In recent years I've gotten away from my half-assed reviews. This is due to my inherent laziness. I'm making an attempt to bring back the feature, at least until i decide it's too much effort and give it up again. The newest spark came from an offer for a $10 Craftsy class in my inbox. There are things that intrigue me about the Craftsy platform: you can watch on your own time, there is the capability to ask questions of the instructor/other students, and you have permanent access to the course. Also (and this becomes important later), if you wait long enough you can always catch them on sale.
I have hesitated to purchase Craftsy classes in the past. I should first disclose some of my personal quirks in order for this review to make sense. I am not the kind of person who learns well in a traditional classroom setting. I can generally figure out how to do things on my own. I like to work at a rapid pace. I don't get a lot out of personal instruction. I dislike other people. For these reasons, I will probably never take an in-person class on anything craft-related. I've been ok at figuring out stuff on my own thus far, so why would I stop now?
However, there are some of the Craftsy classes that I thought would be beneficial. I don't need someone to show me how to cable, but the ability to watch an expert free-motion quilt might be valuable. So I debated amongst a few classes and finally purchased Hand-Quilting by Andi Perejda. I chose Hand-Quilting over some of the others because I recently got out an unfinished sampler that I started in 2011 (yikes!). a book i checked out from the library made me want to make a sampler, especially since the blocks are assembled using quilt as you go. rather than starting a new quilt i finally remembered the old one that i never finished. The book suggests hand-quilting, and though I am impatient, I figured that hand-quilting small pieces probably wouldn't take that much longer than machine quilting them, so what the hell? i'll give it a try. I have some limited experience hand-quilting with perle cotton but it's definitely an area where i could afford to gain more knowledge.
I am planning to use perle cotton on my sampler. The class briefly covers "big stitch" quilting but primarily focuses on 50-wt thread quilting, which is lovely but probably requires more patience than i will ever have. the class download include several templates for quilting designs that are more traditional or old-fashioned. this isn't really my thing so i doubt i'll ever do any of the class projects, but i don't see it as a negative per se.
the materials (some optional) include several marking tools, a quilting hoop, tracing aids like acetate and template plastic, a light box, in betweens needles, a quilter's grid, and a bunch of other stuff--the majority of which i don't have. i am planning to quilt sans hoop with simple enough designs that i hopefully won't need to do a ton of marking. i have a hera marker which i will probably utilize and some chalk pencils that rub off way too quickly to be useful. i don't have a lightbox or template plastic or 1/4" masking tape...so yeah. maybe i'm pretty unprepared for this. oh but i do have a thimble! actually i have 2, neither of which is recommended by the class. but we'll see if i can make it work.
i found the format of the classes to be a bit overly long. generally i think it's safe to skip the last 45 seconds-1 minute of each lesson as it's just a sum-up. i watched all the lessons over one day (see above bit about fast-paced) and skipped ahead whenever i felt the class was dragging. The sections on transferring your pattern definitely lagged for me, probably because i have experience tracing embroidery patterns, and i have no intention of using a fancy design on my sampler quilt. The only major negative about the format is that if I had to click away for awhile it only remembered what general lesson I was on and not my exact spot, so i had to fast-forward every time. Here's what I found helpful:
- The instructor showed how to thread-baste and suggested it over pin-basting because your hand-quilting thread will get stuck on the pins. i've actually tried to pin-baste before and had a horrible time, so for me it was kind of like, "oh yeah that makes total sense. sometimes i can be dumb."
- The instructor demonstrates the quilting stitch using a sheer piece of organza so you can see both hands as she performs the rocking motion.
- The instructor shows how to travel to another location to continue a design without breaking the thread.
- There was a good demonstration of stab stitching, though i'm still unclear as to what the appropriate use of stab stitch is.
- I didn't have any questions, but the instructor seemed to be pretty responsive to other people's questions.
That's about it. i felt like i got enough good information out of the class to make it worth my ten bucks but i probably would not recommend it at the regular price of $39.99. I've tried to make my point that i'm the kind of jerk who doesn't do well in a class so it shouldn't be too surprising that i didn't find it all that useful. YMMV.
Would I sign up for another Craftsy class? maybe, but likely only if they run another $10 sale.
I use Craftsy as a platform to sell my patterns, but I'm not employed by them and I didn't receive any compensation for this review. as if that could be at all unclear.