An artistic flare seems to have always been a part of the life of Luanne (Wentworth) Peterson, so it is no surprise she is able to take a skein of yarn and create beautiful and useful stocking hats which are donated to cancer patients and others experiencing medical trials.
Luanne has been known in the Harmony area as the hard working farmer and wife of the late Lloyd Peterson, mother of Larry, and aunt/mother to Tony, Rita, and Mary Wentworth. She began stitching canvas in her home on the State Line Road at HECO’s infancy, then worked for this company in the basement of Harmony’s local newspaper office in 1962.
This talented woman has completed a long diverse list of jobs over the years, including the family business, Hi-Point Coverings, and at 50 years of age was encouraged by her husband to paint. “Lloyd said that if I painted, I could continue doing this kind of art when I got to be old and I guess he was right!” says Luanne.
An obstacle in expressing her ideas on canvas was removed when Lloyd asked Luanne to paint a remembrance piece of an Amish friend who had died in a farming accident. “I painted him as I remembered him.” remarked Luanne. “He was a blacksmith.” Realizing the subjects dearest to her heart surrounded her, Luanne’s rich rural life offered her an array of inspirations for her oil paintings, which can be seen at the Harmony Gardens & Floral and Kingsley Mercantile.
The transition from oil and canvas to yarn and crochet hook happened when accompanying Larry on one of his many cancer appointments. “Since Lloyd had battled cancer over 30 years, then pass away and within a year, my son begin treatments with this disease, making hats for those in this situation was close to my heart. It made me feel good that I could help someone else,” she shared. Actually, it was Luanne’s son’s oncologist who said that all children going home with cancer should have something to cheer them up,”which inspired Luanne to create small brightly colored stocking hats to give away.
Luanne has made hundreds of hats over the years. Each hat she makes is different and Luanne is surprised to see how they turn out. “People always donate lots of yarn and I thank them for that!” mentions Luanne. “I simply put all the yarn to good use and that makes me feel good. I would say the hats are very usable and colorful, too and I am always happy to receive donations of yarn!”
The Relay for Life has become a very special event for Luanne, who has donated many items to help raise an awareness as well as money in the battle with cancer. “I painted one painting especially for the Relay for Life and they sold tickets and raised quite a lot of money.” This organization has also been given beautiful gowns for American Dolls, which were created by Luanne for the Relay for Life.
Luanne says, “I began crocheting Barbie Doll wedding dresses when I got my first granddaughter! That was the beginning of designing wedding dresses. I’ve made many of them but gave most of them away. One of my biggest thrills is to see the little girl’s eyes light up when she holds a beautifully dressed doll.”
This humble charming woman has a deep faith believing “any talent that I have comes from a much higher source and for a very special reason. I simply hold the brush!”
In holding the paintbrush or the crochet hooks, Luanne Peterson has made a difference in countless lives in the Harmony area and across southeastern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Luanne concludes, “I am so thankful for everything God has given me and this is my way of giving back.”
A book of all Luanne Peterson’s paintings and her note cards featuring her paintings can be purchased at Harmony Gardens & Floral, 625 Main Ave N, Harmony.