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Knitting sample by graduate Jan Lidgley who told us she now thinks differently about design and creativity

A New Way of Thinking About Design and Creativity

Although Jan is an experienced knitter, she often felt limited by her technical ability to execute her designs properly. Having attended a few courses she yearned for a more comprehensive course that would introduce her to a wider range of skills and essential approaches to design. Having completed our Knitting Skill Stage 3 course, Jan is equipped with new skills and increased confidence to take on new projects. ‘There are lots of opportunities to explore.’

This is her #MyStitchJourney.

Knitting Skill Stage 3 Graduate, Jan Lindgley

“The course gave me the opportunity to try out some new skills which I would not have touched otherwise, such as dyeing yarn and cotton material, making clay and fabric buttons, creating tassels, and intricate knitting such as lace knitting with very fine lace yarn. Exposure to so many different techniques opened my eyes to the potential to incorporate some of them in my own projects.”

Jan Lidgley

Although my mother had taught me to knit as a child, and I knitted in my teens, it wasn’t until I became an at home mum many years later looking after two small children that I picked up my needles again. Initially I made jumpers to replace the fur on over-hugged teddy bears and later I joined a knitting group in my village making gloves, scarves, hats, blankets, and Twiddle-Muffs for charity. These tended to be simple knits, so I jumped at the chance to be involved in a more complex project. I joined a community project to create a large knitted wall hanging depicting the history and features of our local town – this involved contributing to the overall design, as well as designing the individual pieces.

A garden shed designed and knitted by Knitting graduate, Jan Lidgley

Motivation For Studying?

Although I have spent many years knitting, with no formal instruction, the imagination of my designs was sometimes limited by my technical ability. In designing and knitting detailed items to be appliquéd onto a large wall hanging I learnt very quickly that there was a lot more to this craft than knit and purl stitches. I was frustrated that I didn’t have the knowledge and techniques to execute these designs in a way that I would be satisfied with.

I attended a few day and weekend courses teaching specific knitting skills, but I wanted a more comprehensive course where I might discover previously unknown techniques and wider design approaches.

 

 

Knowing that the School of the Stitched Textiles course has City and Guild’s accreditation gave me the confidence that the course would be well designed, and that I would be required to meet specific learning objectives on a wide spectrum of topics. I liked the idea that completing a course would formalise my learning and make my new skills feel more tangible – a nice ‘pat on the back’ for my work!

Originally, I had wanted to undertake an ‘in-person’ course, but it was soon apparent that the modular nature of the course allowed me to work at my own pace fitting around other commitments. SST accommodated a flexible working pattern which suited me well.

Studying Knitting with SST

I really enjoyed the opportunity to examine the work of a variety of artists working in different media, and to develop abstract designs by manipulating images of their work. When I look at any object now, I try to envisage an abstract design that might develop from it – this new way of thinking about design and creativity has informed my own work.

The course gave me the opportunity to try out some new skills which I would not have touched otherwise, such as dyeing yarn and cotton material, making clay and fabric buttons, creating tassels, and intricate knitting such as lace knitting with very fine lace yarn. Exposure to so many different techniques opened my eyes to the potential to incorporate some of them in my own projects.

I was a little reluctant to start on the marketing and business modules, but these proved to be far more interesting than I had imagined, giving me a good insight into the tools used in marketing and business planning. I enjoyed analysing the marketing strategies used by knitting designers and identifying areas that I would use should I want to market my own business. 

I did not expect the by-product of this course to be that my computer skills and knowledge expanded. Initially, I found the use of PowerPoint challenging and it took me a long time to put my presentations together, but I persevered, and I am now a confident user of various pieces of software. This is helpful for knitting projects and elsewhere!

What's Next?

Equipped with new skills and more confidence, I am ready to take on new projects. I am planning to create a series of small items inspired by local landmarks and I am looking forward to incorporating the different styles and techniques that I have learned. I am excited to experiment!  After consolidating these techniques there may well be further skills or opportunities to explore.

I would absolutely recommend this course. If anyone wants to expand their skill set, the structure and range of modules will enable them to do that.

My advice to new students would be to

Keep a good record of everything as you go – photograph your work in progress and keep a note of references and resources. It is easy to become sidetracked given the range of interesting topics!

Joan Harrison Bursary

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