Monica Leo

Doll Sweaters


A Norwegian one with snowflakes was knit for Molly, an American Girl Doll. The matching hat had a large pom pom on top. Rosebuds --silk, of course-- were sewn on the neck band of the white cardigan I made for Baby Sarah. My daughter’s dolls were kept warm by my needles.

A few years ago my friend, puppeteer and doll maker Monica Leo, gave me a doll she had made. I named her My Monica and she sits on the table by knitting chair. Since my children are now grown up and no longer live at home,  many days she’s youngest in our house.  Barefoot, wearing corduroy overalls and a thin cotton shirt, I often worried about her being chilled. I had always planned on knitting My Monica some sturdy socks and a wool sweater. This September, I did. First a pair of slipper socks. And then, after many failed attempts, she received a sweater. A red and blue marled cardigan. Three buttons on the top.

Doll sweaters. Amazingly satisfying to knit one for the doll in your life.


Pattern I used

Monica Leo Puppeeter and dollmaker




A few weeks ago my friend, middle-grade novelist Anne Ylvisaker, posed a question on her blog--Why Iowa? She invited me and other Iowans to answer.

This week traveling on country roads to Northwestern Iowa with my pal,  puppeteer Monica Leo, I found even more to hearten me. Like in Charles City, Iowa, where their mighty library houses an enviable gallery of spectacular prints including Hiroshige, Durer, Chagall, Rembrandt, Whistler, Picasso, Pissaro as well as printmaking giants, Piranesi and Meryon.

More, too, in that the heartbeat of even the smallest Iowa towns, is their library. And in library meeting rooms in Charles City, Hartley and Sac City, I watched in wonder as Monica performed her In the Mirror: Three Tales from Asia  to terrific and attentive audiences.


If you happen to be in the neighborhood of  West Bend, Iowa, you must visit The Grotto of the Redemption-- a testament to faith, perseverance and geology.

And if you are hungry and want pie for breakfast, or eggs and has browns with toasts and coffee, stop in Early--made famous by this Greg Brown song.

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You can read my latest Lion Brand Essay--A Knitter's Ode to the Sweatshirt by clicking on the image at the top of the blog or clicking here.