My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #348: Writing Pattern Packets

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 05-23-2011 01:17 PM 4074 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 347: Photographing Your Projects Part 348 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 349: New Goals and Challenges »

Here we are at Monday again already. It is hard to believe that another weekend has come and gone again. I spent the majority of the day yesterday working on the pattern packet for the Grizzly Pull Toy and I do believe that it is finished. I only need to have it proof read and it will be ready to go.

I wound up putting 19 step-by-step photos in the pattern and that is what seemed to take much of the time for me. I realize that it may be a bit of overkill, but after talking to lots of people here and in person, it seems that they like to have as much instruction as possible on projects such as these.

The more I talk with people, the more I see a need for clear and comprehensive instructions. I would rather err on the side of providing too much information rather than not providing enough. I have had a few customers ask me in the past why I repeat the basic steps over and over again in each of the patterns that I make. I defend myself on that practice because I want all levels of woodworkers to be able to completely understand the instructions and be successful at building the project.

One of the (many) good things that interacting with other woodworkers has shown me is not to assume what others may or may not know. I found that someone could be a master in one area of woodworking and still have only minimal knowledge in another. This was most evident when I was at the show in Saratoga Springs. I think it was a great benefit for me to talk with others regarding scroll sawing because it showed me that some of the things that now came to me as second nature were not common knowledge to many. It really opened my eyes and made me understand that I do have something to offer in the way of teaching.

I look at each pattern packet as a mini-lesson in scroll sawing. While it is easy for me to fall into a routine when stating instructions, talking with others reminded me just how much people depend on me to show them how to make a successful project. I find that after the last several months of talking with others and teaching at the show that I am taking even more care to be thorough in making patterns. When others ask questions, it shows me that perhaps I wasn’t quite as complete as I could have been in explaining a certain aspect of process.

I want those who purchase my patterns and make the projects that I design to have good and positive feelings about doing so. Nothing is more frustrating than having a set of instructions that is either vague or incomplete. I think we have all had that experience one time or another and it certainly didn’t encourage us to buy more patterns from the same company or designer. It certainly didn’t help us want to continue with the hobby. I hope that those who purchase my patterns find them easy to follow and that creating the project is fun and pleasurable. After all, that is what having a hobby is all about.

I don’t know if I mentioned that I was asked by MsDebbie to conduct an online class here to teach scroll sawing. I am very excited about this chance to introduce this type of woodworking to those who want to learn. I am sure that there will be all levels of woodworking that will be following the class and I hope that by the time I am finished, I will have helped everyone see how enjoyable using their scroll saw can be.

I think that the best way to teach this type of class is to start at the very beginning with the basics. I have already had several requests for me to do so. The woodworkers here who do have some experience with scroll sawing may not find that they will learn much from the class initially, but hopefully throughout the process they may pick up a tip or two that they had not known about. At the very least, I think that their input for the class will be valuable to everyone.

I have always felt that I learn each time I teach. I find that in scroll sawing, like most everything, there is more than one correct way to accomplish things. Learning several options and doing what you are most comfortable with make the hobby fun and exciting. I am looking forward to not only introducing scroll sawing to some, but also to helping those of you who only tried it a couple of times to advance your knowledge and skill and even to learn a few new things myself. This will be a wonderful experience for me too. I hope that many of you decide to participate.

With that said, I will spend the rest of today finishing up the patterns for the three new candle trays. It is almost time for another update to the site, as both Keith and I have several new patterns to put up there. Keith has also been making some beautiful pens (some which he has posted here on LJ’s) which he is putting up for sale on the new “Items for Sale” page. Hopefully he will find a good market for them so he can continue to make more of them.

It looks like it will be a busy day, but seeing things progress is both encouraging and satisfying. I hope you all have a good productive day too.

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

6 comments so far

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2890 days

#1 posted 05-23-2011 01:33 PM

Thanks for the update Sheila. Do you have a picture of the toy?

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6860 posts in 4034 days

#2 posted 05-23-2011 01:35 PM

Hi Sheila;

Funny how in the process of teaching others, we also learn. I noticed when I’m teaching veneer classes, I tend do things out of habit, so I don’t consciously acknowledge the steps involved. It’s only when I’m explaining it do I take notice of it. I sometimes find myself saying, “I didn’t know I knew that”. Usually only half kiddingly.

Also, another reason to explain the basics in every pattern is some people may only buy one pattern, and they will appreciate to be able to draw on your knowledge. Unless you add lessons to your website, (which might not be a bad idea, as it will generate more traffic to your site), but even then who has a computer next to their scroll saw.

Well enjoy your Monday.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2974 days

#3 posted 05-23-2011 01:36 PM

To Supnwood – Yes, it is pictured on yesterday’s post (the grizzly bear pull toy). I will put it in my project gallery as soon as it is up on the site. I found that if I post things here before they are available on the site, it disappoints some people, as they want to get the patterns right away. So lately I have been waiting until they are ready. :)

Hi, Lee! – Yes, that is exactly how I felt. For several years I didn’t do many shows or participate in forums like this and being away from others kept me out of touch with really seeing not only what others want to learn, but also what I can teach them (and what I can learn from them, too!) There were several times when I lectured at the show when others told me directly “I didn’t know that!” on what I sometimes thought was a basic idea. It does bring us to reality that we have something valuable to offer others. It gives me a lot of satisfaction when people come back to me and let me know that I helped them – even in a small way.

And I am thinking that when I teach this class here, I will do so with the help of several short videos. I will certainly post them on my site as tutorials too and hopefully it will bring others back here to Lumberjocks so they can join our community here too. I think it will be a win/win for everyone. Someone asked me about doing a book the other day too. I was thinking about that last fall before the show stuff took much of my time, but I am thinking that preparing for this class will help me organize things and perhaps springboard me into completing a book on scroll sawing. That would be fun.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6860 posts in 4034 days

#4 posted 05-23-2011 01:49 PM

Go for it, Sheila!

Do the book.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2670 days

#5 posted 05-23-2011 02:07 PM

I have to agree with having the basic instructions with every pattern as you never know when a newbie will order one and need that extra help to be able to make a project . Will be looking forward to your classes . I hope that other experience scroller will join in to , as Shelia said , “there is more than one correct way to accomplish things.” and by adding your comments will give the person wanting to start scrolling another way to do things that might help them .
have a great day

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2897 days

#6 posted 05-23-2011 11:54 PM

I will be following your scroll sawing class as I’m able. I assume it will be in blog format like you normally do here?
As for starting at the beginning, I don’t see any other place to start. I know an awful lot about scrolling. Scrolling is one of those things though that by watching you from the start of the basic steps, I may learn a new way of doing things that I’ve never thought of before.
A man I had much respect for told me often before he died:
A man who thinks he knows everything can only teach himself. A man who teaches himself has a fool for a teacher.


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