Instructions: The make or break of my sanity

The past few weeks I have been doing some pattern testing for a few companies, which has been extremely exciting and fun. But has drawn my attention to the importance of instructions, and how these can influence the outcome of a project.

When you are familiar with a craft instructions become more of a guide than a hand-holding through the project. However what happens when you start a new craft when the hand-holding is important and when a successful project can draw you further in to learning more, or an unsuccessful project can deter you for some time. In my recent experience it is a test of my sanity and patience.

The patterns I have been testing have made me realise that they assume you know techniques with very little information if you are new to the craft/technique, they also use jargon that isn't referred to, and most annoying of all very few use images/diagrams which drives me mad (if you are a creative person an image is far more valuable than words will ever be). Not only are these things frustrating but they have left me searching the internet for technical advice and help (which if nothing else has directed me to good reference sites - I shall share these at a later date).

So after hours procrastinating  and doing some research into different craft instructions on the internet and in my craft cupboard, I have come up with what would make the ideal instructions (well for me anyway):

1. The more instructions the better. Don't overcomplicate things by trying to squeeze too much information into one instruction this can be overbearing, but if you can break things down further in a simple way do (it will definitely help me to stay calm)

2. Add images to instructions - sometimes it is far easier to understand when you can visualise it

3. Hints and tips are extremely useful when talking about techniques

4. Weblinks and reference sites are always useful

5. Include a glossary (who knew so many craft acronyms are also 'sexy' I'm still a bit shaky after this)

6. Most of all assume the reader doesn't know anything (lots of instructions I have assume the reader knows everything possible in that craft area - if only I had the time to)

What are your experiences of instructions?

Cath Kidston Craft Club

Monday saw the return of the Cath Kidston craft club in Cambridge, which as you can imagine excited me alot. I have to say I was a little apprehensive as Jen who originally started the group left the shop for a new life up north, and was a natural at teaching people to craft.

So when I arrived there were some faces both old and new (and I couldn't be happier to see Kelly as a new face to craft club), and lots of cake (slightly forgot I was on a diet and ate far too much). After gossiping and eating (which definitely lasted all night), we then got on to what the project was to be. Much to my excitement we were making a love heart garland.

The difficult part then came to choosing the fabric, and we were lucky enough to have access to the new range so I was completely spoilt for choice, but managed to choose the beautiful butterfly fabric and bright pink felt (I loved the felt as it was sticky back, and will definitely be purchasing some for future crafting).

Then we got on to the actual making, which was made easier by the sticky back plastic, we had to cut strips and then sew on the machine so that we had lovely long hearts tubes (this sounds alot easier than it was as the sewing machines couldn't cope with the thickness and also the glue from the felt was transferring to the needles making for a bit of dramatic sewing).

After the drama of the sewing machines we then had time for more cake and this time a cup of tea and cut our strips into lovely hearts.

The hearts were then attached onto some embroidery thread and my garland was complete (with one heart that is adamant not to sit the correct way).
I shall definitely use this technique again , and more importantly I shall now have excessive supplies of sticky back felt.

Cambridge Craft Club

I always talk to fellow crafters in Cambridge who say how much they would like to craft together and after longing for a craft club in Cambridge I have decided that I am going to start my own.

The aim of the craft club will be to teach people new skills, share skills and to just sit with a cup of tea and craft together. It will look to start in April (just awaiting room confirmation), and will take place on the first Saturday of the month. If you are interested and want to be put on the mailing list direct message me or leave a comment at the bottom of this post with your email address, or if you have any ideas you want to input let me know.

Right I'm off to finish one of my many unfinished projects.....