Blogs for newbies

If you don’t quite understand quite what blogs are or how they work I think readers will find this very informative.

This video from explains many features found on blogs such as commenting, archives, subscription, and even touches on writing a blog.

Blog Anniversary! A moment to reflect.

I have just realised it is the anniversary of this blog! I will have been blogging most days since 2004! So I have just made a cuppa broken with my routine and sat down to write something as I nearly totally forgot about it! Why did I forget?

My gosh when I stop and think about all that has passed in that time, I think  blogging has become part of my lifestyle rather than something I see as an achievement as such. I just do it. Everyday I find time to shower, cook meals etc and everyday I find time to write.

For 8 years I have written most days and I want to thank everyone who swings by regularly or has an email subscription, gets it via RSS reader feed or whatever! How the blogging world has changed. To be honest I am still surprised at the fact I have so many readers!

Some years past I have had my act together to create a free give away but this year since I nearly forgot my blog annivesary the best I can do is to remind folks of two resources I built up in preparation for TAST. The first is a pile of resources online on the topic of hand embroidery that I updated as there were so many new hands joining TAST. The second is about making your own needlework sampler as once again in the lead up to TAST I was getting a number of emails about how I made my sampler

I would like to draw your attention to another free useful resource I have created,  12 Surface Stitches for Beginners covers 12 basic hand embroidery stitches. These same stitches, are also the basic stitches that crazy quilters use and build seam embellishments on. So anyone new to crazy quilting should find the file handy too.

I have edited down the instructions so that the stitches fit 2 to a page. This means a small print out which is easy to carry around or keep with you.

I have also taught all these stitches to children. So if ever you need to organise an activity for children you might find this file handy. So thanks for being a reader, download, stitch and enjoy.

Note: This is a PDF file which means you will need Acrobat Reader to open and read these files. You can download  a free reader on the Acrobat site

Before I muse any further on this here is the traditional link to my first post. Like most new bloggers of that time I took things far too seriously. Blogs as a genre were new most people did not know what they were or why you might want to write one.

Here is a link to the second which reflects a little of what I was thinking at the time. What was the topic that interested me on that day. Why Crazy Quilts?

I am often asked how I manage time to stitch and write a blog. I think one activity feeds the other.  I find writing about textiles and reading about and seeing what others are doing that I am constantly focused on this aspect of my life so I tend to stitch more. In other words it stimulates and already existing interest and keeps me focused. I am sure everyone at some time or other has seen something online and then feels inspired to stitch picks up a needle and thread.

A lesson I have recently learned

A lesson I have been reminded of recently, is to never assume people understand what blogs are about. Many readers are very web savvy but while I was setting up TAST I was reminded that many people who are still finding their way through the blogosphere with very low web literacy skills.

I have had stitchers not know what a web site address was, not understand how to navigate a blog, not realise that you can leave a comment, not know how to leave a comment, not understand how to save a copy of an image or even that stitchin fingers and Pin Tangle are 2 very different sites, not understand that both are public and both are free. I know these are very basic things and in many cases the person concerned did not understand that their problem is one of web literacy some even feel it is OK

As bloggers we should alway be aware that web literacy is not necessarily present and many people lurk because they dont know how to do anything else. I suggest that as bloggers we can encourage these people to participate as it is only in doing it, joining in , leaving comments, posting photos to photo sites etc  will they learn. I know it takes patience and I have been guilty of not having enough of it at times but it is worthwhile if taking a little time helps someone understand participating online safely. It is an issue of literacy and if someone could not read and they asked a question we would help them read it should be the same with web literacy skills.

As a genre blogs are a wonderful device for documenting your work, keeping track of goals, sharing links and resources and they certainly help to build a profile! At times this year I have wondered if blogs were on the decline and if people are spending less time on them but looking back on the last 6 months  (ie before and after TAST was announced and started) I have had more people discover my blog and others. For me this year has been the best year for readers reporting they are just discovering blogs. I think things like facebook have influenced how people spend their time online. On the other hand however  I sense people see blogs as being a more meaningful and sustained genre choosing to read them when they have time. I dont see it as an either or situation but as adding to the number of activities online that someone participates in.

Well that is it for my morning cuppa musing. I really should dig out some of he resources and stuff that are now burried in the archives as there is much good stuff there but if ever you feel like browsing the archives feel free they are all here

In writing this mini reiview it has prompted me to think about how over the years I have limited down my topics that I write about. PinTangle has always been about textiles but looking over the the earlier posts many days ranged quite far over the net. They were always on topic but had a broader flavour, so I think it’s time to give that aspect of this blog a little shake. I dont want to get tired of it.

If here is any aspect of PinTangle (other than challenges) that you really enjoyed and does not appear here so often anymore leave a comment. If the topic concerned  sparks my interest again, you may be in luck and see more of what you like.

Once again it’s great to have so many readers and be fortunate enough to host challenges and the like. I get a kick out of creating fun activities but would not be able to without the readership!

Social Media for Crafters ebook launched

Social media consultant Lorelle Van Fossen has launched an ebook Social Media for Crafters: Covering the Basics of the Social Web.

The book covers why crafters would want to be involved in Social Media, what they need to be able to participate, privacy protection, incorporating social media in your everyday life, blogging, using Facebook and Twitter, joining groups and forums online, sharing multimedia and the best part of all making contact face to face.

If you are unsure why engaging with social media might help your craft activity either as a hobbyist or as a professional check out my take on the subject written for craft month at Wordcast on Why Should Crafters and Artists Blog

Lorelle Van Fossen has loaded Social Media for Crafters  with well founded advice, that is clearly presented and relates directly to artists and crafters. It is priced at 99c for a limited time (normally it will sell at $14.99) and at that price for a ebook lets face it you cant go wrong.