See it On Campus: Level 2Visitor Info
Please be gentle when interacting with my kit!
Do you find it hard to pick up a new skill? Well, you are knot alone in that struggle!
Knot Experienced is for true beginners, new hobbyists and anyone who wants to feel confident embroidering. It acts as a collection of all the workshops and conversations I have had with my testers and participants on what it’s like to pick up a new hobby craft as a beginner.
Unravelling the Knot
The Opportunity Space
In the fall of 2022, I wanted to share my hobby craft knowledge and skills with others eager to learn. I planned and hosted multiple crochet workshops for beginners to start my research. However, after hosting a workshop, I quickly realized I had trouble articulating my methods and techniques to complete beginners.
So in preparation for the next workshop, I found ways to further simplify instructions for my participants. Whether that was by using an analogy or clarifying my choice of words, I ensured that my verbal and written directions got across to people. And people left feeling empowered to continue crocheting.
Left: Hayley hosting a crochet workshop (photo credits: Aily Nishioka); Right: Students participating in Hayley’s crochet workshop at The Writing Centre ECU (from @ecu.writingcentre on Instagram)
Still a Bit Tangled
From Workshops to Kits
At the end of my workshops, I decided to try making hobby craft kits as a different medium of teaching crafts and getting more people interested in hobby crafts. I wanted to create a similar experience to my workshops; one where people would immediately have the answers to their questions and be able to see in-depth demonstrations of the necessary techniques. I saw embroidery as a way to bridge the gap for beginners interested in learning a craft, so I trialled an embroidery kit.
At the end of all my testing, I came to realize that there were lots of subtle cues that my testers struggled to get ahold of. “How do I make sure the thread doesn’t go through my fabric?” “Why is the thread on the back of my fabric getting all tangled?” It was these technical nuances that people struggled with, more so than the actual embroidery technique. That perspective from a person who had no prior understanding of anything like embroidery helped me to see the needs of someone starting out in embroidery.
Left: A tester’s thread getting tangled in the process of embroidering (photo courtesy: Clara Ngie); Right: Another tester trying the first iteration of screen-printed guides (photo courtesy: Rachel Leong)
Tying Loose Ends
The Kit, Knot Experienced
And so, after another round of testing and some more prototyping, Knot Experienced came together. Embroidery is a fun way to spruce up or even fix clothing or materials in one’s home, it can even be a therapeutic hobby to help de-stress. And the best part is that embroidery materials are easy to find and accessible to most people.
With guidelines screen-printed on fabrics, a risograph-printed instruction booklet and embroidery materials, this kit is a product of the collected nuances and subtleties that the participants from my workshops and test kits struggled with. While this kit is about embroidery, I hope that seeing these outcomes will inspire you to learn a new skill for yourself.
Stitching Up a Storm
The Outcomes of The Kit
Leading up to The Show, I sought out people who may be interested in trying my kit and learning embroidery. There is a large range of stitches and techniques used in each of these embroidered pieces, and all of them are brilliant in their own way!
The embroidered pieces displayed were completed by various post-secondary students in Vancouver. From right to left, credits to:
Top: Jayde, Emma Teng, Anne SueYeun Seol
Middle: Dayana Marden, Claire Ko, Rayna Lai
Bottom: Mandy “Mandie” Huynh, Lauren Klassen and Amanda Lim
I Was Knot Alone!
Thank you to my peers and instructors for all their encouragement, feedback and conversations with me over the course of this project and year, I am grateful for all your support and help! Also a big thank you to The Writing Centre ECU, Student Wellness ECU and Esthette Lifestyle Shop for allowing me to test my crocheting workshops. I appreciated the resources and spaces you all provided for me to plan and host my workshops.
And of course, the biggest thanks to my testers and participants who tried my kits at whatever stage it was in! This kit was shaped by your thoughtfulness and willingness to try new things. Thank you for your patience and belief in seeing my project through.