Sara Williams

Please tell us a little about yourself… where and how did you learn your craft?

I am a former Medical Secretary and currently a stay at home mum. I have recently registered as a sole trader, and I’m excited to be striding out with my passion to share knitting and crochet, particularly with those who have anxiety and depression, or who suffer from isolation and loneliness.

Where and how did you learn your craft?

My nan taught me garter stitch when I was six, and we used to make squares together which she sewed into blankets. 

I continued with knitting and am self-taught beyond garter stitch. My early days of knitting were making Jean Greenhowe toys from the age of eight.

Secondary school, college and university took up all my time and I didn’t take up crafting again in any serious way until 2008 when I was planning for my wedding. I needed to keep things as inexpensive as possible and completed a lot of preparation myself including making all the stationery and decorations and even my wedding cake. I can honestly say that in allowing myself to do this much crafting (due to the necessity of keeping a tight budget) things inadvertently reawakened my love of making!

My refreshed love of crafting really took off then, and in no time at all I was knitting prolifically and completing cross stitch kits. In late 2009 I bought my first basic sewing machine and self taught myself to use it. At the time I lived in the northwest of England, and I was spoilt for choice for beautiful fabrics at bargain prices in shops up there!

I moved back to my hometown in Kent in August 2011 and soon after I joined a local quilting group where I have made life long friends. Patchworking and quilting soon turned into dress making and also hacking and altering shop-bought clothes! Around the same time I also had a lesson in crochet and finally learnt this wonderful skill as well! I think crochet is my favourite of all!

How do you feel craft has impacted your life?

As a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and depression, and experiencing a breakdown in 2007 due to burnout (which led to me losing my job and home), I think I am extremely lucky that I can occupy my time and restless energy so well with my love of making.

The time I have invested from 2009 onwards has been such a positive thing for harnessing my anxiety and channelling the restless energy that I suffer from. It is addictive watching something growing off of a crochet hook or knitting needles, or coming together under a sewing machine foot.

I’m not afraid of doing some knitting or crochet in public much to the chagrin of my husband and some of my friends, the rest just think it’s quaint! I have used so much ‘dead-time’ in a productive way, for example taking projects to work with me and getting on with them at lunchtime. I love crochet, knitting and sewing so much I cannot put it into words!

Do you do anything to pass the crafting bug on to others?

2017 was a bit of a turning point for me. At the time with a baby and being a full-time stay at home mum, I was feeling extremely isolated (and quite desperate to gain some identity back), so one day I called in at the local library and asked them how to go about setting up an informal group for people to meet up and craft. This was the beginning of Yarn Club!

I now host several Yarn Clubs (every Thursday 1:30-3PM and 7-9PM, and fortnightly on a Friday morning 9:30-11:30 at various venues in Deal). The clubs are involved in exhibitions and other events so we also meet occasionally in cafes. I have organised a coach trip to Unravel this year, and have also started to work in a local care home once a month knitting with ladies with dementia.

My aim is to get people together who are like minded so they can make new friends and quell any loneliness or anxiety they may have. Being together in a group of crafty people is a lovely experience, the atmosphere is generally very warm and friendly and crafty people are usually extremely keen to help!

Is there anyone you find particularly inspirational in the crafting world?

There are many inspirational people out there! To name just a few I love to follow Attic 24, as well as the Patchwork Heart and Jane Crowfoot. These are all people who crochet and design wonderful pieces. They all have a gifted eye for colour too.

Do you do anything to share your creations?

I have a Facebook page called Yarn Club which documents everything going on.

I am also hoping to develop a website this year in order to make tutorial videos (I am left handed, and want to focus on this aspect).

I am currently planning some workshops and simple patterns for making things like cushions to help those wishing to learn how to crochet and knit, so I can share these lovely skills.

What is next on the agenda for you?

2018 and beyond is going to be spent growing Yarn Club and its offshoots. I would like to apply for funding in order to take knitting and crochet into schools locally. I am also planning on approaching more care homes about working with the residents.

Yarn Club has secured the exhibition space at Deal library in November and we are going to mark the centenary of armistice.

I am hoping to take Yarn Club to several local events this year in order to raise awareness, and I am putting together a business plan to develop a permanent residence for Yarn Club.

It would be my dream to have a place where people can come, meet and make friends, get a brew and stay and do some crafting or workshops, tuition and charity work.

To find out more about Sara and Yarn Club, please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/KnittingCrochetDeal/