If you have never browsed through or taken an online class from the increasingly popular site, Craftsy, then you are missing out!
Craftsy is a (free) members only website where you can find patterns, workshops (aka craft-a-longs), shared projects from members, a blog, shopping deals and best of all... classes in twelve different crafting categories.
I came across this site months ago, signed up but never really took the time to investigate it further. Craftsy also sends out newsletters highlighting deals of craft supplies and featured classes. It was one of these emails that caught my attention: a free class on the basic use and care of sewing machines called Sewing Machine 911. I jumped on the chance to watch this video course because I wanted to learn how to properly clean my machine. The beauty of the online course is that you can start, stop and continue watching them whenever you want - a handy feature for someone who is constantly disrupted by little ones.
I enjoyed this class so much, that I looked into other free classes and came across Know Your Wool.
The subject of this class struck a chord with me. I have long wanted to know more about the different breeds of sheep and their fiber characteristics. Clara Parkes' popular book, The Knitter's Book of Wool, delves into this subject beautifully, but I am a visual learner, so the video course fit the bill.
In the class, the instructor, Deb Robson introduces many different breeds of sheep (origin, current status, images) and shares their fiber characteristics and how they look knitted. She also recommended different websites where someone could find and order yarn made of the various sheep mentioned including Blacker Yarns, Solitude Wool, Local Harvest and Etsy. I really enjoyed her skills as a teacher and found her easy to watch, listen to and very knowledgeable in her subject.
Know Your Wool has inspired me to start a new project in 2013. I haven't worked out the details yet, but at this point I plan to order and swatch wool from different breeds of sheep to compare their qualities for myself. A book and video can only take you so far. At some point, a knitter just needs to knit.
I'd highly recommend taking this course and looking into other courses offered by Craftsy. In fact, I just added another class to my cart yesterday and can't wait to watch it (during kiddie nap time, of course).