A couple weekends back, I mentioned a new hand embroidery class on Craftsy, as part of their “Start Up Library” series.
Several folks wrote in, asking if I’d review the class in detail. I’ve finally had a chance to go through the class in detail, take some notes and think about it a bit, and then write (and re-write, and re-write again) a review from what I hope is an objective eye, wanting what’s best for you.
So, if you’re curious about this Hand Embroidery Start Up Library Class on Craftsy, this short review – with pros and cons – is for you!
A Class for Absolute Beginners or Youth
The Hand Embroidery Start Up Library class on Craftsy is a video-based online class geared towards absolute beginners in embroidery – or maybe youngsters who want to learn a craft.
The class is for folks who are primarily interested in the craft of embroidery. If you want to embroider for fun, you’ve never embroidered at all, you aren’t looking for any mastery of stitching at this point, you’re looking for a quick craft fix and you want to see what embroidery is all about, then the class is great for that.
If you’re an adult or an aspiring youth who desires to learn the art of embroidery, with a certain level of mastery of embroidery, you already know some basics and you’re confident in your learning abilities, I don’t know that you’d get that much out of the class.
The class is divided into 13 video lessons that range anywhere from about 4 minutes long to about half an hour long. Since the lessons are short, it’s manageable, time-wise. The longer lessons are generally those devoted to stitches, with many stitches taught in each lesson.
1. For absolute beginners, the Hand Embroidery Start Up Library class on Craftsy provides an entry-level approach to get started stitching. This is what the title implies, and the class does follow through on that promise.
2. Craftsy classes are set up so that you can easily re-wind and replay segments (handy when you’re learning a new stitch), so that you can add notes to the class as you go (in your own private account, not seen by others), and so that you can interact with the instructor by asking questions and requesting feedback. This can be very handy for the beginner, who wants guidance, clarification, and support while learning.
3. Considering the class in terms of something for youth (8/9 and up) that would provide a structured learning approach for summer crafts, I think the class could be a good option.
4. Basics are covered: what fabrics and threads to start out with (what’s going to be easiest, without breaking the bank or causing frustration); tools to use (again, without making a heavy investment if you’re just starting out); transferring simple designs; working a variety of stitches; choosing your own designs and stitching them; managing floss; some blurbs at the end on crewel embroidery and bead embroidery.
5. The instructor is very enthusiastic about her stitching and obviously loves stitching, and that kind of enthusiasm is always wonderful to see.
1. The price point ($69) is a bit tricky. I think it’s a bit high for this particular class, compared to the instructional content of other Craftsy embroidery classes. It’s just not the same quality of instructional content. Also, most of the instruction in this class can be found online for free through a hundred different resources, like YouTube, blogs, and the like. You can also learn what’s in this class through any basic hand embroidery book and then, if you want video for stitch tutorials, you can troll YouTube for them. That said, it’s nice to have the structure of a class and the information all in one place.
2. Without going into too much detail, I’d encourage anyone, once you know the basics, to feel free to explore and discover that there are other approaches to stitchery beyond the class. What you learn in one class is not necessarily the only way (or even the best way) to do things. A few brief examples from this class that you might explore beyond the class: the cutting length for thread; the manner of stripping floss (and separating and reuniting floss for better coverage and more consistent stitching results); ideal fabric recommendations; certain transfer tool recommendations; and even some of the stitch instructions, which are great for absolutely beginners or youth, but the results are not necessarily the ideal to strive for (e.g., satin stitch, long & short stitch).
In a Nutshell
If you already know the basics, I’d probably forego this Craftsy class.
If you are an absolute beginner and you don’t know where to start and you just want to figure out how to get stitching, then the class would be helpful. If this describes you and you’re ready to take the plunge into the Wonderful World of Embroidery, then you can find Craftsy’s Hand Embroidery Start Up Library class here.
If you want advance your skills in embroidery, if you want to learn techniques beyond entry level, and you’re aspiring towards embroidery as an art more than a craft, then there are other Craftsy classes that can help you do that: the goldwork class, for example (reviewed here), the stumpwork class (reviewed here), the bead embroidery class (reviewed here).
And there you have it! That’s my take, for what it’s worth!
Or All the Craftsy Classes?
Update, 2018: Craftsy is now part of a program called Blueprint, which gives you access to all Craftsy classes for as long as you’re subscribed, at a fixed low monthly price. You can try a 7-day free trial here. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re interested in running through all their hand embroidery classes!
Coming Up on Needle ‘n Thread
Ooooooh, we have some thread talk coming up on Friday! If you love the sparkle of metallics but can’t stand the frustration that often accompanies metallic threads, stay tuned!
Oh yeah. I love thread!
This article contains affiliate links to Craftsy, which means that Needle ‘n Thread gets a small kickback when folks sign up for Craftsy through the links.