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Entrelac Online: Part 1 (or, Craftsty – My New Best Friend)

July 23

When I heard that Gwen Bortner now teaches her Entrelac Knitting course online, I was excited to check it out. You may remember I took a fantastic workshop from her in Cambria a few months ago. Gwen clearly loves to teach and her sense of humor make her classes fun. Her book Entree to Entrelac helped transform entrelac from esoteric to wildly popular.

Since this is the first online class I’ve taken, I’m going to write a series of posts for this topic, sharing with you some of the super-smart features of Craftsy as I discover them for myself through taking Gwen’s online class.

I’ve always been curious about entrelac; I’ve oohed and ahhhed over everybody else’s’ entrelac projects. But it scares me -  I’ve sat with many a  knitter trying to tackle entrelac on her own, and it usually involves swearing and ripping. Along comes Gwen’s class on Craftsy. If anyone can teach me entrelac, it’s bound to be Gwen. But could an online class be as informative and fun as her real-life classes?

I’ve only recently discovered the world of Craftsy. One thing I love is that they post sample videos so you get a sense ahead of time whether you want to take the class. When I think about the money I’ve spent on travelling to knitting events, and then paying for classes, I realize that the cost of $39.99 is very reasonable. The process for joining Craftsy and signing up for class is super easy.

What’s really cool about the online course is that, unlike when I get behind in a real-time class, I can go back any time to any of the video segments to refresh my memory or review a tricky technique. Once I buy a Craftsy course, it is mine to keep forever.

I was worried that without actually being in the same room as Gwen, I’d be unable to ask questions or get help when I got stuck in my knitting. There’s an area right next to the video for posting questions, which Gwen responds to. While there isn’t the instant gratification of an immediate answer, there is the advantage that I can see everyone’s questions and answers,  which add up to a broader range than would be asked in a typical class. That means I get to learn even more. I can even attach a photo of my knitting if I get stuck and need to show Gwen where I went wrong. That’s comforting!

When I take a real-time class, I scribble all kinds of notes as the teacher explains things. I can do the same thing with a note-taking section under the video window; I love that I can pause the video while I type, meaning I won’t miss a word.

The projects and instructions for the course start off with the basics of entrelac, and then build skills from there. Now that I’ve learned the ropes with the Craftsy format, and have sorted out the downloaded instructions, I’m off to dig through my stash for some project yarn. In the next post, we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of the class.

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