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Carole Duh's knitted and fiber-stuffed pumpkins will be among the works on display during Artique's First Friday Artist Opening on Oct. 4. (Photo courtesy of Katie Stellpflug)
When most people begin decorating for Halloween, the first thing they buy is a pumpkin.

Unfortunately, pumpkins are easy to smash and can make messes on the porch or in the street.

Carole Duh of Do Dads for You has come up with an alternative pumpkin that is impossible to smash.

Her pumpkins are made of yarn, wood and fiber and they will be on display during Artique's First Friday Artist Opening in Kamas on Oct. 4.

Duh said she started knitting pumpkins after she moved to Park City from Wisconsin.

"I was a quilter for many years and owned a quilt store in Hayward," Duh told The Park Record. "I'm also a painter, but when I moved to Park City, there seemed to be an ample number of quilt stores, so I gravitated towards fiber and yarn."

During that time, yarn was experiencing a resurgence and there were a lot of novelty yarns on the market and that inspired Duh.

"I am what I call a one-skien wonder," she said. "A skien is a bundle in which yarn is usually sold, and I just gravitated towards making smaller items such as baby hats and scarves out of one skien."

When Duh saw someone make a pumpkin out of yarn, she knew she had to try it.

"As a painter, three dimensions are important to me, and that was a lure for me," she said. "When I began knitting the pumpkins, I just couldn't stop."

Duh combines three different types of yarn on her projects.

"The combination makes the final product supple, tactile and embraceable," she said "It's interesting to me because when people first encounter the pumpkins, they are afraid to touch them because they look fragile."

However, Duh encourages them to pick her pumpkins and squeeze them.

"Once they do, they can't put them down," she said.

Duh is inspired by colors and by texture, so she experiments and has no prejudices regarding any kind of yarn.

"I may produce a pumpkin that has a tweed effect or is lumpy out of the different yarn," she said. "I love the textured gourds that are popular right now. I love them. I try to achieve as close as I can to that affect by the use of yarn."

The yarn looks like it covers a real pumpkin, but that's not the case.

"What I do is make a pillow that are embellished with stems and vines," Duh said. "I knit the shell and then I stuff it with fiber and sculpt them into shape.

"Also, since they won't deteriorate, you can bring them out for display year after year after year," she said.

Duh starts making the pumpkins in May or June.

"I collect yarns all year round and have baskets of gold, yellows, orange and rusts and greens," she said. "A pumpkin can be any color including white and gray. I don't stick strictly with orange. In fact, maybe a quarter of what I produce are traditional colors.

The knitter said she is lucky to have a showing at Artique.

"It was like having the stars align," she said. "[Owner] Katie Stellpflug has this cutest little shop, and for her to take that little location and turn it into a charming place that is approachable is such a gift."

Duh will not only show her pumpkins at the Artique, but also some hand-knitted hats and birdhouses.

"I've been working under the name Do Dads for 30 or 40 years, and it takes on many faces," she said. "Do Duds was the clothing version of it in my past life, and Do Dads is whatever I am focusing on at the time.

"I've always been intrigued by tactile things — paper inspires me to immediately write on it or cut something out with it," she said. "I also make wedding centerpieces and things like that."

Artique, 283 N. Main Street in Kamas, will host its October First Friday Artist Opening with Carole Duh on Oct. 4, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.art-ique.com .