review: Fun & Fantastic Textured Crochet Stitches

beth graham craftsy classWhile I was chatting with Beth Graham, she mentioned that I could take her Craftsy Class, Fun & Fantastic Textured Crochet Stitches.

It’s taken me a while to sit and attend the course; I struggle with video, preferring the written word. Thankfully included with the class are detailed handouts and the video lessons are close captioned so I can mute and “watch” at 2x speed and read the lesson to my heart’s content and switch to the audio (and slow down the playback) if I want. If you aren’t familiar with the Craftsy class format, they offer an extensive help center.

Beth’s class covers about 17 textured crochet stitches and how to combine them to create new combinations over 7 lessons. I’ve begun to think of it as a class that brings a stitch dictionary to life. While it’s helpful even for advanced crocheters to review the first lesson, it’s very easy to skip and jump around.

The organization of this class progresses and builds on different types of stitches that all provide intensive texture to crochet fabric. While not seemingly relevant at first, I love and appreciate that Beth begins by stressing the benefit to stitch markers in crochet. They really are project savers!

She then goes on to cover easy texture just by playing with simple stitches and proceeds to puff, bobble, popcorn, and post stitches. The final lesson combines all of these stitches to help the student master two complex textures, the Basket-Weave stitch and Dots & Diamonds.

There’s a lot here and while you can watch the class from intro to close, after the first lesson I found I enjoyed skipping around as I didn’t have a particular project in mind, but know I would love to break out of my hdc stitch rut I’ve found myself in for several years.

From a course design viewpoint, I found the course organized coherently and pacing great. The camera work and pauses Beth takes to explain each stitch are beneficial to help get through the tricky parts. I was surprised to find myself pausing more than once to scribble notes of ways I’d like to incorporate stitches into future designs.

From an experienced crocheter viewpoint, I found this class beneficial! Not only was it useful to see a video of stitches I’ve worked for years, but sometimes even a different yarn can transform a stitch from something I skip over to something I am eager to work.

The handouts are well designed and include reference lists, suggested materials, and of course the stitches and projects discussed during the course. It’s condensed without being overwhelming and includes many stitch diagrams. However, I do wish they were a bit more flexible in the style guide application (this is not the instructor, I believe it is a style for the company) and enabled stitches to appear together completely either on the page or how they are broken across columns. But that is a minor quibble and didn’t not distract from my using the materials. I appreciate that special notes are called out in a different color and styled font, useful both for accessibility and black & white printing.

Here are two swatches I’m working on, the first is a good reminder about the importance of the proper hook for you and the fabric you wish to create. I am very loose in the formation of my stitches. It shows in the swatches that I just grabbed a hook and a skein of yarn and started working.

Aligned Cobble Stitch swatch from <a href="http://www.craftsy.com/ext/BethGraham_10172_H" target="_blank">Fun & Fantastic Textured Crochet Stitches</a>

My class viewing setup & Aligned Cobble Stitch swatch from Fun & Fantastic Textured Crochet Stitches.

There is a nice feature of the course software that I found very helpful. I don’t need to watch an instructor crochet the entire row of a stitch, but sometimes I want to see it a few times in repetition. When using the viewer in my web browser on my desktop/laptop, I was able to create my own repeat and have it play multiple times in succession. Please note that not all features are available on the mobile apps or may work slightly differently. You can read more about this feature in their help article, Class Features and Navigation.

I have a few frustrations with the software and they may even just be user errors and all are minor quibbles. The video player forgets settings (of video speed & closed captioning) from lesson to lesson if the class is on autoplay. It was frustrating, but not one that caused me to not look forward to taking my next Craftsy course. Overall I was very pleased with the experience from a technological point of view! I watched a lesson on my android tablet, but I don’t have a way to watch the device (it defaults to landscape) and work ergonomically so I preferred to watch the class and work at my desktop.

I received enrollment in this course in exchange for a review. The FTC wants you to know.

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