Melissa Totten holds one of her acrylic paintings – a winter scene. “This is one of my favorites,” she said. “I’d been wanting to really learn to paint since I was in school. But four years ago I started taking lessons and I fell in love with it.” Totten encourages everyone to get take up a hobby or two. Melissa’s Knit and Hobby offers classes in knitting, crocheting and painting. L.D. Bennett photo

Laura Dean Bennett
Staff Writer

Anyone who has ever opened a new business knows that it takes hard work, perseverance and a lot of luck to successfully make it past your first two years.

Melissa’s Knit and Hobby in Hillsboro celebrated its second anniversary April 6.

Melissa Totten, owner of the shop, said the first year was tough, but the second year was even tougher.

“They say the first year of owning any business is the hardest,” she said. “But I found that the second year was harder. 
“Business was just really slow.

“I expected that first winter to be bigger – you know with people having more time to sit and do hand work.”

But, business started picking up last fall and this past winter it was better.

“People weren’t used to me being here with the shop – and maybe more people have heard about the shop now,” she said.

Totten had an open house on the shop’s anniversary as a way to thank her customers.

“I’m excited that I’m still here,” she said with a smile.

“And I’m grateful for all the support I’ve had from family and friends.”

Totten said Debbie Walk-er, owner of Deb Ann’s Fabrics, which is located nearby, and Jim Burton, the owner the building complex where Deb Ann’s and Melissa’s Knit and Hobby are located, have been good neighbors.

“They’ve been so supportive and helpful,” she said.

The shop is a colorful collection of tempting project material.

Adding to the décor are framed and unframed paintings by Totten.

Yarn, acrylic paints, instruction books, embroidery thread and embroidery hoops fill the walls and display cases.

Totten, who loves to knit, said she didn’t always knit, in fact, she only took it up five years ago.

When her darling dog, an elderly beagle/basset mix was sick and needed her to stay home with him, Totten taught herself to knit.

“It was something to do to keep my mind busy, while I sat with him,” she said.

“I taught myself to knit by reading books about it and watching DVDs.”

Painting was “just one of those things.”

“I always thought it would be nice to paint,” she said. “I’d had a little experience with it in elementary school.”

“About four years ago, Sherry Wilfong had a painting class at church, and I tried it. 

“I fell in love with it, and I’ve been painting ever since.”

Wilfong occasionally teaches painting classes at Totten’s shop.

“I took crochet lessons from Sue Hollandsworth, and I really enjoy that, too,” she added.

Whether you are an old hand at hand work, or you would like to learn knitting, crocheting or painting, Melissa’s Knit and Hobby is the place for you.

“I’m starting a knit and crochet circle this Thursday, April 12th, here at the shop from 2 to 5 p.m.,” Totten said. “We’ll see what the students want to do. I’ll let them decide how frequently and when they want to meet.”

The crochet circle will be for people who already know how to crochet, want to work on their projects together and visit with each other. 

But, as usual, at Melissa’s Knit and Hobby, newcomers to the art of hand work are always welcome.

Totten invites everyone to visit her Facebook page: Melissa’s Knit and Hobby Shop LLC.

Melissa’s Knit and Hobby Shop is located on Rt. 219 in Hillsboro on Hill Street, just catty-corner from Deb Ann’s Fabrics.

The shop is open Monday through Friday from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.