One of the things that I really enjoy about crochet is learning new things. So when the folks at Annie's Catalog contacted me a few months ago and asked if I was interested in reviewing one of their on-line classes I jumped at the opportunity! If you're not familiar with Annie's they're a cornerstone in the crafting industry. Their first catalogs were mailed to homes in 1975 and crafter's have been turning to them for patterns, supplies and instruction since.
There are on-line classes for crochet, knitting, card & paper crafts, quilting, sewing and beading & jewelry. In each category you'll find several different topics to choose from. The classes range in price from $19.95 to $24.95. Once you pay for your class, it's yours forever. You can access it as many times as you want, anytime you want. I chose Crocheting with Beads. It's something that I've been wanting to try and this was the perfect opportunity.
The class includes the video instruction which is broken down in segments for each technique and project. It has a total running time of just over an hour. There is a downloadable / printable PDF file that contains the pattern for each of the projects. There is something called "My Notebook" which allows you to record your own notes as your watching and practicing. I used this are to keep track of what yarn and hook I was using and what kind of beads I chose. I also used it to note the projects I liked the most and the things that I had trouble with. There is also a place to "Ask the Instructor" with several FAQs that get immediate responses. I did ask a question that wasn't on the list. Later the same day I received an email letting me know that Ellen had answered my question! I logged back into my class and sure enough there was my response! That's pretty cool. Overall the course is easy to access and I had no trouble navigating through it or downloading my patterns.
Now, let me tell you about the class. First of all, it's very well done. The audio and video are clear, the instructor, Ellen Gormley, is easy to listen to and does a great job showing you what to do and how to do it. Like many of you, I've watched plenty of videos on YouTube and while the intention may be good, the end result often leaves a lot to be desired and you can never be sure of what you're going to get. I feel confident that all of the videos in Annie's series are the same caliber as this one.
In this class there are 6 projects. Ellen shows you how to make each one of them from beginning to end. Each one uses a new beading skill. Every skill is demonstrated step by step using heavier yarn and large pony beads. By practicing with the bigger beads you can really get the hang of it before switching to the smaller beads the pattern calls for. In addition to beading, other techniques like joining motifs as you go, making button holes and using jewelry notions are also covered in detail.
So what did I make? After watching the video all the way through, I decided that I was going to try to make the beaded bracelet which is basically a tube with a bead in every stitch. It's the second project in the class and Ellen made it look so easy!! Actually, the technique itself wasn't too bad with the pony beads - but I know myself well enough to realize that I needed to start with a different project. No sense in getting frustrated right off the bat. Next I decided to try the beaded scarf. This is the third lesson. Again the technique was easy to pick up. I really liked that I could start and stop as much as I wanted. After making one pattern repeat with the pony beads I got started on my scarf. I didn't have the yarn the pattern called for so I made do with what I had on hand. This was much easier going! The hardest part (most tedious?) part was stringing the beads. Mainly because I didn't have the right tools. I think with the proper weight yarn and beading needle it would be much faster. I haven't finished the scarf, but after completing about 2 dozen rows I was ready to try something else. Not because I didn't like it, but because I wanted to actually finish something to show you!!
Which brings me to my final project - the Wristlet Clutch. How cute is this?! This is actually the first project in the class and as it turns out the one that I should have started with! It's a small project and if you want you can use pony beads like I did. We have a big pile of these wonderfully fun skull beads. John has been making stitch markers with them, but I was able to grab a few in order to make my bag.
As with my previous class experience, this technique was a snap to master. Ellen shows you how to do everything from making the handle and the button hole to creating the button itself! I made this little beauty in two afternoons and everything about it was fun and easy.
The best part was putting it to use! I often ride my bike to the country store and I always have to make sure I have pockets. Not any more!! Now I just slip my little bag over my wrist and I'm good to go!
There are 3 more projects that I haven't tried yet. The beaded shawlette uses the "hooked on" technique. I'm looking forward to seeing the difference between pre-stringing them vs. adding them as you go. I feel confident that I'll be able to follow other patterns that include beading, especially knowing that I have my class available to me if I need a quick refresher.
In case you're wondering, Annie's hasn't paid me for my endorsement. I was given the class in exchange for my honest review. That's it. Happily this is a fun and informative program that I feel good about recommending. Especially if you take advantage of the coupon code they gave me to share with you! Just click here and you can take 50% off any of their on-line classes. Now that is a great deal. Unfortunately, the code expires soon so you have to act fast. The good thing is once you pay for it you can watch it whenever you want - so even if you don't have time right now, it will be ready for when you do.
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me.
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read (& bead!) with love!
