Graduate Story by Jayne Dickson, Hand Embroidery

Graduate Story: Jayne Dickson – Hand Embroidery

Jayne Dickson has recently completed our Skill Stage 2 Hand Embroidery Course. She spoke to use about her desire to learn the proper foundations of Hand Embroidery, gain a qualification and develop her own ideas. This is her inspiring Stitch Journey.

After retiring from teaching I developed an interest in hand embroidery. I finished a number of embroidery kits but felt I wanted to know more about designing my own work. Previous to this my only experience of embroidery was at school where we were taught to stitch on Aida.

I decided to look for an online, self-paced and accredited Hand Embroidery Course to learn more about the design process and the different types of traditional and contemporary embroidery. I decided to follow an accredited course because it would give me a recognised qualification I could use if I decided to continue studying.

Following a internet search I came across the School of Stitched Textiles. They offered a well respected Level 2 Hand Embroidery course at a reasonable cost. I indicated my interest on the website and was invited to register on the course a few months later. Before I registered I looked at the online brochure to check the course was right for me and I visited the gallery to look at previous students work.

Studying Hand Embroidery

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and was amazed at what I had achieved at the end of each module. It could be challenging at times but it is like anything else if you are prepared to make the effort you reap the rewards. I now have a good grounding in general embroidery skills, cross stitch, drawn thread, Blackwork and Hardanger. At times I was apprehensive about some modules but found once I was involved in the work I enjoyed the challenges. I was able to organise my time to meet deadlines in between caring for grandchildren and the usual gardening and housework.

I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed the drawn thread and Hardanger module and was proud of what I produced. Before I started, I had no idea you could cut holes into fabric and it wouldn’t fall apart! In the final assessment I put together a number of aspects from the previous modules to design, source materials and construct a pin cushion. I was very pleased with the result and couldn’t believe I had achieved so much in such a short time.

If I was going to give any advice to a prospective student for the Level 2 course it would be not to make your embroidery designs too complex or too large as things always take longer than you think and sometimes less is more.


I would recommend the School of Stitched Textiles to anyone wishing to increase their knowledge of and skills in Hand Embroidery. The course was well organised and laid out in a logical manner. It gave me the opportunity to develop my own creativity, ideas and designs within a structured framework. I was amazed at how different everybody’s work was ,considering we all started with the same instructions. Submitting work to the school was really straight forward. I was assigned a tutor who provided excellent online guidance during the course and feedback at the end of each module.

Future plans

I am currently taking a City and Guilds Creative Sketchbooks course online. This will provide me with inspiration for future embroidery projects. I intend to return to the School of Stitched Textiles for the Level 3 Hand Embroidery next year to continue to develop my skills in this area. Maybe I will progress onto Level 4 Hand Embroidery. I don’t know yet but I do aspire to running my own embroidery workshops in the future.

Joan Harrison Bursary

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