If you are new to my instructions, please read this
How My Instructions Work
Updated July, 2021
Opening The Instructions
When you first open a packet with my instructions you will find a lot of paper. In some cases the sheets of paper will be loose, other cases stapled together.
I tend to leave longer sets of instructions for larger projects loose, ie not stapled. I tend to staple the shorter sets simply for my ease in handling them.
Why don’t I make my presentation nicer, ie bound in a nice notebook
The answer is simple: because my long-time students have always said, NOOOOOOO, don’t do that.
They always asked me to leave the sheets loose so that they could pull 2 or 3 out of a notebook as they worked a pattern.
Most of my students put my instructions in plastic sheet protectors in 3-ring notebooks. Some prefer to hole-punch the paper then put the sheets in 3 ring notebooks. Because some people like sheet protectors and others hole-punched paper, I leave the choice up to you.
If your set of instructions is stapled, remove the staple and put the loose sheets in a notebook.
How I write My Instructions
I am a needlepoint designer not a cross stitch designer, therefore I write my instructions differently from the traditional cross stitch format of a box filled in with a symbol or color indicating a cross stitch. If I draw a cross stitch, I draw it as you will stitch it: I treat the lines of the graph paper like the meshes of the canvas and I draw the X where I intend you to stitch it.
I rarely use the traditional cross stitch over 2 meshes. Most often I use cross stitch over 1 mesh or variations on a basic cross that go over 2 or 3 or 4 meshes. (Given my attempts to keep my work looking delicate, rarely over 4).
As many cross stitchers are crossing over to try my designs, I have thought how to explain the difference between a standard cross stitch pattern and a pattern of mine. The structure of a cross stitch design depends on cross stitches, with ‘specialty stitches’ added for effect. These patterns are often very beautiful but they are different from my needlepoint. In my designs, the basic structure does not depend on a single stitch, but on the evolution of a series of stitches and patterns.
Because of the different layers of a stitch pattern I cannot give you a single graph with everything written on it. Instead, I lead you through steps: I show you a page and say, ‘do this.’ Then I show you another page and say ‘add this’ and then another and say ‘add this’ and so forth. Therefore you have to take me on faith that it will all work out in the end. I cannot say my instructions are mistake-free, but they are workable. How do I know? I have seen many finished examples of each of my projects.
Which Part of My Instructions is the Most Accurate
In most sets of my instructions you will find three sources of information:
The color photo.
The large oversize graph(s): 11" x 17"
The regular-size instructions sheets: 8.5" x 11"
Of these sources, the most accurate are the oversize graphs. They are your road map. If the oversize graphs and the instructions sheets disagree, rely on the oversize graphs.
If the color photo and the oversize graphs disagree, rely on the oversize graphs.
A further note about the instructions and the color copy. The color copy tells you how I stitched the project; use it as a guide, not Gospel. My instructions may disagree slightly with the color photo for a number of reasons. I may have stitched the design one way and thought of a better way when I was writing the instructions; I may have forgotten to make notes telling me what I did when I stitched the piece and I had to reinvent a small part when I wrote the instructions; so forth.
The discrepancies between the color photo and the instructions, if they exist at all, are very small and of little consequence, usually something like the sequence of a pattern or a shift in the overstitching pattern or the location of a small detail, something like that.
Mistakes and What to Do About Them
I always have someone proof-stitch my instructions. Most of the time they catch my mistakes and I correct them, but I learned long ago from writing books that some mistakes evade even professional proof-readers.
If you find a mistake, chances are it will be small. I doubt there is any mistake that will impede the integrity of the design, so simply put on your thinking cap and think of an alternative. If you feel your discovery would be helpful for others, email me and I will add it to the corrections page on my website.
A note from Peggy B. Thank you, Peggy!
I have taken many classes from you and I find your instructions very easy to follow. I like them loose, also. Keep up the good work. Sometimes I punch holes in them and work with them out of a binder. I remove the sheets I need at the moment and when I am done with them I return them to the binder and take out the next sheets I need. This way pages are kept in order. When the project is complete I take out all pages and put them in a paper folder and use the binder for another project.