Attributes augment the effectiveness of crafting actions.
The crafting attributes are linked to certain types of skills. They will generally give a bonus to skills of the type they normally affect.
This statistic mostly helps tool actions.
This statistic helps mostly with station actions.
This statistic mostly helps in dealing with complications.
This statistic helps mostly with utility actions.
In choosing gear, attribute distribution, and skilling, the following facts (and some rumors) are known:
As a general rule of thumb, one should try to get all attributes and skills to 10*level. Values above this seem to add less, while values below this give a greater malus.
Attributes contribute about 60%, while skills contribute about 40%.
Unlike attributes, skills affect both progress and remedy actions, that's why many people prefer raising skills over raising attributes if they have to choose.
On the other hand, both attributes and skills are capped - over a certain value, they don't have any more effect for the current level.
The base skills value before gear and buffs decide what special actions you have available. Choosing the right skill values and then selecting the gear to get balanced values again is an important part of successful crafting.
Naturally one should focus a bit into the most important steps. Tier 3 adds a second tool step, tier 4 adds a second utility step, and tier 5 adds a second station step to the crafting process. For example, utilities are of highest importance during tier 1 and 2, while beginning tier 3 tools become very important. After that point station actions get much more powerful.
Station skill controls the chance for complications. There is however always an unavoidable minimum chance.
Many people prefer to leave Problem Solving at 75% of the values of the other attributes, because it is used so much less often and has therefore so little influence on success rate.
Tool quality affects tool actions. People who have good tools can leave their finesse attribute and the tool skills at lower values, compared to reasoning/utility and ingenuity/station.
The general skill for refining as well as the trade and the specialization class skill for finishing do never give a bonus. However, they give a (strong) malus if they are too low. The required level for them is 10*level of recipe. Maxing this skill to be able to craft recipes of your level is therefore very important.