Irritated by the Internet

Map of the Internet

classic visual map of the internet, image can be attributed to artist Barrett Lyon

Lately I’ve been irritated by the Internets.  And by blogs, although I’m someone who still reads them, someone who still writes them, and still thinks the longer form is useful.

Blog

This post is divided into parts.

All is not well in Blogland, and like the song from Music Man where he sings about Trouble and it means the new billiard table in town, our trouble is the concept of “monetize.”  It can be lucrative to place ads on blogs, and I have no problem if  a blogger wants to make some cash.  Money is always good, and hey, it’s their blog.

But I do get irritated when some of the ads have positively gotten out of hand, so much so that ads pop up on top of pictures, intrude on the blogger’s writing, and blink and pop across content. Some of the ads are disgusting (see below for examples), with that creepy crawly worms thing the worst.  Because of this, I had stopped reading some blogs, but in the end, I liked the quilter and what they did, so had to find new ways to read.

Blog

Using a Reader to read blogs

So I started by using a reader. I subscribe directly to some blogs, and their post notifications come directly into my emailbox.  But I don’t want all my blogs to come there.  A reader will gather all your reading into one list, and can categorize the blogs (I read both ways).  One well-known reader in quiltland is Bloglovin’ but I have moved over to Feedly.com.

I used to use Bloglovin’ a lot, but  I found it frustrating at how many clicks I had to use to get the blog to leave a comment (I love a good conversation).  And then I started noticing this:

Bloglovin ID blog

They won’t send you to the blog, they send you somewhere in their universe, which as a blog writer, is not helpful news.  It means a reader might might never actually visit a blog, to see the layout, the way the blogger has designed their space. Some writers believe that Bloglovin’ has taken content (without permission) for their in-house blog, broadcasting it on their website.  The blogger-who-wrote-it will not see any of these comments.  Yes, this has happened to me, and frankly, it’s kind of weird, like somebody stole my content.  They will link back to me, but it’s after the fact, so that if I’m not on top of it backstage, I will never know it happened.

Waving goodbye

So I said, I’m done, and left them for Feedly.

Feedly4

opening pages

I never log in with Facebook, instead setting up an account using my email.

Feedly Screeshot

This is what I see when my Feedly page pops up, with the category Fabrics/Quilting highlighted. I chose the magazine view, but you could also choose a list view.  It allows me to read the first few lines of any blog post, and then decide if I want to expand it.  I find I am actually reading more of my colleagues’ posts this way, as I also don’t lose them in the deluge of emails.

The blogs I added (see the very bottom left: +ADD CONTENT to add the blogs you want), I arranged by categories.  The numbers show the unread blogs.

Feedly2

Here’s Afton’s Quilting Mod, as an example.  I clicked on it from my list and the full blog shows up.  I scroll through and read it, then decide I want to leave a comment.

Feedly3

At the bottom of the page, I click on VISIT WEBSITE, and I’m sent to her blog in a new window in a new tab (although this preference can be changed).  Notice the address that shows up in the lower left — I’m referred directly to Afton’s blog to leave a comment, a real plus.

Blog

Using the Reader View in your browser to make posts easier to read.

Reader View 1

Sometimes I’m not in my Feedly, and have clicked on one of my ad-filled blogs. So I use the Reader View.  Safari has always had this, and now Firefox has it too.  First, Safari.

There is an icon of stacked documentson the left in the address bar.

Reader View 2

Click on this, and you’ll be taken to the above view (compare them).  All you are getting is the writer’s content, plus their photos.  All animations, ads, colors, and videos are removed (although you will see placeholders for them).  Click on the stack icon to go back to their website.

Reader View Firefox

I just downloaded the newest version of Firefox.  Above is the webpage without the Reader View.

Reader View Firefox1

The webpage with Reader View.  Click on the little grey page icon on the right of the address bar to be taken to their Reader View.

See also those little greyed icons at the upper left?  Those are also new.  I’m quite interested in the third one, the soundwave icon.  My mother is mostly blind, and now I can now have my Dad set up the webpage for her in Reader View and it will read it to her.  Hooray for easy accessibility for webpages!

Blog

Ads placed to drive the blog writers to pay.  It worked!Quilt Abecedary title
I’d developed an alphabet of improv letters when I ran the Spelling Bee blog some time ago.

