Not long after I discovered the joy of knitting did I stumble upon the blog Julie and The Knits. Twitter, Pinterest, Google searches (and the like) introduced me to a number of crafty knitters, Julie Picard being among them.
Julie, a native of France, has used the web to share her truly adorable creations far and wide. Most recently, Julie’s knitted works have been lovingly featured in Gathered by Mollie Makes, a weekly iPad magazine on all things crafty and creative. (Yes, I’m a satisfied Gathered subscriber and eager reader!)
After following Julie from afar and exchanging knitting tips via social media, I realized there was plenty more I wanted to know about this fellow knitter from across the pond.
>> Also! One lucky reader will receive Julie’s custom knitted name accent, as featured in her Etsy shop. To win, simply comment below, being certain to include your email address and/or social media links. One winner will be selected at random. The giveaway closes on Friday, July 12. Good luck!
WT: Tell us a little bit about you and your background: where you grew up and where you call home.
JP: My name is Julie Picard and I live in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England. I was born in France and grew up in Normandy then 8 years ago, while I was studying English at Uni, I was offered a teaching job in the UK. It was supposed to be short term experience but I loved living in the UK so much that I decided to stay! France will always be home though and I miss my family and friends a lot – and of course the food!
What sparked your interest in knitting?
I first learned how to knit with my grandma who used to make me and my brother awesome Tintin and Astérix jumpers. I’ve always loved crafts and used to be an activity leader – I taught children how to make salt dough modelling, paper mobiles, jewelry, etc. – so ‘handmade’ has always been in my life. I picked up my knitting needles again a few years ago and have not left them out of my sight since! I work in social media and spend so much time in the virtual world these days that it feels good to go back to a traditional craft at the end of the day.
What is it about knitting that keeps you creating new patterns and new pieces?
The whole creation process is so personal and fulfilling – from having an idea for a new knit vaguely taking form in my head to seeing the finished product on someone. I’m not one to follow traditional patterns you get from the yarn shop – I find this boring! I try to come up with unusual ways of using wool. Original items such as the heart-shaped coasters and the knitted words are usually what catch people’s attention. The interest from my family, friends, and colleagues has been so positive and encouraging that it makes me want to try even harder! I also love when my customers challenge me to make something completely different, it’s so inspiring.
Where do you go to be creatively inspired?
I simply get inspired by the things I love most in life. I love animals and my little dog Spike is a great source of inspiration as well as the perfect model for my pet accessories. Fashion accessories, fabrics, and homeware also give me new ideas – I love browsing Pinterest and blogs. My other big love is Japan and I find the kawaii culture fascinating! Cute and quirky things make me happy. We might all own the same plant pot from Ikea, but mine has a rainbow cozy on it.
I discovered you via the Gathered iPad magazine. How did the relationship begin? And how has your knitting business and blog grown since then?
When I launched Julie And The Knits in 2012, I set up a Facebook page and used my Instagram account to show my work in progress. Instagram is my favourite platform, my visual journal and I have met the most amazing and sweet creative people on there. One day the editor from Gathered got in touch via Instagram and asked me to create a tutorial for one of my bow headbands and that’s how the relationship began. Mollie Makes is such an incredible magazine and I am honoured to feature in their iPad app.
Writing tutorials was such an exciting experience that I decided to create a blog – something I’ve always wanted to do but was too busy/lazy/didn’t know where to start – I’m loving it so far! I’m planning on creating more tutorials for my blog in the future and have been showcasing creative people that I love as well. It’s so important to support each other in the creative world. It means a lot to me and I’m so grateful that you asked me to feature on your blog, Wendy!
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Cheese and baguette. So cliché but oh so true!
What three books have you recently read?
I recently finished The Hunger Games trilogy and can’t wait for all the movies to come out now! I’ve also been reading Nick Kent’s The Dark Stuff, a collection of writings about rock music, which I’m a big fan of. I’m now reading a shojo manga called Vampire Knight. A varied bunch, basically.
Any final thoughts?
I love discovering new creative people and writing about them on my blog. So if you’re reading this and make anything cute or quirky, feel free to get in touch!