6 DIY Crafts To Make this Winter

calligraphy swirls

When I need a break from knitting, I like to dabble into a different technique to update my home decor, make a gift or simply to prove to myself that I can do it (forever competitive).  And the colder months are a perfect excuse to stay home and get creative.

If like me, you love making stuff, here are 6 of my favourite DIYs to try this winter, including a couple of yarn-related projects by yours truly. Time to get crafty!

Macramé Plant Hanger

by Julie & The Knits

Lost count of how many house plants you own?  Then this project is for you. Not only macramé is the solution when you’re running out of floor space to display your lovely greenery, it’s also an easy craft to get into. All you need to make a plant hanger is a bit of yarn and about 15 minutes.

I originally created this DIY for Mollie Makes and I’ve made it over and over again since. And if neon pink is not your thing, so why not go for a wintery colour instead?

Crochet Candy Ornaments

Twinkie Chan

How adorable are these? Twinkie Chan is the queen of kawaii and, if I’d picked crochet as a new hobby instead of knitting a few years back, this is the kind of stuff I would want to make.

Twinkie Chan describes this project as ‘the easiest pattern ever’ so if you’re a total beginner, this is the perfect project to try, you just can’t go wrong!

Calligraphy Embellishments

The Postman’s Knock

Calligraphy Swirls Tutorials (Part I) | The Postman's Knock

I think calligraphy is one of the most beautiful art forms out there. It looks so delicate and effortless that I recently decided to give it a try. Well let me tell you: it isn’t easy! However these beautiful designs by Lindsey from the Postman’s Knock just make me want to keep trying.

Calligraphy is a skill that comes in so handy if you’re a DIY lover like me – imagine making your own cards, invites or even blog headers. Endless possibilities!

Natural Room Freshener

A Beautiful Mess

DIY Room Freshener

You gotta love good room spray. And the good news is they’re so easy to make – long live essential oils.

If you feel unsure about picking your own scent combos, don’t worry, this tutorial includes some pretty good suggestions like ‘campfire vibes’ – ideal for Christmas!

Note to self: must make pillow mist.

Fake Fur Collar

Tilly and the buttons

fake-fur-collar-diy-how-to

I’m a total beginner when it comes to sewing – my biggest achievement is a piped cushion – but I dream of being able to make every single design by Tilly (yes, Tilly from the Great British Sewing Bee!). Her patterns are so wonderfully retro.

This fur collar is a perfect accessory for this winter and if you’re wanting to get into sewing, I feel like this is a good little project to add to your to do lit.

Cosy Latch Hook Rug

Design Sponge

latch-hook-rug

This one has been on my list for months! Hook rug making is a slow but satisfying craft and a great way to create a statement piece for your very own home.

I can just picture myself making mine while snuggled up on your sofa and binging on Netflix shows aka my life when it gets cold.

Knitted Heart coasters

Julie & The Knits

https://julieandtheknits.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/7a7c9-finishedproduct-2_edited-1.jpg?w=838&h=630

Last but not least, a bit of knitting of course! This knitted heart might be the first pattern I ever published, it is still one of my most popular makes. Probably because it can serve so many purposes – use it as a coaster, embellish a garment, cushion or personalise a gift.

I have made so many of these I have lost count a long time ago!

I hope you enjoy giving these projects a try this winter and if you do, I’d love to see your pictures! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Knit a Dapper Bow Tie

Bow tie knitting pattern by Julie And The Knits

New pattern ALERT! I’ve just listed my Dapper Bow Tie knitting pattern on Etsy, Craftsy and Ravelry! I first designed it for Britain Does Vintage Festival in Newcastle (I blogged about the event here and here) – if you love vintage/retro fashion, you must try this pattern!

Bow tie knitting pattern by Julie And The Knits

As with most of my projects, this bow tie is super quick and easy to make. It is knitted using the seed stitch aka my favourite stitch and made of 3 pieces put together.

The best thing about it? You can knit and personalise the pattern time and time again – colour, stitch, motif – the possibilities are endless. Make it for your gal pal, your bf, your little nephew or even your dog :)

I hope you enjoy this pattern and I can’t wait to see your pics – share them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use #julieandtheknits!

Bow tie knitting pattern by Julie And The Knits Bow tie knitting pattern by Julie And The Knits Dapper Dog BowK Knitted Tie

Get the pattern now!

Click here for more cute & colourful patterns. If you have any questions, just let me know :)

Spring Travels & Projects

Knitting Workshop - Britain Does Vintage

Last time I blogged was to let you know about the Clayshed’s Big Vintage Festival which took place in Newcastle back in April. The turnout wasn’t as great as expected but the workshops were extremely popular and kept me pretty busy all day. I absolutely loved teaching how to knit for the first time (so far I’d been sticking to written tutorials). Thanks to all who came and thank you Laura Pearman for the lovely photos!

