Michelle is one of a select few pioneer designers, who joined us very early on during the beta phase of Ribblr.
Hi Michell! Please introduce yourself.
I’m Michelle the owner and designer behind MJ’s Off the Hook Designs, a creative haven for yarn lovers and a popular resource for accessory, garment and home decor crochet patterns. I’m best known for my fun whimsical blanket patterns, many of which have gone viral. I have a passion for teaching others to crochet through my YouTube channel.
I live on a cash crop farm in Ontario, Canada, with my husband and four children. I enjoy spending time with family and friends camping and hiking, but most of my evenings involve watching Netflix and crocheting.
So when did you start crafting and how?
I started crocheting in 2013. My daughter became involved in a knit and crochet class at school. It piqued my interest so I picked up a learn to crochet Red heart CD Rom and learned all the stitches. I then took to YouTube to learn how to crochet hats and other accessories.
And how did you start designing?
Crocheting and designing came naturally to me. Within a few months of learning to crochet, I was creating all my own designs. They were just scribbles and notes at that point. I published my first pattern in May of 2015, about 2 ½ years after I started crocheting.
That’s incredible! Is Crochet your favorite craft and if so - why?
Crochet is my favourite craft. I find it quick and relaxing and I love that I can take it everywhere I go.
What was the longest project you worked on?
The longest project was probably The Caribbean Coast Afghan. It was a labour of love but definitely worth it!
And the shortest one? (excluding frogging!)
The Bulky & Quick Pumpkin. This is one of my viral patterns that I designed in 2018. This is its fourth holiday season and still very popular. It goes to show that a simple and quick pattern can do just as well as ones that take lots of planning and weeks to make.
What’s the most recent project you’ve worked on?
Lately, I’ve been working through a collection of Mosaic patterns. My latest release is the Surfside Mosaic Pillow. I have a mosaic hat and mitten pattern coming out next.
Which of your makes/designs are you most proud of? Share a picture!
I’m most proud of my hooded animal blankets to name a few my Sea Turtle, Llama, Deer, Unicorn and especially the Owl Blanket. It went viral in 2017 with over 40 million views on Facebook.
That’s absolutely crazy! Well done.
What is your usual process of designing?
It usually starts with an idea, whether it’s a garment style I’m excited to try or a new blanket pattern I’d like to add to my collection. I then search out the perfect yarn and do some swatches to find the right stitch pattern. I may do some sketches depending on the design. If I’m working on an animal I like to looks at lots of pictures to find the details I want to feature. Once I have the pattern gauge I work out the math for dimensions. It’s always important to start with the math first! I then start crocheting my project and make changes if needed as I go. I sometimes find it helpful to make an item twice to work out any issues or make improvements.
What is it that inspires you to create and design?
I’m inspired by fashion when it comes to garments and accessories. I’m also inspired by stitch patterns. Stitches will definitely inspire me to make certain things. My children are a big part of my inspiration and they have inspired many of my whimsical patterns.
Now for some pop culture. Any favorite TV show or movie you would like to recommend?
I watch a lot of Netflix while I crochet. A couple of favourites I’ve had over the years are Grey’s Anatomy and Downton Abbey. My husband and I also love watching HGTV.
What is your favorite feature on Ribblr?
I love the tracking feature as well as the size selector. I think it really helps the ease of pattern reading. Knowing exactly where you left off is extremely helpful especially if you’ve put down your project for a while.
That’s awesome. And finally, pay it forward - your shoutout to a fellow Ribblr
Thank you so much for sharing Michelle, and for being such an avid Ribblr supporter.
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