Chicago Fashion Designer, Mona Muhammad of KnottyLoop Creations

Written by A. Finley, Founder and Head Designer at Andrea and Me and Me Too

This is where crocheted apparel takes a beautiful turn with the updated styles by KnottyLoop Creations. The KnottyLoop Creations collection redefines the art of crocheting. Mona Muhammad makes crocheting hot and sassy. Self-taught emerging design talent, Mona Muhammad, has taken crocheting to a whole new level with her fresh design ideas for her funky sheer dresses, dresses in silhouette, caps, scarves. She also creates styles for men and children. “It’s not your grandmother’s crochet,” says Mona.

With the KnottyLoop Creations collection, you will find something you will want to wear to social events, dancing and to the beach. Yes, beach! KnottyLoop Creations will offer the best of both worlds – Sass with Class,” says Mona.

Mona has a degree in business from National Louis University and finds that training very useful in running KnottyLoop Creations. Mona says her artistic and creative sides did not really show up until 2005. One day in October 2005, while looking through a magazine with a friend, they came across a pricey crocheted dress and Mona told her friend that she could make the dress for much less. Of course, her friend, being skeptical that Mona could crochet, let alone make that dress, was in for a surprise. By December 2005, Mona made 4 dresses which were worn by the friend, and Mona’s sisters to an event. Mona received overwhelming compliments and, shortly after, Mona launched KnottyLoops. She learned the art of sewing and crocheting from her mother. Once a struggling mother of 4 young children, Mona knew how to creatively stretch a dollar by drawing on the sewing and crocheting lessons taught her by her mother.

I asked Mona when she knew she wanted to be a designer. “I don’t think that I had conscious thought of becoming a fashion designer until recently,” Mona said. I think Mona had an inkling she would become some sort of designer when she was a young child draping her cousins in old curtains, and when she would add embellishments to her own boring outfits.

After launching KnottyLoops, Mona quickly learned what it means to be an entrepreneur. She realized she had to wear many hats – CEO, CFO, designer and everything in-between. Using the skills she acquired at National Louis University, she started promoting her business and soon, she was being featured on ABC News and in online magazines. She is a regular exhibitor at the One of a Kind Show held every December at the Merchandise Mart Chicago. Mona’s perfect celeb to design for would be Beyoncé.

“I truly believe that clothing should adorn both the body and the spirit; when you look your best, you surround yourself with a positive energy and you instinctively feel great,” Mona says.

KnottyLoops’ clients range in ages from 2 to 82. When I asked Mona about her company’s mission statement, she said:

My goal is to create sophisticated; yet sassy fashions for women that are both unique and classic. KnottyLoop Creations will offer the best of both worlds – Sass with Class.


KnottyLoop
February 23, 2011

I am a fledgling crochet designer who is always looking for inspiration. When I came across KnottyLoop on Etsy, I had to mark it a favorite and visit OFTEN! Mona's designs are so fun and unique that you can't help but know that crochet is not an "old sport" anymore! In reading this interview I hope you get the feel of the warm person she is and when you visit her sites (because I know you will) you'll see how fun she is as well. Enjoy!

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Mona Lisa Muhammad and I am a Crochet Designer. In 2006 I opened KottyLoop Creations in Bellwood, IL.

What inspires you to do your craft/artistry?
As a child I remember watching in amazement a time-lapsed motion picture of a flower developing from its budding stage to full bloom. I remember being transfixed at its development process. This is how I view the art of crochet. To see the detail within the fibers, to feel the texture of a skein of yarn, to manipulate the yarn until it evolves in a unique and wearable form of art gives me personal joy. I wish I could say that KnottyLoop Creation is the planned summation of whom I aspired to be but that would not be an honest answer. When my children were younger and money was tight, it was necessary for me to cut corners by making some of their winter gear in order to stay afloat.

In 2004, I blew the dust from my crochet needles and began making outfits for my family and friends. The response was overwhelming. The more items I made the more I found folks were lining up to get a skirt or dress of their own. In May of 2006, after many hours of discussion and research, KnottyLoop Creations was born.

