Stitched with love

A young entrepreneur with heart from East Islip

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While most high school seniors are busy enough with classes and extracurriculars, East Islip student Emily Blair decided to add on to that list by creating her own small business that gives back.

Last October, Blair began making crochet blankets for fun with a friend after seeing tutorials on the social media app TikTok.

“I never crocheted until I first made that blanket. I came across a video on TikTok and I kept seeing them because it was very popular, and then I called over my friend and we both got yarn and we both made a blanket together, and I just kept making them,” Blair said.

She gave close friends and family the blankets as Christmas gifts last year and they were a big hit. Her mother suggested that she could sell her blankets. So, in January of this year, Blair began selling her blankets with 20 percent of the profits going towards local nonprofits. 

When the business first began, Blair received orders through her mother’s Facebook page. Her mom would post about the blankets and then people would message her orders. Today, Blair has upgraded to her own website, blairsblanket.com.

“I would say it’s a lot more organized than having a Google Sheets with people messaging me,” Blair said with a laugh about her upgraded system.

Blair’s blankets are made out of chenille yarn and are made by hand. She sits on the ground and uses her hands to bring the stitches through each other. The smallest blanket she offers is 40 inches by 40 inches, while the largest she offers is 70 inches by 70 inches. Blair said it varies on how long it takes her to make a blanket.

“If I’m in a really good mood it can take four hours for a small blanket, but the large blankets sometimes take me a couple days, and I just stop and I come back later,” Blair said.

“It takes up a lot of time, but it’s something that I’m passionate about and I make the time for it.”

A large part of Blair’s business is her commitment to donating 20 percent of her sales revenue to charity. Currently, Blair donates to the Suffolk County Women’s Association to End Food Insecurity (SCWATEFI),  an organization that her mother, Patricia Blair, helped found. The organization is a group of women working towards eradicating hunger on Long Island.

“She is the best person I know,” Blair said of her mother. “She does so much for the community. She’s a lawyer, too, so she’s extremely busy, so I think that’s how I get some of my time-management skills for school and for this. This is her second organization that she’s founded and she just wants to make the community better.”

When Blair first founded her business, she donated money to E.J. Autism and raised $2,100 for the group.

Coming up, Blair, who is a member of the Islip Arts Council, will be teaching a “No Hook Hand Crocheting” class at the Islip Arts Council Gallery in the Westfield South Shore Mall. Blair is running two sessions of the class on Dec. 4 and 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. Blair said she wanted to teach classes on how to make the blankets so she could teach people tips and tricks that she wished she had known when starting out.

“I’ve found that the ways shown on TikTok aren’t always the best way to do it,” Blair said. “When I first came across those videos, some of them were really helpful, but others just didn’t address some points that I thought were important.”

Going forward, Blair said she loves what she is doing and is constantly buying yarn to make her blankets.

“I basically live at Michael’s now,” Blair said with a laugh. “I know how to drive to three places: work, school and Michael’s.”

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