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A selection of naturally dyed yarns by crochet graduate Vivienne Richmond

My Obsession with Dyeing Began with Module 6

When Vivienne Richmond decided to study our intermediate Crochet course (Skill Stage 3), she didn’t really know where it would take her. However, she knew that she wanted an accreditation from a professional body like City and Guilds because she knew that the course offered high standards of learning which would allow her to develop her own style.

She was not expecting to unlock an obsession for dyeing yarns and creating unique crocheted jewellery. Vivienne shares her #MyStitchJourney and highlights the importance of trusting the learning process to find your true passions and creative voice.

Crochet Skill Stage 3 graduate Vivenne Richards

“What has become an obsession with dyeing began with Module 6, but the fascination with natural dyes and the crochet jewellery only came together at the very end of the whole course when suddenly everything seemed to fall into place. I am now developing my first collection and aim to sell my work – yarns and made pieces – online and at craft fairs.”

Vivienne Richmond

I have been a textile maker since childhood and have just completed Crochet Skill Stage 3. I chose crochet because although I already knew the basics and enjoyed the process, I had never really seen anything crocheted I wanted to make, so had not pursued it.

Then I came across the inspirational Sophie Digard. I didn’t want to try to copy her work, but it made me think about crochet in a completely different way. My lack of crochet experience also seemed to make it a good choice for me because I was not so set in my ways as I suspect I may be with knitting and sewing.

An array of beautifully coloured hand dyed yarns drying on a washing line

Why SST?

I chose to study with School of Stitched Textiles (SST) for several reasons. First, it offered City & Guilds accredited course. I didn’t know what I might want to do with my crochet after the course, so a qualification from an established and respected awarding body seemed a good idea. It might be helpful if, for example, I wanted to join a professional craft organisation. Also, having worked as an educator for many years, I knew that accreditation meant the course would have to be of a high standard, well-structured and well-organised.

I wanted a course that would teach me the ‘nuts and bolts’ of crochet, but also offer plenty of scope for experimentation and development of my own style, and I thought the discipline of a time-bound course would keep me focused on completion. All of this proved to be true and I had a great tutor who responded quickly to any queries, sent me full and helpful feedback on each module and was very accommodating of my rather erratic schedule. I don’t plan to do further study, but if I did, SST would be my first port of call.

Hand dyed yarns created by crochet graduate Vivienne Richards

Trusting the Process

I had a vague idea at the outset that I might want to use my crochet skills to make fashion accessories, but nothing definite or specific. I certainly could not have predicted where I’ve ended up: Hand-dyeing plant-based yarns with natural dyes and using them to  crochet ‘jewellery’.

What has become an obsession with dyeing began with Module 6, but the fascination with natural dyes and the crochet jewellery only came together at the very end of the whole course when suddenly everything seemed to fall into place. I am now developing my first collection and aim to sell my work – yarns and made pieces – online and at craft fairs. I will also approach a few independent shops where I think my work could fit.

Crocheted jewellery created by crochet graduate Vivienne Richmond
Crocheted jewellery created by crochet graduate Vivienne Richmond

Advice to New Students

My advice to new students is keep an open mind, experiment, sample, sample, sample and don’t worry if you can’t see where it’s all leading. Have confidence in yourself – look at other people’s work but don’t use it to judge your own – and stay curious!

Joan Harrison Bursary

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