Like most kids, I liked to draw, and like most adults, I stopped drawing. But recently, I was bitten by the watercolor bug. I’ve found a lot of great information in books–some of my favorites are by Zoltan Szabo. Youtube, however, has remained one of the best places to find numerous, generous artists who publish free tutorials. Because there’s so much out there, though, one tip I can offer is to stick with one or two artists for quite a long time. Read a lot, too, and start numerous painting journals so each time you decide to sit down and paint, it doesn’t have to be an important painting. It’s practice. Another tip is try to avoid too much time watching reviews; it’s a bottomless pit of time comparing one brand to another. Get your gear and go! I’m using student paints (Cotman) and 140 lb. paper. My brushes are inexpensive. When I use it all up, I’ll consider upgrading, but in the meantime… It! All! Works! Great!
Here are my favorite Youtubers. Although I routinely find new channels and artists, I lean toward landscape artists:
Grant Fuller: These are some of the best tutorials I’ve watched. They can give you a lot of confidence to try the basics in landscape. Sadly, Mr. Fuller passed away in 2016.
Patrick Ley-Greaves: This artists offers up a ton of wonderful landscape tutorials. On his website, he even has a special set of lessons arranged for beginners. Start with “The Basics” and move forward.
The Mind of Watercolor: Steve Mitchell is funny and a wonderful painter. His style is inspiring. You will realize why watercolor is a medium meant for water. This sounds strange but watch this and you’ll understand.
Millie Gift Smith: From what I can tell, Ms. Smith is about 97 years old. She paints with watercolors and other mediums. Her abstract landscapes are gorgeous. She refers to her style of painting as “loose and easy.” Love the tunes.
I’ve discovered if you know other language names for the words “weave,” “weaving” or “loom” you’ll find the neatest stuff on the Internet. Take the word “bandvev” for example. It probably means something like “band loom” in Scandinavia. If you search Youtube with variations of the term, you’ll find some really interesting videos. There are a number on the Norsk Folkemuseum channel that document weavers and craftsmen and women from the 1950s. You can find warp-weighted weaving in particular, but I was entranced by this one that shows a number of different ways bands are woven: on a loom, with a rigid heddle, and with cards.
It's amazing. A few years ago, we made a little video of a tiny loom I found in a thrift store. And because there are crazy crafters out there just like me, it's now numbering 107,000 views and counting.
For the record, I've made only a handful of items with this loom, but I do believe using it taught me the basics of weaving.
The Weave-It Rug Loom is one of my favorite little looms. Awhile back, I was lucky enough to find this one at an antique store along with a plastic 4" Weave-It. The Rug Loom is a little bigger at 5" square and it has fewer pegs, but you wrap it exactly the same as the smaller loom. It was meant for using bulky, or a "rug" weight of yarn, and most of the patterns I've seen from the old booklets are for afghans or stuffed toys.
I like my Weave-It Rug Loom so much that I had to make a video. Hope you enjoy it!
I'm putting together a playlist of flower loom tutorials posted on Youtube. It's a great time to set aside the knitting and weaving (which I have–notice the lack of posts?) and pull out the flower looms again.
You can find the strangest things on youtube, like this video of a knitting machine powered by a windmill:
wind knitting machine
And this old-fashioned sock knitting machine. It's mesmerizing to watch. (Okay, it's mesmerizing to watch if you like watching vintage sock knitting machines.)
Gearhart Sock Knitting Machine
Current project: I'm making a cowl on the yellow Knifty Knitter loom. I started it by using the pattern found at the Ben Franklin site, but after about 15 rows, I decided I didn't like the look of the plain e-wrap stitch. I was using just one strand of a Cascade wool in blue, and it was looking very ladder-ish. So, I frogged it all and began again, this time using the mock crochet stitch (instructions here). It's a very easy and pretty way to vary your loom knitting.
I found a great small loom at a thrift shop–the Wonder Weave! It came with instructions, two books of patterns (copyright 1964), a needle, and a finished square someone attempted, maybe 40 years ago. The Wonder Weave makes 4″ squares or 2″x4″ oblongs. I’ve had it two days, and I’m only three squares shy of making that hat I wrote about last time.
I was so happy with my $6 find that my husband helped me make a video tutorial: