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!

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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 :)

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.

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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!

The Handmade Christmas Fair + Mollie Makes Christmas Special

Kirstie Allsopp

This Christmas is about to become very exciting for handmade lovers. The fabulous Kirstie Allsopp, who launched the very successful Handmade Fair last year, is back with her team of designers and artisans to get Britain crafting at The Handmade Christmas Fair! The event will take place at Manchester Central from 20th to 22nd November in association with my favourite craft magazine, Mollie Makes (of course!). You guessed it, this one is about celebrating all things festive! Here are a few pics from the past fairs – a crafter’s dream, don’t you think?

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Kirstie, along with her expert makers, will be hosting a series of tutorials, workshops and Q&As, so make sure you check the full line up on their website. I cannot wait to head there on Sunday and see what it’s all about – I’m hoping to do lots of xmas shopping at the wonderful Shopping Village – I will be reporting on the blog when I’m back :)

If you haven’t got a ticket yet, here’s a little treat for you! You can get a Full Experience ticket for £20* (instead of £25) by entering the code JTK20 when you order your ticket here.

Speaking of Christmas, Mollie Makes have launched a special issue to celebrate that time of year when so many of us enjoy getting crafty. Mollie Makes Christmas 2, out now, is packed with 105 exciting ideas & DIY projects to fill your home and gift your loved ones with beautiful, creative makes. Sewing, crochet, papercrafts, upcycling… there’s plenty to keep you busy until Santa gets here. This issue is also extra special to me as it features my xmas baubles knitting pattern which first appeared in Mollie Makes last year and, I’ve got to say, it’s my most popular project to date. So make sure you get yourself a copy of this very special Christmas special (you can buy it here) and share your crafts online using #molliemakers!

Xmas baubles*T&Cs: Booking and transaction fees apply. Offer applies to Full Experience tickets purchased in advance only and offer ends 21st November. For more information, visit http://www.thehandmadechristmasfair.com/.

Summer WIPs

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I cannot believe it’s October already!!! I haven’t moved house yet, so a lot of my knitting stuff is packed in boxes which means I am limited as far as new projects are concerned but, do not worry, September was still a very busy month.

A Cute Baby Blanket

The awesome Lindsay from Em & Sprout has asked me to make an animal squares blanket for her little baby girl who is due at the end of October. I’m so honoured as Lindsay is one of the crafters I admire the most. I actually had originally designed 30 animal squares as part of Lindsay’s #animaldoodleaday challenge – my biggest knitting achievement to date! You can read all about it here. I am currently re-working my designs (forever a perfectionist) but also creating new squares of some of my favourite animals. This is probably going to take me a while, but I’ll keep you posted :)

Now the question is: which animals will be on Lindsay’s baby blanket? Follow me on Instagram to find out!

30 Animal Squares Group

My First Print Magazine Publication

September 2014 also marked the first time I ever got one of my projects published in print, eeeeeek! I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have one of my projects featured in Mollie Makes, and of course I wrote a whole post about this (because who wouldn’t!)! And there’s more to come!!!MMS45.subsclub_Page_1

BFFs Unite!

My best friend Victoria and I have wanted to collaborate on a collection for like ever. Victoria is the girl behind Rock’n’Kitsch jewelry brand Die Young Stay Pretty. For months we’ve been talking about themes and ways to combine our 2 worlds and I am pleased to say it is finally happening! I’ve started working on my side of the collaboration, ie incorporating my knits into her beautiful pieces (it’s not as easy as it sounds, but I’m getting there). Our retro horror movie collection  DYSPxJATK will (hopefully) launch soon. Here is a sneak peek – I’d love to know what you think!

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What have you been up to in September? Share links to your projects in the comments!

RIP knitting room

The Knit Diaries are back! Rather than multiple blog posts about my unfinished projects, here is a little recap of what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks…

I normally don’t share much about my personal life but this time it has a massive impact on my creative routine so it’s only right I do. I’m currently selling my house and I will soon be saying goodbye to my lovely knitting room (RIP). If you ever had to pack a whole craft room before, then you know what I’m going through… I have so much stuff to to sort out – yarn, needles, tools, stationery, craft books, notebooks all kinds of accessories and supports for my knits! I will no longer have a craft room in my next accommodation, so I’m trying to work out the best way to fit so much into a small space. This is where I’m at at the minute – any storage tips are more than welcome!

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… and this is just the beginning! I will show you my new knitting space in a few weeks time.

Working as a freelance knitting designer means that I always have to work well ahead of publishing time, and this means designing Christmas knits in the middle of summer! As you can imagine I have to keep it under wraps for now, but here is a tiny little clue – my project will appear in issue 46 of Mollie Makes

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I’ve also been busy writing patterns to sell on Ravelry and Etsy. As I’m still a newbie in that area, it’s taking me a long time but I have a set of 3 patterns coming out very soon! And it’s about time I share a blurry sneak peek with you :)

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And that was August! Hopefully I’ll be more productive next month! What’s on your to do list?

Vinyl Record Coasters by Knitti Politi

It’s been a while since I have updated my ‘Knit Diaries’ and let you know what I have been up to! So here we go…

Remember the 2014 checklist I posted earlier this year? One of my resolutions was to do more selfish knitting and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing – not just working on my own designs but having a go at other knitters’ patterns. I’ve recently started to become more active on Ravelry (feel free to add my as a friend!). I used to be confused by the many categories and unappealing design, but have to say it’s so handy to have everything in one place and feel part of a knitting community!

Anyway, going back to the selfish knitting, I was looking for an original coasters pattern for my coffee table on Ravelry and found this awesome knitted vinyl records pattern created by Ellen Kapusniak aka Knitti Politi. Aren’t these cool?

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These coasters are really easy to knit and make a perfect gift for music lovers – my vinyl collector friends absolutely love them so I will have to make some more :)

I probably should have used cotton or acrylic yarn rather than merino wool as they get a bit fuzzy after a while.

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That’s enough selfish knitting for now! Another item on my checklist was to publish my own patterns and that’s something I’m working hard at – I will be publishing a set of intarsia/fairisle patterns very soon!

My first ever knitting design competition – VOTE NOW!

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UPDATE: Well I didn’t win, but I feel honoured to have made it to the shortlist! Thank you to everyone who voted for my design, you can check out the winners here :)

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I have been very quiet on here & everywhere else and here is why… A great opportunity recently came up with the awesome knitwear company Wool & The Gang to design a clutch bag to be sold as a knit kit on their website. Having recently decided to dedicate more time to designing rather than making, I jumped on the occasion.

WATG first asked participants to knit a swatch using their new Mixtape Yarn, do a sketch and write a brief description of our design.

WATG Clutch Bag Design by Julie Picard

When I made it to the shortlist (yay!), I was then asked to knit my clutch bag and send them some pics including a ‘in action’ shot, hence the awkward photo of myself below.

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The voting is now open and they will launch the winning design as a knit kit. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and, if you like my clutch bag, I’d be so grateful if you could spare a minute to vote for my design! All you have to do is click HERE and vote for JULIE (that’s me!) – you will be taken to their Facebook page to vote and it also works from mobiles.

THANK YOU!

There are some lovely designs in this list, and if my clutch bag does not win, I’ve decided that I will publish the pattern myself :)

If you’ve never heard of WATG before, check out their website!  – I discovered them thanks to friend years ago. They make modern DIY and unique, ready to wear fashion knits brand for women, men, kids and babies.