Wednesday, May 24, 2017

ONLINE COURSES FOR THE BUSY SEWIST AND QUILTER

I am a full-time Vocal General Music Teacher. When I am able to get to a live sewing or quilting class it is usually in the evening or over the weekend and I am either 1. exhausted or 2. trying to carve out family time. It is very nearly impossible unless it is over the summer and even then it can be hectic with vacation and visiting family. The Internet has literally changed my creative life and enriched my learning opportunities. It began with one of The Crafty Gemini's early tutorials on making a pillowcase with french seams and I never turned back. Two summers ago, I took a 3 day class on making a wall hanging. It was spread out over 3 weeks and that meant I had to drag my sewing machine once a week for three weeks to the LQS. I don't know about you, but a three week committment? I actually only made two of the classes for 2 reasons: 1. I had a long standing engagement on one of the days we were to meet and 2. The teacher, albeit very talented, did not know how to convey the instructions. It was a big disappointment and that unfinished project still sits in a box marked "to do" in my sewing hollow. As I write this I am itching to dig it out and get to work on it. To be honest, one of the techniques that the instructor made us all feel like we were most likely incapable of performing was one I learned watching a YouTube tutorial... In a foreign language. I think I make my point.

After watching amazing tutorials by Vanessa Vargas Wilson I found out she was starting the Crafty Gemini Quilt Club. It was an Online Quilting Club which provided weekly tips, monthly swaps, interviews with industry leaders, monthly giveaways and a monthly project designed by the Crafty Gemini herself! In a way it became the Quilt Guild I have always wanted to join. The club is now closed, however, I still have access to all of the patterns, tips and interviews. Even more important are all of the amazing friends I made. We have a Facebook group where we still post our creations, share our stories and keep the fire of Sewing Sisterhood alive, (and a few brothers too!) Now the Crafty Gemini has became a household brand. Vanessa has designed two lines of fabric for Timeless Treasures, has two amazing Ruler/Templates for 5 and 10 inch pre-cuts for which she has posted project tutorials on her blog, http://craftygemini.com. In addition, she has two Bag-of-the-Month clubs, a Wallet of-the-month club and now an Organizer of the Month Club.  Vanessa designs all of the patterns, video lessons, provides kits for sale that include everything but your chosen fabric, with a discount! She has her own line of thread through Sulky who also put together a great kit to accompany her Pinnacle Table Runner which you can find at:  <a href="https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=825509&u=1508233&m=63058&urllink=&afftrack=">Crafty Gemini Favorites - 12 Wt. Cotton Petites Collection</a>

And....... if you're ever in Gainesville, Florida, check out her new sewing studio, The Sewing Coop, where she teaches sewing, quilting and crafting, in person! Sewing machines are provided if you don't have one or cannot bring yours. Also available will be her fabric line, notions and supplies are available to purchase so no need to worry if you forgot something. It's a great way to get your sewing fix if you happen to be passing through or worth a trip if you want to learn from a wonderful teacher.  She is truly the measure I use when watching an online tutorial. There is no reason anyone cannot learn something about sewing through the internet. All you need is a great instructor.

After discovering The Crafty Gemini, I did a search for online classes.  Craftsy.com was the first thing that popped up in my search engine.  After purchasing over 50 classes, Craftsy now offers unlimited classes for an annual flat rate.  This also  includes special offers and freebies for people who enroll.  This means I have access to EVERYTHING on Craftsy.

Here are more of my favorites:

YOUTUBE:

The Crafty Gemini
Crafty Gemini Creates
Missouri Star Quilt Company
AGF (Art Gallery Fabric - Great, fast and easy)
StitchesbyJulia (a multi media artist who works a lot with fabric)
The Midnight Quilter - Angela Walters  (Funny and inspiring)
Debbie Shore
Dinkeydoo
Jordan Fabrics
Marilyn Lee (Mostly I get a lot of Inspiration from her.  She uses a Vintage Treadle Machine!)
Sew Sweetness (Sara Lawson is The Sweetest! and has now launched Video Tutorials, plus she is very generous with her online followers on Facebook and Newsletter)
SewVeryEasy
Shabby Fabrics
Teresa DownUnder  (Great, quick Tutorials for blocks)

ONLINE LEARNING:

Craftsy.com - As I stated above, I had over 50 classes before I purchased the unlimited plan.  If you break it down it's only $10/month for unlimited classes in all areas of crafting:  sewing, quilting, paper crafting, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, cooking, etc., etc.  The list goes on.  You might find that you like something you never thought you would do in a million years.  The first seven days are free if you're intereseted in trying out the unlimited plan to see if you like it before investing.

Creative Bug - Over 1000 Online Art & Craft Classes Just $4.95 a month.  They are similar to Craftsy.com in that they offer a plethora of classes in all crafting, sewing and quilting generes. In addition, they have really wonderful instructors who have been sewing, quilting and/or crafting for many years. I purchased the monthly membership for $4.95 a month and I think that is a real bargain. The classes are shorter, however, and sometimes you need to fill in the blanks but for the most part I have learned quite a few things and the instructors think outside the box a lot.  My favorite class right now is taught by Fabric Designer, Anna Maria Horner; Mod Corsage Quilt.  It's a great way to use up abandoned blocks.

Iquilt  is associated with American Quilt Society.  They have a huge assortment of classes in all areas of quilting given by nationally recognized instructors.  Similar to the Craftsy.com format it is easy to navigate, and if you are an AQS member you receive a discount!  If any of you are interested in taking an online class in thread painting, try out Renegade Thread Play taught by Melinda Bula.  The price for AQS members is $27.96 and $34.95 for non members.  If you've ever taken one of her classes or any other teacher at an AQS sponsored quilt show you know that the classes fill up fast and cost twice as much!  Take this opportunity to learn something new from an amazing teacher at a fraction of the cost right in your own living room!

Annie's - Check out their online classes. Their prices can't be beat. I am planning on taking the "Pieced Boarder: Sized for any Quilt" Annie's is a clearance Crafting, sewing and Quilting supplier. They don't have everything but what they do have is significantly discounted. For instance, my favorite Clover seam ripper is only $3.99. They usually list how many they have in stock. It's worth a minute of browsing at Annie's

I have really enjoyed compiling this list of favorites and I hope I found something new for you.  Please leave comments and let me know what online courses and sites you find the most valuable.

Happy sewing!










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