We are very lucky in the UK to be home to the Royal School of Needlework (RSN), an organisation which describes itself as an ‘international centre of excellence for the art of hand embroidery.’ As well as being responsible for a huge amount of textile conservation, what this also means is they offer a mindboggling amount of courses on everything from how to sew tassels to study days on underwear. Very tasteful monogrammed underwear of course.
I suffer very much with ‘gotta try it all’ Crafter’s Syndrome. Spinning, sewing, silversmithing, anything that involves messing around with fibre or colour, I love doing. When I went on an RSN day course a few months ago, I was instantly hooked and very interested in having the opportunity to continue developing my stitching with such excellent teachers. One frustration I often find with picking up new crafts is that it can be hard to find regular tuition to keep pushing and challenging those skills.
Somehow, one thing led to another and I found myself enrolled on the RSN’s Certificate course, looking ahead to endless gruelling hours, trapped at a slate frame.
There’s a lot of fantastic craft work on the internet, more than enough to fill a lifetime’s worth of Pinterest boards but you don’t often see the other end of the process, where French knots bear more resemblance to crushed blowflies than flowers and knitted socks come with extraneous holes as a ‘design feature.’
Trying so many crafts means that I spend a lot of time being a beginner, in the frustrating realm of stitches that never sit quite right. I wanted a chance to document the learning process of my time at the trestles and share a bit of what I’ve learnt, and my misadventures in other crafting media, along the way. At least then there will be something on the internet you can point at and go ‘well at least mine doesn’t look like that!’