Pingree, Rochelle (1955 - )

Genre: Non-Fiction

Chellie Johnson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1955, the youngest of four children. Her father, Harry, worked in advertising and her mother, Dorothy, was a nurse. Chellie moved to Maine as a teenager, attended the University of Southern Maine, and graduated from the College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor. After college, she moved to North Haven, an island town of 350 people twelve miles off the coast of Rockland, to raise her family and make a living. Right after college, Chellie and her husband, Charlie, spent several years running a small farm and selling produce locally. In 1981, she started North Island Yarn, a cottage industry of local knitters, with a retail store on the island. The business expanded quickly, becoming North Island Designs, and employed as many as ten local workers in peak seasons. The business sold knitting kits and pattern books nationwide through 500 retail stores and 100,000 mail order catalogues. While in business, Chellie wrote several knitting books. She sold the business in 1993. Chellie was elected to the Maine State Senate in 1992, representing Knox County. In 1996, Chellie was chosen by her peers to be the Maine Senate Majority Leader. She helped lead the Senate for four more years, until leaving office due to term limits. From 2003 to 2007, Chellie served as the National President and CEO of Common Cause, a non-partisan citizen activist group. In 2008 Chellie was elected to Congress from Maine’s 1st Congressional District—the first woman elected to Congress from that District.

Selected Bibliography

  • Maine Island Classics: Living and Knitting on a Maine Island (1988)
  • Maine Island Kids: Sweaters and Stories from Offshore: 20 Knitting Patterns from North Island Designs (1989)
  • Sweaters from Maine Islands: 16 Knitting Patterns from North Island Designs (1991)
  • North Island Designs 4: 16 New Patterns from Talented Maine Designers (1992)
  • North Island Designs 5: A Scrapbook of Sweaters from a Maine Island: 16 New Patterns from North Island Designs (1992)
  • From the Land: Maine Farms at Work (written with Bridget Besaw) (2010)