I'm very fortunate. Most of the comments I get on my blog, FB page and via email are very respectful and complimentary. When I do receive questions about my patterns or classes. I always try to respond promptly and helpfully.
Sometimes people ask me where to purchase hooks or yarn. Even though I have no more information than the questioner does, I take the time to locate websites where the person might be able to find those supplies, and I forward that information to them. Sometimes I have contacted the manufacturers directly and served as the liaison between them and the crocheter.
I also get questions about patterns that aren't mine; requests to solve a crocheter's general issues that have nothing to do with my designs; and the occasional correspondence that has an inappropriate tone.
When people are having difficulty, I often will ask them to send me a photo of the trouble spot. Then I will send them photos in return. It takes a lot of time to do that, but I want everyone to have a good experience with me and my patterns, so I don't mind. It's part of the cost of doing business.
Occasionally a crocheter will find an error or something confusing that needs to be fixed. Nobody ever likes getting those messages, but I appreciate them--it's the opportunity to make things right. It's nice that people care enough to contact me about those.
What really bothers me is when I ask people to confirm that they received my response and they don't! I don't know whether my information got to them and they just haven't answered, or whether it got stuck in a spam filter somewhere. PLEASE, PEOPLE, INCLUDE YOUR PHONE NUMBER WHEN YOU SEND ME A QUESTION SO I HAVE A WAY TO FOLLOW UP IF YOU DON'T RESPOND TO MY "CONFIRM THAT YOU GOT THIS EMAIL" REQUEST! If email is the only way to reach you, and if your program is eating my email, you might think I just blew off your question--which I would never do. I want to make sure you got the answer you needed, and I also want to maintain my reputation for prompt, courteous customer service. Many a time I have tried to find a person via Ravelry, FB, or LinkedIn so I can contact them a different way. This takes a lot of time and is not always successful. I'm a crochet designer, not Columbo.
In case you're interested, here are some samples of the kinds of questions I get:
"I made a tunisian row by row afghan. I looked in your book on "Tunisian Crochet" and could not find anything that will help with my problem. I don't know what I am doing wrong. My afghan is `lopsided'. When I fold it, it doesn't fold straight. Can you help me with this problem?"
"I would not bother you with these questions but I have ripped the project out twice and my time is very limited with working at the store 32 hours and watching my grand daughter 30 hours a week along with the rest of life." [This was at the end of an email about a shawl that was off 1" in width before blocking. After I responded kindly and thoroughly, the writer apologized to me for the tone of her original question. I appreciated that.]
"Where does one purchase the crochet mesh?" [This was about a filet crochet pattern where one crochets the mesh.]
"I am getting the basic chains and the Foundation Row Return down just fine but, after about two rows of Tss, I seem to have a loose piece of yarn going up the left-most piece of fabric. I have been using a blunt yarn needle like shown in the book to get the last verticle [sic] bar and the horizontal run behind it opened up to make the last stitch but something just seems to be wrong and I have frogged it all out and started over more than 6 times now."
"The only thing I don't understand is when the pattern says: "Tss into last vertical bar and horizontal thread behind it", what thread?" [There's a photo.]
"I was, therefore, particularly aggrieved to find that the instructions did not match the pictured design (even when viewed upside down). I think it is highly fraudulent and deceitful to use false pictures to lure us into buying your book."
"I have completed 3 panels for each of 2 afghan patterns. They need to be sewn together, embroidered and finished. The instructions that came with the patterns [someone else's patterns] show one way of sewing panels together, but I don't like the finished look. I am hoping that you know of a better way."
"I want instructions for a throw."
"Also, I got circular hooks for Christmas to learn Tunisian crochet. How do you make a blanket with the cord?"
I don't mind answering general questions; it's nice that people think of me as someone who has the answers to their crochet problems. I always try to respond in a positive way, thanking the writer for the question and then trying to help. If you send me a question, please help me by confirming that you received my answer! I don't want anyone to feel ignored.