Learning to Craft
Crafting has been proven to have many benefits - it can help you feel relaxed, allow you to express your emotions in a different way, give you a great sense of achievement and so much more. But where do you start? At the moment, we are not offering lessons; however, there are so many other ways of learning new kinds of craft.
Over the past couple months, I have mentioned the instructions that are on the Great Community Sew website and towards the beginning of lockdown, I shared my instructions on how to make fingerless mittens on this blog. The main reason I like written guides a lot is because anyone can make them and access them, whether that's in the form of a blog post like I did or just a few bullet points to help a friend. Also, whilst written instructions can be difficult to understand sometimes, particularly if pictures or diagrams are not used, you can take your time with written instructions without having to make the effort of rewinding a video or asking someone to explain themselves again. I find written instructions particularly helpful when sewing because I often use up a lot of space and would not have room to prop up a computer or tablet that is playing a video, whereas written instructions don't need to be in plain sight in the same way so are much more practical for this sort of thing. Additionally, I am quite new to using sewing machines so I need to go slowly and take extra care at the moment, which is hard to do when you are trying to follow along with a video.
Another popular option for learning how to craft is using video tutorials. YouTube is a great place to look; you can find tutorials on pretty much anything, not just craft. In the past, I have used it for computer programming (I am a huge computer nerd!) and general studying but, otherwise, I haven't had much experience with video tutorials, particularly not with crafting. So, to get a better understanding, I had a go at Macramé using this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-JUjQ-15ZE. I must admit, I wasn't the greatest at it but that was probably because I didn't have quite the right materials rather than due to the quality of the video. In fact, I felt that this video explained the steps really well and would love to try it again but with better materials. Below is a picture of what I made using this tutorial.
Personally, I do like video tutorials; it can be really helpful to have the steps played out in front of you and to be able to pause and replay certain steps as and when you need. The only reason I use them so little is because my parents know a lot about crafting, so I can always go to them for help.
However, everyone has a different style of learning and teaching, so you do have to experiment and find the right videos for you. When I was learning Macramé, I did come across one other video but I found it a bit harder to understand because it seemed to be quicker and it also had no voiceover (sounds fussy, I know, but I just find it so much more helpful). When looking for videos, I would recommend looking for ones that have lots of views or likes or ones that have been made by a verified account (an account with a tick next to its name) because this often means that the video/account is good quality and that many people have found it useful. At the same time, if you do find a popular video confusing, it does not mean that you are stupid or wrong; it just means that you prefer to learn in a different way. Also, it's pretty important to make sure that the video you are using comes from the country that you live in rather than abroad, which may sound strange but it is necessary because different countries use different terminology and it can be confusing.
Patterns and Magazines
In my opinion, patterns and magazines are not necessarily the best for learning new things as such but I do like to use them once I have learnt a new craft to expand my ability a little. For example, before lockdown, I knitted a lot but rarely crocheted. I had been taught when I was younger and had picked it up again but I could only do double crochet, which, let's face it, can get very boring, very quickly. This was until I was given a granny square book. The book itself didn't actually teach me the stitches so I had to look into that myself, but it taught me how to combine the stitches to make cool patterns such as bobbles, clusters and popcorns, which I later used for other things. Below are a few pictures of the crochet stitches that I learnt over lockdown.
If you want to try working with a pattern, we sell knitting and crochet patterns for £4.00 each or £3.50 if you buy it with the wool.
In conclusion, I actually don't have a favourite way of learning to craft as I have had good and bad experiences of all these different types. Having said this, I would, as a general rule of thumb, recommend written instructions if you are the sort of person that prefers to self-teach in solitude, videos if you liked classes or learning in groups before the lockdown and patterns and magazines for further practice once you have finished learning.
That's all from me today, so until next time, happy crafting!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..