In today’s Spotlight we are featuring Julie, from Julie Knits In Paris. Her designs are beautiful, fun, inspiring and creative, and I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her today!
Loopy: Hi Julie! Thanks for being in our Spotlight today. How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Julie: I learnt to knit when I was 6. I had chicken pox so I stayed at my grandparents’ for a week, and my grandmother taught me to tie my shoe laces and knit. She had managed a haberdashery and had always been a creative crafter, I was a lucky granddaughter!
Loopy: You definitely were! I think it’s fun that you learned to tie your shoes and knit at the same time. What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Julie: I really enjoy the magic of knitting one-piece garments. Knitting is so versatile, the shaping possibilities are endless! I have designed several top-down raglan sweaters and I also like exploring modular knitting: picking up stitches here and there to work in different directions, and create a complex shape in just one piece, with no sewing involved.
Loopy: I can see that in your designs – they are really unique. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Julie: If I told you, I’d have to kill you! 😉 I think the most challenging thing I have knit is a secret project I designed for a collaborative book that will be out this Spring. When you see it, you will understand what I mean!
Loopy: Well that’s something to look forward to! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Julie: I started designing in 2016. My first design was a shawl I called Cosmic Dandy, as a tribute to Stephen West, who had encouraged me to give designing a go. I had become such a passionate knitter, I think I still needed to go one step further. And once I got started, I could not stop!
Loopy: I’m amazed that you have done all of these designs in less than five years. That’s incredible! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Julie: That’s a tough one! All my patterns have a story and I could spend hours telling you about my designs, my sources of inspiration, the places they are linked to and the relationship I developed with the dyer of the yarn I used. I mostly design with hand-dyed yarn, and my designs have a connection with the indie dyer behind the yarn. I am very fond of my Filigree collection. The first of the Filigree patterns was the shawl, which I swear I saw in a vision when my friend Tuva from Norne Yarns sent me a picture of her latest golden colourway, asking me what I thought about it. I also felt much excitement when Connie from Chile Knitz offered me yarn support, and I got the idea of the Gaudi Sweater for the Barcelona Yarn Festival. I sent her pictures of Park Güell and La Sagrada Familia and she created a colourway especially for this project! It was perfect!
Loopy: Collaborations are always inspiring, aren’t they? What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Julie: My favourite part is sketching, swatching, figuring out the maths, and knitting the first sample! The part I’m not a fan of is pattern grading: making 9 sizes happen for every garment. It is a very demanding part of the process, but it is also very satisfying to offer inclusive sizing so knitters can make their own, whatever their body measurements.
Loopy: I think it’s wonderful that you have so many sizes within your patterns. Although figuring all of that out? A challenge, for sure. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard? Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Julie: I used to be a high-school teacher, but I suffered a severe burn out and realized that I could not go back to teaching. So I am now a full-time designer and knitting instructor. It is a very rewarding job, but it does require hard work, just like any other free-lance business. You are your own boss, you are free to organize your schedule, but you also need to stay motivated and meet deadlines. Pattern designing is only one of my jobs as an independent designer: I am also my own marketing agent, sample knitter, personal assistant, web designer, content creator, social media manager, model, stylist, photographer, salesperson, hotline manager…
Loopy: There is so much that goes into having your own business. You wear many hats! Does anyone else in your family knit?
Julie: I taught my husband to knit a few years ago! He’s made dozens of Shetland lace shawls, these are his favourite knits. My Mum had always been a knitter but she has become a hardcore one now that her daughter is a designer! She test knits most of my patterns and she is wonderfully supportive. None of my 3 kids knits yet, but they appreciate knitwear and they are knitworthy!
Loopy: Awesome that your husband and mom are knitters. I’m sure out of three kids, you’ll have at least one knitter in there with that kind of a knitting heritage! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Julie: I like singing, and I’ve started playing the guitar but I should definitely spend more time practicing…
Loopy: What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Julie: Tea in bed with my knitting, a long walk with my husband and our 3 Border Terriers (possibly our 3 kids too, but they’re not always in the mood, while the dogs never say no!), more tea, more knitting, a good family meal (cooked by Hubby, even better!), a good movie.
Loopy: Sounds like a relaxing day! Last question: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂
Julie: Morning! Tea (milk, no sugar) English when in England, Continental the rest of the time. Solids, speckles, multicolours, all of them as long as they’re bright!!
Loopy: Thanks again for being in our Spotlight today. Anything else you’d like to add?
Julie: I look forward to the end of the pandemic when knitting festivals will be back! I miss traveling and meeting knitters from all around the world!
Loopy: Me, too!!
Julie is offering a 20% discount on her patterns in her Ravelry JulieKnitsInParis pattern shop with the code: LOOPY20 This discount is valid 2/12 – 19, 2021. Enjoy!