Monday, October 8, 2012

Crochet Lab Review + My First CAL!

Earlier this year, I signed up for Vicki Howell's Crochet Lab class on, determined to re-learn how to crochet. This was the first class I took on the Craftsy platform, and as you can tell by how often I reference and support Craftsy on this blog, I was impressed!

I would (and have) definitely recommend this class for anyone who wants to learn how to crochet. Vicki is enthusiastic and good at explaining things in a way that is easy to grasp, encouraging folks to find the way that's easiest for them to do rather than insisting that what she is demonstrating is the only correct way to crochet. This is something I find very refreshing about Craftsy courses in general - the instructors are very good about either demonstrating a few ways to accomplish the same thing, or, at the very least, encouraging their students to experiment and do what comes naturally to them.

The instructions were clear and easy to follow; for each technique, there is a close-up of Vicki's hands as she works so that you can see exactly what she is demonstrating. There are nine lessons in all, covering chain making, single crochet, double crochet, and half double crochet techniques. She also covers choosing your materials, demonstrates how to measure gauge, and walks you through one of the course projects (the techie cozy) and making granny squares. The course materials include several patterns and an cheat sheet for basic stitches and pattern reading; of course, if you get stuck, you can always ask a question online for Vicki or your fellow students to answer.

My only constructive criticism are two rather petty notes that have no bearing on the actual content of the course, nor would they affect a normal person's ability to craft: I found myself distracted at times by Vicki's sparkly french manicure and her tendency to talk with her hands when not demonstrating technique. I can only imagine how hard it must be to keep your hands still when being filmed not knitting or crocheting, but for those of us watching at home, the muppet flail can really detract from the lesson at hand...or maybe that's just me!

Click here to sign up for Crochet Lab on Craftsy for $14.99!

I've also decided to do my first-ever CAL* this month - it's happening here on Stacey Trock's Fresh Stitches blog! I thought I'd start with the simplest-looking pattern (bonus: it's free!), Jack the Tiny Pumpkin, since I struggled so much crocheting an R2D2 a while back. There are prizes and lots of other cute patterns to choose from, too, so it should be a fun way to get into the Halloween spirit this month.

Click here to join in the fun!

*Actually, I was going to do Kristin Omdahl's Soldier Love CAL over the summer, which would have been my first, but the fates conspired against me; I still have the yarn and pattern lurking somewhere...I just need to work up to it!

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