Knitting Workshop - Britain Does Vintage Knitting Workshop - Britain Does Vintage Knitting Workshop - Britain Does Vintage

I made lots of vintage inspired knits for the event and will put up all the unsold items in my Etsy shop as soon as I get the chance – including my first ever knitting kit!

Julie And The Knits stand - Britain Does Vintage Julie And The Knits stand - Britain Does Vintage Julie And The Knits stand - Britain Does Vintage

Two weeks after the festival I flew over to Mexico with one of my best friends for what I can only call an adventure. We did a 10-day road trip across the Quintana Roo, Yucatan and Campeche states, starting and ending our journey in sunny Cancun. My highlights: Swimming in the Caribbean sea, Cenotes and lagoons, driving around Isla Mujeres in a golf cart, seeing a lucha libre show, and visiting one of the seven wonders of the world, Chichen Itza. Take me back RIGHT NOW!

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Chichen Itza Mexico

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Laguna Bacalar Mexico Grand Cenote Mexico

Since I came back, I’ve made these cute hair clips for my friend’s little girl, ran my first ever race, quit my job and went home in France to meet my nephew. No wonder I don’t get much knitting done these days!

Cute Hair Clips

I’m currently working on a new project, a baby blanket for my nephew <3 I’m using this beautiful Colorblock Bias Blanket pattern from Purl Soho (aka my favourite pattern maker) and going for shades of grey, blue and yellow. I’m only on colour 2 of 7 so bear with me – follow my progress on Instagram!

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Join my free knitting workshop at The Clayshed’s Big Vintage Festival!

Dapper Knitted Bow Tie

Calling all vintage lovers in the North East of England! Britain Does Vintage are bringing their latest festival to Newcastle and I’m very excited to be joining them for what promises to be a very special day.

The Clayshed’s Big Vintage Festival will take place on 23rd April at Hoults Yard in the Ouseburn – you’ll find lots of traders of course, but also vintage entertainers, a beauty bar, street foods, a tearoom… and that’s not all! You’ll also be able to take part in free workshops, including my Dapper Knitted Bow Tie Workshop – eeek!

I’ll be running the workshop at 12pm and 3pm. Spaces are limited, so if you’d like to learn how to make a super easy and retro bow tie, all you have to do is email info@britaindoesvintage.co.uk.

You’ll also be able to buy vintage themed knitted accessories – bow ties of course, peter pan collars, hair bows, macramé and more – at my Julie & The Knits stand. Please come and say hello!

The Clayshed’s Big Vintage Festival, NewcastleDapper Knitted Bow Tie

Dapper Dog Bow Knitted Tie
My dog Spike & his very own dapper bow tie!

I’m really looking forward to this event and hope to see many of you there!

For more info, visit the Clayshed’s Big Vintage Festival info page and follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

The #MarchMeetTheMaker Instagram Challenge

Corgi Love Knitted Picture

From time to time, an IGer comes up with a photo challenge to encourage fellow IGers to share more of their creative world. I’ve only taken part in one photo challenge in the past – #animaldoodleaday – and what a challenge that was! By taking part I completely stepped out of my comfort zone and designed intarsia patterns daily. Hard work, but it paid off, since the 30 Animal Squares project is one of my most popular patterns to date!

When I came across the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge, I was just getting back into my knitting routine after a long break and was really keen to start posting more on social media. Perfect timing! I loved it – it simply just motivates you to create more quality content and is an amazing way to connect with the community. If you don’t follow my on Instagram yet, I’m here :)

Here are my 31 pics!

Catching up! #marchmeetthemaker DAY 1 – Brand Image

A post shared by Julie (@julieandtheknits) on

I strongly encourage any creative IGers to join a photo challenge! And if you know of any other challenges, please let me know :)

Baby Sailor Dress

Close up Anchors Baby Dress

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Sometimes I force myself out of my ‘knitting comfort zone’ and try to knit something a little bit harder than cute bows so I can learn new techniques. This often leads to a lot of frustration and the result is not always satisfying,  but sometimes it turns out to be a lot easier than I initially thought.

Original photo

When I picked up my needles again a few years ago, I was given a huge folder of Creative Knitting patterns from the 80s which mostly featured – no surprise here – oversized jumpers). As a beginner at the time, the idea of trying to follow any of these patterns just terrified me! So the folder had been gathering dust in my knitting room ever since until a few months ago when, while tidying up my room, I flicked through the pages and came across this cute pinafore dress. I loved the style and decided to give it a go!

I wasn’t a big fan of the motif and, in order to make this dress a ‘Julie’ dress (as my friend Shivani would say), I went for a nautical theme instead and also changed the top design. I charted some anchors, looked for cute buttons in my stash, ordered some lovely yarn and I was ready to go!