 

quilt-abecedarysm

Knowing that if I put them down somewhere in my Sewing Room, they would disappear, I documented how I made them and put them up on a blog.  For a while, WordPress and I had a bargain: they could put up an ad on the bottom of my post, and I’d keep using their stuff for free (I had converted this blog over to a paid blog some years earlier).

Then I started seeing this:

Bad Ads

The dreaded creepy crawly ads I hated were now in between my text, obliterating the the instructions for my wonky and fun letters and words (see the one in the box in the upper left).  I didn’t want to pay a yearly fee to have them keep the ads out (and I suspect — just a little — that some of the more obnoxious ads were designed to encourage me to pay), so I did the next best thing: I moved the entire blog.

Quilt Abecedary New 2019

It’s now back in Google’s arms at: https://quiltabecedary.blogspot.com.  I have links from this blog, above, so you don’t have to remember the address.  But if you ever need some wonky improv letters and words, don’t forget that it’s there.

Blog

White I spend a lot of time on Instagram, I still think that there is a place in our lives for blogs: it’s where we put up tutorials, we comment on the state of the world, we have space to write about quilts and things that interest us (by the way, congratulations if you made it this far).  I don’t want to see blogs go away, so I hope this post will make your reading easier.

NOTE:  If you want to start making your own Feedly list, I’ve put just about all the blogs I read way below, in the footer, but like anything, it’s a work in progress and subject to change.  I update it about every quarter.

 

Gridsters Blocks (January 2019) and Affinity software review

gridsters-250-buttonx

The Gridsters are starting on their third year, and it’s been a delight to discover the variety of styles and choices each member puts forward for us to make for them.  Carol was our Queen Bee for January, and she asked us for blocks designed by Kristina of Center Street Quilts.

gridster jan sewinggridster jan2019_1I chose Geometric Christmas Tree and Mod Tree, and mailed them off a few days ago.

sewing room_1

before

I still haven’t settled my sewing room yet after last fall’s room switchearound, but in the meantime, I’ve been trying to get everything off the floor and into some semblance of order.sewing room_2sewing room_3

My husband and I needed only two trips to IKEA to make this one work.sewing room_3a

We purchased a new light from Lowe’s Hardware that goes under the bookshelves, and boy, does it blast the lumens into the room.  I love it, and love that it is an LED which doesn’t give off much heat nor consume as much energy.  And I can see everything in my tiny sewing universe when I turn it on.sewing room_4

The ironing board gets set up in front, so the iron is parked on the right.  In the first bin on the top of the shelves, I put all those mini charm packs, and other random charm packs.  I don’t buy many precuts, and so they all fit in there.  The second shallower bin holds Featherweight Sewing Machine Stuff, as I purchased another Featherweight this fall when a neighbor cleaned out her mother’s storage unit and discovered that her mother had collected all these old sewing machines.  I’d also gone to a garage sale, where they had a box of feet and attachments; they appear to belong to the Featherweight, but I’m still researching.  One woman’s trash is another quilter’s treasure.

And I’m still trying to make the bins useful, so this will change as I work in here.  Right now the upper left holds stuff for Bee Happy, a quilt that my friend Leisa and I chose to do as a long-term project.  And as she says, “No deadlines.  If it takes us two years, so what!”

merrionsquare_1

Been working on this, both in cloth and in pattern.

Affinity Apps.png

I decided to try to upgrade my pattern-writing skills, unsatisfied with my Microsoft Word  approach.  I’d been using Affinity’s Photo and Designer software, which everyone knows is sort of a replacement for the Adobe Creative Suite.  I didn’t want to join in the subscription plan that Adobe wanted me to, so found the Affinity (all 20% now for Christmas–so that makes it around $40 for the Photo and other software in their store–quite a difference from the Adobe prices!).

