Fans of craft mag Mollie Makes will remember the cover image for Issue one; two hands cupped neatly around three apples, each sitting snuggly in it’s perfectly crocheted cosy. Dorset based Mother of two Sara Sinaguglia, is the designer maker behind those cute little cosies. We’re pleased to say she was discovered on Folksy first so it’s only right we introduce you to her. Grab a cuppa, put your feet up and meet the wonderfully talented Sara Sinaguglia…
Tell us about your work?
I love creating crochet items, whether it’s apple cosies or napkin edgings. As long as I have some beautiful yarn or pretty fabric then I’m away. I rarely follow a pattern, I like to make it up as I go along.
When did it all begin for you?
It all started with my search for an original present for a very special teacher at the children’s school. Not wanting to just buy an ‘off the shelf’ gift, I set about hunting for ideas online. I came across a knitting pattern for apple cosies and thought it would be a bit of fun – taking an apple in for teacher, only this one all nicely wrapped up in it’s own little cosy. Of course, I’m not capable of knitting on four needles, but undeterred I set about crocheting one, using an apple as my guide and my recently acquired crochet skills as my method. Needless to say it was a unique gift and one that the teacher really appreciated, many more teachers have had one since! And I’ve sent them as far away as Texas, USA.
When did you learn to crochet?
I learnt to crochet about two and half years ago, not long before I crocheted my first apple cosy. I grew up knitting with my Nan and have always enjoyed craft in general, but when we moved to our cold, damp cottage in the woods, I wanted to crochet granny square blankets for the children. A wonderful lady called Lena at our Wool Workshop in Corfe Castle taught me all I needed to know and is still my mentor to this day.
Ooh, a cottage in the woods. That sounds heavenly. Is this where you work?
Yes, the cottage is my work space. Depending on the time of day and year, I shuffle about to get the best light. Luckily with crochet, it is easy to move wherever the mood takes me. I will take it on the train, in a car (as long as my other half is driving!), practically anywhere – in fact I’m flying off next week and it will be coming on the plane with me too.
I do a lot of work in the evenings on my sofa, but my favourite place to work is the rather ramshackle lean-to extension on the back of our cottage. It’s a fridge in the winter and the children’s playroom in the summer, but the light is extraordinary. The kitchen comes in a close second, I love sitting at the kitchen table in the warm, gazing out of the window at the chickens and garden. It’s good to be close to the kettle too, for endless cups of tea.
Describe your day as a maker?
It can be varied. My husband, a Sicilian chef, and I run a cookery school and Sicilian artisan food range, so ‘making’ is my third job (although no. 1 on my list if anyone asks what it is I do!). I try and carve out time in the day for it, but sometimes other work just takes over. If I manage to set aside time, then the morning is best, my mind is fresh, the light is beautiful and there are no little people wanting to join in! If I am starting a new design or project, I will gather together all of my materials, shuffle yarn colours about and sketch my ideas before I get started with the crochet hook.
I tend to keep evening work to just ‘doing’ rather than designing. I simply can’t concentrate when all of the family are home, but I can manage to beetle my way through serious amounts of actual ‘making’ whilst I’m multi-tasking, helping with maths homework, chatting to my husband etc. At least once a week I try to update my blog with new projects, patterns or just general ramblings about my life as a maker.
It sounds like you have to be pretty organised?
Yes, definitely, I find that the more I do and squeeze into my day the more organised and disciplined I become. And because crochet is a passion, I’m inspired to be organised to give myself more time actually creating. My yarn and fabric stashes can get a bit unruly, but I scooped up a great 1960’s sideboard at the local auction house, which has proved invaluable to storing said stashes. When I finish a project, I go through my stash to sort it out and see what is calling me next.
What keeps the creative juices flowing?
I rarely run out of ideas, it’s more about finding enough time to do everything that pops into my head. I think living in such a beautiful corner of Dorset helps the creativity flow. Whether it’s the woods on our doorstep, the coast just a short drive away, the flowers in my garden or the secondhand shop in the local town crammed full of vintage crochet, glass, ceramics and more, there is always plenty of inspiration on hand. Not to mention the wonderful array of blogs and crafts posted on the internet every day. And if I’m really at a loss, I just gather together my yarn – sometimes just looking at the colours, feeling the textures, mixing in fabrics or old buttons can get me going again.
Are you inspired by any other artists?
My inspiration comes more from objects and interiors. My first career was in the world of antiques and interiors, so I see crochet very much from this perspective – how it fits in with a decorating scheme, or where it will sit alongside a beautiful old lamp or under a glass carafe. I hoard old pieces of crochet and am endlessly inspired by the skill and love of crocheters who have long since put down their hook. It is a real privilege to continue their tradition and skills forwards.
What do you love most about being a maker?
For me it is all about expressing myself through my crochet. I think we all need a creative outlet, mine is crochet. I absolutely love making pieces for people, friends, teachers, children. A handmade gift is a very special, personal one.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
I have just finished writing my first book of crochet patterns – luckily for me, my apple cosies were spotted on Folksy and the pattern published in Mollie Makes, which was subsequently seen by a publisher who asked if I would like to write a book. So, in a way, I feel as though I am already living my crochet dream – but yes, in 5 years time I would love to still be writing patterns and books and enjoying the calm and creativity that crochet brings to my life. I’ve always fancied designing a range of children’s clothing, so maybe that too!
What would you say to any makers starting out?
Find what inspires you and what enhances your daily life. Enjoy what you make and if you do other people will too. Be true to yourself and your own style, making your work individual to you will make it stand out from the crowd.
You can browse and buy from Sara’s Folksy shop One Churchills Green.