This must be Tunisian crochet week on my blog! (Check out my mini interview with Sharon Silverman about her new book, Tunisian Crochet for Baby, here.)
This post contains affiliate links. Although I’m a Craftsy affiliate, and I earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) when you click through the links I share to Craftsy and make a purchase, I paid to take this course and, as always, the review is based entirely on my honest opinions.
I recently completed Dora Ohrenstein’s Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet class on Craftsy. In the past, I’ve interviewed Dora on my blog here and shared reviews of two of her books, Custom Crocheted Sweaters (review here) and The New Tunisian Crochet (review here). She let me know back in May when the class was first available, but I didn’t have time to sit down and watch it until recently.
The class includes 7 lessons:
Lesson 1: Tunisian Basics (29:32 minutes) provides a refresher of two basic Tunisian crochet stitches (Tunisian knit and Tunisian simple stitches), increasing, decreasing, counting rows, starting a base row, the standard return pass, and the slip stitch bind off. I enjoyed learning more about Dora’s method for decreasing, and actually incorporated the technique into one of my own designs.
The video in this section alternates between close ups and more conversational views of Dora talking.
Lesson 2: Tunisian Tools (13:43 minutes) includes an overview of different yarns and hooks for Tunisian crochet. Dora emphasizes choosing tools for the best drape. She also talks about gauge and provides some tips for getting the right gauge in this section.
Lesson 3: Measuring for a Perfect Fit (23:12 minutes) applies to any type of handmade garment measuring.
Dora shows the correct way to take measurements from a body, her dress form Claudette, and existing garments. This section is very helpful, especially for those of us that haven’t had a lot of experience with doing measurements and want to create the great fit. You can see Dora wearing the vest project for this class in the picture above.
Lesson 4: Adjusting the Pattern (23:04 minutes) is a detailed walk through of the pattern. The video in this section usually focuses on the pattern itself, with relevant areas highlighted or enlarged while Dora talks about that component. While this is obviously specifically about the vest pattern, Dora shares a lot of information about fitting, pattern alternations, and understanding schematics that could apply to any pattern you may work with in the future.
In Lesson 5: Custom-Fit Calculations: Bust & Shoulder (35:53 minutes) and Lesson 6: Custom Fit Considerations: Waist & Hip (18:40 minutes), Dora goes into further detail about how to customize the pattern to fit your body (or the body of someone you are gifting or selling the finished project to). In these section, she talks about ease, measurements, how to adjust increases, decreases, and stitch counts, and (don’t be afraid, Americans) provides a review of the math necessary. She shows her math equations on screen (as well as the times she counts on her fingers) so that even those who are uncomfortable with math should be able to use these lessons to alter the pattern.
In Lesson 7: Finishing Details (35:02), Dora goes over everything required to make your finished vest look “professional” – blocking, seaming, edging, cleaning, and so on.
This class is just under 3 hours long and can be purchased individually here or get it as part of a Craftsy subscription. In addition to the video lessons, the vest pattern, and some additional handouts, you can return to the videos again and again over time.
Although the class is focused on the vest pattern, Dora shares a lot of general information about gauge, fitting, measurements, altering patterns, and finishing that can apply to any project. She has a very calm voice and shares her sense of humor with the class on several occasions.
The only changes I’d like to see in the class are consistent with what I would like to see changed in Craftsy classes in general. I wish they would edit the videos into shorter segments, or break them up with music or visuals more often. Yes, of course, I can pause at any time, but as someone with an increasingly short video attention span (thanks a lot, YouTube!), I found the segments pretty long for watching straight through. I also wish there was more variety in the actual filming. The class basically alternates between watching Dora behind a desk, over the shoulder close ups (of her hands, the pattern being annotated, etc.) and Dora standing to take measurements. I wish there was more variety in backgrounds and use of illustrations or animation. These aren’t deal breakers – as I said, it is consistent with the way Craftsy classes are filmed. They tend to look like public television craft shows filmed on a static set, rather than funky videos you might find elsewhere online.
Overall, I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to go beyond the basics in Tunisian crochet; crocheters who struggle with (or fear) custom fitting, measurements, and the math behind alterations; and fans of Dora’s work who haven’t had a chance to take a class with her. You can sign up for Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet (with Dora Ohrenstein) here!