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Tracy Frank, Published March 26 2013

Her Voice: Knitting becomes small business for NDSU student

FARGO – Sara Bowman can often be found with knitting needles and yarn in hand.

The 24-year-old does it while studying, hanging out with friends, and even while playing trivia games at Dempsey’s Public House in downtown Fargo.

“I’ve knitted so much that I don’t have to think about it,” she said.

Bowman, who grew up in Casselton and now lives in Fargo, taught herself to knit in high school using an old book that her mom had, she said.

What started out as a hobby became a way for Bowman, a sophomore microbiology major at North Dakota State University, to earn some money for her college textbooks.

She now makes winter headbands and hats she sells at Unglued craft shop in Fargo and at Red Raven Espresso Parlor’s Makers Market, a craft fair the Red Raven holds on the first Saturday of every month.

Bowman made her own patterns for the headbands, which are decorated with an off-center knit flower with a vintage button sewn into the center of it.

“It took a couple of tries,” she said. “There are a couple of prototypes that didn’t quite work out.”

Bowman started selling her headbands and hats after friends saw hers and asked her to make one for them, too.

She said that while not many of her friends and peers knit, it makes her proud to see them wear the things she has made.

“I have two friends who knit, but most people my age don’t because they feel it’s something our mothers’ generation does, which is really unfortunate because it’s really fun,” she said.

Bowman typically makes about five in a week and sells them for $25 apiece.

“It’s very calming to make something with my own hands,” she said. “It’s very nice to take a piece of yarn and make a hat out of it. I think that’s kind of amazing.”

Some of her designs are pictured on her Facebook page, Sara Bee Knits Fargo.

While she has done custom orders, she’s hesitant to take on too many because of her busy schedule, she said.

In addition to being a full-time student, Bowman also works part time in NDSU’s Plant Diagnostic Lab. She is also involved with the biotechnology and microbiology club. She volunteers for Relay for Life, Science Olympiad, and River Keepers. For River Keepers, she makes reusable bags out of donated T-shirts.

“I thought it was a good way to craft and help out at the same time,” she said. “It’s nice that I can put my sewing skills to use in a positive way.”

Bowman plans to go to graduate school for vaccinology research or public health. She said she has always liked science and wants to make a difference in the medical field.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526.