I began crocheting from patterns…but it was rare and difficult for me to find patterns that I really loved. They had too much bulk, or they were old-fashioned in design. I woke up one morning well before sunrise with a very clear design in my head. I went to my collection of yarn, selected a yarn that I thought would work and 6 hours later the design was real. I shared this with my family and friends and they loved it. Since that morning, I still review articles and every once in awhile I’ll find a pattern that I really have to give a try…but most of my ideas come to me just as it did that morning.

How do you promote yourself?
Marketing has been the most challenging aspect of my business.Etsy has been a great resource for me. I’ve met some really great people here. I've relied mostly on word of mouth. I also utilize my website, and MySpace to generate interest by posting photos of my latest work. I love to participate in fashion shows, fairs, and anywhere I can think of to get a KnottyLoop Design shown.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to new artists/crafters?
Make the sacrifice, commit to the hard work, learn as much as you can about the business side of your craft, get out and see what others are doing in your field, subscribe to magazines that give you insights, utilize libraries and other additional free resources, understand who your customer is, understand your support system, then commit to even more work. Then if your heart is still in it and you believe in your work, take that step of faith, and go for it. OOOPPPPSSS!!!! You said one piece of advice..LOL!!!


How do you see yourself evolving in the next 5-10 years?
KnottyLoop Creations is still in its infant stage. I’m the President, CEO, Designer, production line and the chief dishwasher. I would very much like to spend more time on the design side (the ideas keep coming) and less time in the actual production. I truly believe that this will come with time. 

What are some of your favorite things? 
I am the mother of 4 and grandmother of 4 and I have 5 siblings each of whom have children. I love entertaining and enjoying my family and friends…I find nothing more relaxing than chit-chatting and laughing out loud while sitting on the floor and nibbling on some good eats. I’m crazy about anything sci-fi (thank you daddy for expanding my mind to the hidden possibilities and the future promises), I read anything Stephen King (he speaks to my dark side, I guess)…but let’s not forget YARN….there are so many new and wonderful yarns…spinners are getting more creative everyday. My collection (I prefer collection than stash) is truly that of a yarn addict

What is your favorite quote?
“Our very nature is to be alive, aware, creative and spectacularly effective. Let go of your doubts and allow your true nature to shine through” – Author unknown

KnottyLoop Creations

Mona is based inBellwood, Il, United States. She studied atNational Louis Universityand graduated in 1999. Her collections are produced inUnited States.

Welcome to KnottyLoop. My name is Mona. Come on in and relax for awhile. Here you will find unique crochet apparel and accessories to adorn both the body and the spirit. My goal is to create sophisticated; yet sassy fashions that are both unique and classic.
There is a new breed of designers and creative artist who have revamped an interest in the distinctive beauty that is unique to crochet. This coupled with a swarm of new yarns, a multitude of colors and textures have given new life to an old art. KnottyLoop Creations was born of this new era of designer crochet. 

I’ve been holding a crochet needle since the age of 10. My mother, Clearetta has always been active in all types of crafts, from quilting to ceramics. She has always been my role model and trained me in the art of crocheting. She is a tough taskmaster. There were many days that I sat in the middle of the floor unraveling a design because of a missed or an uneven stitch. This very fact supports my belief that every finished project begins with a good foundation. I want to thank you Mama for helping me to get it right. Crochet is my addiction. Knottyloop creations are designed to be both Classy yet Sassy~


Baby it’s Cold Outside – Warm Up With KnottyLoop…

KnottyLoop creator Mona Muhammad knows what it’s like to be caught out in the elements without sustainable winter gear.  Muhammad was born and raised in Chi-town…a cold weather gal at heart!  She took the time to answer a few questions for us about her unique and fashionable line:

NewNaturalista: How long have you been making these pieces?
KnottyLoop: I started KnottyLoop on a dare.  A friend and I were looking through a catalog and there was this very expensive crocheted dress.  I told her I could do it…she said she doubted it and dared me to do it.  By the Christmas holiday I made 4 dresses for my sisters and friends.  They wore them to various social affairs and the requests started trickling in.  By May 2006, KnottyLoop Creations was born.  Even though this whole thing started as a dare, it’s become my passion.  I’m having a great time.

