...about needle arts, design, dogs and sources of inspiration in Michigan...
I began living and working in Michigan in 1987. My designs are influenced and inspired by the seasons, colors and creative, friendly people of the State. I sew, knit, crochet, cross-stitch, garden, paint and enjoy the outdoors. One of our dogs, my muse Heidi, quietly points out nature's blessings, while our newest addition, Shaq, considers it his job to alert me to wild-life photography or playtime opportunities. I share lessons learned, patterns, design tips, and my favorite books, stores, patterns, tools, magazines and yarns, updating older articles as I add related content.
I exclusively design my own sewing patterns although this was not always the case, whereas I often use commercial patterns for knitted and crocheted garments, since these garment types are more forgiving of body variations from standard. Generally I will use a purchased needlework pattern:
a) When working long hours to wind-down evenings with the rhythm of needlework. Designing invigorates me and would keep me up late, so I either pull out one of my own patterns or purchase a commercial pattern. For the same reason, I will not begin reading a new book, particularly a page turner, when I am very busy.
b) The commercial pattern demonstrates exceptional design--the wow or inspiration factor.
c) To learn new techniques with a tested pattern.
d) To try a new yarn with a pattern exclusive to a yarn provider or manufacturer. For example, I made several Koigu Neck Cozies, when I was sampling colors for knitwear projects. These made quick gifts as well as fabric swatches. Similarly, I made headbands to trial Lion Brand yarns.
Over the years I have found that I generally knit during the autumn and winter (even for summer clothes), and crochet and cross-stitch during the spring and summer. This pattern has developed, in part, because knitting keeps me warm in the cooler months and crochet (usually with cotton yarns) and cross-stitch can be done comfortably outdoors in hot weather. Painting is driven by available, natural light and the compelling need to capture an inspiration and true colors.
You can contact me at monica (at) monicaknits.com .