Affinity Publisher Beta.png

This past fall, they released the free beta version of their Affinity Publisher, which I couldn’t wait to try.  They’ve had two upgrades since I started playing around with it, and each has improved the flow and workability of the app.  I can’t wait for it to be released in its final version.  I also tried to contribute to their Bug and Help forums, you know, to be a good brownie.  It wasn’t hard to come up with things to say, because I was working on patterns, but really, at this point, it’s almost ready for launch.

affinity pattern making nlm

I used screen shots from QuiltPro for the basis of my artwork, as they were perfectly sized, then modified them in Affinity Photo, then saved them as illustrations.  I opened Affinity Publisher Beta, watched all the training videos (taking notes) and dived in. I finished up one pattern earlier this week, did the pattern for my turn next month as Queen Bee for the Gridsters, and am still working on Northern Lights Medallion (NLM).  I’m sorry for the lateness in getting NLM out, but I’m learning as I go, and I wasn’t satisfied with how the templates laid out on the page (exported from QuiltPro) so it’s back to more learning, more Asking the Internet.  I’ll get there–thanks for your patience.

new software

 

 

 

 

A Bit Frosty this January

1shinecirclesquilt

Remember this?

Shine_Quilt Top Final800

And this?

This is Shine: The Circles Quilt, and I started it as a English Paper Piecing project, putting the free patterns up on this blog, beginning in 2014.  I also have a page dedicated to these blocks, giving out the patterns and tutorials for each, until the last four (which used to live on Craftsy, but that’s another blog post.  Coming soon.)

And then this new year, I opened up mail from one of my heros, Becky Goldsmith to see this:

Goldsmith Circles1.jpg

and this:

Goldsmith Circles2.jpg

all advertising her newest endeavor.

As near as I can tell, she has no idea I exist.  She is not copying me.  She has fancy borders, and has done the quilt twice.  I think this is a classic example of what the German’s call “der Zeitgeist” or “the trend of thought and feeling in a period.

But I am a bit frosty about this, for one reason only: she has a megaphone, and I have only this blog.  I used to have a blog and a Craftsy site (!), but I guess I also have Instagram, which might have a zillion followers if I unblocked all those creepy men or Quilt-Content-Thieves.  But is it really “frosty” or is it more that I’m jealous?  I think the latter. 

I still have my Shine patterns here, but really, I have to yield the selling floor to the firepower of Piece O’Cake Designs, in making a quilt with a grid of paper-pieced circles based on the traditional style of a compass rose.  I don’t have her readership, her TV show appearances, her mailing list.  She’s a tsunami.  I’m a wobbly sprinkler on the back lawn.  To be truthful, Goldsmith earned her tsunami status through hard work over many years; again, she did NOT copy me at all. I have all of her books, and have made a couple of her designs, so you do have to put me in the category of Total Admirer.  But that’s not the issue here.

My takeaway: when quilters come up with designs similar to one another, it’s not always a copyright issue, which is the usual scream that emmanates from the collective online voice.  Sometimes it just is the Zeitgeist.

Sometimes the Sew Together Bag is merely a copy of her grandfather’s toiletries kit (this fact mentioned to me while we were standing in line together at Market in Salt Lake City), and my Mini-Sew Together Bag was a version I was working on when I didn’t like the bulk of the original, and my Smile Bag came before byAnnie’s Clam Up bag and perhaps we were both inspired by the bag for the First Class United Airlines customers, and perhaps they were inspired by some ancient Japanese zakka.  That’s how these things go.

Scream

Edvard Munch’s The Scream

 

 

 

Okay, I feel better now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updates to original post are in black text.

Quilt Show Contest • or • Concours International du Carrefour Européen du Patchwork 2017

How’s that for a title?  This post is all about the official competition of the Patchwork Meeting, and I have a sampling of the quilts in the contest.  I purchased the Catalogue from the organizers and it was interesting that it is printed in three languages: French, German and English (yippee!).  The contest theme this year was “Journey to the End of the World” and all the quilts were to be 35″ wide by 47″ inches tall.  This was the first indication that it would be a different type of competition than I had been used to seeing in the States.

Patchwork Mtg_car1

Car in main parking lot

I realized quickly that this would represent all different nationalities, cultures, countries, skill levels (generally really high) and all types of construction.  I chose to notice not only their interpretation of the theme, but also the how and the why they chose to use the materials and techniques they did, always hoping to learn something new.  These quilts are in no particular order.  You can note the winners by the small rosettes in the lower right corner.

