Treats online

Over on the Stitchin Fingers forum Dijanne Cevaal pointed to an article in the ABC site titled Sewing 2.0. It’s a very good article about the rise in the interest in crafts and the possible drivers for this cultural shift – or what is percieved as a cultural shift.

Personally I think the web has much to do with it as people see what others make and that encourages them to have a go too. This statement rang true for me “new technologies like web 2.0, which have helped to spread the enthusiasm by creating linked up communities who can share information”. It felt particularly relevant since I had just set up a community site Stitchin Fingers within the last 24 hours (do check it out) . I think the web is a big reason for the rise in people making their own clothing and domestic furnishings. What do you think?

On another note Jean Campbell has written a tutorial on Making the Perfect Bead Dangle for Beading Daily

I thought I had found absolutely every colour theory site online but no I had missed out the Colors on the Web site which Linn of the Embroideress pointed to. Don’t miss it as although the site is aimed at web designers the site houses lots of useful tools for textile designers.

Two areas that you will find useful are the color wizard, and the colour wheel. The color wheel spins three colors which are selected from 16 million colors so the combinations are endless.

I can see the Color Wizard being very useful to textile designers. You submit a base color, and the wizard produces matching colors. Variations are monocromatic, analogeous, triadic, tetradic, complimentary and split complimentary. When on the site if you look at the diagram of the colour wheel it illustrates what these terms mean.

Colors on the Web also houses articles on colour theory and the Color Contrast Analyzer is aimed at web designers as it helps them choose colour combinations that are readable and accessible.

FotoFlexer is fun

FotoFlexer is an free and easy online digital photo editor which is ideal to use to do the usual tasks such as  crop, rotate, resize, flip and red eye fix.

For textile practitioners however it is an ideal introduction to digital design. You can upload one of your own images and have access to standard image manipulation tools in order to develop a design for textile projects.

Although some have said FotoFlexer is like Photoshop it is far from the depth of the Adobe package but it is good. That said for an average non professional user who wants to have some creative fun with a digital image it is a great free online graphics editor.

Adding text to an image is simple and you can draw on top of an image. Colour and erase are also available.

You can smooth or sharpen an image or apply effects to images such as turning it sepia or inverting the colours in the image. Or you can turn the image into an ink stamp, fresco or film grain using some of the effects. Pinching, twirling , bulging and stretching the image is also possible. It is even possible to layer images forming composite pieces. After all this playing if you do not like it you have an undo button too.

For those who have not explored designing using a graphics editor this little free web based app is an ideal introduction. If you want keep up with any news about it there is the FotoFlexer blog too!

How many of us are there?

I was poking around the Internet Archive yesterday In the text Archive an noticed that last week Beeton’s Book of Needlework was the second most downloaded book of the week with 8,293 downloads.Now these are downloads of this book in one single week. That’s a lot of needleworkers online downloading this book in one week. I would love to know just how many active stitchers are online.
In the industry often the various textile and craft communities are seen as small little backwaters of the net filled with little old ladies who barely know how to click a mouse let alone communicate online. I know this stereotype is wrong and I sense that as a niche it is not as small as even some stitchers think particularly if we take this little statistic as an indicator of interest.
I think there are many stitchers who are active on discussion forums and email groups and yet another cluster who blog but I sense this is just a very small indicator of the number of stitcher who use the net regularly.

Many people simply browse, read and download material but do not necessarily keep a blog or regularly interact with a discussion group. In other words lots of stitchers lurk. As an indicator this blog gets between 1,000- 1,500  hits in a day – which it does regularly – often those hits only generate 4 or 5 comments. So there is a lot of hidden activity which I think this download statistic from the internet archive also points to. Think about it for a moment if you think of all the sub categories of textiles knitting, quilting, sewing, costume , and so on. How many of us are there? Of course there is no real way of knowing or linking up such a large group but boy what a social network site it would make if it did and knowing stitchers they would talk to one another- gosh it would be a busy corner of the web! It would be a busy online life indeed – perhaps too busy to get any stitching done!

That wild thought aside why do you think people lurk? By lurk I mean read but never even leave a comment? I can understand how people might find a discussion group or keeping a blog too time consuming but I am interested in those who read but never even comment. If you read something interesting it is easy enough to chip in to the conversation for moment but many don’t. Why do you think? Is it that they feel there is nothing in it for them? Are people conditioned to consume but not participate? Or do we really in a world where people happily take but don’t give back? These are just a few questions in my mind before I bound into the shower and go to work. I would love to hear people thoughts on this.