Wednesday, April 29, 2015

instagram takeover

Okay, so we all know what is going on with the Internet and why people aren't dropping by our blogs anymore, at least not to mine. With the ever-growing Instagram traffic, it looks like everyone prefers the instant messaging and posting found there. What are the pros and cons?

Now, if you don't know anything about Instagram (IG), it is basically an instant message app that posts a picture with very short text. You send out your message and anticipate how many "likes" and possible comments you will receive - sort of like on Facebook. I am not a big Facebooker, so this was definitely new and exciting for me when I joined in. And I know there are psychological reports about the "instant gratification" of receiving approval through Instagramming. It is true and can become addicting just like anything.

I joined up to Instagram during the Christmas holidays. I was amazed by the clarity of photographs being published. I have no "smart phone" and just use a "Handy" as they are called in Germany as an emergency type device. How were these photos being taken with just a camera phone?? I absolutely hadt to have a new IPhone to compete with others. I have now learned that some are really shot with a smart phone, but most are still taken with a SLR (single lens reflex) camera and uploaded to the Internet, downloaded to a smart phone or tablet, and uploaded again to Instagram. Since I learned how to download my own photos, I relaxed a bit about the new smart phone. I enjoy using my tablet pc to shoot pictures of my instant day-by-day fun with fabric.

What are some pros and cons of Instagram? Well, one pro is definitely the instant gratification, of course! The feeling that you have friends, colleagues, fans out there that support you! That is definitely a big plus! You can also upload photos of what you are working on right now, at this exact moment with very little preparation....meaning you don't have to upload a photo to your computer from your SLR and then to a blog or other account such as Facebook, Flickr, etc.; that can be time consuming! You can also quickly jump from post to post and see what everyone was up to today.

Now the flip side is this: everyone is changing over to Instagram and leaving their blogs cold and dry. No one is posting anymore! No one is dropping by anymore. Is the blogging world coming to an end?

A good compromise or use of Instagram is a short message about a blog post (address referred to on the Profile Page of IG). This makes sense. I think a lot of text should still be placed on a blog, an online diary or editorial. I personally do not like it when someone makes a "post" with long text through Instagram. I could also do without virtually meaningless pictures, you know the ones I mean...the ones of house pets fetching a bone or personal exercising routines. I think some people become obsessed with overgramming again trying to refill that instant gratification tank. I admit, I could go there if I am not careful. I have tried to put myself on a short rope and watch more critically what I am doing, how much time am I spending there in comparison to how much time I spending doing what I love the most, designing and sewing!!

So, making this post a little shorter to get back to my RL (real life), what are your experiences with Instagram? What do you like about it, what do you hate about it? Is blogging coming to an end? Will we all be hooked up to IM with an armband in the future? We would like to hear from you!

What did I learn this week? Going outside and playing with my family is much more rewarding that checking out what is going on on Instagram! Enjoy your week!

Monday, April 20, 2015

blog hop for Quiltmaker's 100 blocks

Hello everyone! I would like to invite you to join us on a blog hop tour of the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 11 (Summer 2015) hitting the newsstands the first week in May 2015!  I am really excited to be a part of this blog hop and showing my very FIRST block for Quiltmaker's!

There will a whole week of great giveaways including fabrics, notions, magazines and lots of other quilting goodies! Every day you will be invited to join in by skipping to several different blogs and checking out some of the new blocks featured in Volume 11. Sign up everyday at Quiltmaker's as well as each individual blog to win great prizes! We will giving you lots of information as well as to how the block came about, some quick tips about sewing it or what you can make with the 12" blocks. The blocks are geared toward everyone and include appliqué, piecing, as well as paper piecing. There is also a special giveaway to win 10 of the ORIGINAL blocks signed by the designers!! Oh, the things you could make with those blocks! ;-)

I will be presenting my block on May 6, 2015 and a couple different color/fabric variations. Not only is Quiltmaker giving away lots of great loot, but I will be giving away a brand new copy of the magazine to one lucky recipient as well! You have two chances to win the great new magazine of modern blocks by today's hottest designers!

This is what the cover of the new magazine looks like, so if you see it on the newsstands, grab your copy or win a copy along the Quiltmaker's blog hop from Quiltmaker's directly or by stopping by the bloggers that made the blocks! Good luck and hope to see you along the hop!

Knuddels, Karen

Monday, April 13, 2015

mariner's compass - what a challenge!

Well, it has been two weeks since my last post. Time has flown by, and I have hardly gotten any sewing done, so it seems. I think I managed to post a couple of sneak peeks of my last block from the Advanced Sampler on Instagram, but that was it! The kids had two weeks off for Easter vacation, and I took two weeks right along with them! You only live once! We enjoyed sleeping in late, staying up, playing outside (when it wasn't raining) and just enjoying the free time.

Let me tell you what I was working on in my free minutes of stolen sewing time. I decided to add this stunning 12" Notched Mariner's Compass to my Advanced Sampler quilt. I originally wanted to make it paper or foundation pieced, but wanted to give myself a challenge and work with templates. I printed out the necessary templates from EQ7 and traced over them onto a clear plastic sheet. I didn't really think about the added seam allowance of a self-made template in the beginning. You see, when you trace around the original template, you add just a little bit to the shape. When you cut out the template, you add again, just a little bit. And then when you trace the template onto your fabric, you add, yet again, a little bit. In the end, this added 1/2 to a 12" block! I didn't realize this until all four quarters of the block were made. Each corner block should have measured 6.5" instead of 6.75". I thought I could shrink the block down by soaking in water for an hour and throwing it in the dryer. Absolutely didn't work. It was the same size in the end 13 inches!

Time to come up with Plan B! I could reduce the size (height) of the notches (outer ring) by either cutting them back and piecing a quarter circle around them meaning I would have to separate the four quarter of the compass again OR reverse applique a 12" circle around the notched compass. I decided to go with the second. And, yet again....another skill builder. I have only used this method one other time on another mariner's compass.

I traced a quarter of a 12" circle onto a 14" white square of fabric with my awesome Frixion pen making sure my square was perfectly folded in half twice. This way, you only need to trace a 6" quarter circle. It is faster and saves paper!! Then I cut a whole about 3/8 in front of the circle line.  I notched the circle making sure NOT to cut into the line. I got out my normal glue stick and glued the white notched fabric down making sure they touched the outer ring. I measured it out with my ruler to really make sure I had a 12" notched mariner's compass and adjusted as needed. After it all was glued and pinned, I sewed around the white outer edge to secure or applique in place. Voila!

My block is now the right size! I reduced the total size from 13" to 12 1/2" inches by reducing the outer ring size by 1/2" and I used reverse appliqué - building more skills in the process. I actually think it is better to use this technique of applique rather than piecing four squares to the four segments, because you can "trick" the circle to really be round.

I am almost finished with all 12 blocks for my sampler. It has been in the works now for three+ years and am ready to finish it up. Would you like to see what it will look like in the end? Stay tuned. ;-)

What did I learn this week? Be careful when you use self-made templates and trim up your blocks before proceeding to the next step! What is your experience with templates? We would like to hear from you.