Monica Knits in The Loopy Limelight & Happy Birthday Web Guy!

-6Today we’re talking with Monica Jines, pattern designer behind all of our “Monica Knits” patterns. (She was also the designer for our March Sock Club, which you all loved.) Monica lives in Indiana, and I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her. (Here’s a photo of her most recently finished design – a baby dress and socks.)

Loopy: We love your patterns here at The Loopy Ewe! What was the first thing that you designed, and what gave you the courage to try it?
Monica: I really don’t remember the first thing I designed. I have always tweaked patterns and added something extra to them. After awhile I decided if I could change necklines and add or take away from a written pattern, I could make something from start to finish on my own. Once you get the technical stuff figured out, anyone can do it. And I had a great teacher, which helps.

Loopy: Do you think up designs in your head and knit them, or doodle on paper first, or just start knitting? What is your process?
Monica: I see the stitch patterns in my head. I have been accused of being obsessed with knitting by my family, and it may be true. I dream about yarn and designs all the time. Once I get a pretty good idea of what I want, I usually will write out the stitches and see if the pattern will work in a sock. Sometimes I just start knitting, just depends on how bad I have an urge to start something new. And I suffer terribly from start(itis).

Loopy: I think a lot of knitters can relate to being a bit obsessed with knitting! Have you been a knitter for a long time? Who taught you to knit?
Monica: I don’t remember not knowing how to knit. My mother, whom I think was the best knitter around, taught me. Since I don’t remember actually learning I must have been fairly young. I thought she was a magician; she knit so fast and could fix mistakes in no time flat. I was in awe of how fast she could knit up Aran sweaters, and I think that is where I get my love of all things cable.

-7Loopy: I hope you inherited her fast knitting skills! Does anyone else in your family knit?
Monica: We are a family of knitters. I think as children we all learned. With some of us it “took” and others it was a while before the knitting fever hit. I have 2 other sisters who are avid knitters, Karen and Marjorie. I have taught all three of my children to knit. My eldest is my knitting daughter. Together we knit fingerless mitts for all of her friends for this past Christmas. They were all different and all original designs. She enjoys knitting with BIG needles and BIG yarn though, she likes the instant gratification. The boy child knows how to knit, but would much rather play the X Box, although he did help one of his teachers with a knitting project this year. And the youngest has been working on the same Madeline bag for the last 2 years. She is a high energy child and just can’t sit longer than a round or two. And the Husband just doesn’t “get it.

Loopy: That’s so fun that you share this with your whole family! (Well, except for the Husband.) What is your favorite thing to knit, and do you have a favorite yarn that you like to knit or design with?
Monica: My favorite thing is by far, socks. I love the portability of them; I love small needles and skinny yarn. And I want to have a different pair for each day of the year, even though I can only wear them for 4 or 5 months out the year. I am so spoiled; I hate to wear commercially made socks. I also like to make children’s clothing. My kids are all getting older now, so it is not as fast to knit for them … and they expect everything yesterday. The older two are adult sized now, so when I get the urge to make something baby or toddler size I will make it for charity or keep it for a baby shower gift. Favorite yarn, Oh my goodness there are too many too choose from. The list of the ones that “aren’t” my favorite is much shorter, but I don’t want to mention names. As far as favorite to design with, I like yarns that don’t have drastic color changes, like the nearly solid yarns. But I do love to knit with the brightly colored ones too. It really just depends on the design.

Loopy: We don’t tell favorites around here, either. :-) How do you find time to knit each week? Any hints for the rest of us?
Monica: I have been accused of knitting in my sleep. Once I knit a set of sleeves together while I was “dozing.”(I knit my sleeves at the same time). As far as finding time, I take knitting with me everywhere I go. I have a pair of socks that live in the van for knitting emergencies, waiting in traffic, waiting for the kids at after school functions, the endless wait in the Allergist office while all three of them are getting there allergy shots. But most of my knitting is done in the evening after the kids have gone to bed. Only working part –time helps too.

