Thoughts On Binding

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I am so excited to share that  I actually finished a real quilt in 2016! Here is a picture of the binding.  It’s not perfect but pretty good considering I probably went all of 2015 without putting on a traditional  binding.
Here are some thoughts which I shared on IG and FB but I added a couple of bonus thoughts  just for my blog  readers) and because I thought of them after I shared everywhere  else)
1) Always check the recommended width of the strips before cutting,  I cut mine at 2.5″ because that sounded right in my head but 3″ would have made life so much better.
2) When machine binding and planning to finish by machine, stitch the folded binding on the BACK of the quilt then fold to the front
3) At each corner  leave a tail of thread to hand finish the miter
4) Use a matching thread to stitch the binding  to the quilt because when you have to fold the binding  over to cover it, it will blend better 
5) A zigzag stitch is a life saver for this method
6) Eleanor Burns still has the best tutorial  in her book Egg Money Quilts and I’ll probably  never get rid of that book because of the tutorial for binding (and her instructions are for machine finished  binding!)

Bonus thought:
Clover clips are not just useful for hand binding, they are perfect for machine binding too  since they hold the small edge in place and they don’t poke!

Binding isn’t hard and isn’t something to be afraid of.  It’s the best part of a quilt because it means it’s finished and it feels so good to finish something that can actuality be used by adults (coming from a girl who only made mini quilts in 2015).  Just take your time, do some research (I have a whole board dedicated to binding  tips on Pinterest) find a technique that you feel comfortable with. Don’t worry about it looking perfect because in the end as long as it holds up through wear and tear and washing then it is doing it’s job. If you still hate binding  but have lots of quilts to bind, find a friend who enjoys it and work out a swap. Just do the first part of the work  by squaring up the quilt and making the binding at least.

If you have any favorite binding tutorials you’d  like to share please link them in the comments below.  I’m probably going to do a binding test during my summer quilt retreat.

Good luck  and happy stitches!

Anna

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Tutorial Tuesday: Pinterest

Tutorial Tuesday

Do you know which website I adore almost as much as I love Instagram (and you know how much I love Instagram)?  Pinterest.  If I’m looking for ideas for decorating or parties,  I’ll search there before I search Google.  Why? Probably because of the visual nature of the site and the ease in which I can find items and save them for reference later by pinning them to a virtual cork board. If I need inspiration for a mini quilt or color ideas, Pinterest, it’s so easy to create a new board and save every item that catches my eye.

How does it work?

I think Pinterest is the best tool for nursing moms who are holding the new baby in one arm and only have one free arm. To use Pinterest you only need to have one hand free for clicking the mouse. In fact when I was nursing my son I think my pins probably doubled in that time. The pins come from everywhere around the interwebs. When you sign up you can install a widget in your browser tool bar that is the little “p” logo, that allows you to find content all around the Web and pin it to whatever board makes the most sense to you. I have at least 10 boards that are only quilt related posts. I have 3 or 4 that are about different types of organizing, I have inspirational sayings boards, and some for recipes that I may or may not ever make (but they sure look good). I even have a board of items that I’d NEVER make in 100 years, it’s called Not in 100 Years!  (If you want more of that, look up @pinterestyouredrunk on Instagram, hilarious!)

Following Boards vs Following People

When you join pinterest you’ll be prompted to follow people you know who are on there, it really is just another form of social media after all, depending on how you sign in it will pull from your Facebook friends or your email (I think it pulls from FB because I noticed my profile picture is always the same as my FB picture). You can visit the boards your friends have created and pin from their boards OR choose to follow their boards.  I’d highly recommend you follow specific boards instead of following people because even though you love your sister and you may be interested in her quilt board and her ideas for fast recipes, you may not have any interested in her newly created board about hiking the Appalachian mountains. Anytime she pins something to the boards you are following,  those items will show up in your feed on your home page. So only following the boards you are interested in will keep your feed less cluttered. I made the mistake when I first joined of following people and ended up with 30 or so pins about wedding plans and tropical plants in my feed and realized I needed to be more selective.

A recent addition is that Pinterest will show related posts which are not from people you follow and promoted posts from people who are paying to get their content in front of your eyes. Recently, I’ve started seeing pins in completely different languages show up as related posts, which is rather annoying but I’ll talk more about what to do about that next week.

I hope this quick Pinterest overview has piqued your curiosity and you’ll consider checking it out. The Android app is really user friendly but the website is great too (they started out just before Smart Phones became the thing). If you decide to sign up, look for me, my name is craftygirlanna and I have something like 3500 pins for your entertainment (although most of them are quilt related).

Fair Warning

Oh and fair warning: Pinterest is the best way to waste time since Spider Solitaire (the computer version). When you start pinning you may get sucked into the time vortex and look up thinking a couple of minutes have passed and it has been two hours. So don’t say I didn’t warn you.

If I can figure out how, I’m going to link this up with Late Night Quilter (Stephanie) Tutorial Tuesday round up.

Happy Stitches!

Anna

Insta-Friday: What is Instagram?

