Early this year Lynda Boardman successfully completed our Skill Stage 2 Machine Embroidery Course. She shares her experience of studying the course and says that she is proof that ‘you’re never too old to learn’.
I enrolled in Machine Embroidery Skill Stage 2 in August 2020 a few days before my 70th birthday. This was a present to myself for reaching that milestone, and it has been a special present indeed. I am now the proud owner of a City and Guilds accredited programme of study certificate, having completed the course this January.
How did I get here?
For the past 13 years I had been a member of a small sewing group which before Lockdown met once a week. My skills in sewing were mainly self-taught and not particularly good, but on joining the group I learnt how to sew patchwork blocks and then make these into quilts. My sewing improved exponentially and I became addicted to this new hobby.
Over the years my quilting improved, but I came to a point where I was not really stepping out of my comfort zone and this was when I decided to improve my skills in other areas of sewing. I decided to look at online courses and found the School of Stitched Textiles. They provided accredited City and Guild qualifications which are highly respected for helping people achieve their potential and are recognized worldwide. Initially I thought of taking the patchwork and quilting course but on reflection I chose Machine Embroidery as this would take me along a new path of creativity and for me to learn new skills.
Seven years ago, I purchased a Janome 6600 quilting machine which had loads of machine embroidery stitches that I mainly did not use in my sewing. So, I had all the tools for my new venture and lots of fabric in my stash.
I signed up for Machine Embroidery and bought the first two modules as I thought it may be too hard for me to complete and did not want to waste money. But my advice for anyone thinking of enrolling is to buy the whole course. On this course the first and fourth modules are intricately linked.
I would recommend this course to others as it was interesting in so many ways.
Things I learnt
- Researching an artist to find inspiration.
- Looking at the elements of art.
- Researching the basics of machine embroidery.
- Developing drawing and making paper collages.
- Using different mediums and colour schemes.
- Looking at different fabrics.
- Using stabilizers and interfacing for applique.
- Learning to develop interesting ways of using machine tension to create cable, whip, feather and moss stitch and free motion embroidery.
- Using inspiration from the initial module to design a finished piece using techniques learnt throughout the modules.
- Using self-evaluation to look at strengths and weaknesses.
- Being mindful of health and safety.
Support From SST
If anyone is thinking of developing new skills or improving their creative knowledge, I would recommend studying this way.
I could contact my tutor online or text her a message if I had any queries, any time during the course. At the end of each module written evaluation and constructive comments were sent and I found these useful and informative.
The School of Stitched Textiles also had online group sessions for students to discuss their progress or problems. I was also able to contact two other ladies who were studying the same course as me. This was another layer of support.
The most helpful thing I have learnt as a result of this course is to be positive and not be afraid of trying new techniques. I had challenges along the way, especially when it came to planning and designing the final assessment piece. Also at the start I had poor control over my free motion embroidery, but this improved after lots of practice. Over the six months of study I learnt a great deal about the topic and about myself. I would like to continue to study with SST and am interested in studying the next level.
I am delighted that I have successfully finished this course. Now, I have new skills to experiment with and lots of creative ideas I can now put into practice.
As a result of doing the course, Lynda Boardman was put forward by her tutor and entered into our Student Exhibition. This initiative is our own reward scheme for students who have produced noteworthy work during their course. Lynda will therefore receive a Certificate of Excellence in addition to her City and Guilds accredited course certificate. Lynda won her category after receiving the most amount of votes and was awarded with a subscription to Craft Magazine.