Loopy: A knitter should always be prepared with knitting to do. It sounds like you have that down pat. (And we loved the story of you knitting your sleeves together in your dozing…) So – Stash – do you believe in it? :-) If so, do you find you have more sock yarns, lace yarns, sweater yarns? And do you have a good place to store it all?
Monica: Stash ??? Some people worry about retirement funds, I worry about not being able to afford yarn on my pension when the time comes, so I need to be a “Collector” of yarn now, that way I won’t run out in my lifetime. I start to get a bit twitchy if I use up too much yarn from the collection, and don’t have more yarn coming into it. I can never join those “Knit from Your Stash KALS”, they are just not for me. As for the largest amount by type of yarn, by far, sock yarn. I have yarn for several sweaters and a few shawls, but I need 365 pair of socks you know, so the majority is sock yarn. And storage, ahem, that is a sore subject in this house. According to Hubby my storage area is the “entire” house. I don’t see too much wrong with that, but he has other ideas. It is something I plan to work on in the near future.

Loopy: You’re right – not being able to afford yarn in retirement would not be good. Another great reason to collect now. Would you like to tell us about your family? And what do they think of your knitting?
Monica: My husband Tony and I have been married for 19 years this coming June. He tolerates the knitting obsession because he knows it makes me happy. He unfortunately learned years ago, that knitting does not save us any money; I remind him it keeps me sane and that is more important. I think he agrees esp. since the tools of the trade are very sharp, pointy sticks. My children don’t know any different and they think the other moms are different, you know, the ones that don’t knit. We call them “muggles”. Anyway, we have 3 children; 2 girls ages 16 (driving … yikes) and 10 and the boy child is 14 and they are the most wonderful kids around.

-5Loopy: You have some fun new patterns in a book that just came out on Cables. How did you get patterns in that book?
Monica: Yes, that was very exciting for me. I kept toying with the idea of submitting some designs to magazines and online magazines, but for some reason was just dragging my heels. My #1 cheerleader is my sister Karen, and she encouraged me to send in the designs. I had asked for submission guidelines and editorial calendars from several places, and the one from Vogue just really caught my attention. They were asking for cable patterns for a new “Knitting on the Go” book. I think it was at the end of December 2006 that I submitted them, and then waited and waited and waited and then finally in April I heard back from them. I had submitted 2 designs and they accepted both of them. I was so excited; I think I was smiling for days. It was a wonderful experience that I hope to repeat. The book was released earlier this Spring and is “Cables, Mittens, Hats & Scarves on the go”.

Loopy: We had to buy that book because you were in there! (Well, and we like cables.) Do you have any good movie or book recommendations for us to knit to?
Monica: The last movie I went to see was The Bucket List and I loved it. It is one I will definitely purchase and watch again. As far as books, I really haven’t had much time to read, what with all this knitting I have been doing. I will have to fix that as reading has always been a relaxing thing for me. Can you recommend any good books for me to look into?

Loopy: Oh, I’m sure people will leave some comments with some good book suggestions for you. Anything else you’d like to add?
Monica: I have a story to tell you Loopy. I think I have shared this with the Loopy Lady, but I want to share it with you too. I was taking a box of patterns to the Post Office to mail The Loopy Ewe. Waiting in line, knitting my socks, minding my own business, and a gentlemen behind me asked, “Aren’t ewe’s female sheep?” And I replied “yes they are”, thinking he must have been referring to the mailing label on the box. He didn’t say anything for a few minutes, and then he asked, “Well what exactly is a Loopy Ewe, is that some kind of farm for sheep that have gone crazy or something?” My youngest was with me and she started giggling, she looks at me with tears running down her face from trying not to laugh as I explain about the yarn shop. She whispers to me, “Can you believe he hasn’t heard about The Loopy Ewe, where has he been?” Kids are the greatest. Many thanks to the Loopy Lady for a great yarn shop and for giving me the opportunity to share my patterns with knitters around the world.

Loopy: I think I have to be offended that he called me a female. FPS.