NewNaturalista: Where do you get your inspiration?
KnottyLoop: Many places…sometimes I see a dress and wonder how it will translate into crochet, other times I can look at a person and mentally visualize a design.  I started out using some patterns, but I could never find the pattern that fully suited what I wanted to create.  One night I dreamed a design, I got up and went to my stash and found some yarn that I thought would suit the project and in about 8 hours my first KnottyLoop design was born.  Since that time I feel that if I can think it I can create it.  To see the detail in the fibers, to feel the texture of a skein of yarn, to manipulate the yarn until it evolves into something unique and wearable, gives me personal joy and continues to leave me in a state of awe.


Knotty By Nature: Designer Mona Muhammad
In this interview with inCOLOR, designer Mona Muhammad of KnottyLoop Creations talks about how she turned a hobby to a budding business, all on a dare.

inCOLOR: Who taught you how to crochet? 
Mona Muhammad: I’ve been holding a crochet needle since the age of 10. My mother, Clearetta, has always been active in all types of crafts, from quilting to ceramics. She has always been my role model and trained me in the basic skill of crochet.

inCOLOR: When did crocheting become a business for you? 
Mona Muhammad: This whole thing started out as a dare. I was looking in a magazine with a friend and we saw this crocheted dress, which was very expensive, and I stated that “I could do that.” At that time I hadn’t crocheted anything in over 10 years (not to age myself). My friend said, “I don’t think you can do anything like that. I’ve never seen you crochet before. I dare you”.  Well, I felt challenged. That was in October of 2005. By the holidays I had made four outfits, one for her and one for each of my sisters. My sisters wore their outfits to church or other social events and I started receiving requests. In May 2006, KnottyLoop Creations was born.

inCOLOR: How many hours do spend a day creating pieces? 
Mona Muhammad: Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to pull away from my day job, so my day normally begins at 6 a.m. After attending to my morning ablutions, I usually check my accounts—Facebook, Gmail, MySpace and Etsy—to see if there have been any inquiries or requests to order. At 7 a.m., I’m dressed and on my way to my day job. At lunch, I might make a yarn run or post office run and check my accounts again. Monday through Thursday, I hit the door, find something to eat, check my accounts and I head for my workshop. By 6 p.m. I’m usually looping away. Bedtime is generally about 11 p.m., so on average I work approximately five hours per day and weekends designing, creating and developing KnottyLoop. I take it to the next level, but right now it’s my passion. I’m having a great time.
inCOLOR: How long does it take for you to make one of your dresses?  
Mona Muhammad: Each dress or style has a lead time of its own, depending on the style and the yarn that I select. I don’t use patterns, so sometimes I create as I go. On average I would say that each item has about 12 to 18 hours of actual labor.

inCOLOR: Who is your target audience? 
Mona Muhammad: My goal when I started KnottyLoop was to create a sophisticated yet sassy line of crochet clothing and accessories for women that are both unique and classic (Guys, I haven’t forgotten you. Check my site in the fall of 2010). I create “unique-to-you” designs and I try to suit the design to the client. My present client base runs from [people ages] 2 through 82.

inCOLOR: How has the Internet helped to expand your business? 
Mona Muhammad: ”How do I get the word out about KnottyLoop on an almost non-existent budget?” This has been a challenging aspect of my business. I’ve relied a great deal on word of mouth, but the internet has a life of its own. I’ve had many new clients call me and tell me that they’ve spent hours going through my Web site (www.knottyloop.com). Etsy, MySpace and Facebook have all been excellent avenues of communications and advertising.  Also wonderful opportunities like this interview with inCOLOR allows my clients and others to get to know me and my product better. It’s great exposure.

inCOLOR: Is KnottyLoop Creations a full-time venture for you? 
Mona Muhammad: No. KnottyLoop is still in its toddler stages. Even though my name is getting around and business has slightly increased, I still haven’t had an opportunity to quit my day job. I’m presently the president, CEO, treasurer, designer and production line and chief dishwasher. I would very much like to spend more time on the design aspect of KnottyLoop Creations.

