Handmade by Her: Heather Nikula, our two-needle specialist.

Stormy Kromer sewerSK: What’s your job at Stormy Kromer?
If it’s got two rows of stitches, I did it. I do the double-needle work on the button and zipper vests, the town coat, our trousers—all the pants have two-needle pockets. It makes our clothes more durable, but there’s also art in it. Double-stitching is just more decorative.

SK: Do you have to sew everything twice, then?
HN: Nope—it’s a double-needle machine. Two side-by-side needles, two spools of thread, two sewing at the same time.

SK: How long have you been stitching for Stormy Kromer?
HN: Two years. I came back to Ironwood to be with my grandma, and I needed a job. I got the job to get a paycheck, but it turned into something I love. Now they can’t get rid of me!

SK: How do you feel knowing you’re stitching together a legend?
I think about that a lot when I’m sewing—a hundred years ago, someone was doing this same thing. People still want it, and we’re making it the same way. By hand.

SK: So how many pieces of Kromer outdoor apparel do you have?
Well, when I get one, it’s one for me and one for the boyfriend. So we have a few. I’ve got caps in pink, red/black plaid, green, black, brown and partridge plaid. All Originals. Oh, and one Ida Original. Yeah. A lot.

SK: What do you think of the new lines of clothing?
I love that we’re growing and thinking abut the kinds of things people could really use when they’re out there freezing their toots off.

SK: Why is wool the fabric to work with?
It’s warmer, and that’s what we’re looking for. You buy this cap or vest or jacket to stay warm, and it does the job.

SK: What do you do when you’re not making great Kromer gear?
I like to travel, but mostly I’m here so my grandma has someone to holler to if she needs help. She’s 87, and I take care of her.

SK: Does she have a Stormy Kromer cap?
HN: Well, I bought her one, but she’s an old-style finicky lady, and she won’t put a hat on her head. So the pink one I got for her—now it’s mine.

SK: Is there anything else you want to tell Stormy Kromer fans?
This is the most comfortable thing you can wear in five-degree weather and not be bundled up like the Abominable Snowman or that kid in The Christmas Story. It’s fashionable and comfortable. I’d own every piece of it if I could!

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