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Magnolias on Locust joins lively mix

Paulette Wentzlaff opened Magnolias on Locust, May 18. The shop features her hand dyed wools, all the tools and resources to learn and start rug hooking and Boutique Clothing for larger sizes. Margaret Ontl photo.

Magnolias on Locust is a welcome addition to the street which is developing a reputation for offering residents and visitors alike a funky and fun collection of shops offering everything from fine jewelry to fashion, food and repurposed items. Owner Paulette Wentzlaff is bringing her own amazing talent to Hudson.

A native of Arlington, Minn., she was first exposed to rug hooking as a young girl, by a friend of her mother.

"This is the traditional art form rug hooking," said Wentzlaff, which is not to be confused with latch hooking, which uses short strands of yarn. "I have been doing this for a lot of years." Using thin strips of woolen fabric this is a tradition similar to quilting, in that it gave fabric a second life. "It is like painting with wool fabrics."

"I had a hard time finding fabric, nicer dyed wool," said Wentzlaff. So she did what any artist/entrepreneur might do she taught herself how to dye the wool. "I enjoy working with color."

Before she knew it she had built up quite a bit of inventory and in 2006 she went to her first show.

She buys the wool by the bolt, dyeing it 1/2 yard at a time.

"I am really known for my brights," said Wentzlaff. "I love color." Rug hooking wool is grouped in either a primitive palette or a bright palette.

She uses different methods including putting the fabric in a pan so the dye stays in one area (it looks tie dyed) and then it is baked like a cake.

She uses a five step process that she has developed over the years to create remarkably soft fabrics.

When this started she never dreamed it would become more than a hobby. Moving her business from East Farmington to Hudson has been a goal for a couple of years.

Wentzlaff, who lives in Osceola, expects to reach more customers and students in her Hudson location.

"I just bought a commercial stove. I do all of my dyeing outdoors," said Wentzlaff. "Wet wool, well you know what that smells like."

Wentzlaff now acknowledges she loves the dyeing more that the rug hooking.

Why, the name? Wentzlaff worked in Minnesota Senator Rudy Boschwitz' Washington office and the magnolias were one of the first to bloom.

"I just like them and always remember what they looked like and their fragrance," said Wentzlaff.

Magnolias on Locust will offer classes in beginning rug hooking, advanced rug hooking, Felting a bird house, silk dyeing classes, a Nuno felting scarf class and the Whimsical Proddy Bench class. Along with the classes, Wentzlaff is stocking, special dyed yarn, Merino wool roving, hooks, frames, wool on bolts and in half-yard sections.

The shelves look like a rainbow of colors.

In the center of the store is a collection of boutique clothing for women.

"I am trying to find mostly American made clothes and will carry up to size 26," said Wentzlaff.

Located at 206 Locust St., (the former Little New York location) Magnolias on Locust will be open Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call (715) 808-0047. A website is under construction at Magnolias.