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Former inmate’s crocheting talent wins best in show at Colorado State Fair

Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 14:30:10-04

PUEBLO – When you go to the state fair, you’re probably expecting fun, food, and festivities.

However, tucked away in the creative arts building, is something you probably would not expect to see/experience: one tiny, pink dragon with a rather BIG story.

“Her name is Raspberry.”

Chris Hennessee spends his days as a commercial construction foreman working for New Image Dry Wall, but during his off time, he creates items like Raspberry, a small fire-breathing plush.

His talents recently earned him best in show at the state fair, an unexpected honor.

“I was actually sitting out here making pumpkins and was talking with a lady, I didn’t even know I had won… I was blown away,” Hennessee exclaimed.

But life before Chris picked up his crocheting tools was not so warm and fuzzy.

A few years back, he was placed in jail, “For menacing, I actually went to jail for fighting,” he said.

That was back in 2013, the same year an EF-5 tornado decimated Moore, Oklahoma, an event that would kick-start Hennessee’s passion for handcrafting yarn.

“The need was great, I mean everybody was reaching out, churches were reaching out the most,”  Hennessee remembered.

A corrections lieutenant brought yarn and other crocheting materials to the jail for inmates to make items for children affected by the disaster.

That’s when Chris started to crochet, and he hasn’t stopped since.

“Turns out, the last two hours of my day, when I sit down for the evening, I have enough time to focus on something and clear my mind out from the day and [the crocheting] helps me do it, [it’s] very meditative.”

On top of being a great way to wind down the day, Chris says he also has several important customers to please.

“I make things for my girls, my wife, and my family and friends.”

At the end of fair, Raspberry, the pink dragon, will have an owner waiting at home, his daughter.

“Oh yes, that is her trophy! I get the ribbon, she gets the toy.”

A pink, puffy, yarn constructed dragon, made by the unlikeliest of crocheters, has now been added into Colorado State Fair’s long, and storied, tradition.