“Ready are you? What know you of ready?” — Yoda
Laura Nelkin of Craftsy.com will indeed teach you to become a lace-knitting Jedi through her new online class, “Mastering Lace Knitting“. A few weeks ago, Laura gave me a sneak preview of her beautiful Skywalker lace shawl she had designed using our CashSilk Lace yarn. It’s a semi-circular shawl knit from the top down and loosely based on the Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi Shawl formula. The lace sections include Stars, Planets and Galaxies as well as a Nova lace edging. Laura teaches you how to knit this shawl pattern from casting on to blocking, step-by-step in the Craftsy.com class.
If you haven’t yet stumbled upon it, Craftsy.com is a new online teaching website that offers video-based and interactive learning for knitting, crochet, jewelry making, and sewing. Vickie Howell and Stephanie Japel are just a few of the other teachers that are featured on the site. You can sign up for Laura’s class here and get 50% off the sticker price.
Poking around the site, I found it extremely easy to use and full of content. Once you’ve signed up for the class, you’ll see your course split up into a number of lessons. Each lesson has a video that runs about 20 to 50 minutes with multiple markers that you can skip around to. These professional-quality videos can be played in HD quality and full screen for the best viewing. I found the videos loaded quickly and there was no trouble with skipping forward or back through the video to find what I was looking for.
There is a feature that allows you to take notes on each lesson as well as a space for you to ask questions or leave comments on any of the video clips. Even better, there is helpful and prompt feedback from Laura, herself, as she tries to guide all the students through the material.
These little things impress me. The responsiveness of the video playback. The attentiveness of the instructor in answering student questions. The comprehensive resource area with all the content available for download (pattern PDFs, glossary, enlarged versions of the lace charts). All that, and the actual content of what Laura teaches — everything from making a gauge swatch to the structure of lace shawls to making different kinds of increases to blocking. The camera also gets in really close when Laura is teaching the stitch techniques, so you don’t miss anything. All great content that you can access online anytime… and forever. Once you’re registered, you have access to the course material indefinitely.
After being a student in Stephanie Japel’s Ning-based online courses for the past year or so, I’m so glad to see online craft teaching explode like this. It’s the sort of blending of craft and technology in an extremely positive way. Can’t wait to see what the other classes are like. In the meantime, maybe it’s time to cast on for a Skywalker shawl?
“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try.'” — Yoda