The Queen of Crafts

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?


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?


Were you inspired by any other crafty books or people?


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.


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.