I'll admit it, I'm a bit of a wimp. My wonderful friend, teacher, craft guru and cheerleader Jill has always been my source when I've needed help with my knitting and crocheting or other crafts. She speaks the language of many crafts :) When she forwarded an email from Craftsy advertising a free weekend of lessons I sort of mentally resisted. I usually just ask Jill then problem solved. :) I'm not accustomed to crafty kinds of lessons but I thought I'd check it out anyways. I'm glad a did! I took 2 classes and enjoyed every minute. For those of you who haven't taken a Craftsy class, allow me share what I learned.
If you follow Craftsy you know that every once in a while they offer the opportunity to learn from experts at lowered prices or as in this past weekend, free. Streaming right from your computer, laptop or pad! :) Recently I've been feeling like my ideas were drying up, I needed a breather for sure. My ideas have been stagnating (or got derailed somewhere in the train yard of my brain). In short, I just needed a way to recharge my batteries that wouldn't cost too much. Craftsy seemed like a great idea! I looked through the course offerings the first thing I saw was the name Salena Baca! I really like Salena Baca Crochet designs. The designs are fresh, stylish, and some are just plain adorable. Okay I was sold. I decided to take the Modern Crochet Afghans: Color and Texture. Perfect.
I got started by pulling out about 100 skeins of yarn (no really it was about 20 but when I stacked them all up it looked like 100), grabbed my crochet hooks and my little bag of everything (containing all the little things including tapestry needles, stitch markers, needle sizer, tapestry needles, scissors, and tape measurer) Right after I located my reading glasses I would be ready to learn. LOL
Salena Baca was very polished in her presentation for the class. From first moments of the class I felt engaged in what was being taught. Even though I knew all the stitches, there were tips I really LOVED! From adapting the patterns to using stitch markers, even how to successfully complete that first row of crocheting! The classes are designed to allow you time to complete the entire afghan project from start to finish, however because I only had a weekend I basically worked the swatches. The instructions for the swatches are included with the course materials. In this way 1, you know you are getting the gauge for your particular afghan size correct, and 2, if you are working this class in a weekend you are able to get a feel for each design. I happened to have the correct weight of yarn and the correct size of hook on hand to complete each swatch. (I know shocking LOL)
The second class I took was a class in lace knitting taught by Eunny Jang has been a leading light in Knitting since 2007. Her class Lace Knitting: Basics and Beyond was spot on! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE lace knitting! There's something special about knitting lace. It's gentle and harkens back to a time when creating a piece of lace was an artform. I can remember seeing small pieces of handmade lace at my Grandmothers and Aunts homes. Being from the Depression Era they knew the value of such things and used the pieces wherever they could. Not wanting to throw anything away. I remember snatches of lace inset into pillows dresses, even coverlets. It's been a long time since I knit lace therefore, my skills were rusty. I needed to upgrade :)
Eunny Jang is a very enthusiastic teacher. Her instructions were very well laid out with tips and tricks along the way. The course included several lace patterns as well as instructions for cast ons and bind offs. Even simple lace looks elegant when done in the right yarn. Eunny Jang covered the beauty of various hand dyed yarns and lace weight yarns. I have both hand dyed yarn that was gifted to me and lace weight yarn that I purchased from Knit Picks. However for this class we used worsted weight wool to illustrate the "forgiving" nature of protein fibers in lace.
The process of learning to knit lace, or in my case brushing up on my technique, was taught by creating a swatch of the lace pattern. It was so much fun to create each swatch. Eunny Jang setup each swatch of lace so that it could be made into a full project such as a scarf or shawl. Eunny Jang taught how to prevent errors and how to read lace charts. After a while you could envision what each lace pattern was to look like upon finishing the pattern repeat.
I HIGHLY recommend that anyone looking to take on a new crafting skill or improve their crafting skills take a look at Craftsy first. The programs are incredibly well done and the written instructions are very detailed. I came away from the weekend feeling very good about myself, my skills, and my ability to choose the correct yarns for the projects I am undertaking.
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.