During the holidays, it can be a challenge to find the perfect gift, but one Havre crafter has been helping people put something special on their Christmas mantles.
Betty Villett has been making Christmas stockings for 20 years, specializing in custom requests for interests from football team logos to pink zebras.
“They are themed ones, sports, animals, Christmas, character ones like Batman, Spiderman. Those kinds of things, ” Villett said. “I can do pretty much anything that anyone wants. I probably have a couple hundred right now. ”
Her living room, thoroughly decked out for the season, had a half dozen tubs full of her creations, with a customer coming by to browse the stacks.
The piles are a product of her near year-round dedication to the craft.
“Usually I take January off for a bit and do puzzles, ” Villett said, “but I'm usually at least thinking about them.”
In the rest of the year, that thinking keeps her eyes open as she browses yard sales, second-hand and fabric stores.
“I'm always looking for the candy canes and whatever to hang on there, ” Villett said.
Though Christmas themes are not all she searches for. Recent requests that presented challenges include peanut-patterned fabric and materials for a smokejumper stocking.
Villett, who occasional travels to shows with her sister, shows and sells her crafts at shows all over. In the past year, she’s been at festivals in Billings, Bozeman and Lewistown. In past years, she’s gone from Minot, N.D., to San Carlos, Calif., for it, though she prefers to stick to Montana, because “it's kind of hard to go out of state because of sales tax.
“We can barely keep up with here. We really enjoy doing them. ”