It's been a fabulously productive week. As I began pulling things together for today's post I was surprised by all that I (we) accomplished, and with the variety of mediums that I've been using. Fabric and sewing have been prominent. I figured out a way to combine cloth and crochet and used it to make these handy hair ties/elastics. I'm always looking for something pretty and unique to keep my mop of hair out of my face. These hit the mark and are easy to whip up. I've been having a blast making flowers. Along with attaching them to barrettes, I wanted to make them into pins. I know you can buy the pin backs, but I decided to upcycle and pulled apart an old promotional pin and stitched the pin part to one of my flowers. Now it's ready for my denim jacket!
Stitch markers and earrings were on the agenda yesterday. It's been a while since John and I have done this. Like anything creative I have to be in the right mood to want to do it - and for it to be successful. Let me tell you, I was in the zone! I know the pictures don't show them off, but they were coming together so easily! I've had days that no matter what combinations I tried, nothing looked right. Yesterday I could do no wrong! In about an hour and a half I had laid out at least 8 sets of markers and maybe 10 pairs of earrings. John is finishing up the last of them as I'm write this!
The sewing seed was planted a few weeks ago, when a class to make a tote bag was held at the library. I couldn't attend because I had to work, but Jean set my up with a tasty stack of fabric squares and the pattern. I keep my sewing machine in the corner of the dining room for easy access. Truthfully, I haven't used it since I hemmed a pair of pants for John last winter, but it was ready to go. I chose 4 complimentary prints and had at it! You begin by making 4 strips of 4 squares (easy). Then you lay them out in a kind of windmill pattern and sew them together (still pretty easy). Now the fun begins because you have to somehow sew the sides together in the right order to create a very awkward looking bag (not easy anymore). I did alright for the first three, then managed to sew the top together instead of side three to four. That's why I have seam rippers! I made the lining (really easy) and pressed and pinned it all together. I had to reattach the handles a couple of times to get them to end up between the lining and the main part of the bag, and because once I pinned it so the handles would have ended up sewn into the lining! All things considered, it was a lot of fun and now I have this adorable little tote!
In addition to my fiber offerings on Friday, I like to participate in Five Minute Friday over at Lisa-Jo Bakers place. It's writing in the raw and if you've never done why don't you give it a try? It's really easy - you just:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat on this week's prompt: “Story” with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking - then post it just as it is!
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
Here's what happened when I spent five minutes writing on the prompt "Story"
Fact, fiction, fantasy, fable there are so many stories out there. And I want to read them all!
When I think about stories I begin with the story of my life. As interesting as that may be, it’s not where I want to spend my time – after all I’m here every day! I’d much rather hear a good story about something I know nothing about. Mermaids, knights in shining armor, being a wealthy celebrity, the possibilities are endless! I suppose that’s why I love the library. Because it’s a building bursting with stories. Every kind imaginable.
I can loose myself in the stacks. Pulling book after book, looking at the cover and wondering what it holds inside. Will I be transported to Italy or maybe to the desert of New Mexico. I travel and meet new people. I learn and explore and immerse myself in the world the author creates for me.
I remember reading stories to my son – every night until he was too old to let me. And then, once in a while he would allow me to snuggle with his near pre-teen self and share an adventure before bed. Those were magic stories.
Perhaps not my most inspired five minutes. I honestly contemplated not posting it. Only for a secondthough. Because it's about giving yourself an opportunity for free flowing thoughts, and letting them be just as they are. And how often to do you let yourself do that?
On Friday's there's always lots to do. I'll be heading out to visit my linky friends to see and be inspired by the wonderful things you all are working on this weekend. I'd love it if you came along.
Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend.
Until next time friends,
Be blesses and stitch & read with love!
Greetings friends! I hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday! Today, I have three things to share. Lets start with socks. I have wanted to make them for so long, but I've been hesitating because - well I don't know why. I've had this pattern for Socks that Fit! in my queue for ages and last night the spirit moved me to give it a whirl. The toe instructions seemed vague, but I did what felt like the right thing and sure enough it worked - and on the first try! If this works out I might be making socks for the holidays! Just think of all those great yarns I can use!!
Next up is the Zig Zag Bag that has been sitting in the wip pile for way too long! I'm going to line it with this great skirt fabric. Don't they look like they were meant to be together?! I bought the skirt ages ago at the thrift store hoping it would fit, but it was too small. I'm so happy to have found a way to use it! I've never lined a crocheted bag which is why I've been procrastinating, but how hard can it be right?
And finally there's the Chevron Lace Cardigan. With the sleeves in the right place I should be finished by now, but of course I choose to work on other things instead. I'm certain that this will be wonderful when its done. I suppose if the weather were cooler and I could actually wear it when I'm finished I might get moving. For today it's sitting patiently by my chair waiting.
I don't worry too much about having several projects going at once. It keeps me from getting bored. As long as I get them finished eventually I feel just fine. For me crochet is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. I guess I just like to make lots of stops along the way!
Be sure to pop on over to Tami's Amis and Small Things to see other great projects!
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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