Thursday, March 15, 2012

Getting to know Melina of Midwest Yarn

Please give us a brief bio, where you are from, who you are, and how you started in this field?
I was born in Florida and we moved to Wisconsin when I was four years old. At an early age, I showed a love for music and became a classically trained musician (flute and voice).  As someone who is the daughter of an immigrant (my father is from Jamaica), I always felt the need to excel and was somewhat of a perfectionist.  I got into college as a music major, but quickly found that I also enjoyed a range of other subjects, especially health care.  Knowing that I didn't want to be a doctor, but had the desire to help others, I learned that in order to get involved with health care from an administrative side, I needed to get a Master's Degree in Health Care Administration or a Master's Degree in business.  And that's what I did.  

I quickly got a job in my field after school and was very happy.  I was in my dream job, had just married a great guy, and found out that I was pregnant when I took up knitting again.  I had knit in the past, sneaking knitting needles and yarn in my backpack and knitting at recess, but never really knew where to go to learn different techniques or to challenge myself.  But I took up the challenge to knit a sweater for my son since I was definitely more than proficient at knitting and purling.

I didn't officially get started as a professional crafter until my son was a year old.  I liked to dress him like a little boy, rather than a baby and it was tough finding clothes that looked like that, so I'd design them and knit them.  I guess it was meant to be, especially since he's so cute and gets as excited as I do when I get in new yarns.  He even gets disappointed when I make something for other people, because it's not for him.  

And now that I'm starting Midwest Yarn, I'm able to pass on my passion for design, knitting, and creating knit works of art to others.  So in effect, I'm still helping people, still promoting good health, but in a totally unexpected way.  I want to be able to pass on this craft to the next generations in the hopes that many other people will love it as much as I do.

When did you first discover your creative talents?
Being a perfectionist, I didn't like to show people my knit items or things that I was working on.  I didn't realize that I was good at knitting and designing until my mother saw a sweater vest that I had designed for my son.  Then she showed some of my work to an uncle, who is a fashion designer and he loved my work as well.  Once other friends and family had told me that they loved my work and suggested starting an Etsy shop, I knew I had to do it. Especially since I enjoyed the creative process.

What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself motivated?
While my son is the most inspiring to me, my mom is my biggest motivator.  I've always considered my mother to be a much better knitter than me, because there were things that she could do well that I'd struggle with.  What I didn't know was that there were things I was learning that she wished she could do as well.  So we teach each other while sharing life lessons in the process.  It's always nice to know that someone else knows what you're going through and can help you learn in the process.  That being said, I do all this so that my son can see that you can be happy doing what you love and that doing what you love does not have be "work".  I just wish that it was something I would've paid attention to when my parents were trying to teach me the same lesson when I was a kid.

How would you describe your style?
Simple, yet elegant and modern.  What that means to me is, classic lines with not too much taking away from the piece itself (clothing, art, etc.).  When I design something, I want it to be easy to knit or complete, but still have a pattern or texture that draws in the eyes and doesn't take away from the person wearing what I've made.

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Persistent, motivated, perky, passionate, sassy.  Very, very sassy.  :)

Anything else you would like to add? Favorite quote? Words of advice?
I wouldn't change the path that I've taken for anything.  Without having taken so many different twists and turns in my life, I wouldn't be the person I am today.  As far as advice goes, let me say this: when I was a musician, I met (and had dinner with) my idol, a jazz flute player.  He could tell that I was torn about wanting to take a new direction in my life, one that would take me away from playing the flute.  He told me very simply, "Be patient, and never give up."  Be patient: don't worry about today or tomorrow, whatever will be will be.  Never give up: don't be afraid to be persistent in finding your passion, the journey will all be worth it.

Share with us something funny that has happened to you recently.
Hubby and I are dealing with a strong-willed little boy who is deep into the terrible twos.  That means we have to spell words for things that may cause tantrums if he doesn't get it right away.  Since it's been so nice out, hubby suggested that I take him to the P-A-R-K before he left for work today, of course, Peanut heard that.  Then I called my mother and mentioned we were going to the P-A-R-K.  Peanut interrupted the conversation excitedly, "Mommy, MOMMY!  I want to go to the P-A-R-K!  Can we go to the P-A-R-K?!"  Smart kid.
It's sooo nice to get to know you Melina!  I like that you are sassy! My boyfriend says I'm sassy as well.. I think it's a pretty good trait.

Check Melina's website
Visit her on facebook
Check out her blog
And follow her on twitter!


  1. WOW. I am blown away by these designs! Not to mention that I'm expecting a little man myself in July.. and have a 4 year old girl- and also live in the midwest- so there are many positives about discovering this site! THANK YOU!

  2. A chance to win a handmade necklace!



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