Hey there crafty girl

A Q&A with Aussie craft queen Pip Lincolne

What were the first crafts you learned to do?

I started sewing and knitting when I was very small, about four or five. I still love to sew, but knitting has fallen by the wayside in favour of crochet! I love to crochet!

Everyone in my family was pretty nifty with their hands, so I think I was just born into a DIY life. I forget that not everyone grew up like that, so I am often really surprised when people ask me about my crafty ways. I always took them for granted and can not imagine being any other way!

How easy did you find it writing your second and third books compared to the first?

Sew La Tea Do was a much easier book to write in some ways, because it was all my own projects. With my first book, Meet Me At Mike's, I had the big responsibility of making sure that the crafters featured were profiled in a way which would make them happy. I had to review, test and rewrite their projects into the same kind of consistent language to make the book work, so that was a bit nerve-wracking.

My new book - my third- Make Hey While the Sun Shines was even more fun to make, as the multi-craft format meant that I could have a lot of fun and design and write really varied projects. I love Make Hey!

What crafting books have inspired you?

I make no secret of the fact that I love vintage craft books. I really love the Golden Hands series, anything that Readers Digest published back in the '70s and '80s and all those cute collectable craft magazine series which you often find in the thrift store. I also love lots of contemporary crafters too. I love Amy Karol's book, Bend The Rules Sewing. I also love anything by Lotta Jansdotter, Erika Knight, Alicia Paulson, Dottie Angel, Joelle Hoverson... and pretty much anything crafty released by Chronicle Books.

What’s your creative process behind a project - do you have the idea first, or the materials?

I always start with an idea, and usually that's a practical idea. It might be that I want to design a modern quilt that will look great in a boy's room and not be too conventional, or maybe I'll want to find a way to stow all those pesky things in the bathroom, or perhaps a cute wall art solution for rented apartments. I want to make sure there is a place for the things I make. I don't like making things just for the sake of it (as much as I love making!). I want to be sure that the making is useful, practical or needed.

Once I work out what I need to make, I will do some sketches and then mock something up to see how it's all going to fit together and work out the simplest and best way to construct whatever I am making. After that I gather final materials and make the final item!

Your book looks beautiful, how important was the look and feel to you?

It's super important to me that my books reflect who I am, and also reflect a really joyful, fun attitude to craft. I really want to convert everyone to a crafty life, and I want to showcase cute ideas and nice times for those who are already living a handmade life. I think that making things should be part of everyone's life, so I try and make sure that the books are full of inspiring images and irresistible projects.

How do you feel now crafting is becoming so popular - and do you think it will last?

Oh I think it's so great! I think that the recession has shone a light on more conscious living: slowing down, being thrifty, reconnecting with skills we might previously have eschewed in favor of a convenient flash of the credit card. I think we're tightening our belts and rethinking the way we do things. Some of us have been living like this all along, and others are more recent, excited converts. 

For sure, there are people who will pick craft up and put it back down again. But there are also others who will have their approach to life changed forever, when they realise how great it is to change pace, create bespoke pieces and take control of your life in a handmade kind of way. Life is much richer when you make things, I think.

Finally, we love your “sewing playlist” - what are your top five?

Oh my top five changes so often! Here are today's top five, but know that tomorrow's might be different!

1. Video Games by Lana Del Rey
2. Wandering Limbs by Kimbra
3. Rolling in the Deep by Adele
4. Sylvie by Saint Etienne
5. Edge of Seventeen by Fleetwood Mac

Make Hey While the Sun Shines by Pip Lincolne is published by Hardie Grant