Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Celebrating the Online Craft Community

Have you heard about Craftsy? I discovered it a few months ago and it has quickly become my favorite destination on the internet for all things craft. Don't get me wrong. Ravelry is great if you are a knitter or a crocheter, and Sew What's New isn't bad if you like to sew. I love Etsy for selling craft patterns and finding other interesting designers and their products. There are all kinds of online magazines (Crochet! Magazine, and  Quilting Arts)  and their spin-offs like sew daily. Though some of these last are little more than online storefronts for selling their books, magazines, patterns and tools.
Craftsy is something different. It's an extraordinary online learning platform for all types of craft including needle arts like knitting, crochet and quilting as well as food crafts, gardening, paper crafts, jewelry making and more. They offer very reasonably priced online classes in all of these areas, and after taking a class myself (I tried Machine Quilting with Wendy Butler Berns) I have to say it's a great way to learn something new. You can complete the class at your own pace in your own home - no lugging a sewing machine to the craft store. And you can go back to the class for a refresher as often and for as long as you like. Once you purchase access, it's yours forever. 
Members can also post photos and descriptions of projects which is an endless source of inspiration. There are even some free classes, like the Craftsy Block of the Month project being led by Amy Gibson. But enough of the commercial.
Aurora Coffee - Virginia Highland
The best thing Craftsy did was to organize a worldwide Craftsy meetup party. Last Thursday crafters from all over the world met at local destinations and forged new friendships - not online but in person. Eight people signed up for the gathering I set up at a local coffee shop and despite torrential rain and a bad parking situation, all but one made it. What fun. We had knitters, crocheters, sewing enthusiasts and quilters, even a jewelry maker. Several of us were interested in more than one craft which made for a lively "show and tell". We each brought either a current project or something we have made that we are especially proud of. I fully intended to take lots of pictures, but I was so engrossed in our conversation that I completely forgot! You will just have to imagine a big group of women gathered around that farm table. We were having so much fun we even enticed a young women who was in the coffee shop studying for grad school to join us! Hopefully this is just the start of new friendships and craft sharing!

Felted Wool and Fabric Project Bag with Matching Accessories
What could be better? Funny you should ask. Very soon Craftsy will also open an online pattern store where member designers can sell their patterns. And in the spirit of true community, Crafty is not accepting a dime. All sales of patterns go straight to the designer. I can't wait! So check it out and let me know what you think. Have a favorite online craft community you want to share? Post a comment and I will check it out!

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