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Gayle Krause drives from Riverton to Casper to buy yarn. She brings her knitting in her car but insists she doesn’t knit and drive.

Krause is one of the many who knit newborn-baby hats for Wyoming hospitals. The multicolored yarn from Dancing Sheep Yarn & Fiber is her favorite, and she inserts a Bible verse in each cap.

The hats go to Riverton, Casper, Jackson and an orphanage in Lander. When her great-grandson was born in December at the Wyoming Medical Center, he ended up with one of her creations.

The newborn caps and Bosom Buddies, a knitting project that provides prosthetics for mastectomy patients, are a sample of the community work done by local crafting stores.

Michell Torregrossa-Kaul, owner of Girl In Air, has donated craft items for auction to charities and fundraisers such as Gracie’s Promise, the Jason’s Friends Foundation and the Festival of Trees. She has also sold gratitude journals in her store, raising about $1,000 for the Natrona County High School Angel Fund,

“I donate a lot back to the community because as a new business I don’t have $500 to donate,” she said.

Michele Heaphy, owner of Casper’s Pottery By You, said she also tries to help local causes.

“I think it’s important to kind of give back to the community and kind of help those groups that we’re interested in as well,” she said.

Local businesses and fellow craft stores are not left out of the equation.

Torregrossa-Kaul sells handmade items from about 20 Wyoming vendors. If the vendor is local and has her own shop, she’ll send interested customers their way. She also has a local artist paint seasonal murals on her store walls.

Charlotte Kinner, owner of Dancing Sheep Yarn & Fiber, has a wall dedicated to Wyoming yarn. It is made from sheep raised in state, processed and dyed.

For a project that involved knitting beads into a scarf, Kinner joined forces with Jade Elephant Beads, a jewelry store two doors down. The collaboration worked well, and Kinner said she would prefer to assist other local businesses rather than duplicate efforts.

“Supporting local people is very important to me,” she said.

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Reach city reporter Kelly Byer at 307-266-0639 or kelly.byer@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter @KellyByer.

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