Hazel Winfield completed our Skill Stage 4 Patchwork and Quilting Course last year. Although she had quite a lot of patchwork experience she was desperate to learn how to create her own designs. She talks to us today about her own Stitch Journey; of finding the right course and being able to establish her own online business.
I was lucky enough to be born to crafty parents. My mum was a keen knitter, and due to time spent recovering from illness in a sanitorium, my dad had a plethora of talents including knitting, crochet and marquetry. I was taught to knit from an early age and have dabbled in various other crafts ever since, with varying degrees of enthusiasm (and success!)
My interest in patchwork was sparked in 2008 when a friend showed me a quilt she had made for her daughter. Armed with a basic knowledge of sewing from studying O level dress and design, and a sewing machine, I set upon making a quilt myself. I borrowed a quilting book from my local library and made templates cut from cereal boxes. I cut up my daughter’s baby clothes and hand stitched my first quilt.
In 2011 I moved to a village that has its very own patchwork shop. With renewed enthusiasm I went to as many of their classes as I could and had a new found thirst for knowledge. After a while I became frustrated that I was only ever copying quilt patterns. I couldn’t see a way of ever being able to design my own patterns and pieces.
I looked at various options for expanding my knowledge, including a textiles course at a local college which only ran during the daytime (I work full time). There was also an online textiles degree which covered all manner of materials from concrete to paper, but didn’t really offer the prospectus I was after. I finally stumbled on the School of Stitch patchwork courses.
Studying Patchwork & Quilting
In May 2019 I enrolled onto the course. The course covered everything from the history of patchwork and quilting to marketing and promotion. The research elements were extremely interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed learning the history of patchwork in various countries around the world. The marketing module was always going to be my nemesis.
My tutor Janet provided lots of guidance and advice to steer me through it. For module 12 I had to design an imaginary range of products to bring to market. This involved researching markets, costings, competition, and marketing. From this module I went on to launch my own web-based business selling a range of tapestry kits and more recently some of my quilts and other homemade textiles. The course gave me the confidence and skills to start a business, and I am extremely grateful to the support of Janet and everyone at School of Stitch.
I started my stitch journey at Level 4 and with hindsight wish I’d begun at level 3. There is so much to learn and build upon. I think starting at a lower level would have given me even more skills. Each new intake of students has its own Facebook group set up by the school. This is invaluable at times. Especially when you’re struggling or just want to check in and say hello to fellow students. I would recommend joining the group wholeheartedly. Gail ran a series of tutorials / Q&A sessions that were helpful and engaging and also made you feel that you weren’t on your own.
The one piece of advice I would give to all new students is to be organised!! As the work is all submitted online, create a folder on your computer for each module and put all relevant photos, notes and documents in there. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to find an item when it’s time to write up a module, trust me!