inCOLOR: What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur? 
Mona Muhammad:The transition from crocheting as a hobby to crocheting as a business. There has been a lot to learn and I’ve had to learn on the fly; I’ve had to educate myself fairly quickly regarding the business side of my art, legal forms, advertisements, Web sites, photo shoots, taxes, fashion shows, etc. It’s all been fun, but no longer do I have the luxury of ignorance. If I want KnottyLoop to be successful, it’s imperative that I understand the full concept of what it means to run a business.

inCOLOR:Your Web site says that you are an “empty nester.” Are your children involved in your business? 
Mona Muhammad: KnottyLoop wouldn’t have happened without them. My oldest son, Osceola, has his master’s in graphic arts and he has been responsible for all graphic and Web site design and maintenance. The others, Azra’el, Tughril and Waheeda, have helped to keep me on track and encouraged me from Day One. They have been at my side from the beginning, acting as models, salesmen and material loaders when needed. Ninety-five percent of the people on my Web site are family. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention that the entire family, my parents, siblings, daughters-in-law and my photographer, Nicolette Stanton, have been on board to assist and support me in every way possible. 
    .
inCOLOR: People usually confuse knitting and crocheting. Can you briefly explain the difference between the two? 
Mona Muhammad: Knitting is a two-needle process, while crochet is done with one hook (needle) with very similar results.

inCOLOR:  Are all of your pieces custom-made or can people order pre-made pieces too? 
Mona Muhammad: Both! I keep some inventory for those folks who need those last-minute items. It’s always worth a call, e-mail or visit to see if I have something on hand.

inCOLOR:  How can people stay in the loop with your business? 
Mona Muhammad:  I send out a monthly newsletter, which lets my clients know where I’ll be (fashion shows or festivals). I also feature an Item of the Month, which I have on sale and occasionally we have some great contests. If you’re interested in being added to the list, just send me an e-mail at knottyloop@gmail.com .


Featured on Style Chicago website

Mona Muhammed is addicted to crochet. Her passion for crochet revamped an interest in the distinctive beauty that is unique to crochet. 

Mona started Knotty Loop Creations to showcase her beautiful designs. They all incorporate a wide variety of color, texture, and yarn that give new life to an old art. 

Knotty Loop Creations features:

Tops, Hats, Scarves, Dresses and more!

Mona’s mother, Claretta, has been inspiring her since she was a little girl. 

Claretta has always been active in all types of crafts from quilting to ceramics acting as a role model to her daughter Mona. 

To learn more about Mona and Knotty Loop Creations Transformation, Inc. email knottyloop@gmail.com or visitKnotty Loop Creations Online. 


ABC7 On Your Side: Career Detours
By Leah Hope 

February 22, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The recession has squeezed salaries and left some out of a job altogether. The downturn has also spurred new job exploration. Some Chicagoans have survived this economy by pursuing their passions.

The only audience that matters right now to Adam Grey at Rush University Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit is three-week-old Finn.

Grey's career began in New York City dancing and singing in musicals that took him around the world. But the spotlights dim with downturns in the economy.

"When the economy turns south the jobs are few and far between. Jobs that weren't exactly plentiful to begin with become even more scarce," said Grey.

Grey wanted to do something academically challenging and something that made others feel better. This spring he'll graduate with a master's in nursing and hopes to specialize in pediatrics.

"There's such a vibrant energy to children that we all see and when they're sick it's taken away from them and so the idea that you can do something to give that back that energy and vitalness. I just found it very exciting," said Grey.

Economics expedited the growth of Knotty Loop Creations which makes hand crocheted items including dresses.

"It's like the universe lined up for this to happen when it happened," said Mona Muhammad, Knotty Loop Creations.

Crocheting was a hobby for Mona Muhammad. She works full time in customer service. But last year she had to take a 10 percent pay cut. At the same time, people started noticing her crocheted designs so she stepped up production.

"Knotty Loop has really saved my home because the 10 percent pay cut really made a difference," said Muhammad. "Everybody has been impaced in the family by this recession so the timing has been perfect."

John Golden was once an insurance executive living with a debilitating college football injury, so bad he was told he wouldn't walk again. But after 23 knee surgeries, he's walking and even climbing.