I would have linked to the original pattern but I couldn’t find it online. So I have typed it below and included my tweaks . If you’re a beginner yourself when it comes to knitting clothing, do not worry, this is actually super easy.

 Materials
– Pair of 3.25mm (US 3), 4mm (US 6) & 4.5mm (US 7) straight knitting needles
– DK acrylic & nylon yarn in navy, red and white – I used Sirdar Snuggly DK Light Navy (224), Flamenco (242) & White (251)
– Tapestry needle
– Scissors
– 2 buttons

Measurements
To fit chest approx. 46cm
Skirt width 65cm & length 17cm

Tension
22 stitches and 30 rows to 10cm in stocking stitch on 4mm (US size 6) needles.

Abbreviations
K – Knit
P – Purl
P2tog – Purl 2 stitches together
RS – Right Side
WS – Wrong Side

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Instructions

Skirt:
– Using 3.25mm needles and navy yarn, cast on 142 stitches.
– Beginning with a Knit row, work 5 rows in stocking stitch.
– K1 row to form the fold line.
– Beginning with a Knit row, work 4 rows in stocking stitch.

Anchor Pattern: Change to 4.5mm needles and work the pattern using the Intarsia technique and stocking stitch – follow the written instructions or the chart (I’m a big fan of charts).
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I know this looks pretty tiny, so you can get the (bigger) PDF chart here.

N=NavyR=RedW=White

ROW 1: K8N, *6R, 11N, 6W, 11N, repeat from * 3 times, K6R, 11N, 6W, 9N.
ROW 2: P7N, *2W, 1N, 2W, 1N, 2W, 9N, 2R, 1N, 2R, 1N, 2R, 9N, repeat from * 3times, P2W, 1N, 2W, 1N, 2W, 9N,
2R, 1N, 2R, 1N, 2R, 7N.
ROW 3: K6N, *2R, 2N, 2R, 2N, 2R, 7N, 2W, 2N, 2W, 2N, 2W, 7N, repeat from * 3 times, K2R, 2N, 2R, 2N, 2R, 7N,
2W, 2N, 2W, 2N, 2W, 7N.
ROW 4: P6N, *4W, 1N, 2W, 1N, 4W, 5N, 4R, 1N, 2R, 1N, 4R, 5N, repeat from * 3 times, P4W, 1N, 2W, 1N, 4W,
5N, 4R, 1N, 2R, 1N, 4R, 5N.
ROW 5: K6N, *1R, 3N, 2R, 3N, 1R, 7N, 1W, 3N, 2W, 3N, 1W, 7N, repeat from * 3 times, K1R, 3N, 2R, 3N, 1R, 7N,
1W, 3N, 2W, 3N, 1W, 7N.
ROW 6: P11N, *2W, 15N, 2R, 15N, repeat from * 3 times, P2W, 15N, 2R, 10N.
ROW 7: K10N, *2R, 15N, 2W, 15N, repeat from * 3 times, K2R, 15N, 2W, 11N.
ROW 8: P8N, *8W, 9N, 8R, 9N, repeat from * 3 times, P8W, 9N, 8R, 7N.
ROW 9: K10N, *2R, 15N, 2W, 15N, repeat from * 3 times, K2R, 15N, 2W, 11N.
ROW 10: P10N, *1W, 2N, 1W, 13N, 1R, 2N, 1R, 13N, repeat from * 3 times, P1W, 2N, 1W, 13N, 1R, 2N, 1R, 9N.
ROW 11: K9N, *1R, 2N, 1R, 13N, 1W, 2N, 1W, 13N, repeat from * 3 times, K1R, 2N, 1R, 13N, 1W, 2N, 1W, 10N.
ROW 12: P11N, *2W, 15N, 2R, 15N, repeat from * 3 times, P2W, 15N, 2R, 10N.

Change to 4mm needles – you will only use navy yarn for the rest of the pattern:
– Beginning with a Knit row, work in stocking stitch until the skirt measures 19cm from cast-on edge, ending with a Knit row.

Decrease:
– P2, *P2tog, P2, repeat from * to the last 4 stitches, P2tog, P2. 107 stitches.

Waistband Change to 3.25mm needles:
– RIB ROW 1: K1, *P1, K1, repeat from * to end.
– RIB ROW 2: P1, *K1, P1, repeat from * to end.
– Repeat these 2 rows for 2.5cm, ending with rib row 2.

Shape for bib:
– Cast off in rib 39 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows. 29 stitches.

Change to 4mm needles:
– Knit to end.
– K4, Purl to last 4 stitches, K4.
– Repeat these 2 rows until the bib measure 7.5cm from the beginning of shaping, ending with a RS row.
– Work in seed stitch for the next 4 rows – *K1, P1, repeat from * to end, K1.

