Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
Hi everyone! I’m Jess - I’m 27 and I live in Bristol with my boyfriend, Ben. I design knitting patterns and share advice and tutorials on my website, Jessica Joy.
Tell us a bit about the book?
Knitting Smitten is one of the final books in the very popular ‘Simple Makes’ series from Quadrille Publishing. As the series’ title suggests, the book is aimed towards beginners although I was really keen to design a set of projects that were progressive and would potentially introduce a new skill at every page turn - for those knowledge-thirsty learners! The projects range from cute and quirky, to modern and stylish, so have a really fun and playful feel to them.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I was really fortunate in that the colourful and cute universe of ‘Simple Makes’ was waiting for me ready-formed. It was just a matter of tapping into that world and using it to inspire the designs in my sketchbook. The bright and bold design sensibility complimented my own design style really well, so I had lots of fun exploring and developing projects ideas.
Which is your favourite project?
Oh my goodness, I’m not sure I could pick just one! I absolutely love the ballerina slippers and the hedgehog paperweight. Those two projects were the most fun to design, from the first few conceptual sketches, to swatching and finishing, I was very pleased with how they turned out. I also love the triangle blanket - it’s cosy and luxurious so makes the perfect companion for a quiet night reading on the sofa!
What is your craft space like?
At the moment my craft space is fairly modest and consists of a second-hand table that I painted (very badly) with my yarn stash alongside it. This is where I write, design and knit most of my projects. I have grand plans for a big dedicated studio one day!
Have you always been creative?
Yes, in one way or another! I went through phases of being interested in different things, from painting and sketching, to playing musical instruments and designing websites and graphics. My creative side took a break when I went to University but after graduating I felt that urge to make things again and that’s when I discovered knitting.
When did you first start crafting?
I’ve been crafting since I was a little girl. My mum is a very arty, creative person, so I used to spend summer holidays raiding her craft cupboard making salt dough sculptures, painting eggs and sketching anything that would stay still for long enough. My earliest memory is of sketching my pet hamster when I was three. My mum still has it to this day!
Who are your crafty heroes?
Oh, so many! With knitting specifically I love all of Kate Davies gorgeous fair-isle designs and the subtle, modern, simplicity of Hannah Fetigg’s work. I also really admire innovative knitters like Kyoko Nakayoshi of Cotton and Cloud who champions seamless knits and new ways of doing things. Very inspiring ladies!
Where do you find inspiration?
I get inspiration from lots of places, but most often from interior design and fashion. I'm usually drawn to a particular colour scheme or pattern and try to think how I can adapt it for knitting. Pinterest is my favourite place to get a kick of inspiration!
What's next for you?
I have a lot of designs on the go right now, which I’m really excited about. Some of these will be released on my website, along with more tutorial videos and techniques, and some others through an exciting new channel. I can’t give too much away, but it’s a really fantastic project that I’m having so much fun working on.