Learning Tools for Crochet

fullsizeoutput_3779The good thing about learning about any subject today is that there are a variety of places to find good sources of information. I’m forever grateful that my gramma first taught me beginning crochet when I was very young, but since then I’ve wanted to add to my skills and be able to enhance my artistic style. Here I’m sharing with you a few tools I use / have used, just about everyday, that help me learn, organize, and continue on in my fiber art world. By all means this is not a complete list of what’s available out there or what I use, and if you happen to know of a fabulous book, app or other source, I’d love to hear about it too.

Apps, apps, apps: Technology is with us today whether we like it or not. Think about it, your cell phone is never far from you; your tablet/iPad isn’t too far either. And a short distance away is probably your laptop or desktop computer. There is maybe more, but you get the idea. We have access to technology at our fingertips endlessly. I personally use several apps because, yes, my cell phone is habitually with me, especially when I’m out, and my iPad is much more convenient to carry around when I’m working. One great app for shopping, if you like to go for some basic yarn, tools or some awesome sales, is the JoAnn Fabrics app. It not only has a section where digital coupons can be used, but also if you click on the “Shop” link at the bottom it will take you to a webpage with even more coupons. (And don’t forget to sign up for text coupons as well.) You can really save a bundle with this little app some weekends! I also shop at my LYS, but this one keeps me on budget when I just can’t afford that beautiful $20 skein of yarn…. Keeping my fiber art organized also takes an app. Microsoft OneNote is fabulous for this. I previously used EverNote, but since they changed their policies to only permit 2 devices for free use and a limit on storage, I switched. OneNote is wonderful with organization; I can colour code the tabs for different types of patterns, projects, information, and even keeping track of my Moogly CAL patterns. I also use it for other things in life such as manuals for my camera, printer ink numbers, cooking recipes (sorted by cuisine type), and other personal/work information. It took me no time to switch, although as a Mac user I did have to borrow my hubs PC laptop to transfer my EverNote library to OneNote at the time. I’m not sure if that is still the case. It also seamlessly syncs between by iPhone, iPad and Mac so I never have to wonder where an item is. Another app I dearly love, especially on my iPad, is Craftsy. I’ve taken many a class from Craftsy (see review on freeform) and the app is just great for being able to be anywhere, on my patio, in my bed, on the floor with the dog, while watching my class. And you can download patterns (free and purchased) from the Craftsy webpage that will be immediately deposited into your app’s database. So again, wherever you are, you have your patterns too. Can’t say enough about this app, so many different topics to choose from as well. There are several free ones, so check it out. All of the apps above are free to download and install, purchase options are available for certain classes and patterns on Craftsy.

Speaking of online websites… I discovered CreativeLive a few years back. An online video learning center with workshops in just about everything from photography, art, crafting, and business training. Each day there are free live online workshops available for anyone to watch. You can also see all the upcoming classes and RSVP to watch. They will send you an email reminder that your workshop will be taking place. I’ve taken several classes, from photography, business and art. The classes are well-done, present useful information and I usually take away some great ideas or skills. I haven’t gotten bored while watching any, and if I find myself drifting off in thought, I can just pause and step away for a bit. (The joy of online courses.) The free ones you will miss some info, but if you’ve purchased a course, pausing doesn’t cause any delay in the actual learning. Plus, CreativeLive frequently has sales on the classes so if you’re interested in one that is a bit pricey, keep an eye on it for a while and see when a sale makes it more affordable. I always love a good sale.

Of course I can’t leave out books. As a bibliophile, I have a few zillion books. You name it, I probably have it. Which made moving across country so much fun (actually I whittled down the book collection for the move as it had gotten way out of hand). I have two dictionary types and one fun type books that I like to look at for ideas and if need be, learn a new stitch. Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 4 and The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet are my go to books. Both have clear images, easy to read charts and are full of photos and directions. The only downside I could say about the CPGC is that the item patterns are only text, no charts, so I would actually prefer it if they could have had a chart as well since I usually read those easier. These books are usually out and near me when I’m starting an unknown idea project. I also have Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet the Happy Hooker. It is definitely a witty take on learning crochet and has some fun ideas for projects. I just find the book a refreshing upbeat change from so many other books. I also have a long list of art books on my Amazon wish list… just waiting…

And finally, my creative journals / magazines. I love getting Crochet! magazine. I always find things that I really really want to make, or inspire me to try something new. I subscribe to this via my CGOA membership (bonus) so it makes me absolutely happy that this is a benefit from them. I have kept every single copy I’ve received simply because they are too awesome to recycle. From this past copy I’ll be making that front cover sweater, because I keep staring at it and realizing how gorgeous it is!!! I have other journals too, luckily digital subscriptions else my shelf would be toppling over with paper products by now. These are just some of the tools I use frequently to enhance my learning of the fiber art of crochet or help me keep my fiber art world neat and organized. Do you have one that you love?

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