Friday, December 04, 2009

Online Classes?

I've been quiet - but I've been WORKING!

Putting together short little informational videos is a lot harder than I remembered. Getting used to the new imovie has been a sharp learning curve, though.

I generally like video editing. I took some classes in Avid editing about 15 years ago, and I felt pretty good on the old imovie. However, the new & improved one is a little too user friendly - trying to be idiot proof - and that makes it really hard if you want to do anything beyond the pre-packaged "themes" they make available.

It makes me sad when Apple apps go MS.

Anyway, here's one of the videos I've been working on. I'm putting them together for an online class I'm thinking of teaching, and I'm REALLY looking forward to it!

Stephanie Japel
teaches online classes, I'm currently taking an online class with her on how to teach an online class. I'm expecting some mighty speaker feedback from that last line - how may times can I use on and online in a sentence?

Folks who would want to take a class with me would have to register with an online networking site called, which is free and rather easy to use. Each class will have it's own network within the Ning website.

I'll be offering my classes in 3-week periods, during that time the class participants will have 24/7 access to videos, handouts and any other teaching materials I have up at the Ning site.

I'll schedule a couple of live chats per week, and there are also discussion forums for each network so when folks ask a question they can get answers from me, and feedback from other class participants.

Best of all, folks will be able to upload images in class of their swatches, their problem pieces, and their little victories. We can have class galleries and see how everyone's doing.

I know that one of the first classes I'm going to offer is Combination Knitting. I also want to offer my colorwork class and my lace class.

Aside from these three classes, is there one of my classes you've been wanting to take? Or maybe there's a project I've designed that you'd like to see me offer as a work-along class? I generally don't teach project classes live, but this online class set up seems PERFECT for project classes where folks can work at their own speed.

Maybe I'll FINALLY offer a millinery class where folks can get done what they need to get done from class session to class session - wouldn't THAT be a kick!

So here's a video from the Combination Class. Let me know what you think!

(I'll be adding a voiceover as soon as my nose stops being so stuffy, I promise! Right now there's text to read, that's what my voiceover will be...)

Thanks for all the good comments - here's a new, improved video!

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Blogger Sel and Poivre said...

I like the stop action. I really like the absence of motion except as it relates to the demonstration. Many of the how to videos on You Tube have the instructors hands moving, playing with the yarn, gesturing etc. Its confusing. Your visuals are clean and clear and single minded in their intent.

December 04, 2009 5:54 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

Thanks so much! I spent a lot of time isolating what I felt was the important stuff to show with movement, and with a static photo. Thanks for noticing!

December 04, 2009 6:46 PM  
Anonymous ali said...

Finally! Wow, online classes. I'll sign up. I'll pay. I've been meaning to ask you the cost of a private class just to learn more of you techniques.

The video is neat. I'm waiting for the VO when your stuffiness improves. In the meantime, thanks.

December 04, 2009 8:22 PM  
Blogger Trillian42 said...

I LOVE the idea of a millinery class. I've been very curious about it, but haven't really had any opportunities to learn. An online option would be wonderful!

December 04, 2009 9:20 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

Annie, I love the video. The directions are clear, easy to follow, and your movements are deliberate, clear, and just the right speed. Even without voiceover it's very understandable. By way of constructive comment, the only thing that I had trouble with some text that was red on a gray background. For me, the reduced contrast was a little harder to read than the rest of the text (it may be that I'm getting long in the tooth and my eyes are a little tired). Fabulous video!

Judy in Rochester

December 04, 2009 10:36 PM  
Anonymous cedarstrings said...

The on-line knitting class concept addresses two issues I have with live knitting classes ... location and schedule. The cyber "work a project along with the designer" concept is another idea I love.

In May, I will open my own LYS in a very small town in the throes of the recession; offering a real live Annie Modesitt class is beyond my immediate business plan, but it would be so exciting to be able to steer customers towards Annie On Line!

December 05, 2009 5:24 AM  
Anonymous debra said...

The video was great. I too am interesed in the online class because of the time and time and time. One question, is their an advantage for using Western --vs- combination knitting.
Feel better

December 05, 2009 7:22 AM  
Blogger Marty said...

Really good simple format, which I know takes a lot of time. Having sound will be great, but you did such a clean demonstration that it's not missed really. The only change I would suggest is to not roll the yarn name out of the frame completely at the end - it went a little fast. This is very cool.

December 05, 2009 8:23 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Hi Annie,

I thought this video was really nice--very clear images and I appreciated that I could actually see the stitches clearly-your hands weren't covering up the important parts. :)

My only suggestion would be for the demonstrations to go a little more slowly. It was good that I saw the action repeated multiple times, but for me it always helps when someone does the motion painfully slow. I like to be able to "track" the yarn through its course and I found your motion a little too quick for me to comfortably follow. I think for me, it would be helpful to have the stitch first shown very slowly all the way through and then the repetition is helpful. This could just be me though as I'm a relatively inexperienced knitter.

Thanks for letting us see this!

December 05, 2009 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Dani said...

Annie -- what the others have said. This is one of the best knitting video's I think I've seen out there. I had challenges where you reduced the font size and had low contrast on the font color compared to the background (also might want to run the video through a grey filter as a test for how folks with red-green color blindness would see the text).

Thanks for sharing.

December 05, 2009 10:48 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

Your feedback is EXCELLENT!

I will make the type a bit bigger and all WHITE, no colors.

I'll also slow the scroll at the end. The yarn has been such a dream to work with that I wanted to mention what it was. The needles are - as always - Signature!