ConcoursPatchwork_1

Tatiana Varshavskaya’s In the Beginning.  She is from Hungary.
Her artist’s statement wrote from the perspective on a three-year old, with “continents to conquer, horizons to overcome.  Free, without anchors or restraints, you venture forever in the infinity of childhood’s imagination.”  She finishes by writing “You are three years old, and sail to the unknown with a paper boat.”

ConcoursPatchwork_2

Small Boat, Small Trip, by Sandra Van Velzen of The Netherlands.  She writes “Not so long ago the length of your trip depended on the size of your means of transport.  Nowadays planes and the internet seem to make the world smaller and the trip longer.”

ConcoursPatchwork_3

Gabriele Yoeller, from Germany, created Finistere evoking “France, Bretange…where the sun goes down and the land ends.  Even the Romans called this land: ‘Finis terrae.’ Before you: only water.  Is there something else?  New worlds…or a monster?”

ConcoursPatchwork_4

A quilter from Spain, Eva Arrelano Martin created Into the Deep, an “homage to the effort of thousands of workers who spent and sometimes lost their lives in the their trip into the [great cavity] of the world.”

ConcoursPatchwork_5

Two Americans, Jim Smith & Andy Brunhammer made “June 19th,” celebrating Andy’s birthday  Their artists’ statement notes that “We are both long-term HIV-survivors, and our end of the world has always been just around the corner.  We chose Kaieteur Falls in Guyana [where Jim’s father grew up] as the background. . . Our arm is reaching out with the cascading red ribbon symbolizing the flow or our blood.  The clusters of pills are our life-force.”

ConcoursPatchwork_6

Esodo, by Angela Minaudo of Italy says that “The work represents the journey of those who run from the land in search of a better life, towards other lands, other worlds, towards the end of their world and often toward the end of their lives.”  Esodo means “exodus.”

ConcoursPatchwork_7

A Japanese quilter, Chiaki Yagishita, made Japon.  Her statement read “I think ‘creation’ and ‘infinity’ equals ‘silence.’  There is ‘silence’ in Japan and it is beautiful. This work expresses ‘Japanese blue’ [or] ‘the silent world.’ ”

ConcoursPatchwork_8

Anneliese Jaros, from Austria made 101 Views of Vesuvius (my translation of her title).  She wrote that she loves the Gulf of Naples, and Mt. Vesuvius.  “The eruptions of the volcano in the course of history have been the end of the world to many…Parts of the letters [by Pliny the Younger] describing the eruptions are printed in Latin on cotton, which are then overlaid by my own photos of contemporary views of the mountain.”  I tried to capture the detail of the overlay, below.

ConcoursPatchwork_8aConcoursPatchwork_10

Au pays des atomes translates to “In the Country of Atoms,” and is a quilt by French quilter Françoise Buzzi-Morel.  She write that atoms “are able to reach the end of the world…beyond any human limits.  And in one precise order, they geometrically follow parallels, cubes, circles and lines.”

ConcoursPatchwork_9

Another French quilter, Eriko Krzyzaniak, made Emmenez-moi au pays des merveilles, or “Take me to Wonderland.”  The colors of blue and gold were inspired by the icon of the Virgen Rynecka in the Church of Our Lady in Prague.  “The drawing,” she writes, “was inspired but the poetry “The Little Flute Player,” by G. Brassens.  It was the starting point of my ‘Wonderland.’ ”
I snapped two more photos showing the detail of her work (below).

ConcoursPatchwork_9aConcoursPatchwork_9bConcoursPatchwork_15

Rita Dijkstra, from The Netherlands, did a rendition of Mount Fitz Roy (her title).  She describes it for us: “The road on the quilt leads to Mount Fitz Roy on the border of Argentina and Chile (Patagonia)….For me Patagonia stands for the end of the world.  The only way you can travel more south from this point, is by taking a boat to the South Pole.”

ConcoursPatchwork_12

No return was made by Anne Lillhom, from The Netherlands.  She writes “From birth to death, we go through different stages.  We have good and less good things happening in life, days with more colors and days with less colors.  We have periods in life where life goes up and days where it goes down…Nobody knows what the life journey will bring us, the only that is for sure is….there is NO RETURN.  We simply have to follow the path.”

Details, below.