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Today is Web Guy’s Birthday! May 12th has been one of my favorite days of the year for the past 21 years, just because of him. :-) Happy Birthday, Favorite Son!

Sheri didsomespinningovertheweekendandboywasitfun!


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43 comments on “Monica Knits in The Loopy Limelight & Happy Birthday Web Guy!

  1. It’s my DH’s birthday, too! Cheers for May 12th! :)

    I’ll have to check out that book–thanks for these interviews. I really enjoy them!

  2. Great interview and I’m really enjoying the sock club pattern. Try “Here if you Need Me” by Kate Braestrup. I just finished it in a couple of evenings (post knitting) and I really enjoyed it. She’s a Maine author.

    Keep inventing those great patterns!

  3. Thanks, Loopy for another wonderful interview. Always enjoy them… : )

    Happy Birthday, Web Guy!! Hope you have a great one!! Enjoy!! : )

  4. Thanks for interviewing Monica. I really enoyed her Swirls pattern and I hope to do more of her patterns someday. She was very helpful when I had a few questions regarding the pattern too!

    Happy Birthday Web Guy! Good luck on all your finals this week.

  5. Happy birthday, Danny!

    I try to knit in my sleep too. I usually spend an hour or so the next evening straightening out the mistakes.

    I spent some time plying this weekend. I think I’ve got enough homespun to make a pair of fingerless mitts. This is my second “batch” of knittable yarn. The first has to be dyed. I’m really enjoying spinning.

  6. Happy birthday Web Guy – you do a great job on TLE!

    Monica, I really enjoyed your interview. I just finished my SECOND pair of Swirls socks – that is a fabulous pattern! I plan to check out some more of your patterns soon; given how many you have I wish some publisher would come knock on your door for a Monica Knits book!

    Books….hm….so hard to make recommendations when you don’t know at all what someone likes! My mom and I have been bonding over this one: Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum. I had sent my Mom a box of books after I read them and she confessed that this was the book at the BOTTOM of her list and she read everything in the house and found herself “stuck” with it one day. She claims it is the best book she’s read. Blum worked for Stevenberg’s Shoah Foundation and some of the stories she heard undergird the book with is about two generations (mother and daughter) going back and forth between the present day and Nazi Germany. It sounds like it might be depressing, but I don’t think it is. It’s an incredible book and in this day, it makes you understand that the world cannot be viewed in black and white terms of good and evil. Anyway…sorry for the long talk there, but check it out (or look at the reviews on Amazon and decide if it’s for you). I just find it amazing because it is serving as a point of conversation for a mother and daughter who are very far apart on things politically but we’ve gained insights to each other in discussing the book.

  7. Happy B’day Web Guy!

    I have a total sock-crush on Monica because of her gorgeous blog. I love her patterns and am slowly collecting, and knitting, all of them.

  8. I look forward to Mondays and the Loopy Interviews! I havent gotten any of Monicas patterns as of yet but will be looking into purchasing some of them with my next order :-)
    BTW when is the next Sneak Up and whats gonna be in it?

  9. Happy Coming of Age, Web Guy. You have a great family and I hope you all enjoy this special day.

    Thanks Monica for letting us get to know you a little better. It is more fun knitting when you have a connection to someone.

  10. Hey, today is my youngest son’s birthday, too. He is 11 today. I love that we both have son’s with the same birthday. They are special. Happy Birthday Web Guy!!

  11. Happy Birthday, Web Guy! Have a great day.

    Thanks for telling us more about Monica. I love my Swirls socks; I wore them yesterday for the first time and they felt so comfy (and looked pretty, too). Great post office story. I agree with Monica’s daughter: people who don’t know about TLE are definitely missing out on something!
    As for book suggestions, my current reading material isn’t much help. I’m reading “The Fantastifc in Old Norse and Icelandic Literature”, and “Pastoral Care in Late Anglo-Saxon England”. Sorry!

  12. That is so funny what you said about collecting yarn now, since you may not be able to afford it in retirement. That is exactly my reasoning!!! Good to know that I am not alone….

