The Queen of Crafts

01/09/2011 by Katie Allen

We talk to the Queen of Crafts and W.I. Shoreditch Sisters founder Jazz Domino Holly about why knitting needles aren't just for grannies

Katie Allen: This is your first book – how long did it take to write?


JDH: The whole process took a year but the hardcore writing took about six months. It’s hard as well because it’s a craft book, getting all the measurements and technical stuff right.



KA: Did you do any research first?

JDH: 

Not a whole lot, little bits. I’m a massive collector of domestic magazines from the 40s and 50s – they were my main source of inspiration and research. I was always thinking: how can I make it my own, how can I modernise it?

KA: 

Were you inspired by any other crafty books or people?

JDH: 

I took a lot of inspiration from The Subversive Stitch, a 1980s art/craft theory book. I was also inspired by Tracey Emin's [appliquéd] blankets. I love a bit of appliqué! I've actually bought some woollen blankets to make my own.

KA: 

The book contains knitting, sewing, jam making, gardening and all sorts of other creative ideas. Where would you recommend a newbie starts?



JDH: The book's so broad, that's difficult to say. I’ve said in the book, if you’ve never tried crafting before, don’t be afraid to have a go, to make mistakes. If you’re a newbie, you could start with sewing – clothes customising is easy. That’s a really fun way to get into it, then you might go on to sewing something else.



KA: Has writing the book worn you out from crafting?



JDH: My friend has it on record that I said “I shall never craft again!” but a few weeks later after some sleep and some rest, I was really excited, making bunting again. You can’t stop me!

 The Queen of Crafts (Penguin) by Jazz Domino Holly is out now.

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