
Mosman poses with her pet camelids in the Mosman family’s backyard pasture just off Fleshman Way in Clarkston. Mosman has five alpacas - Rosa, Dolly, Dixie, Tina and Sparkle - and a single llama, Princess Buttercup, or less formally, Butter. The plan eventually is to collect fiber from the animals during shearing season and process it into yarn - which Mosman can then use in her fiber creations.
She has an Etsy shop, but the majority of her sales are via Instagram and Facebook.

Most of her projects are toy animals: a sloth, a giraffe, a rainbow-colored alpaca. Scrunchies for pulling hair into a ponytail or bun also are a frequent customer request.

“I made a sweater for my mom,” Mosman said. “That was really hard, because with wearables, sizing is really difficult.”

A typical piece, though, doesn’t require much attention.

“It’s just to keep my hands busy, normally,” she said, noting she crocheted in the dark car on the way to Seattle when her family visited relatives recently. “It became very relaxing over the years.”

Mosman uses patterns for the animals she makes, primarily from Etsy and Ravelry, a social network for fiber arts. Her yarn comes mostly from Joann, a fabric store with locations in Clarkston and Moscow. She prefers blanket yarn, mostly acrylic and cotton, for the animals she crochets, because working up the bulky yarn is easier on her wrists and shoulder.

click to enlarge Hooked at an early age
Caitlin Beesley/Tribune
Mosman’s delicate purple giraffe, made with acrylic yarn, is contrasted against the plushy and chunky yarn of a giant sloth in the background. Mosman uses a variety of different yarns to crochet her creations, but says she enjoys the yarns with larger weight, explaining the larger crochet hooks and different motion are more forgiving on her wrists.

One day, though, she hopes to crochet projects with yarn spun from fiber that comes from her backyard menagerie of camelids.

Mosman’s 16th birthday wish was to have an alpaca, and she got her wish, times four. She now owns five alpacas and a llama.

They had their first shearing earlier this year, but didn’t produce enough fiber to be processed. After their second shearing, set for May, she expects she’ll have enough.

“The next thing is to get the fiber processed enough to where I can spin it,” she said.

Then, she’ll try her hand at spinning, either with a wheel she owns but needs to repair or with an electric spinning wheel she hopes to acquire.

click to enlarge Hooked at an early age
Caitlin Beesley/Tribune
Baby Grogu headlines a collection of creations crocheted by PJ Mosman, displayed here in the Mosman family dining room.

In the meantime, she’s finishing her final year of home school, taking classes toward her associate degree at Walla Walla Community College and working two jobs, one at Intermountain Feed in North Lewiston and another at Rustebakke Veterinary Service in Clarkston. Her goal is to become a vet tech.

And, of course, to eventually crochet a project with yarn she has “grown” herself.

Stone can be contacted at mstone@inland360.com.