I'm not going to slow down the hands because you'll be able to rewatch whatever parts you want.

I've learned from teaching class - perhaps counter intuitively - that if a technique is slowed down TOO much it can be confusing to many folks.

So my way around that was to knit pretty slowly (for me) and then freeze the parts that are important.

If it seems too fast the first time, I think by the 3rd or 4th time you watch it, the video will make a lot more sense at the speed it's at.

That's why I'm trying to keep the videos short, so you can rewatch them a few times in a 5 or 10 minute period.

Keep your comments coming, they're VERY helpful!

December 05, 2009 12:30 PM  
Blogger Rita said...

Hi Annie,

I love your video. It's clear and understandable(even without voice over). Maybe I can pick up some hints from you since I've never done any.

Just had to let you know, my middle daughter sent me a link to your page. Maybe because she knows I'm taking the same class from Stefanie. Or maybe because she thought I would be interested in the video.

December 05, 2009 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Hi Annie,

I have taken both of Stefanie's on-line classes and love that format. I thought it was wonderful that she offered a class for teachers so I hope you are having a great time.

I look forward to taking on-line classes from you also.


December 05, 2009 6:33 PM  
Blogger Marianna said...

Love the video. It is well shot and makes the knitting concepts totally clear.

I own your ".. Heretic" book and I enjoy visiting your site. I like the information on it and reminds me of the proper stitches even when I don't have the book with me (I still have my computer).

Your enthusiasm for knitting is inspring and contagions. Thank you for being a great teacher.

December 05, 2009 8:58 PM  
Blogger Megan said...


Loved the video!!!! I've taken 2 of Stefanie's online classes and really enjoyed them. I am totally interested in taking your online classes too!!!

December 07, 2009 1:39 AM  
Anonymous Marie said...

I would echo the comments from Sel and Poivre, i.e. you have so very effectively used stop action to isolate and emphasize only the portion of the action that affects how the combination stitches will be seated on subsequent rows. I taught myself combination knitting from your "Knitting Heretic" book; effective, but I would have liked the video assist! By the way, I wonder if anyone else has mentioned to you that combination knitting produces less strain on the neck / upper back muscles? I suffered a whiplash injury, which left me unable to knit at all -- English style is still almost unbearable. Western "continental" is better, but combination is by far more comfortable.

December 07, 2009 12:43 PM  
Blogger Fast Hands said...

I think it would be great if you offered a class on the twisted float cocoon shrug, gwenda, or silk corset tank. I love the idea of knitting a complex and beautiful garment, but would like some support.

December 07, 2009 10:02 PM  
Anonymous =Tamar said...

The video images are very clear. Congratulations. I'm not sure what a Trusim is - did you mean Truism?
Also I was a little puzzled by the statements that the needle moved left to right/right to left - are you referring to the tip of the right-hand needle moving with respect to the left-hand needle?

December 08, 2009 10:10 PM  
Anonymous Tony Starratt, Ottawa, Ontario said...

Oh, boy. The video is terrific, but ... you are mixing up your clockwise and counterclockwise. For the Western and Combination knitting and the Western purling, you are wrapping the yarn counterclockwise; for the Combination purling, you are wrapping the yarn clockwise. Also, rather than stating that the needle enters from right to left, which it normally does, at least for right-handed knitters, I think that you should be pointing out that the location of the leading part of the loop can change between Western and Combination knitting. So, you should be pointing out that in Western knitting, you knit into the loop on the front of the needle, whereas in Combination knitting, you knit into the loop on the back of the needle. I otherwise think that the video is terrific, very clear with great illustrations. I suspect that you caught too caught up in the editing.

December 12, 2009 9:03 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

No, Tony, you're mistaken.

The yarn is wrapped exactly as I've described it in the video. I haven't confused the clockwise and counter clockwise.

Please rewatch the video, watch the animated clock, and think of the direction of the wrap from the perspective of the needle.

That's why I put the animated needle and clock in the video, so that students can see that I'm describing the wrap based on the tip of the needle POINTING at the clock face.

I've generally not discussed wraps in my classes as clockwise and counterclockwise exactly for this reason, there's generally one student who just will not understand that I'm describing it from the perspective of the tip of the needle.

One strong voice calling out the teacher for being wrong can be terribly confusing to students who ARE trying to understand what the teacher is saying.

I think you're looking at the wraps as if the BACK of the needle were pointing at the clock face.

It can be confusing, I understand, but I would really appreciate a very careful viewing of the video before you firmly state that it's wrong.

As for my description of the needle entering from the left or from the right, that's how I choose to describe it at this point in the class - and I have good reason for describing it in that way.

Folks will just have to trust me, trust that after teaching this for 8 years through hundreds of classes, I have good reasons for teaching the orientation of the stitches in this way.

December 12, 2009 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Tony Starratt, Ottawa, Ontario said...

oh, boy, am I embarrassed! I was seeing it in my head with the needle pointing towards me, which of course made everything backwards. Mea culpa, mea culpa. I don't consider myself an experienced knitter; after reading your Heretic, all I worry about is where the leading leg of the loop is and knit, or purl, into that. So, I should have kept my fingers off the keyboard.

December 12, 2009 5:43 PM  
Anonymous charli said...

I love the idea of online classes. I am disabled with an autoimmune disease which means I never know from one day to the next if I'll be able to attend a class, so for me the idea that I might get to take a class from you without leaving my home is FABULOUS! I've been an admirer of your knitting for quite a while, and your blogging about your latest book has been incredibly interesting to me, while demonstrating what a GENIUS you are. So, thank you!

December 14, 2009 1:45 AM  

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