Knit the straps (I knitted them in garter but wish I had done in seed stitch to make them even cuter!):
– K7, cast off 15 stitches, K to end.
– K7, turn your work and leave the other set of 7 stitches on a holder.
– Work in garter stitch until the strap measures 23cm.
– Cast off.
– Repeat this with the other strap.

Assembly:
– Join the centre back seam of the skirt.
– Fold the hem to WS along the fold line and slipstitch into place.
– Make a buttons loop at the end of each strap.
– Crossing the straps over at the back, sew on (cute) buttons to the waistband to correspond with button loops.

front top back top back back button back loop anchors

Oh I would love to make an adult size sailor dress. One day maybe!

What do you think of this pattern? If you give it a try, I would love to see your pics so please share them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

And do let me know in the comments what patterns you’d like to see next :)

Click here for more patterns!

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Single Animal Square Patterns now available!

Knitted Hippo

Good news! You can now purchase individual patterns of my animal squares! Some of you have been emailing me asking for single patterns from my 30 animal squares pattern over the last few months, so I’m pleased to say it is now possible :) They look great as part of a baby blanket but you can also frame them – they makes a lovely decoration for a child’s bedroom.

You can order the pattern for the animal of your choice exclusively in my Etsy Shop.

pig elephant hedgehog tiger

There are 30 animals to choose from: alligator, bat, bear, bird, cat, chipmunk, deer, dog, duck, elephant, flamingo, frog, hedgehog, hippo, kangaroo, koala, lion, monkey, mouse, narwhal, nessie, penguin, pig, rabbit, raccoon, seal, tiger, unicorn, whale, yeti.

Aren’t they cute? I have a soft spot for the whale, what about you?30 Animal Squares Group

Click here to get your favourite animal square pattern!

Click here for more patterns

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Easy Mittens

Mollie Makes Knitted Mittens

Happy New Year everyone! I’m very happy to kick off 2016 with a free pattern – mittens! They’re very cute and very easy to make, the hardest part being picking your yarn colours :)

Simple-mittens-knitting-pattern-final2-Mollie-Makes

You can find this free pattern on molliemakes.com.

If these mittens look familiar, it’s because they first appeared in their e-zine a couple of years ago. Let me know in the comments if you give this pattern a go!

Finished Product

Click here for more patterns!

 

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Highlights: The Handmade Christmas Fair

Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Christmas Fair 2015

As promised, here is a post about my time at The Handmade Christmas Fair which took place in Manchester on 20-22 November. When I received an email from the organisers inviting me to the event, I did not hesitate for one second and accepted. Living in Newcastle, I always feel pretty jealous about all the amazing events in London throughout the year so finding out that the fair was in Manchester this time was a very pleasant surprise, and on Sunday morning me and my bf hit the road south.

ChristmasHandmadeFair-HB-1
http://www.thehandmadechristmasfair.com

Our Full Experience tickets gave us the chance to attend one session in the Super Theatre, one Skills Workshop as well as one Grand Make session. There was A LOT to choose from and, because we were quite short for time (and because I wanted to have enough time to check out the Shopping Village), we decided to head to the Super Theatre first for a christmas pudding cookery lesson hosted by Kirstie Allsopp herself and Lisa Bennison from the award-winning Bettys Cookery School. Being French, Christmas pudding has always been super weird to me – I mean, where is the crème pâtissière – but the demonstration was very interesting and Kirstie & Lisa shared lots of insider secrets (one was that spices don’t last so you should share them with friends!).

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We then joined one of the Skill Workshops, where you get to learn a technique and take your finished product home. Luckily, the last workshop of the day was upholstery, something we’ve both wanted to try for ages! The chair pad workshop was led by the guys from Ministry of Upholstery, the UK’s leading modern upholstery school.

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Did I enjoy it? I enjoyed it so much that I signed up for an upholstery course here in Newcastle the following week!

Finally it was time to check out the Shopping Village yay! To be honest, there weren’t as many exhibitors as I’d expected, but there was a great variety of crafts and I did manage to spend quite a bit of money :) Here are a few pics from some of my favourite stalls as well as my purchases… cannot wait to make my own candles!

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Manchester Craft Mafia
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Goodnight Boutique, the best looking stall!
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Great British Sewing Bee 2015 Winner, Matt Chapple & his SIGNED SEW-A-SAURUS sewing kit
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Wirework by Lucy Elizabeth
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Ben Rothery (we bought the Moby Dick illustration which is right behind him)
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Kirstie’s candle making kit is now mine!
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Rory Mullen’s portraits for a pound…
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…we had to do it <3

The Handmade Christmas Fair is not just a fair. As they describe it themselves on their website, it ‘puts buying, learning and making at the heart of your day’. I loved discovering (and trying!) new crafts and meeting so many talented designers, as well as the queen of handmade herself, Kirstie, who was so engaged and passionate. I’d definitely love to attend the Handmade Fair next year and recommend you check it out too!