Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I’m Kate Haxell, a devout Londoner. I work as a craft book editor and author, which is a job I love (nearly all of the time…) I’m rubbish at social media, though I have discovered Twitter (talk about late to the party…) and I’m trying not to be too terrified by it (come and say hello to me, please). I live in a house I love, with a man, a dog, and two cats, all of whom I also love.
Tell us a bit about the book?
SLT is the follow-up to Sewlicious, which came out last year. Sewlicious was all about simple but delicious sewing, and SLT follows that train of thought, but concentrating on the little things in life. So there are 35 projects that range from very little (a heart-shaped page-corner bookmark, a scissor-keeper for embroidery scissors…), to little (a seriously useful project bag, a pinafore for a sewing machine…), to not-so-little (the biggest thing is a dog bed, but he’s a little dog…). What everything has in common is that it is a little thing in life in terms of being a practical, everyday object.
What was the inspiration behind it?
SLT is my take on the Japanese zakka phenomenon. Depending on whom you ask, zakka is about making, or upcycling, or repurposing, or decorating… Or all of those things… The one thing that everyone agrees on is that zakka is about everyday things being beautiful as well as practical, and that’s what really resonated for me. I am a great lover of tools and kit and am forever buying new versions of things I already own because the new one is just more lovely or cleverer: I really, really enjoy using something that is good-looking as well as efficient, and really believe that there’s no reason for anything to be ugly just because it’s practical.
Which is your favourite project?
I very much like the mouse pincushion that is on the cover. I make a lot of pincushions (and sell them at the autumn Knitting and Stitching Show every year), and have a ridiculously large number of them at home, with different pins in each one (my obsession with lovely kit even extends to pins…). I am also very fond of the clothespin bag, and the double oven gloves make me happy every time I take a pot out of the oven.
What is your craft space like?
I am hugely lucky in having a dedicated workroom that has been fitted out exactly as I want it. I have a whole wall of cupboards with custom shelving and pull-out baskets to hold tools, fabrics, yarns, buttons, threads, beads, ribbons, embroidery equipment, haberdashery… There are lots of shelves for reference books and copies of books I have edited, and a desk for my computer and the other tech stuff, and the most amazing pull-out sewing table that has a top surface of cutting mat: that is probably my most favourite thing in the whole room. And the room is green: my favourite colour.
Have you always been creative?
Yes, I have. I had a beloved grandma who, like many women of her generation, knitted and sewed, and she taught me those skills when I was very young. And have always been horribly itchy-fingered, unable to settle without something to do with my hands. My mother says that when I was very young we were on holiday in Europe in our camper van and I had run out of projects I’d brought with me, so she had to stop and buy me a needle and thread and let me mend my brothers’ clothes to quieten me down.
When did you first start crafting?
I had numerous teddy bears when I was a small child (all called terribly unimaginative things such as Edward and George; my creativity didn’t extend to names…) and they were all dressed in an array of badly made scarves and smocks, plus baby clothes I bought with my pocket money from jumble sales and then altered to fit them. I also liked the sewing and making lessons in primary school; I remember a felt fingerbob, and a pom-pom Easter chick.
Who are your crafty heroes?
I’m fortunate to have edited some really fantastic authors over the years, and I do get very fond of books I work on with them. I just received a copy of Fiona Goble’s Beanies & Bobble Hats, and I LOVE the cover (the insides are pretty fab, too!)
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m very influenced by fabrics, and often I’ll come up with a rough idea for a new project when looking at a bolt of a particular fabric; at least, that’s my excuse for buying a metre of another fabric I really don’t need… And my obsession with good-looking kit is a perennial source of ideas; I’m forever looking at something and trying to work out how to re-make it, or cover it, or make a holder for it.
What's next for you?
I’m really into non-traditional quilts at the moment – wobbly Log Cabin, uneven Courthouse Steps, squiffy strippy quilts, irregular patch blocks – so I’d like to do something with those next.
Following on from her beautiful book 'Sewlicious', Kate Haxell brings you 35 gorgeous projects that are allfilled with simple charm. They are inspired by zakka, a Japanese term for finding beauty in the ordinary, andfor objects that have meaning and bring happiness to their owner. Discover how to make homeware items tobrighten up your living space, from a mug cosy and oven gloves to a bookmark and a hot water bottle. Thereare also all different kinds of bags, such as totes, purses and washbags, as well as cases for your most usedthings - mobile phone, e-reader, keys. Plus, find out ways to make your crafting area more beautiful,including a sewing machine cover, knitting yarn holder and pencil case. This inspirational sewing book ispractical, teaching you all you need to know, while gorgeous photography and step-by-step artworks make itcolourful and stylish - just like the projects themselves.