Graduate Stories: Karen Foley

After completely our Skill Stage 2 Patchwork & Quilting course, Karen Foley shares with us her motivation, what she’s learned and why she has recently enrolled onto our Skill Stage 3 Patchwork & Quilting course. 

 

My name is Karen, a retired pharmacist, mother and wife. And although I  say  I’m retired I’m busier now than ever. I have always taken a keen interest in crafts and when I was a teenager I had tried a wide variety of hobbies including cross stitch, embroidery, candle making, knitting, crochet, and macramé to name just a few, I always found it a great way to relax.  

Sewing has always been there throughout my life either making curtains or fancy dresses for the children but it  had taken a back seat due to family and work commitments. So when an opportunity arose  I treated myself to a patchwork lesson at a local sewing shop.

After my patchwork lesson I was hooked, I rushed out and bought a jellyroll not having a clue how I was going to use it. My first quilt was from a pattern called summer in the park, which I enjoyed making but I soon realised I needed a lot of help to produce lovely quilts like the ones I was seeing in magazines and at local quilt shows.

 

A quilt by School of Stitched Textiles graduate, Karen Foley

A close friend had shown an interest in my quilt so I decided to make a quilt for her 60th birthday using her favourite colours and animals. It was going to be a test to see if I could give it away. Otherwise, I was going to end up with a house full of quilts. Once pieced, I discovered I didn’t have the skill or knowledge of how to quilt, so I started looking around for a course to help.

 
A purple and black abstract patchwork quilt

When I began looking around the Patchwork courses, I knew I wanted a course with a recognised qualification on completion. This would give me a good grounding on all aspects of quilting and patchwork which I could later take further if I wanted to teach or start my own group. 

My research for a course lead me to finding so many lovely quilting projects. I made these slippers as a Christmas present but ended up keeping them.

Other projects I tried include these two: On the left is a method called Happy Villages by Karen Eckmeier and the second is a Bargello wall quilt. Choosing the fabric was a great experience.

 

This is a quilt I have just finished for my daughter requiring  a whole new set of skills. 

Patchwork & Quilting Course

The most helpful thing that I have learnt is looking at different artists and applying that to quilting, looking at designs in my own photos and not being scared to put a power point together to show my work. I’m learning to find inspiration all around me, and I’m gaining confidence in what I do, especially with regard to design work.

The course has really taken me out of my comfort zone, the design aspects in particular and not using software but doing a lot by hand. I know I will feel very confident in designing and producing my own applique patterns.

I have learnt so many fascinating things from doing this course . Not only about patchwork and quilting but about different artists and their lives. While in Vienna, I visited as many Museums as I could to learn more about Klimt and his paintings normally I would have Avoided museums. 

There is great support from the tutors that always get back to you, as well as a closed Facebook group for the students to share ideas and encourage each other.

I have enjoyed the course so much I have started level 3, to understand more in depth the different aspects of Quilting and Patchwork.

Begin your own creative journey!

Click on a course and register you interest to receive further information about our tutors, the benefits of accredited courses and to be invited to our next enrolment. 

Hand Embroidery

Patchwork

Stumpwork

Crochet

Machine Embroidery

Textiles

Felt

Knitting

2 Comments

  1. Hi karen, like yourself I enjoy sewing and find that it relaxes me. I was a machinist in my first ten years of employment mainly overlocking I did a little flat bed sewing but after being made redundant from my machining job I went into shop work i now work for the NHS in a busy hospital.my mum passed away 3 years ago and she had bought a basic sewing machine from the shopping channel which she gave to me before she passed away she told me she knew I would make good use of it since then I have done little projects such as quilted bags cushion covers and soft toys etc I think this course could be good for me I also want to keep the promise to my mum and make good use of the machine she gave me.

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