Originally founded by mother-daughter duo Emma Petersen & Sue Aucoin, the Out of the Thistle Company has always offered one type of goods: the heirloom-quality handmade.
The Company was founded in the late 80s with humble beginnings of setting up shop at local crafts shows. The mother-daughter team specialized in making unique crocheted teddies; though, they were unlike any other teddy in the sense that they were crocheted from a single strand of thread and fully-jointed with moveable appendages. These two women became the first to offer these kinds of creations to collectors online, and their teddies became widely known as thread crochet bears--and the idea spread quickly.
In seeing an influx of folks attempting to recreate these unusual items, Sue (the daughter in the duo) decided to deepen her knowledge of the fiber arts to help set her items apart, to stand out as creating even more unique and beautifully detailed items. In doing so, she has perfected her methods of hand-dying her dolls and bears. For many years now, she has offered artist bears and dolls that have been crocheted from 100% wool, which were then waulked (also known as felting or fulling), essentially shrinking the wool, making the finished product denser, more fleece-like, and much more durable.
From 2003-2014, Emma and Sue sold their creations online under the business name "Thread Bears." In 2015, they decided that a new name, Out of the Thistle®, would open more opportunities for their creations and be more fitting for the wide variety of items they began offering. In staying true to their roots, they kept the Thread Bears® Intellectual Property as well and named a line of products after it.
Just as her mother had done, Sue has shared her fiber expertise with her four daughters. Her second oldest, Rhonda Potteet, now offers her variety of handmade heirlooms here as well.
Though their products initially began as just simple dolls, animals and bears, the expanstion of their goods now include exquisitely created. whimsical, unusual, and beautifully detailed gifts and patterns, specializing in one-of-a-kind items being created from natural fibers.
All of their handmade goods are created in the United States. No outsourcing for less-expensive labor; no other person is trusted in making these items at a lower cost, possibly compromising the quality.