I have had a lifelong interest in crafts of many kinds that began when I was a pre-schooler, the first ‘real’ thing I remember making was a knitted doll’s hankie at about six years old.
I would visit my grandmother’s home and wish that I could have free rein in her chest of drawers that contained fabrics, cottons, yarn etc. Prior to enrolling in the SOSTs course I had completed many embroidery projects, initially learning stitches from my mum, then through books, kits and one-off day courses.
Despite a busy family and work life, my husband and five children have been my strongest advocates and encouraged me to have always projects on the go- fitting them around farming, sports, music lessons etc and working part-time as an occupational therapit!
I have always wanted to learn more about design and colour and to reach a stage where I could confidently translate my ideas into stitch. The modules on design and colour theory on the Hand Embroidery course, have given me the confidence to begin doing this. Sometimes you have an idea and when you translate it into stitch it is flat or not quite right in some way but having learnt a little design and colour theory knowledge helps to identify what changes can be made to achieve a much better product.
I also learnt to trust my instinct with colour and not try to make it too complicated.
In the past I have investigated distance learning opportunities, however I was unable to find anything suitable that focused on Hand Embroidery and fitted in with my other commitments. I was very fortunate to receive a bursary from the School of Stitched Textiles through an online competition, and the structure of the course provided me with the flexibility that I required. Distance learning and working from home does have its challenges and despite how much you want to finish something, often starting can be the most difficult part. Having strategies in place to ensure that you are on track is really important and while you may not need to use them to begin with there may be times along the way when you do.
I would definitely recommend this course to others, especially if you have a reasonable stitch knowledge but like me struggle with design and colour. The tutors are very supportive and respond quickly to any questions that you have.
For any new students beginning a School of Stitched Textiles course I would recommend that you make the most of the online support of your tutors and other students via your group Facebook page as everyone has different skills and perspectives and are a great resource.
I am planning to continue onto a Level 3 course later this year. I currently teach block courses of machine sewing in our local area and really enjoy seeing others learn new skills and achieving things they didn’t always believe they could. I would really like to expand this into other craft and textile techniques, maybe beginning with one day courses that take inspiration from the natural local environment.