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I know I talk A LOT about Instagram and I use hash tags in my posts, A LOT. I thought I’d try to do a weekly post (short and sweet hopefully) to provide my perspective on Instagram and hopefully share some of my excitement about it with you. I’m a teacher at heart and if I find a tool I love I just want to share it with EVERYONE! (Check out the podcast called Compulsory, I think it’s episode 3 or 4 which talks about the compulsion to share something exciting with everyone you know). I thought I’d frame these posts as a question/answer sort of format. This is only from my perspective, and I’m not an expert, I just obsessively use Instagram almost every day for at least an hour so I feel like I can easily answer questions about the program.

What the heck is Instagram?

Instagram is a form of social media where people can connect through images and words. We use our phones to take pictures all the time right? With Instagram, the focus is on the image, with a short description (which is actually optional). So you can take a picture (either within IG or with your camera on your phone) and then immediately share it on Instagram. People who see the picture (or post) can instantly provide feedback by leaving a comment or liking the picture (tapping the Heart icon). It’s a lot like Facebook, but without the “noise” on the sidebars. The one drawback of IG is that it is primarily APP based, meaning you’d need to download the app to your phone (iOS, Android and I think Microsoft has one now). There is a web based option but it doesn’t function the same way that the app does so you don’t have the same options and functionality.

Why should I use Instagram when I finally just figured out Facebook?

There isn’t any rule that says you can’t use both. I think of Instagram as a fast way to see lots of pictures and see what people are saying and doing right now. It’s a feed based on the people you follow, so if you have IG friends in Australia who post when you are sleeping, you might not see what they post, unless you search for them and view their feed specifically. (Facebook is the same way, if you aren’t checking your feed when someone posts, you might not see their update)

You can actually post a picture and whatever description from Instagram over to Facebook in a couple of taps. I think of IG as a super micro blog, just post a picture or 20 second video and a few words and you’ll get almost immediate feedback from the people who follow you. In fact, I think a lot of bloggers have moved away from blogging because IG is so easy to use and the feedback is almost always instant.

How do I find people to follow?

Just ask your friends! Or find one friend you know on IG (You can follow me @sewgoodsewfar) and you can look at who that person follows. OR when you follow a new friend, IG will give you three recommended people to follow based on similar posts! Once you start to follow people, you will start to see the pictures they post in your feed (that’s the House looking icon on the bottom left side of your phone inside the app).

What is the purpose of those annoying hash tags?

Hash tags, when used correctly, make it easy for people who aren’t directly connected to post about similar things and share those posts with others who are looking for that similar subject. The hash tag (#) symbol preceding a word tells Instagram that you want to let people search for that term and see all posts with that same hash tag. For example, the big Modern Quilt Conference called QuiltCon just wrapped up last weekend. Folks who attended used the tag #QuiltCon2015 or #QuiltCon at the end of or in the middle of their description of the image.

You can search for that tag by clicking/tapping the magnifying glass icon in your menu at the bottom and searching for the tag QuiltCon2015 or QuiltCon (I don’t think the words are actually case sensitive but you do have to spell it correctly) and all the posts that anyone tagged with that word will appear in one long feed. The last time I checked, the tag QuiltCon had more than 7000 posts (but that was including 2013 as well).

If you want to try this out, and you ARE NOT on a fabric buying diet like I am, check out the tag #thegreatfabricdestash which has more than 60000 posts of people who are SELLING their own fabric stash for whatever reason.

If someone you follow adds a tag on their post, you can also tap the tag and it will take you to the same feed that you would get if you searched it.

I like to use tags for things that I think I will be posting about multiple times so I can keep track of them in one place. For example, I used #5kby35 when I was working on finishing the Couch to 5K app before my 35th birthday. I just started one called #findthejoy2015 so I can look at the posts I created that I consider inspiring. I also used #quilt15February and several other people have joined in that one to share what they were doing every day in February to quilt or create something for 15 minutes a day! Hash tags are a good way to connect with others on another level because you know they specifically share your same interest.

There is a trick to using hash tags that I sort of learned the hard way. If you are going to tag one of your posts, try to make it very specific. Instead of using #accountability because you want to keep track of your projects try changing it to #quilteraccountability I used #accountability on a post and because my account is public, people were liking my post who I thought had no “reason” to like it in the first place. I always check the profiles of the people who like my posts (out of curiosity) and these people were fitness people and were not quilters and not people that I knew. I realized that I needed to be more specific in my tags from that point on.

Because IG has oh a few million users at least, there are always going to be people who use it as a marketing tool which ends up becoming SPAM. You can make your account private, but then if you use a hash tag, your posts in that tag will only be visible to people who are your IG friends/followers. I opened my account up to be public probably around  a year ago and if I notice that people are following my account who don’t seem appropriate, I will block and report them.

OK, well, I guess I could keep rambling about IG but now I just want to hear from YOU! Do you have any other questions about IG? If so, please comment here and I’ll answer them in next week’s post.

Next week I’ll talk about using Direct Messaging, how to Repost something you want to share and a great app to help crop your pictures.

Happy Stitches,

Anna

Tutorial Tuesday – Flickr Mosaic

Every Tuesday I hope to be able to post some sort of helpful tutorial. Since the HMQG is doing a swap this year at our Holiday party we were asked to create a mosaic and post it to our Flickr group. I thought it would be fun to create a tutorial for that and share it here. I know it’s an odd layout as one long scrollable image, but I think its kind of fun too. Please let me know if you find this useful and what other sorts of tutorials you’d like to see.MakeAMosaic