Friday, March 01, 2013

Half-assed Class Review: Craftsy

hand quilting

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:

  1. 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."
  2. The instructor demonstrates the quilting stitch using a sheer piece of organza so you can see both hands as she performs the rocking motion.
  3. The instructor shows how to travel to another location to continue a design without breaking the thread.
  4. There was a good demonstration of stab stitching, though i'm still unclear as to what the appropriate use of stab stitch is.
  5. 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.

6 comments :

Kaye said...

Great review! I saw somewhere someone posted a link that they were offering 1 free class...of course I wasn't sure what to expect and wasn't sure if it was worth my time. I think I agree w/your "if it's on sale" philosophy.

And I must say, part of being a half-assed review means you have to be lazy and stop doing them for a while...lol!

thepianohouse said...

I love that you hate people and mistrust classes for that reason, because that's totally me. Thanks for your honesty, which you didn't half-ass!

Jennifer Sadler said...

I think we must be the same person. Loved this!

Adrianne said...

Ha! I love that we feel the same way about classes. Boy they can bring out the worst in me!

Jacey said...

I adore you. Thanks for your frank and half-assed review!

I've had the same reservations about taking one of their classes.

Elly D said...

I enjoyed your review and your attitude. I'm a Craftsy fan but like to wait for special offers before buying a class. Some are definitely better than others. Many are for pure beginners and it can be frustrating when you know most of it and want to hurry it along to pick up tips you didn't know. But I always (so far) pick up things I didn't know. Love your blog and came here via Moda Bake shop after seeing your adorable quilt tutorial.

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