My name is Ellen. I'm a fiber artist, teacher, wife and mother with a background in engineering and education. Knitting holds a special place in my heart because of its inherent balance between past generations and the future, creativity and utility, physical motion and slow living.
In 2011, I was working at a high stress, low pay job and I needed some sort of change in my life. The Chilly Dog was created as my personal balance between "do what you love" and "don't quit your day job". My hope was to share my general crafting knowledge, in blog form, and inspire others to create something wonderful with their own two hands.
In 2013, with the encouragement of my blog readers, I also began designing and self-publishing knit and crochet patterns, selling them first on Ravelry, then here in my online shop. (And, yes, I left the aforementioned job.)
2017 brought big changes to The Chilly Dog. After creating and hosting my first knit along for the blog, I realized just how rewarding it is to design a pattern and then produce all of the learning materials a knitter would need to successfully complete a project. I narrowed my focus from general crafting to knitting.
Now, I make the most of my time by designing patterns (available in my online pattern shop) that focus on essential skills and stitches knitters may not be familiar with. Then I build a series of companion video tutorials demonstrating the techniques. This system gives my blog readers access to a variety of free knitting tutorials and customers on demand support when they are stitching my patterns.
If you're wondering where my business name came from...
Many years ago, I set out on a quest. It was a quest to find an interesting, unique and fun addition to our household in the form of a dog. I spent months researching the traits and characteristics of just about every breed of dog known to man.
I was intrigued when I finally came across a curious breed known as the xoloitzcuintle (pronounced show-low-eats-queent-lay). They are a type of hairless, or mostly hairless, dog with origins in Mexico. The more I read, the more I was convinced that a xolo would be the perfect fit for our home.
Then I tried to locate an actual hairless dog. I found breeders in Washington, Texas,California and as far away as Finland. But nothing in Arizona. For a short while I contemplated making the trip to visit a breeder so I could see one of these animals with my own eyes. Finally, practicality got the best of me and I came to terms with the idea that a hairless dog was not in my future.
Surprisingly, one Sunday morning my husband found an ad in our local paper for Mexican Hairless puppies. It seemed too good to be true. By this point everyone in our home longed to see the mythical creature I had been describing for months. So, we called the number and set up a time to visit.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Pogo, an adult xolo and possibly the strangest animal I have ever seen. There was only one puppy left. She was a friendly, bouncy and wrinkly little thing with a few wisps of hair on the top of her head. It was love at first sight.
A few days later we welcomed our unique new friend into our home where she provided lots of companionship, smiles, and the topic for some great conversations.
My chilly dog was a wonderful reminder that being a little different can be fun. That's why she was the namesake for my crafty and creative blogging endeavor!