Sue DeWeese monograms Christmas stockings at her Main Street shop, Sue's Ultimate Embroidery. This is a busy season as she also puts names on jackets, towels, shorts, t-shirts, hats and anything else requested by a steady stream of customers.
Before they can be hung by the chimney with care on Christmas Eve, many gift stockings in Pratt make a stop at Sue's Ultimate Embroidery Shop at 206 S. Main to get embroidered with decorative names. And each of the near 100 that come through the door for the Christmas season, gets owner Sue DeWeese's undivided and careful attention.
"I'm very picky," she said. "I absolutely love what I do here and my name goes on every item that goes out the door. I want it to be perfect."
It would seem a difficult task to put more than 1,586 stitches in a fuzzy or fluffy stocking top in 4 minutes, especially when under the pressure of the holiday rush, but for DeWeese it is all a labor of love.
"I started this as my retirement project in 2000," she said. "It all began with a single stitch embroidery machine but it has just mushroomed from there. I now have four machines and I am using each of them almost every day."
DeWeese, who taught school for 40 years before opening her embroidery shop, uses only Brother machines. One is dedicated to stitching logos for one of her largest customers, Kanza Coop. Two other machines use 6-thread needles, and the fourth machine is a 10-thread model which enables her to employ more colors on more intricate patterns.
"The internet is vital to my business," she said. "I use a digitizer to convert any pattern to my use. If someone brings it in, I can figure out how to make the design."
More than 3,000 spools of thread hang on peg-boards or rest out-of-sight in a cool storage room for Sue's embroidery. She carefully emblazons hats, t-shirts, coats, towels, just about anything someone might want their name or company label on.
Many customers ship in merchandise for her embroidering touch, some from as far away as Brazil.
"We have one company that we have been doing all of their t-shirts for Brazil for about five years now," she said.
Some of DeWeese's local business centers around baby items, like onesies or bibs. She also takes on tougher projects like Carhartt coats that require as many as 100,000 stitches on the back of one design.
"I can take designs and ad stitches, take away pieces, or style them any way the customer wants," she said. "I just really love what I do. I've always been a creative person and I can do this without making a big mess, like painting."
DeWeese did admit her back aisle was a bit of a mess but in a complete different way. The bundles of t-shirts in the hall were finished and ready to ship out, and the coats next to them were due up on the machine next.
"Really I'm busy all year," she said. "It just gets a little busier at Christmas, that's all."
DeWeese is still offering a special deal on embroidering Christmas stockings with individual names. The regular charge of $10 is half off for orders received by December 10. After that, she will continue to take stocking orders, but they will cost the full price.
"I'm usually out of here by Christmas eve," she said. "I work every day from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. during the Christmas season to get everything done."
When she is not embroidering in her shop, DeWeese often accompanies her husband DeWayne to farm and ranch meetings, or enjoys working with her small alpaca herd. She has 4 boxes of warm, light alpaca wool waiting to be processed and spun on her spinning wheel. But that will wait until after all the Christmas stockings are completed and hung with care by Christmas eve.