Online Learning

You would think, with us all having to spend more time at home, online craft classes would be a business winner. But this week many crafters got a bit of a shock when Bluprint announced it is closing.

For years Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) had been selling informative craft classes on topics like quilting, knitting and sewing. The classes were around £15 per class, more than a movie, but they were very informative and had some good advanced courses available.

In 2019 Craftsy changed to Bluprint and offered a monthly subscription, for £14.99 you could have access to all classes and at almost three times the price I pay for Netflix again it was more costly than I hoped, but I went for it since I enjoyed the classes I’ve purchased.

But like many things you enjoy, it started to change. Their focus went from Craft based classes to a mix of everything under the sun. Cooking, dancing, healthy eating, and while they were adding these new subjects the traditional craft subjects we loved seemed to be getting less and less focus.

Next the classes were less informative, more chat show and entertainment. I love knitting, but I really wasn’t interested in a show about two sisters talking about their favourite knitted socks.

Some months after paying for the subscription I decided I would stop and make myself £15 richer.

Then in March I saw an offer, a yearly subscription, all for the price of £35, Well, who could refuse such an offer, and I signed up for a year with 9 vouchers for keep for life classes. This means after the year is up, I can choose my favourite 9 classes and own them.

The company have said they will refund those out of pocket from a yearly subscription and they will work out a way for people to download the classes for life that they’ve paid for, but for crafters, many of whom have used the classes to improve their skills and learn more obscure skills they perhaps wouldn’t have been able to learn otherwise.

Two things come to mind, one is whether there are other options now Bluprint is over and the other is a question not just for crafters but anyone who buys online content – Who owns it?

It’s a niggle I’ve been having for sometime, this idea of buying online content.

In a way, I love it. I have so many books and DVD’s on shelves and it drives me crazy. I don’t mind the knitting and craft books so much, they’re good to flick through. What I’m not so much a fan of is the reading books, the DVD’s that take up room and will probably never be watched again. Even my nintendo DS has downloadable games over the plastic cartridges.

I’ve recently been working my way through the Marvel movies again and yep, I’ve bought them online. No having to dig out the DVD, which will eventually get scratched and have to be replaced.

On the other hand, it niggles me that I don’t own any of these things. Yep, if Amazon closed tomorrow, my DVD collection would shrink incredibly. Many of my books would disappear. If Itunes closed… yep, your music collection… gone.

While Bluprint have said they will find a way to honour the classes people have bought, I’m not sure legally they have to do so.

Another problem I have is what to do when I’ve finished with them, the DVD’s I bought from the supermarket for £5 thinking the movie sounded great, but I’ll never watch again. The books I could resell in Amazon. There was something satisfying in purchasing something, knowing I could pass it on or sell it on Ebay. Many a book I’ve read and thought my mum would enjoy that, but she didn’t have a kindle. Or I’ve told my nephew about a movie I’ve bought and had to risk giving out my password so he could watch it too.

Anyway, I’ll sure miss Bluprint, even if it wasn’t as good as it once was.

As for the other thought, where to go next?

Netflix – £5.99 a month for the basic plan. It has a few craft based programmes, but they’re the kind of things I don’t really enjoy. They do, however, have Bob Ross.

Amazon Prime – it’s around £70 for the year, but it covers more than the movies you get. Again, the videos are less tutorial and more documentary, but there are some craft based shows. They also do 5-min crafts aimed at children and beginners, but most of the content is the same level as you can watch for free on YouTube. Which leads to…

YouTube – Free with adverts. There are a lot of good videos on Youtube, but there’s a lot of people making videos for likes rather than content. But then again, it’s free and Bluprint does have a YouTube channel.

Creativebug – $7.95 for a monthly subscription. I’ve not been on creativebug for some time, but have used it in the past and found a lot of the classes very basic. If you want to learn lots of new crafts this might be an option, but if you want to become very skilled in one subject you might not find what you want here.

Skillshare – A yearly subscription works out at £7 a month, but they have a refer a friend link which allows you to try it for 2 months for free. It’s actually my current favourite online tutorial site. There are craft classes, but there’s a lot of classes aimed at digital design. Anyway, here’s the link to get you 2 free months

Creativelive – Ok, this is one I only just found out about and it looks intriguing. Firstly, there’s a live show 24/7 streaming creative content which is free. You can also buy individual classes from $20 or there’s a monthly/yearly fee for all classes.

Universal Class – seems expensive at first, with classes over $50, but the classes are huge, and several are accredited. There’s a monthly fee for all classes of $69 for the first month and $29 for every other month. It’s more costly than the others but if getting certificates is important to you then it’s worth looking at.

Interweave – The publishers behind some of the better knitting and crochet magazines (according to me) also have video tutorials you can buy and download so you have a copy of them.

Hopefully that list will give you some hope from the news of Bluprints closure and you’ll soon be watching inspiring content once more.

Of course, you could always make your own videos and put them on Youtube!

Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

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