It seems like just about every craft retailer and publisher is putting out educational videos these days, and with good reason: lots of people learn better by seeing how stitch patterns and techniques work, and it's not always possible to learn these things from an in-person knitting instructor. Online courses allow you to access information from experts at any time, day or night that suits you, and you can watch them again and again until you have the techniques down.
Annie's Catalog's offerings for online knitting courses include Creative Knitting magazine editor Kara Gott Warner's course, Mix & Match Sampler, which covers 12 different stitch patterns or knitting techniques you can use to make a sampler blanket and other projects.
About the Course
The Mix & Match Sampler course is a series of nine videos that covers a bunch of different knitting techniques:
- Seed and Moss Stitch
- Tuck and Bowknot Stitch
- Hexagon pattern
- Mosaic knitting
- Mitered knitting
- Cables (one and two color)
- Short Rows
There's also an introduction to the course that talks about materials and the projects that can be made with the different squares that are worked through the videos. Each of the patterns is part of a PDF packet that shows how to make the squares and some variations, and also includes the pattern for a mitered square bag and a baby or lap blanket made with all the squares.
The instructional videos run between 10 minutes for mitered squares and just over 36 minutes for cables. One criticism I have of the course is that I wish the videos had been broken up a bit more in to shorter lessons.
There are times when the instructor advises people to go practice the stitch or technique, which would be a perfect time to end a video, but then it goes on. Sure you can pause it yourself but it would be a lot easier if you were coming back to the video another day to be able to start with a new one rather than have to find your place in a video you already watched part of.
Getting to Know Your Knitting
In the beginning of the course, she keeps saying that knitting is very intuitive, and that with time and progress you'll understand what you're supposed to be doing without really following the pattern. That's certainly true with stitches like Moss Stitch and Seed Stitch, but it's also true of the more complex techniques like mitered knitting. This course may help newer knitters to learn to read their knitting a little better, which will only help them feel more confident and willing to try different patterns and techniques.
The videos are clear and helpful -- if somewhat boring and repetitive for someone who already knows how to make a cable, say (though you can always skip the parts you're comfortable with) -- and include all the tops and hints you need to know.
For example, there's advice on reading a mosaic knitting chart, which is a little different from other charts you encounter, and tips for keeping track of where you are in a chart.
The only thing that might be a little confusing at times is that the instructor knits continental (holding the yarn in her left hand) and it's never really mentioned that viewers might knit a different way.
The Mix & Match sampler course from Annie's is a great choice if you're new to knitting and want to learn a lot of different skills quickly. Buy the end of a few hours of watching and knitting you should have a grasp on a lot of techniques that will be useful to you in other projects throughout your knitting career.
If you already know how to do a lot of these techniques you might be better served by finding a course or a video that focuses on the things you aren't comfortable with instead.
At $24.99 this online course costs about as much as a book but is more valuable because you can see the techniques being worked and should be able to learn more quickly.
If you have slow internet or just don't want to watch hours of video on your computer, this course is also available as a DVD.