Friday, January 24, 2014

Craftsy Class: Stranded Knitting: Basics and Beyond -

On Halloween 2013, Stefanie Japel called to see if I would be interested in working with Craftsy again. Last December, I had done a workshop for Craftsy - the Aspen Mitten - which was challenging and fun! After my last experience with Craftsy, there was no hesitation in accepting the offer. And this was for a VIDEO class - the real deal!

Photos from the first day of filming.

About a week later,  three stranded mitten patterns were somewhere between my brain and hand drawn charts on graph paper. Time to embark on test knitting and getting the patterns written/charted. A big thank you to Julie, my test knitter, who helped me to go through the patterns for errors and guidance on the difficult parts of knitting the mittens - skills to be included in the video.

Marketing shots of the Mittens by Ashley.

Just to throw a loop into things - a happy loop as it was - I had been gifted a Studio Week with Natalie Chanin and the Alabama Chanin design team the second week of November. It was a truely magical week. Natalie had some good advice for shooting a Craftsy video. She had done one about 8 months previously - a class that I had taken and enjoyed. A week with days full of sewing, design and great food, evenings full of knitting and wonderful company of like minds, got the stage set for the pre-work of class production.

AC studio week.

Fast forward through lots of frenzied knitting of samples, step outs and practicing teaching to my chocolate lab, Roscoe. There were phone meetings, in-person meetings and emails with a variety of Craftsy producers, editors and creative people getting me prepared for video. Everything from help with pattern layout from tech editors to help with wardrobe and hair.

Andrew, the camera and sound operator and knitter.
Max working behind the monitors to put everything together.

Finally, it arrived, the first week of December - time to shoot the class. The first day was completely nerve-wracking - standing in front of the crowded room nerves - even though it was just the camera man, mixing editor, producer, two cameras and a microphone. It's not that I don't teach 3-6 times a week, teaching to the camera was a completely new experience. As time progressed, it became easier. The team - Max, Andrew and Kristen were amazing. Supportive, kept things light and helped me to re-do when necessary. When it was time for shooting, I had knit about three pairs of each mitten in the previous three weeks - between completed mittens and the partial mittens needed for demonstration - so I was very familiar with my material. There were outlines and scripts, but everything was kept pretty loose, so it would not feel too scripted.

Then we fast forward again 7 weeks, through a frigid cold snap, more pattern editing, video editing (not on my end - but my producer was great about keeping me informed), marketing and learning the Craftsy instructors platform. And there is my class! It has been three days since the class launched to the public and I am thrilled that over 700 students are enrolled! I look forward to learning and teaching and working with Craftsy in a long and happy partnership!

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