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    • #4672
      Laura Berlage

      rutevev sheepskin pillowBefore you have your class (preferrable before you pitch your class), make a mockup of the project.  Keep meticulous records of what you use and how much.  For my fiber arts classes, I weigh all my yarn/roving before making the mockup, weigh it again after I am done, then plan to send MORE than what I used.  For needle felting, I send 30% more, as there will be students who have no sense of scale.  For yarn, I typically send 20% more.

      Notice the tools you use to create your mockup.  Which ones do students NEED, which are nice but optional, and which could be lived without for your students at this time.  Make a real list of these and order them.

      From that list, prioritize which tools need to be exact or are difficult to source.  This may be a very different matrix depending on your target audience.  For instance, many of my needle felting kits end up with kids, who sometimes live in homes where a needle and thread do not exist.  It’s hard for me to imagine a home without a needle and thread, as I grew up with a mom and grandma who sewed, but it is a real thing today!  It’s a terrible downer when a kid can’t finish their adorable fox because they can’t sew the eyes on!  Therefore, I include a needle and thread (already threaded by me) in each felting kit that needs it.  It’s incredible how many times the fact that the needle is threaded is lauded in my Etsy reviews!  It’s a small but meaningful touch of love.  On the other hand, your advanced students are likely already well equipped with certain kinds of supplies.

      Difficult to source or specialized tools are often essential to include in your materials kit, when appropriate.  For instance, I don’t include tools in skill builder kits, but I do in level kits.  Here is an example:  tapestry level-1 kits include a frame loom ready to assemble, tatting needles, and a simple plastic comb.  Level-2 tapestry kits include a handmade ergonomic wooden comb.  Level-3 tapestry kits include 3 handmade tapestry bobbins and a small shedding stick.  There is a graduated nature to the tools included, with the absolute essentials covered at the beginner level, while we add to this with additional tools as the students progress through the materials.  The plastic comb in the L-1 kit is not as nice as the wood one, but it helps keep the cost of the kit lower until students fall in love with the medium and are ready to spend more on a tool that they will love using for years.

      Review the organizational work you did in sifting through which techniques, skills, and concepts were essential for beginners, intermediate, and advanced students, then use this knowledge to help organize which types of tools or supplies will be needed for each level.  As you do this, decide what students can readily source for themselves:  scissors, sharpie, tape measure, safety pins, etc.  Know your audience when making this type of sorting.

      Other elements to consider are patterns, charts, or other printed materials that will be essential for your students to have on physical paper for your class, if any.  These are part of your materials kit too.

      How does this help you think about what needs to be in your kits?  What questions do you have about what goes into kits?

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