Graduate Story: Karen Webber – Patchwork & Quilting

Hi my name is Karen Webber and this year I completed Patchwork & Quilting, skill level 2.

Browsing a range of beautiful quilts displayed at a local country show sparked my initial interest in patchwork & quilting as a potential new hobby and contrast to my love of gardening when I move from partial to full retirement.  Having enjoyed sewing since my teenage years I was optimistic that I would have the basic machine skills needed, but aside from this I really would be starting from scratch.

Why the School of Stitched Textiles?

My initial attempts at self-learning led me to realise, very quickly, that I simply didn’t know enough about this craft, not only the technical skills involved but also how to channel the creative thoughts that combine to make something really beautiful.  I realised that I needed structured learning to develop these skills and also discipline to keep me focused in what is already a busy life.  As joint carer for my Mum I couldn’t commit to a fixed evening class and local short-term classes didn’t seem to fit what I was looking for.

An online search led me to the SofST website where I was attracted by the range of courses and skill levels and found the graduate stories and picture gallery particularly inspiring.  I had not really considered a qualification but my ambition was piqued by the sense of challenge as I looked at the accredited courses on offer!  Form experience, I know that the challenge of learning at any stage of life can be both rewarding and fulfilling.  I read about the ‘Experience Needed‘ for each level very carefully and, staying true to my aim of developing a strong skills foundation, I registered my interest for Skill Level 2 and felt a keen sense of anticipation when my enrolment was successful!

Patchwork and Quilting Graduate, Karen Webber
Patchwork and Quilting design by SST Graduate Karen Webber

What Did You Enjoy Most?

  • I was very impressed with the course materials. The modular approach and indications of expected time to complete all helped to make it seem achievable.
  • The split between theory and practical, both hand and machine techniques, brought interest and variety. I have always enjoyed modern art but was surprised by how much I enjoyed researching artists. I explored inspiration, colour theory and then created my own folio of inspiration from everyday things around me.
  • There were students on my intake from different parts of the world, let alone this country! Having contact via our own FaceBook group was a great source of support, particularly at the beginning. Seeing other students samples, even when they were doing different courses or skills levels was both inspirational and encouraging.
  • Using my inspirations from previous modules to develop my own design for the final assessment piece was a real challenge. I called on all I had learned! From colour theory to translating design into patchwork blocks and braving contour quilting. I felt a real sense of achievement on completing my ‘garden cushion’!
Final Patchwork and Quilting assessment piece by Karen Webber

What’s Next for You?

I would love to take up another course with SofST and, although my initial aim was to develop new patchwork & quilting skills, I enjoyed seeing the work shared from other courses so much that I wouldn’t rule out exploring Textiles or Embroidery.

In the meantime my ambition is to build on my newly-learned skills. I’m hoping to create a quilt of my own design.  One other thing I’ve learned from this experience is that I didn’t need to wait for retirement to start this project. Whatever time of life you are at there will always be competing priorities and challenges so just go for it and you will make the time!

Folden Patchwork Sample by Karen Webber
Patchwork sample by Karen Webber

Would You Recommend The Course?

I would recommend the School of Stitched Textiles to anyone looking to build new skills or develop existing ones.  You will be well supported to succeed but also have control over the speed at which you work and the level of research you choose to explore.

Unique Quilting design by Karen Webber
Patchwork and Quilting design by SST Graduate Karen Webber

What Advice Do You Have?

Plan your schedule. Remember holidays, events and other activities will demand your time.  Keep a journal of your time and research. Enjoy your research but beware of becoming too absorbed – remember you do need to complete your modules!!

Thank you Karen for sharing your fabulous journey with. We hope to see you again soon.

Felling Inspired?

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