This blog post might be a bit of a rant, but also somewhat of a warning, too. I was trying to do some research on some new techniques for embroidery (reverse applique and the ever intriguing cross stitch), and I came upon some videos that shocked me.
OK, let’s start by saying that I do have many many years experience, but I don’t know everything, ever. I am ALWAYS up for learning new things. Don watches each and every video that we produce, for quality control, but also that he learns something each time! I am far from a know it all, and I am always open to learning a new technique, reviewing old techniques and even going back to beginner digitizing to refresh my skills – it’s a never-ending need for knowledge. It’s just how I do things 🙂
Youtube is a fantastic venue for learning (I have many youtube instructional videos), as long as you are careful about what you are watching. I was going through some videos, again, trying to glean some information on a few things, and I was shocked and appalled, and frankly a bit worried about some of the videos that I found. I called Don over to watch them with me, just to make sure I was not exaggerating anything – it’s always good to have a second opinion. Don was just as shocked as I was! I was in a bit of a panic thinking of the new digitizers out there possibly thinking that this was how to digitize embroidery and how many serious and frustrating issues they would be having if they learned from this video.
While there are many, probably thousands of excellent embroidery tutorials on youtube, you have to be careful what you are looking at, that’s for sure. You need to use your own judgement as to whether the tutorials are valid or not. However, when I search out a title “how to digitize a design…” I expect some valid instruction! Of course, there are many ways of accomplishing the same task, some are shorter, and some are longer ways around – and those types of ideas are not wrong, just different – everyone has their own ways of accomplishing the same goal. Those are not the videos that I am talking about – I am speaking about the videos that if you follow their instruction, you will be going backward in your embroidery skills! Yes, I found more than one of those, and the person or people doing these videos portrayed themselves as Digitizers or embroiderers! Apparently from the videos, they had no idea what they were doing – and the mistakes that this person was “teaching” were beyond errors – they were terrible ideas that if you incorporated them into your designs, you would not be able to stitch them out! And if you kept on using these “skills” you would not be able to accomplish any embroidery! I AM SERIOUS. WOW. Perhaps if the person titled the video “watch me struggle through a design, and learn with me” or something like that, you might have had an idea of what you were learning. Not so. One of the videos started with “how to…” implying that this was a way to digitize. No, not even close. Do you see what I am saying? Pay attention to what you are watching in general – just because it is listed as a “how to” video, doesn’t mean that it is telling you how to do something.
Ok. Ok. So don’t be picking on me for saying any of this – I am well aware that everyone has to start somewhere, and there is nothing wrong with that – but if you are just starting out, are you qualified to offer instruction? Yes, if you have discovered a new tool or have a particular way of doing something that you know how to do, and have stitched it out – yes. Absolutely yes, share that with everyone! Those make great videos. But if you are making up new rules on how embroidery works, you may have to assess your ability to teach, and maybe work on building up your skills instead? If you can’t digitize a design, then should you be teaching someone else to digitize a design?
One of the first clues as to the level of your “teacher” is what designs that they use. If they are using a design that STILL HAS A WATERMARK ON IT, then you should probably move on to another video…if they offer you the design to work on, then definitely move on to the next video. Why? Because you should not digitize from a design that has a watermark on it for many reasons – the first being that it is a copyrighted design – hence the watermark! If they are offering it to you for “free” the have no right to do this! Watermarked art would tell me that this person has no consideration for any rules, and they don’t understand how everything works – or they don’t care. That may be a bit rough, but please don’t digitize designs with a watermark on it – that is meant to give you a clear message – so listen to it!.. Someone teaching a design that is still watermarked also tells me that the did not take any time to plan out their video – and if they didn’t take much time to plan out their video, then how is the video going to be useful to you as a learning tool?
Again I am not saying that all videos are bad on Youtube, there are some excellent, helpful and fun videos out there for digitizing. I am saying that you need to use your embroidery brain when you are learning from some videos – if the person can’t complete the task at hand, then there are probably mistakes in their video that you don’t want to learn!
In conclusion…pay attention to what you are learning on Youtube videos – pay attention to the technique and skills shown to you. If it doesn’t seem right, or the teacher can’t finish the task at hand, or there are some red flags, then move on to the next video. Keep your embroidery skills safe by using the skills that you already have to figure out if the video is valid or will help you learn a new skill or method.
PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU WATCH. Just because it’s on Youtube, doesn’t mean that a video is educational. Pay attention and use your judgment and decide if the video is valid or not, do not blindly follow along with what you are seeing.