Christmas present ideas from the best craft books
‘Whether my friends and family request it or not, I will be up at 3am on Christmas Eve because nothing is finished,’ Simpson says. ‘I try to make presents all the time. ’ The instructions are clear, and there are lots of tips, with ways to make things easier and ways to experiment. Simpson, 31, started her business in 2007, the year she moved into her first flat. ‘My nan can do every craft you can imagine,’ she says, ‘and there was a brilliant textiles department at my school, Wisbech Grammar. ‘In hindsight, I would have loved to have gone to the Royal School of Needlework,’ she says. She works from her home in Norfolk and says her house looks like her business. Modern Crochet by Molla Mills. Molla Mills is on a mission to bring crochet – that old-as-the-hills craft of making knots in wool with a little hook until you have a fancy doily – into the 21st century. Her first book, Modern Crochet, came out in Finland in 2013 and has just been published in Britain. She is now working on her third, Crochet for Men (her second is for advanced crocheters who have mastered the techniques in the first volume). Modern Crochet was written while she was studying applied arts and design at Aalto University, as her master’s thesis – the idea being that she could reposition crochet and make it relevant for her generation. ‘It is an ABC of crochet,’ she says, insisting that anyone can learn to crochet from her easy-to-follow step-by-step photographs. In Finland crochet is taught at primary school, but Mills learnt before that. But the things she does now cannot be compared to the things she learnt back then. She rips up old T-shirts and cuts them into yarn to make differently sized baskets for holding anything from pencils to newspapers. It was these rag-yarn baskets that first made her realise crochet could become a business. She started making them to sell to pass the time during boring lectures at college and could not produce them fast enough to keep up with demand. Then she started to do workshops showing people how to make them, and now she teaches regularly.