  13. It’s pretty hard for me to recommend some books without an idea of what you like. I love a lot of science fiction and fantasy, though mostly female-centric coming of age stories. Of those, I’d say that College of Magics is one of my favorites!

  14. HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEB GUY!!!!!!! Monica, I have several of your patterns and
    have e-mailed you and you were nice enough to e-mail me back. I bought the
    Cables book to make your hat and you were nice enough to tell me where to buy
    the yarn. I haven’t made the hat yet, but working towards it. It’s nice that
    you have a whole family of knitters. I also check your blog to see what’s new
    with your knitting.

  15. Happy Birthday Web Guy; Our birthdays are only a day apart.
    Thanks Loopy for talking with me, sorry about you being called a girl, but I didn’t want to add to the poor guys confusion. And thanks so much to all the readers for their kind words. I am enjoying the book suggestions and will look into them.

  16. Loved Monica’s interview, and she sounds like a woman after my own heart as I too am “saving (stashing) for retirement”!LOL Happy Birthday Web Guy – hope you have a wonderful day!

  17. Happy Birthday Web Guy!!

    I loved Monica’s interview, especially her comments on stashing for retirement. Now, I can really justify my sock yarn stash.

  18. Loved the interview with Monica!! (HI Monica!!!) She is such a talented designer… I love the patterns she’s come up with and really love the cable book.

    And Happy Birthday to my wonderful Godson!!!

  19. Happy Birthday Web Guy! Hope you find many ways to celebrate the day!

    It’s fun to get these interviews of the many folks behind The Loopy Ewe.

  20. Happy Birthday, Web Guy! The end of the semester is very near and praise the Lord, one of your huge projects is finished! Thanks for all the help and encouragement you have given my college daughter. I know she is thankful as well. I hope you have a wonderful birthday! Blessings to you! :)

  21. Happy Birthday Web Guy….after having met you and your family I can’t imagine your birthday being any more perfect. I offer you two phrases I shared with my own DS now 23, “Just because it is legal doesn’t make it right” and Live honestly, love openly and laugh everyday. Enjoy your day.

  22. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Web Guy! Follow your passion.

    I fell asleep with my knitting and the next morning, I found 1 dpn under me in the bed! I failed the Princess test, as I never felt it.

    I had to get a part-time job to justify buying yarn whenvever I wanted it-the pension is necessity-but hey! so is YARN.

    Love the Swirl socks and interview with Monica.

  23. Hello to everyone! Happy Birthday Web Guy! Hope you all had a great Mother’s Day! My twins took me for dinner and DH helped pay, too, since he came with us :). I got flowers for the deck and a neat hummingbird feeder made of hand blown glass in purple! DH got me diamond earrings…to die for. I had put a sticky note on DH’s wallet saying I would like some Anne Scheaffer yarn…well he put a sticky note on top of the Loopy Back pack which I had stashed what I was working on that said, “I thought diamonds were a girl’s best friend!” Ok, so I will buy the yarn myself. One way or another, I will get what I want. Ha….now shall I start another sock or a shawl? Decisions. I know that I have decided that I cannot take socks to school to knit…somehow they get given away….I bought a pack of ordinary white socks for children that come to school on cold, freezing days without socks…..but they want my socks… and I want my socks, too. So I gave one pair away, and this pair is also gone before it is even finished……so what they don’t see, they don’t get. I am just a mean, cranky lady..hmmm……take care ay’all. Love, Jo

  24. Happy (Belated) Birthday, Web Guy!

    Thanks for another great interview! I also look forward to meeting someone new and exciting every Monday. What a relief to learn that not only are there others saving up sock yarn for retirement (and running into storage space problems), but also that I’m not the only woman whose husband doesn’t “get” it!

    I’m such a nerd. These days my reading is pretty much confined to history books. And knitting books, of course!

  25. Happy Birthday Web Guy. You do fabulous work and we can’t thank you enough. Hope you had a great day yesterday. Loved the post office story Monica. Kids are so natural. Have a great day everyone.