Following my retirement from a 38 year career in nursing and health visiting, I needed an interest, which took me to join the Embroiderers’ Guild Renfrewshire Branch, located to the west of Glasgow, Scotland. On the first evening at their ‘show and tell’, Mary Laidlaw, a student of RSN Scotland, gave a talk on her experience studying with the RSN and she brought her exquisite piece of Jacobean Crewelwork which was the source of my aspirations.

Not too long after that evening, the RSN came to Glasgow to offer a ‘taster class’. I attended and I had a chat with the Tutor Helen McCook afterwards, explaining to her my limited practice and knowledge of embroidery and how my background is far removed from the arts. With her encouraging words, I embarked on the Certificate in Technical Hand Embroidery course.

I thought I would take one module at a time and did not really expect to achieve the ultimate goal of the Diploma too. However, stitching is highly addictive, the more you do the more you want to do and there is always something new to learn and a constant wish to perfect your stitching. Not only have I learned how to embroider several techniques, i.e. Blackwork, Stumpwork, Appliqué and Goldwork (which are a few of my favourites) to the RSN’s expected standard, but I have also become widely and richly educated in textiles, fashion, colour, dying and design. The history of embroidery is particularly interesting to me.

One of the highlights in my month is attending my class at the Glasgow Art Club, where we learn. It is lovely to meet up with like-minded embroidery students from across the world, as far flung as Australia, North America, Sweden, Switzerland and of course the UK. Seeing their beautiful work is inspirational!

I have recently achieved the Diploma in Technical Hand Embroidery. I would like to thank my Tutor, Helen McCook, for her encouragement, patience and good humour!

Stitching is a wonderful past time which can be challenging, absorbing and a great distraction from concerns. My recent Online Tuition with Tutor Becky Quine has been a godsend during these ‘strange times’.

I am presently determined to continue practicing this skill by working towards the Advanced Diploma.