ConcoursPatchwork_12aConcoursPatchwork_11

Michèle Samter of Switzerland made Excitement of a big city, her tribute to Singapore.  She writes that “The vibrating performance of all the lights in different colors from high-rise buildings and traffic all night long evokes [a] feeling [of having been to the end of the world]….The contrast between my home in Switzerland and this other city, which never seems to sleep, had a great impact on me.”

ConcoursPatchwork_13

Incredible Voyage to the End of the World is by Dalia Eliraz, who is from Israel.  She writes: “The Arctic tern’s [long] trip from Arctic to Antarctic and back is the furthest animal migration.  Over 30 years, it will travel the equivalent of 3 roundtrips from Earth to Moon.  My quilt is inspired by this super-migration bird, as a metaphor of human behavior [when] motivated by determination to achieve a life goal or purpose….whether it is love, academic ambition, artistic aspirations or nesting…”

ConcoursPatchwork_14

Dreamland, by Elly Van Steebeek (from the Netherlands)
She writes: “There is a place, [far] from home with a beautiful blue sky, singing birds, flowing rivers and dark rocks. And after a spectacular sunset there is total darkness, only a whispering wind and the sound of the busy.  This is the land of my dreams!”

ConcoursPatchwork_16

This is Edith Leidi, from Italy, and I was so excited to meet her, I forgot to take a photo of the complete quilt.  The title is Stargate. What’s next?  and I loved what she wrote: “My idea was born in the swimming pool.  I was watching my husband’s hand diving in the water, so I created my stargate.  The hand passes through it while the body remains on the other side.  There is another hand in the universe, that is going to meet the first one.  But…from where does it come?”
Detail, below.

ConcoursPatchwork_16aConcoursPatchwork_17

Gabrielle Paquin from France (who also had her own exhibit at the Patchwork Meeting) created Voyage en orbite.  She says “The Earth [has] become too little for its population.  It is necessary to find some exits in Space….we must in a future time go away for a journey…tempory of definitively.”

ConcoursPatchwork_18

This quilt was on the front of their brochure for the Meeting, so we saw it everywhere.  Chang Misun, of South Korea, created Pieces of memories.  She says: “I think my way of life is like an endless trip.  Pieces of past life and future life come together…[some] especially clear and some others are dim.  Pieces of all memories were expressed in the works.”

ConcoursPatchwork_19

Maryte Collard, of Lithuania, made Song of the Linen.  Writing about returning to Lithuania, she notes that it “always feels like the trip backwards in time” due to the ancient language and that is was the “last European country to accept Christianity.”  Because of this “traces of ancient customs still remain in daily life….Flax has been a traditional Lithuanian fiber for several thousand years.  It has a special place in my heart and it sings to me the song about the trip to the end of the world.”
Detail, below.

ConcoursPatchwork_19a

Catalogue of Patchwork Meeting 2017

taken from *here*

Watch me breeze through the complete catalogue, which I couldn’t figure out how to upload, which shows a few more quilts.  Below is a photo of the giant poster, showing all our venues.  The one above was above the L’Espace Commercial.

Patchwork Mtg_venues SMAM

It was raining that day, but none of our wet umbrellas were allowed in the exhibits.  Since I’d lost one already to an umbrella stand, I wasn’t anxious to repeat the experience, so I whipped out my souvenir Patchwork Bag, and we stuffed the umbrellas in there as we walked around.  Everyone was happy.

Patchwork Mtg_car2

More posts coming. The original post, with links, is found *here.*

To Reply, or Not to Reply? Blogging Buzz

I guess the first thing to get out of the way is to ask one of the big questions:

Question1

No, that’s not it.

The big question is: why do you blog?

And if you are like most of the blogs I see in Blogland, the answer falls into these categories:

  • making a living at quilting
  • want to make a living at quilting
  • will never make a living, but still have hope
  • pleasure of sharing my quilts
  • love to write and would write about making tires, if necessary

And then the next question:

Another question

Wrong.

Here it is: What do you expect of the people who visit your blog?

Should they leave a comment? Visit only? Not steal your content (it happens)? Not copy your ideas without attribution (it happens)?  Which leads us to the really big question:

JosephCampbellBigQuestion(from *here*)

When I first started my blogging adventure, in September 2006, I didn’t even enable comments, coming as I was from the “pure” experience of a Creative Writing degree where it was always expected that you would write from within yourself.  Soon after that, the digital world exploded and during grad school a few years later, even though we were still yearning for that isolated writing experience, the reality of the market now loomed large, and we had classes on marketing, selling your novel, pitching stories, being aware of What’s Out There.

