Back in January I stated one of my two key words for my patchwork and quilting in 2015 is LEARN, the other, FINISH, I was able to mention in a positive fashion in a post earlier this week 🙂
So, learning, specifically learning on-line. I have found the internet to be an invaluable learning resource. My first encounter with learning P&Q on-line was discovering Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project. (It was also my first encounter with a blog but at the time I didn’t know about blogs!) From there I discovered the vast number of clips and tutorials stored on You Tube.
I’ve found demonstrations of most of the techniques and skills I’ve wanted to develop just by putting a question into a search engine. Of course there is lots of conflicting advice to work through! Take basting a quilt for instance: some say stretch the backing, some say smooth but don’t stretch, some advocate spray basting others are vehemently against the use of glues anywhere near a quilt etc, etc. But that’s all ‘ok’ I think. At least there are ideas to try and more chance of finding a favourite method through sifting other people’s generous sharing of their favourites and their trials and errors!
Sometime during my internet searching I stumbled upon Craftsy. A vast array of crafting tutorials can be found here. I have subscribed to some but I’ve also made use of the many free lessons and patterns ready to be downloaded at the click of a button. The great advantages of Craftsy are that once downloaded the tutorials are ready to be watched any time that suits and of course repeats are free! Some of the first classes I followed were the 2012 and 2013 block of the month series – both free and I think they are still available. To get the best from Craftsy tutorials I found I had to download Google Chrome (free and easy) and switch off the HD button that appears at the bottom right of the tutorial screen. Craftsy is also interactive providing ‘students’ and tutors the opportunity to post questions and comments. These appear on the side of the screen next to the tutorial as it’s running and I’ve found this very useful for picking up tips and clarifying what I’m watching.
On-line tutorials are particularly useful to me as I like to watch and then do. As time has gone on I’ve found that I’ve been able to adapt patterns and techniques into my own methods and style. Never having made a bag, I found Jenny Doan’s lively quilted tote bag tutorial on You Tube. Inspired by her breezy, let’s-get-on-and-do-it approach I did just that and very quickly had a fully functioning bag made ‘all on my own self’ (a phrase used often by one of our independent-minded children!).
The basic pattern and lessons learned from that initial bag tutorial gradually morphed into my own pattern that I use to make patchwork tote bags.
And now I’m about to write up my bag-making instructions as the ‘first make’ pattern for a lady who wants to learn how to use a sewing machine with a mind to doing patchwork and quilting. Learning has become teaching!
There are lots of other sources of on-line learning – please do recommend them in a comment at the end of this post. And that leads to my final recommendation for learning on-line: make the most of the excellent tutorials and tips so generously shared by patchwork and quilting bloggers. Here’s just a small selection of the one’s I’ve used recently:
- Pressing tips – Allison at Cluck Cluck SEW
- Calculating pieced borders – Melanie at Catbird Quilt Studio
- Sorting fabric scraps – Amy at Diary of a Quilter
There is so much deserved bad-press about the internet but there is so much good to be found too! It’s really up to individuals to be discerning, both in what is searched for and how much time is spent searching…
Time to go crafting!