Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Allow me to draw you a diagram of hell

Never for a second back on that fateful day of third grade where we had to write instructions for doing a task (tying a shoe, building a snowman, etc) did I think that assignment, which I totally rocked, btw, was going to be part of my daily life in my chosen profession. Thank you, Mrs. Crego, for challenging me to explain how to bake a cake. Had I been forward thinking enough, I would also have explained how to clean up the kitchen after said baking, and could have laminated my assignment for use as a handy guide for my own children someday.

I'm really happy with the balance my patterns have between holding your hand too much (Now that you have pressed the first block seam, please press the second. Now that you have pressed the second, please press the third. Do you need to go potty? How about a cookie break? Please turn the page, etc etc) as I know you are all very intelligent people, or throwing a photo of the finished quilt on the front, the supply list on the back, and the words "Have at it!" in the middle, as you would create some colorful and not so flattering new names for me. But that balance I have found between architectural line drawings and verbiage (that's fancy for diagrams and words), as much as I am happy with it, is still a challenge with every. single. pattern. And I get halfway through and end up doubting myself every. single. time.

I've spent the last couple of months hard at work on "Happy Jacks," my group project block from January which will be a pattern in three sizes the moment after God decides to allow me to declare it done, but the last five days or so have been what I like to call "Sheer and Utter Hell." Indeed, each time I reach Sheer and Utter Hell in the pattern production process, I rededicate myself to being the best mom, the most loving wife, the kindest human being, and most amazing Christian ever because should I fail, my eternity will undoubtedly be spent in front of a computer kerning text and rotating shapes and trying to fit 2" tall diagrams into a 1.75" tall space on the page and in general having to answer questions such as:

  • How many times is too many in one pattern to say "Press seams open"? (In HJ, I have said it at least once a page. Because you know if I leave it off a page, someone is going to say "How do I press this? Why didn't she bother to tell me???")
  • Is it possible to have too many diagrams? (I'm guessing no.)
  • Is it possible I may just curl up on the floor in the fetal position if I have to draw another diagram? (I'm guessing absolutely.)
  • When will this be over? I have so many other creative ideas in my head and I just can't wait to start them!
But I feel you are really still not understanding the full magnitude of the whole process, so allow me draw you a diagram of hell.

I've based my diagram of hell on this drawing I found, simply by googling "Diagram of Hell" (Isn't it fun to google random things and actually get hits? I love that.) which is from the website "The Bible Way Online" and seems fairly straightforward.

Flowcharts. Also something for which I can thank Mrs. Crego.
 Now, whether you believe in heaven and hell, whether you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Aethiest, Wiccan, etc, I love you all and want you to be aware that I am not posting that above flow chart as a statement, but as the model for my parody of the same, which is as follows:


Really, who doesn't love a flow chart?

I've spent most of the day between the fire and "Ready as I'll Ever Be." I'm ready to move on.

Tomorrow, please join me as we google "What cats wear to bed" or similar.
 

10 comments:

Anne Wiens said...

And then there are the ones that, having purchased your pattern, want to make it larger than the three sizes you included in the pattern, and expect you to recalculate yardage and basically re-write the pattern for them. Argh.

Laura McFall said...

If you need a tester, I'm in!!
I'm sure your pattern will be great!

Gotcha Covered Quilting said...

Based on my experience of KaBloom, I'd say your directions are fantastic and complete and you have nothing to worry about, except getting that 2" square into a 1-7/8" space. Can't help you with that. And, if this new pattern is like the other one, I should be able to not read the directions carefully and still manage to get the thing put together quite nicely ;). Should I keep reminding you of that? Will you ever ask me to pattern test again? ha!

A.J. Dub. (Amy) said...

As a pattern tester I have some tiny inkling of your pain. I have no desire whatever to write patterns for some of the very reasons that you are feeling tortured. :)
And as far as instructions that are repeated throughout, You could note at the beginning of the pattern something along the lines of "sew all seams with a quarter inch seam allowance unless otherwise indicated", "press all seams open unless..." and if you feel the need there could be a "general instructions" area on each page if it really needs to be repeated. Instructions could be geared to and noted on each cover as: beginner, experienced beginner, etc. So "Hand holding" is appropriate for that experience. Beginners may have never done an inset zipper pocket and might need extra diagrams or instructions, whereas experienced bag makers would probably know the general process. First time quilters might not know to nest or match seams, and might try to match the edges instead. (Me!!!) My first quilt pattern was supposedly geared for beginners but the instructions were vague and very obviously written for someone who had made a few quilts before. Thankfully I had a fabulous mother in law to act as interpreter (about every 15 minutes). I give Kudos to you for thinking not just about cranking out a pattern but how it will be used. (My bladder is a-ok and I would like a cookie!) Hugs and good wishes coming your way for a speedy release from Hell.

Barbara Forslind said...

Reminds me...do they still diagram sentences in school. Hated that with a passion.

Marly said...

It's difficult as an expert to write a text for a novice. It always is. That's why there are editors.
My husband has worked for many years for a publisher of educational materials, and for several of those years he was an editor. A second reader with less expert knowledge often spots the gaps or the overkill.
Like you, however, I am my own writer and editor, which is why I sometimes get crazy comments and questions afterwards. My advice (also to myself!): find someone who you can trust to critically read your text through for you and offer suggestions.

pennydog said...

Haha awesome. My advice as a fellow pattern writer is don't write for yourself, write for a magazine and then let the poor editor decide how much repetition is too much ;) Takes all the hard work out! Also photos = easier than drawings every time!

Laura McFall said...

Hmmm.... I wonder if I fixed it?

chellesquilts said...

This post really made me laugh! Sometimes I wish I could be a successful quilt designer, pattern maker, fabric designer, you name it! Then I wrote a tutorial for the first time and thought "this is harder than it looks!" And I didn't have pattern testers. Getting feedback from different styles and levels of quilt makers probably makes it that much more difficult! I'm sure when it was all over you felt relieved and wanted to make another. But thanks for sharing the process and making me laugh.

chellesquilts said...

This post really made me laugh! Sometimes I wish I could be a successful quilt designer, pattern maker, fabric designer, you name it! Then I wrote a tutorial for the first time and thought "this is harder than it looks!" And I didn't have pattern testers. Getting feedback from different styles and levels of quilt makers probably makes it that much more difficult! I'm sure when it was all over you felt relieved and wanted to make another. But thanks for sharing the process and making me laugh.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...