Guest Blog - Sara Moore
I met Sara (virtually) about a year ago when I fell in love with her Instagram feed and then read an interview she had done and wanted to know more. It sounded so therapeutic and so relaxing I had to buy a kit and give it ago.
But let me introduce Sara to you, so you can find out more about Sara and Punch Needle in her own words.
Laura: Tell us a little bit about you?
- Born in Coventry, but currently living in Bristol.
- Dropped out of university twice, I am foremost a self-taught punch needle designer however in 2019 I studied under Amy Oxford to become an Oxford Certified Punch Needle Rug Hooking Instructor, one of a handful outside of North America.
- I absolutely love running my own business and always secretly dreamed of doing so - I think my first business was charging for embroidery thread hair wraps in the school playground aged around 8!
- I wrote my first book (Weekend Makes: Punch Needle) during the first lockdown. It involved designing, making and writing up 25 punch needle projects as well photographing them all.
- The business is starting to become a family affair. My Dad is on board as accountant and photographer and I have an upcoming collaboration with my sister who is an illustrator and surface pattern designer. I am lucky to have constant support and technical sewing advice from my mum and as the business grows my partner will be joining part time from September.
L: What is punch needle?
S: Punch needle is a yarn based craft that originates from the more traditional craft of rug hooking. Both crafts are predominantly for making rugs but with a slightly different technique; rug hooking uses a rug hook to pull the loops up from under the fabric whereas punch needle uses a punch needle tool to push yarn through the fabric, forming loops on the underside. Popular in North America, punch needle is now growing in popularity internationally.
L: How did you get into punch needle?
S: I grew up creatively but had lost this in my adult years. I was looking for a new craft to connect with my creative side and stumbled across punch needle. I bought an Oxford Punch Needle and then made a couple of small basic projects before launching into my first cushion. I felt an instant love for it. The rhythmic punching was extremely relaxing for me; it requires just enough concentration to focus the mind but it's not too mentally taxing. As I started to get into the craft, I found it increasingly difficult to source materials. I started experimenting and working out which materials worked together well. I found so much joy in punch needle that I wanted to share it with others. My Etsy shop was born in May 2018 and I stocked just one adjustable punch needle. I ran this alongside my full-time job until April 2019 when I took the business full time.
L: How easy is it for beginners to give it a go?
S: Punch needle is relatively easy for a yarn craft. There aren't any complicated patterns to follow, or stitches to learn. There is just one stitch and you choose to use the flat side or the loop side. If you are following a pattern, it's almost like painting by numbers, but with yarn.
L: What's the most satisfying thing about doing a whole punching kit/why would you recommend?
S: I find there is something so satisfying making something with your hands and I feel like punch needle is quite a good gateway fibre craft. With a Whole Punching kit, I've done all of the hard work sourcing and testing supplies so that you can just get on and punch. Punch needle is very forgiving so it's great for beginners. One of the best aspects of fabric (monks’ cloth) is that it is very hardwearing (it needs to be if you're making a rug). If you make a mistake, or want to re-do your stitches, you can just pull back your yarn, push the threads of the fabric back into place and then punch again. I only include quality materials in my kits that I use myself as I want to ensure that people have a good experience.
L: What's your next project? What have you got coming up?
S: I am keen to start making a rug, I've only made one and it was quite a feat! It's the perfect project to keep you warm (literally!) over those long, cold winter evenings. The beauty of punch needle is that you can easily pick it up and do 15-20 minutes at a time without worrying about where you left off as it's all visual. Perfect for those with limited time. I like the thought of having a big old project over the colder months that I can keep chipping away at without any deadline.
Business wise, I'm currently trying to finalise my Christmas offering. I already have a kit where you can make a set of decorative baubles and the aim is to have two more complementary kits. I find it a little hard to concentrate on Christmas when we're having the warmer weather so I'm waiting for a few grey days to really crack on.
L: Thank you Sara, so lovely to find out more about you and your journey and loving the family angle.
Honestly, everyone should have a go at punch needle its so good I cant recommend it enough and if you know anyone that would enjoy doing it, its a great present to give, just look how good the packaging is. Plus with staycations happening then its the perfect craft to take with you for those lovely lazy evening crafting with glass of wine in hand...
You can buy Sara's little fern kit HERE
Thanks again Sara your kits and work are beautiful, Laura x