Meet the designer: Little Cotton Rabbits

Her bunny patterns are loved by many knitters, but now it's time to find out a bit more about the knitter behind the bunny ears. Meet Julie, designer of Little Cotton Rabbits.

Hi, I’m Julie – wife, mum of two and knitter. My son is severely autistic and so life is a bit of a rollercoaster ride. I write a little about our experiences over on my blog Little Cotton Rabbits in the hope of helping others in a similar situation and to give a little insight into some aspects of life with an autistic child. I also write a lot about knitting and how it has helped keep me sane through some of the more difficult times with my son.

seasonal dresses knitting pattern for toys by little cotton rabbits
I knit to keep stress at bay, to have a creative outlet in my life but mostly because it simply makes me happy."

When did you start knitting?

I think I was around 9 years old when I first learned to knit properly, but I’d always been surrounded by knitting and crafts. My Gangan (gran) was a skilled seamstress and knitter and made a lot of her own clothes as well as things for my brother and me. My grandfather was very good at carpentry and my dad has always painted but it’s mostly my mum who encouraged me to knit, she clicked away most evenings. I seem to remember being given a knitting kit for Christmas one year – a little bag with plastic chunky needles and two balls of squeaky acrylic yarn, my mum showed me the basics, and I was off.

Kits for beginners

What was your first project?

A garter stitch scarf in that squeaky acrylic yarn mentioned above – it was bright red and was never worn

Who are you most inspired by, and why?

My Grandparents have been a huge influence on how I try to live. They were both quite crafty and loved making things, baking, gardening and the countryside. I think that two of the keys to living a happy life are finding pleasure in some of the simpler things and making things with your own two hands.

Where do you look for inspiration when you are about to start something new?

I never really set out with the idea of making something new and look for inspiration, it’s more the other way round and the inspiration finds me. I love browsing and following links on the internet and I quite often come across things that I bookmark. Sometimes I’ll come across an image and it sparks off an idea that grows into something new.

What is the project you dream of one day completing/finishing?

There are many. My queue list just gets bigger and bigger. I like working on things on a whim, so I always have lots of different things on the go - interspersed with a lot of bunny knitting.

What are your pet hates?

I don't think that I have any

Great outfits for your bunnies

How and when did you decide to start blogging about your knitting?

I started the blog on September 3rd 2006 which was the day before my little boy started school. I was dreading him going and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my time. I had been away from professional work for over six years and so wasn’t keen on resuming a challenging career and I still wanted to be there when the children got home from school and in school holidays. But being at home most of the time can feel isolating and none of the mums I’d got friendly with were crafty in any way, so to satisfy my need for crafty companionship I’d been following a few creative blogs. It was mostly Hilary Lang’s 'Wee Wonderfuls' blog that got me thinking. There was a mum, writing about her makes and sharing her creative thoughts with a community of like-minded people and it seemed a great idea to start a blog and see where it took me.

If you had to choose a favorite piece you have made what would it be?

My misty afghan. I love the muted colours and the geometric design. I’ve not been crocheting long so there are lots of errors in it but it’s nice for snuggling in on a cool evening.

What are you focused on now? And what do you have planned?

Most of my focus at the moment is on writing up the patterns for all the different animals that I make. I am really looking forward though to just knitting some again – pattern writing is hard work on the brain!

Meet a few of Julie's animals