Hooked on Success: 13-year-old crochet prodigy builds small business in Dickinson

Self taught crocheter McKenna Kjorness shows off her handmade crochet pieces.
Photo by Allison Engstrom / The Dickinson Press

DICKINSON - While most teenagers are busy scrolling through their phones, 13-year-old self taught crocheter, McKenna Kjorness, has built her own small business crocheting handmade custom orders, with dreams of becoming a millionaire. From buzzing bees, sunny side up eggs and dill pickles to wearable pieces like hats and cardigans, there seems to be no limit to what she can create.

Not only does McKenna run a business, she is also a straight-A student, soccer player, and involved in yearbook at Dickinson Middle School. Balancing all of that during the week, she dedicates her weekends to her craft.

It was just two years ago that she started her crochet journey and with 100% conviction announced to her mom, Sally Kjorness, her plans to save, invest, and run her own business Sally said.

It was a Tik Tok video that sparked Mckenna's interest in her craft to begin with. Little did she and her mom know that this new hobby would turn their house into what they describe as a craft store of its own.

“I thought to myself all right well here's $50 down the drain at the craft store, but if that's what you want to do for the weekend and it's just been consistent since then, she gets consistently better and better,” Sally said.


What started out as a seemingly easy hobby for McKenna to pick up quickly turned into more of a challenge than she anticipated.

Up for the challenge, McKenna spent hours watching YouTube videos determined to break into the world of crochet.

She wanted to give up on crocheting altogether while working on her first order, a family of crochet whales, but her mom pushed her to keep going.

McKenna's dedication is unmatched, Sally said.

“Everything she does she puts 100% of everything she has into it and continues to do so and wants to find new ways to challenge herself and to make herself better…” Sally said.

That token of motherly advice would end up pushing McKenna further into her crocheting career

“I fell back in love with crocheting,” McKenna said. A love that has blossomed into a business and healthy hobby for McKenna.

Handmade plush dolls and beanies are just a few examples of McKennas latest custom orders.
Photo by Allison Engstrom / The Dickinson Press

When McKenna and her family moved from Moorehead to Dickinson last July, not knowing many people until school started, she really buckled down and amped up her crocheting, Sally said.


“I will take this any day of the week,” Sally said, “'s something productive, something that she can look at and say hey I made this...and then I can see how proud she is of herself because of how excited she gets when she completes something.”

McKenna has an Instagram and Tik Tok account where she shares her projects and takes custom orders. Her mom also helps promote and field orders through her Facebook page.

Her crochet pieces range in price depending on a variety of things like size, material, and time.

From crochet sunny side up eggs to buzzing bees and dill pickles, McKenna hasn’t found a limit to what she is able to crochet.

“...when she can't figure something out, she stops and she does whatever it is that she needs to do to figure out her next step..” Sally said.

For McKenna, the most rewarding part of it all is knowing that a customer loves their order.

“I just really like when I send somebody a picture of what they ordered and they are like oh my gosh I love it…” McKenna said.

As her orders grow, one challenge they have faced is the limited options and access to yarn and supplies in Dickinson.


“You walk into a Joannes Fabric and the whole entire back of the store has every kind of yarn, needle, hook whatever it is that she needs. But in Dickinson the only place to get that stuff is Walmart,” Sally said.

The Kjorness' have had to get crafty with their crafting, taking the time to drive to Bismark or waiting for products to get shipped to them.

This obstacle hasn’t slowed McKenna down though. In fact, she has been working on growing her collection of crochet hats and beanies to donate to the domestic violence shelter in town.

“I really don’t have a need for them and I know that other people can use them,” McKenna said.

It’s been a learning curve to teach McKenna the business end of things, but it is something really important to Sally.

With McKenna being so young, it has been challenging for Sally to research and maneuver all the legalities and hoops that come along with creating a business, Etsy shop, or even Venmo transactions.

“I want everything to be completely and solely hers, not that I'm not there to help and guide her with it, but I want it to be for her,” Sally said.

While her mom guides her through the ins and outs of the business, from determining pricing to the cost of time and materials, McKenna appreciates her support most of all.


“I just really love her support…” McKenna said, “... she's just been really supportive and when it comes to business she's the best one I know.

With warmer days ahead, McKenna and her mom are looking forward to setting up booths at upcoming vendor fairs. In the meantime, they are working on displaying her pieces at A2Z Crafts & Antiques downtown.

For those interested in placing orders, you can reach McKenna through her Tik Tok and Instagram accounts @kennascrochetkrafts or by email at

Allison is a news reporter from Phoenix, Arizona where she earned a degree in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. After college, she worked as a middle school writing teacher in the valley. She has made her way around the U.S. driving from Arizona to Minnesota and eventually finding herself here in Dickinson. She has a passion for storytelling and enjoys covering community news.
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