This is the second of my Three Hard Quilts to Make for 2019. It’s a lovely day now that Sing for Joy is finished.
Here was my recipe in four easy steps:
I decided I wanted to make a quilt with words, so I bought every quilt book there was on words.
Then I decided I wanted mine a bit wonky and NOT paper-pieced. I posted the how-to’s, one by one on Quilt Abecedary.blogspot.com, where they still live.
I sent around an email to see if anyone else was interested, and some colleagues in a former online bee jumped in, so we ran the Spelling Bee ran for one year, all of us making words for each other.
I follow Kviltstina on Instagram, and she has the sweetest little creative shapes on her feed, so I put some of them in this quilt.
The back, showing the signature blocks of my beemates. I had to remake one, when the ink started running down the block when I pressed it; I guess she grabbed the wrong pen. (It’s always something, right?)
My husband and I went out for some photos in our neighborhood park, and several of the walkers asked about it, wondering how long it took to make it? (Why is that always the first question, when people talk to us about our quilts?)
I began in 2016, and finished it this year (some early photos, above). I had to remake some of the words and cut down others, so I could fit them evenly on the quilt. I hand wrote a label and pieced it in with the signature blocks, but if I printed one out it would say:
My brother and I had an active discussion last week about whether or not there is such a thing as a soulmate. I said I believed there is no such thing, as it was the stuff of movies and greeting cards. What is possible is that you find yourself a partner and you work to build a relationship and sustain each other and the family. Soulmates are ephemeral, I said. Of course, he disagreed with me, as so might some of you.
But what I think I do believe in is a cheerleader, someone who has your best interests at heart, who encourages you, listens to you when you’re sad, upset, cheers you on in happy times and is steady and consistent. Someone who is always on your team, and for who you’ll do the same.
This quilt is a tribute to my cheerleader of a husband, who 30 years ago married me and my four young children, raising us all.
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.
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.
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:
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.
So I said, I’m done, and left them for Feedly.
I never log in with Facebook, instead setting up an account using my email.
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.
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.
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.
Using the Reader View in your browser to make posts easier to read.
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.
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.
I just downloaded the newest version of Firefox. Above is the webpage without the Reader View.
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!
Ads placed to drive the blog writers to pay. It worked!
I’d developed an alphabet of improv letters when I ran the Spelling Bee blog some time ago.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Last year I had this idea that I wanted to try, and so I rounded up some willing participants and we made ourselves a Spelling Bee.
I started it by creating a blog that was dedicated to free tutorials to make these free-form letters, without the use of patterns or papers. Some were pretty wild, but it was a great challenge. And then we all started by choosing a phrase or a poem or a group of words and entered them into a Google Spreadsheet (we were all tired of trying to use Flickr). This is the wrap-up post, showing our collective work of The Spelling Bee ( found as #spellingbeequilt on Instagram, where we posted our photos).
This is my phrase, done in reds, creams and pinks. I do have plans for it.
Lisa (aka Nymblefyngers on IG), a first-time bee participant, decided on lots of bug words for her quilt, and people carried out the theme by making them in bug fabrics.
Mary, who writes the Needled Mom blog, made fun sewing-themed blocks to add to the words in her quilt.
Carla, of Grace and Favor, recently opened a yarn shop in her town, and requested knitting terms.
Susan finished her quilt the first, showing it off here and on her blog, PatchworknPlay. This truly typifies Susan’s attitude towards life!
Just to keep us on our toes, Kerry of PennyDog Patchwork, decided she wanted us to try her “digital” alphabet, and we made up the names of the provinces of Canada, her new country. While the how-to’s for the regular alphabet are free on the blog Quilt Abecedary, this style is Kerry’s own.
Simone, of Quiltalicious, tried to make us all go crazy by asking for color names, but in different shades. A couple of us dutifully cranked out our word, only to realize that we sewn it up in the wrong color. We were all getting pretty good at this point.
Since bee-keeping was a new passion for Rachel (The Life of Riley), we all sent bee-words to her.
Brenda (aka brendaandblue on IG), requested words that describe all those things that make her happy: “comfort words.”
Cindy of LiveAColorfulLife, is doing the words to one of her favorite songs; unlike her name, she went with black, white, cream and grays to put together her phrase.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this wrap-up of our word adventure! If you ever jump in and make a word or two, drop me a note as I’d love to see them.
Coming soon: a new bee!
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Starting in January, I will be participating in a one-year term group where we will make words for each other, with the end goal to make a quilt of letters and phrases and words. Since gathering the group together, though, I realized that although I loved quilty words, I hadn’t the faintest idea about making them.
I bought two books (one recently and one a few whiles back) and read them both cover to cover. Then I decided I wanted to have the best of both worlds: the fun wonkiness of Tonya Ricucci’s Word Play Quilts and the shapes and precision of Sam Hunter’s Quilt Talk. I bought the Kindle version of Quilt Talk, which included a digital printout of the letters, but I just couldn’t face doing foundation paper piecing for an entire alphabet, so instead I printed out the pages with her drawings of the letters’ shapes and used that as a guideline.All of this is to say that I started a new blog: Quilt Abecedary.
I, like many of you, are fascinated by font and words and graphic design. I always say in another life, I would have gotten a graphic design degree, but alas, that life is in the past. So maybe this is a way for me to have fun with type and typography in a quilty way.
What is an abecedary? Or an abecedarian? I wrote about it on my introductory post, but both are known as types of ABC primers, or a record of the alphabet in some fashion. More info about an early stone abecedary can be found on the post for the Letter B.
I have included a tab above, Quilt Abecedary, where I will link over to individual letters as I get them made. My goal is to do one a day in the month of October and with tomorrow’s posting, I’ll have finished from A to E.
It’s not really meant to have followers, as it will be a completed reference work, with a finite finish date and serves as a documented journey of my working my way through the alphabet. If you are going to try your hand at making quilt words, you may want to check it out. I also have a Pinterest Board dedicated to word quilts, just to inspire you.
˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚ My apologies to those of you who received my unfinished post, Rolling Rainbow. Sometimes things just get the better of me.
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