And that now is the world in which we quilt bloggers find ourselves, I think, which means that the pure excitement of sharing our quilts, our ideas and just chatting up the room seems to be slowly sinking into the swamp of Making Connections, Pitching My Stuff, Pick Me! Pick Me!, and so on.  I think I participate in all of everything, as do most of us.  But I was quite struck by the thoughts on Carrie Nelson’s blog, LaVieEnRosie, about how so much of blogging has become about advertising.  Carrie is one of my heroes in the way she blogs truthfully about her life, so I really perked up when she next said:

With blogs, I’m also betwixt and between about responding to comments.  I feel horribly – terribly! – guilty when I don’t answer each and every comment with an e-mail but since I can’t bring myself to send just a quick “thank you for commenting” – I think we all know I’m a bit chattier than that – do I answer just some?  And if I don’t get to it right away, is it awful to respond a week or ten days later?  That might be worse than not answering it at all.  So I stick my head in the sand and hope the e-mails answer themselves.

Sometimes I think that comments are just comments–not requiring a reply.  When I leave a comment like “Great quilt!” I don’t really expect a reply at all.  But other times I’ve been pleasantly surprised when a reply has come, and over time it has deepened to a correspondence of some sort.  However (and she peers over the top of glasses), I know several bloggers who feel so swamped by their own success, of the imperative to thank everyone who comes by, that they withdraw from blogland, retreating back to their studios to Make Stuff, which is — if you think about it — the main reason to have a blog.  And I also cringe a little when I happen on a blog where they cheerfully say “I want to grow my blog!” as we are expected to carry away a task from that honest goal, and as I slink away I feel guilty, because certainly one of the true pleasures of blogging is building a community of like-minded folks.

So, does this strange cultural custom of expected replies to comments enhance your appreciation for a blog?  Do you leave comments regardless of whether the blogger will answer you back? And if you blog yourself, do you feel compelled (and I chose that word purposefully) to answer back all your commenters?

Do Tell.

Google Reader, exiting stage left

I have blog followers (subscribers) on Google Reader, and I also use Google Reader.  A LOT.

So it was worth paying attention to the news when Google announced it was discontinuing Google Reader.  While I’ve read multiple articles, I must admit my eyes glaze over when techie terms are mentioned.  For those who aren’t affected by this announcement, it’s helpful to know that readers are a handy way to organize blogs into categories, allowing their Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds to be gathered up, allowing the reader to save posts, while also making them searchable from within the reader.

So now it’s back to the hunt for easy-to-use products that will allow us to replace Google Reader.

NewsBar view

I did a search on RSS feeds for Macintosh and NewsBar (view, above) seems to be top-rated.  I’ve been trying it out and I can customize colors, size of font, where I can put the floating feed (and I can make it disappear) among other things.  I like that I can group my feeds as before, and that by clicking, it will show the post to the right with an option to open it in my browser.  Once the RSS feeds have been uploaded, they are on their own and don’t refer back to Google’s reader.

rss-icon

If NewsBar is open, and I’m reading a website I want to save, I merely click on the small “plus” sign and it will add it.  In some cases (I’m still learning), I had to locate a site’s RSS feed icon (above), then copy and paste the feed address into NewsBar.  I’ve added an RSS feed icon to my blog now, too.

Flipboardicon

On my iPad, I use Flipboard, having logged into my Google Reader account and connected the two, but I don’t know if they are independent of Google; I’d have to suppose so.  Debbie of A Quilter’s Table said she was trying Bloglovin, but when I tried it, I received this notice:

Bloglovin

For the interim, we could start following lots of blogs, via their following service, then use filters in our emails to separate them off.  This will work (I use it now for online quilt shops, family emails, and so forth), so if you want to follow me, you know how (fill in your email above; WordPress is a pretty good platform for this sort of thing).

At any rate, we’ll back shortly, with a new post.

2013-National-Quilting-Day-250p(logo borrowed from www.fabshopnet.com)

And if you’re reading this on March 16th,

Happy National Quilting Day!