Knit Stars is a lot of things – a store, a series of clubs and events, but arguably the thing they are most known for is their online class series. Each year they select a group of knitting and/or crocheting designers and teachers, record a class with each one, then release all the classes over the course of a week or two as a “season”. The price for a season is $199 regularly, though they do have deals throughout the year. So if you keep a lookout for sales or coupons, you can get it for less than that.
I have been curious about these classes since I first heard of them, so was glad to have a chance to take them this year. The initial sign-ups are in spring, so very well ahead of the class releases. They do open a second round of sign-ups later in the year, so if you miss the spring one all is not lost. After each round of sign-ups, they also give attendees a chance to buy special indie-dyed yarn for each of the classes. I did not purchase any of these yarns, as given my stash I really couldn’t justify it. Though they all looked really lovely and tempting! Also, you can buy seasons well after the fact too, but you miss out on the special yarns and so on.
This year the teachers were Felicity Ford, Dana Williams-Johnson, Casapinka, Ambah O’Brien, Jeanette Sloan, Vincent Williams, Jennifer Berg, Nina Machlin Dayton, Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably, Louis Boria, and Jacqui Fink. The lessons start with a little section of getting to know the teacher. The segments are filmed in the teachers’ homes or work studios, so you also get to see a little of their working environment. They all take time to go over basics and show specific stitches and techniques several times so you have a chance to watch them carefully. You can also rewatch. So if you are a newer knitter, you won’t get lost in advanced techniques. Also, you do keep access to your classes forever, so it’s more along the Craftsy model, though of course there are some significant differences. As you would expect with this type of thing, some of the lessons are more interesting and some less so. There’s a pretty broad range of topics, so there is likely to be something for everyone.
For me, the pros are:
-You get to keep the classes, so you can review them as often as you want
-They aren’t live, so you aren’t tied to a schedule to watch them as they are released
-Most of the classes come with a pattern, some with even more than one!
-Many of the classes also have tip sheets or handouts with relevant information
-Really well done videos
-The teachers really are all very good – in addition to their main topic, they do all give you tips and tricks that are very helpful
On the other hand, for me the cons are:
-Very limited interaction. There is a Facebook group, and there are a couple live Q&As with the teachers toward the end of the season, but that’s it.
-You have to buy the whole season, and there were a couple classes I was just not even a little interested in, so it felt like I was either wasting money by skipping them or wasting my time by watching them
-There’s a real hard sell to buy the special yarns. I get it – the entity producing these classes is a yarn store, so them selling you yarn makes total sense. But wow. There’s a lot of selling. (This may be more about me than it is about Knit Stars, however. )
Your results may vary, of course.
So I’m glad I did it. I learned some things, which I love, and have some interesting new perspectives on design and color use. However, I don’t think I would do it again. My preference is to be able to pick just the classes I want, and I do like live classes for the interactions. Not only with the teachers, but with the other students. To me it’s valuable to hear what other people are asking and see what other people do with the exercises. If you are not interested in that and prefer the flexibility of being able to watch the classes anytime and owning the classes, then this may be the very thing you want!
Have you done any online classes at all? What format do you prefer?