Golden climbed Mount Everest to raise money for orthopedic research. He had regained strength and confidence losing 70 pounds. He shed something else - his insurance career.

"I had a lot of opportunity but it wasn't my passion," said Golden.

When massive layoffs seemed inevitable last year, he decided to help others reach their fitness goals full-time. Now he helps corporations bring fitness to their employees at Athletes Performance.

"Making their impossible possible, whatever that is. If that's getting up in the morning and not feeling any pain, if that's climbing the Hancock building, if that's running a marathon or just being able to play with their kids," said Golden.

The recession may create instability and fear but some have found economic challenge as a motivator to take a leap, pursue their passions and find a career that's more fulfilling.

"For me it was just one step at a time you don't take it in one giant leap and so when you go to change your career or change your direction just take a step," said Golden. "Step out on faith do some homework. Don't just step out there bare footed because if you want to turn it into a business or learn how you can really profit from it," said Muhammad.

"Starting over with a clean slate is a not a scary thing necessarily, it's a gift and it's a gift we can immediately give yourself you can give it to yourself tomorrow," said Grey.

With all of these examples of career detours, those people took the leap only after doing extensive research. So don't quit your job just yet. They started by talking with people in fields where they had interest and had a plan before taking action.


Chicago Fashion Designer, Mona Muhammad of KnottyLoop Creations
January 24, 2011, By: A. Finney

This is where crocheted apparel takes a beautiful turn with the updated styles by KnottyLoop Creations. The KnottyLoop Creations collection redefines the art of crocheting. Mona Muhammad makes crocheting hot and sassy. Self-taught emerging design talent, Mona Muhammad, has taken crocheting to a whole new level with her fresh design ideas for her funky sheer dresses, dresses in silhouette, caps, scarves. She also creates styles for men and children. “It’s not your grandmother’s crochet,” says Mona.

With the KnottyLoop Creations collection, you will find something you will want to wear to social events, dancing and to the beach. Yes, beach! KnottyLoop Creations will offer the best of both worlds – Sass with Class,” says Mona.

Mona has a degree in business from National Louis University and finds that training very useful in running KnottyLoop Creations. Mona says her artistic and creative sides did not really show up until 2005. One day in October 2005, while looking through a magazine with a friend, they came across a pricey crocheted dress and Mona told her friend that she could make the dress for much less. Of course, her friend, being skeptical that Mona could crochet, let alone make that dress, was in for a surprise. By December 2005, Mona made 4 dresses which were worn by the friend, and Mona’s sisters to an event. Mona received overwhelming compliments and, shortly after, Mona launched KnottyLoops. She learned the art of sewing and crocheting from her mother. Once a struggling mother of 4 young children, Mona knew how to creatively stretch a dollar by drawing on the sewing and crocheting lessons taught her by her mother.

I asked Mona when she knew she wanted to be a designer. “I don’t think that I had conscious thought of becoming a fashion designer until recently,” Mona said. I think Mona had an inkling she would become some sort of designer when she was a young child draping her cousins in old curtains, and when she would add embellishments to her own boring outfits.

After launching KnottyLoops, Mona quickly learned what it means to be an entrepreneur. She realized she had to wear many hats – CEO, CFO, designer and everything in-between. Using the skills she acquired at National Louis University, she started promoting her business and soon, she was being featured on ABC News and in online magazines. She is a regular exhibitor at the One of a Kind Show held every December at the Merchandise Mart Chicago. Mona’s perfect celeb to design for would be Beyoncé.

“I truly believe that clothing should adorn both the body and the spirit; when you look your best, you surround yourself with a positive energy and you instinctively feel great,” Mona says.

KnottyLoops’ clients range in ages from 2 to 82. When I asked Mona about her company’s mission statement, she said:

My goal is to create sophisticated; yet sassy fashions for women that are both unique and classic. KnottyLoop Creations will offer the best of both worlds – Sass with Class.


Steal of the Day : KnottyLoop’s Multi-Scarf
Dec, 8 2009 2:30 am

The versatile piece can be worn a myriad of ways for endless winter fashion fun!


Featured in Vibrant Magazine
April 2012