Level Up Your Fibre Arts Skills with Study Groups

study group working form fleece

If you are a member of the School of SweetGeorgia, we may have at least one thing in common: learning and the fibre arts make you happy. Even when life gets busy and I find pockets of time between commuting family members to their activities and Parent Advisory Committee meetings, there’s a quiet contentment, a space of reflection, that I seem to find anytime I’m playing with fibre.

Whether sliding wool between my fingers while spinning, throwing the shuttle from one side of the loom to the other, or knitting from one double-pointed needle to the next while staying present in a meeting, I feel a deep satisfaction from the project’s growth and always a bit of awe that my planning and hands made that.

There is a part of me that yearns to keep learning, adult obligations or not!

Spinning study group Cornejo WPI
Measuring WPI for the Spinning Study Group 

How does the School of SweetGeorgia support my fibre arts education?

  • The school courses have allowed me to keep learning on my own schedule. 
  • Inspired and guided by the videos, I meet wonderful teachers I may not be able to meet in a live class.
  • Joining the Meetups and forum discussions with the school moderators and fellow members has expanded the way I have approached some of the course projects when making them my own. 
  • Joining Study Groups has helped me jump in with course content I may have found intimidating to approach by myself.

So, how have Study Groups levelled up my learning?

As daily life can become busy, taking back a bit of every day for crafting is my happy place. Learning new skills by myself can feel challenging and being the only fiber-obsessed human in my household, lonely too. There is a reason make-alongs are so popular with so many crafters: even if we love our “me time,” sharing the process and the takeaways make it more meaningful as it didn’t stay only with us, but may have helped someone else too.

  • First, receiving the Study Group progress emails reminds me to keep focusing on my study. This gives me an easy-to-follow link to progress through weekly. 
  • Second, following the Study Group outline, with videos to watch and steps to follow every day, make it manageable. As my daughter’s violin teacher says: “How do you eat a big meal? Piece by piece.” Learning just a bit more about my craft every day keeps me engaged and gives me back the learning I crave. I like using the Study Groups for parts that may feel a bit like a chore during my crafting time: all the sampling/gauge swatching becomes a conversation and exploration instead of a bad word or an afterthought (you know when you check the gauge on your finished piece after the project didn’t fit?).
  • Third, sharing in the forums and reading everyone’s posts keeps me excited about trying new things and to keep working on my project. Exploration and play are the Study Group’s mainstays and sharing the learning with other members expands my horizons and future projects.
  • And last, I have the opportunity to ask the teacher questions during the Progress Meetup about my particular process. Listening to everyone else questions answers things I may not notice in the first place, making me go back to check my own approach. Even when I couldn’t make it to the live Meetup, I have access to the recording so I can listen and see everyone’s work.
Dyeing with Lac natural dyes
Dyeing with Lac; Natural Dyeing Study Group

We have eight Study Groups (soon to be renamed Study Guides) available at the school; we designed them to help you get started on a (maybe) new-to-you part of the fibre arts, to give you guidelines for taking your knowledge to a new level, whether delving into Natural Dyeing for the first time, designing your first lace triangular shawl with the Lace Mastery Study Group, working on a twill gamp while improving your weaving practices in the Weaving Twills on 4-Shafts Study Group, or scouring to sampling raw wool for your project in the Working from Fleece Study Group. 

Even if you couldn’t join the Study Groups when they first launched, the structured lists and resources are available for you to work through at your own pace at any time. Whether you are in a season of life where your focus time is five stolen minutes or five hours (lucky you!), working bit-by-bit through your chosen path will level up your self-confidence and knowledge.

No matter how many times we look through the beautiful videos, workbooks, or samples, nothing compares to the actual act of picking up your tools and working through the swatches and projects. I encourage you to check them out!

acid dye study group, gradient materials
Acid Dye Study Group; gradient materials.

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