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Knitting passion leads to craft-show business for 16-year-old 4-H youth

You never know where the inspiration for a career will come. For 16-year-old Susannah Hall, it came from the 4-H knitting project she taught herself by reading a how-to book at the library. Susannah is a 5-year member of the Ft. Sumpter 4-H Club. She recently taught other 4-H members and parents in Edgar County the basics of knitting, and each participant successfully completed a drink cup cover.

Susannah started knitting in 2011, and her first project was a washcloth she still has today. "I was so proud of it," she laughed. That year, she gifted all her family handmade scarves for Christmas, and the business took off from there. Soon, she was completing special orders for people who saw her projects. She uses Facebook and Etsy, an online crafts shop, to promote her products, as well as craft shows. "Knitting is one of those things you can do anywhere," she said. "I can knit while I wait for soccer games or in the car." She recently taught herself to crochet, but said she prefers knitting, saying "it's way easier."

Judy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager

Judy uses powerful words and photography to tell the Extension story. She is a skilled communication strategist and storyteller with demonstrated success in building teams and creating strong organizational brand identities that deepen Extension’s impact among key audiences, build brand loyalty, strengthen employee talent, and expand public engagement. She is a frequent conference presenter at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference and helps Extension staff across the nation tell compelling stories.