| December 31, 2014 | 10:56am
Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.
This week's cover story details the fantastic rise of Craftsy, Denver's hottest (and most unexpected) start-up, which is making millions delivering online quilting and knitting courses to hobbyists all over the planet. Craftsy is also digitizing the burgeoning maker movement -- turning quilting teachers into online celebrities, cake-decorating aficionados into small business owners, and driving DIYers to makerspaces up and down the Front Range. So why not try Craftsy for yourself? We've listed the company's top free and paid arts-and-crafts classes below. Are they enough to turn you into a bona fide maker? See also: Cabal Takes Over the Concoctory
Hottest Paid Classes
40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know "The secret is in the details! Join instructor Gail Yellen as she shares her best tips and tricks to refine your sewing skills. With Gail's key finishing techniques, you will make garments that drape and lay beautifully. Learn to sew more efficiently, successfully and creatively as you create professional stitches, gorgeous bindings and tailored-looking buttonholes and zippers that will transform your garments from homemade to stylish. You'll learn insider's tips for making set-in and flat-constructed sleeves that fit beautifully and add an elegant line to the shoulder."
Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine "Finishing a bed-size quilt doesn't have to be a king-size chore. Award-winning quilter Ann Petersen shows you five easy, large-scale quilting techniques. You'll learn how to finish any quilt beautifully with the same sewing machine you've always used. Basic quilters will enjoy Ann's helpful, easy-to-follow instructions, while more advanced quilters will pick up dozens of tips and tricks for whole-quilt finishing, splitting your block or batting, quilting blocks as-you-go or adding borders to a central medallion."
10 Essential Techniques for Better Drawing "Discover a toolkit of fundamental techniques to refine your artistic skills alongside internationally acclaimed artist Patricia Watwood. Use hatching, crosshatching, stippling and veiling to create shadows, tones and gradation. Locate and define objects in your drawings with composition, block-in and contour lines. Next, depict shapes in three dimensions with precise perspective. Accurately orient objects to create a convincing sense of placement using enveloping and triangulation. Transfer drawings so they can be copied or moved to a new surface for a fresh start. Enhance your ability to depict light and shadow, and create accurate value shifts for true-to-life results. Plus, get tips for working with toned ground and drawing materials beyond graphite and ink. Apply beginner drawing techniques to draw what you see with confidence and accuracy."
Acrylic Painting: Basics and Beyond "Discover the essential techniques you need to paint confidently with acrylics! Experienced instructor Michael Lynne walks you through setting up your palette and introduces you to the colorful world of tints, tones and shades. Learn to recognize and recreate value shifts to depict light and form, and develop your painting skills with fun cube studies. Use a simple block-in method to sketch your first still life, and create a sense of space and dimension with cast shadows and highlights. Find out how to incorporate perspective and color theory into a landscape painting, and add depth and luminous warmth with acrylic washes and glazes. Discover essential acrylic tips and techniques and become a better artist today!
Essential Techniques Every Knitter Should Know "Learn techniques no knitter should be without. Join knitwear designer and author Sally Melville and learn to create perfect gauge swatches for work that fits flawlessly. Select and knit the best cast-ons and bind-offs for any project. Create invisible or eye-catching seams with different selvage stitches. Get the most professional look with the right increases and decreases for any stitch pattern. Seam row-to-row, stitch-to-stitch and stitch-to-row for a beautiful finish. Master picking up and knitting to work wonders along row edges, V-neck pullovers and around curves. Choose and use smart techniques for the best results in any knitting situation."
Basics of Digital Photography "Move beyond auto mode and gain control of your photographs with step-by-step guidance from Santa Fe Photographic Workshops instructor Rick Allred. Master your camera's features and join Rick in the field as he reveals how to find flattering light and shoot successfully in shade, harsh sunlight and challenging low light. Learn to use shutter speed and depth of field to maximize detail, minimize distractions and create the best photos possible. Discover the limitless potential of zoom, wide-angle and telephoto lenses and find out how to use a polarizer to make bright colors pop. Discover inspiring ideas for compelling compositions and start taking photographs you're proud to share."Hottest Free Classes
Bag Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper Pouch "Looking for a quick, fun project that won't break the bank or tax your nerves? In this absolutely free mini-class, the founder of the popular website Sew, Mama, Sew! guides you through the process of creating two handy and attractive bags. Even beginning sewists will feel at ease following Kristin Link's precise and simple directions - yet the finished product will look entirely professional. These cute and handy bags will garner praise when you carry them and raves when you gift them - if you can bear to give them away!"
Figure Drawing: An Essential Guide "Master figure drawing as you learn classical techniques for rendering from live models! With Watwood's guidance, you'll progress from a simple block-in sketch to a gestural drawing to a polished piece with depth and dimension. Learn how to set up and light a live model, and how to use graphite pencil and simple angles to create an accurate outline for any figure. Add life-like energy as you incorporate gestural lines, then carve out the form with hatching, shading and highlighting techniques. As a bonus, Watwood will show you how to create custom toned papers to add a unique touch to your work."
Short Rows "Stitch your knits into shape and never make a wrong wrap or turn! Learn how easy short rows can be in this free, technique-based mini-class. Swatch along with Carol as she shows four different methods: wrap and turn, Japanese short rows, yarn over short rows and her own invisible short rows. You'll recognize Carol's passion for knitwear design -- influenced by her engineering background -- as she demonstrates how short row shaping can be used to tailor knitted garments."
Professional Family Portraits "Bring out the best in your subjects with professional photographer Kirk Tuck's advanced strategies for family portraiture. Transform any room into a portrait studio with Kirk's quick tips on improving your setting, and easily create ideal lighting indoors and out with the use of bounce flash, umbrellas and affordable materials like foam core. Discover the key to engaging your subject as Kirk reveals how to capture shots of energetic and oftentimes impatient toddlers. Shoot flattering portraits of mature subjects with professional exposure and composition techniques. Learn how to direct and pose a large group, and then move into post-processing to erase blemishes, soften wrinkles and modify color cast for polished images that families will be proud to display in their homes for years to come."
Cabinetry Tips & Techniques "Get started with cabinetry and gain the skills you need to tackle your own build! WOOD magazine contributing craftsman and educator Jim Heavey will guide you through cabinet anatomy, how to stabilize and square your pieces, and ways to update existing cabinets. Learn how to give tired doors new life by fixing broken rails and stiles and replacing sagging hinges. Plus, banish loud slamming doors for good when you install a handy soft-close feature. Then, determine the cause of sticking doors, and find out how to tighten or re-glue loose joints. You'll also learn how to repair and replace drawer slides and glides, and get tips on sanding and planing warped sides. Finally, get inspired to reface and refinish your wood for a brand new look!"