Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Summer Quilt Challenge for the Modern Soul

Want to spice up your summer? Heat things up with a modern twist? Read on, as this is an opportunity for you to have a summer blast!

 Here is your chance to try modern quilting and have some fun at the same time! 

If you have never done modern quilting, or not sure where to start, try a small quilt like this fun contest! 

It is fabulous for those modern quilters that want to have a chance to play with a modern quilt on a smaller scale! Come and join in this summer!

The Scoop:

Create a 12” x 12” modern quilt complete with your choice of binding.
Think modern when designing your quilt, ie. minimalism, negative space, and use of colour, to name a few design concepts.
Must be completed by August 15th. All participants will be able to upload their project from July 15th until August 15th at Jackie’s Art Quilts blog (here).

Judging will take place and winners will be announced August 20th. Open to anyone. 


Thank you super awesome sponsors!!!

1st place  $75 gift certificate sponsored by Troll Brothers Quilt Designs

2nd place $50 prize sponsored by Amanda HerringDesigns

If you are showing your work on social media, please use #ModernSummerQuilt so we can all see what you are up to!

Let's have some fun this summer and make some great modern quilts!
Below my name is the Inlinkz Link up, click that and that will take you to the page where you can upload your challenge piece!

Friday, June 29, 2018

10 Tips To Get the Most From Instagram

Do you love instagram as much as I do?

As a quilter, I am completely in love with this social media app. It is fast, easy and so engaging. Whether you do it to try and drum up quilt business for your store, teaching, or for your own pleasure, these tips will help.

1. Take the time to find your theme.
That doesn't mean that you can only post things that are pink if that is your favourite colour! What that does mean is take a moment to find out what you want your Instagram account to do for you, and try and stay within that boundary. For example, for the most part mine is on quilting. I try and keep a consistent light background with my images and since I love pink, if I am designing graphics, I throw that colour in there. That doesn't mean that you never see a pic of my kids or a sunset, absolutely you will. But for the most part, you will get a feel when you scroll through my account.
Another one so you can get a feel for the theme, is Amanda Herring Designs. She is a fabric designer and you can see her color palette as you swipe through her feed.

2. Good Pics Make for Good Posts
It doesn't matter what social media platform you are using, pictures make the story. Ensure your pictures are clear, concise and tell the viewer something. Watch too much clutter in a background and your lighting as well. There are some wonderful apps that can help brighten up and edit your photos. Use them, they make all the difference in the world.  Instagram has some editing features built right in, don't be afraid to play around with them.

3. Add your name/watermark/logo.
I will always add my quilt name when posting pictures of finished pieces. It is one way of making it more difficult for someone to 'borrow' my photos.  I will often use an image resizer like Image Size to bring the image quality down. It doesn't show up on a screen, but if they went to print it, they would get a very grainy and blurry copy.

4. Write good content.
Along with having a fabulous picture is the story you write to associate with that image. Make it meaningful, share a bit about yourself, and make it genuine. Readers want to relate to you, that keeps them engaged.

5. Be Sure to Like and  Leave Comments 
While it is always fun to see who liked your post and what comments were left, it is equally fun to return the favor. Be sure to check out your feed and like posts that you find interesting and leave comments often. Plus it is a great way to make friends and have more people follow you.

6. When To Post
This can be debated till the cows come home, but get to know your audience. Use your insights on Instagram and you can learn alot about your activity, content and audience.

You can find it at the top right corner, the 4 little lines that look like a graph. Take a look around.
You can see that Fridays, noon and 9 pm are good times for me to post.

7. Use hashtags.
Those pesky little # signs are vital in Instagram. It is the search engine that allow people with similar interests to find you, and for you to find them. Instagram allows you to search by people, tags or places, making it easy and fun. Take some time to figure out what hashtags work for you. As well create your own specific hashtag. Make sure no one is using it and then use it so you can easily find your own work. If you are a part of a contest or quilt along, or group project, often a hashtag will be created just for that project so you can use it so others in that group can see what each person is doing.

8. Tag
Don't be afraid to tag others on Instagram if it is relevant to them. When I use a specific fabric  for a project, I tag that company by using the @ sign and the name they use on instagram. It alerts them that their product is being used and often they will like or comment on it, thereby increasing engagement.

9. Be Regular
Try and post on a regular basis. If you set out to do it once a day, try to ensure you have content built up in advance so if life gets in the way, you have something to fall back on. That doesn't mean you have to create a quilt every day. Use progress shots, or images of your favourite threads, tools etc. And that 'Repost' app can come in handy on occasion as well. Don't post to simply to throw a post up, while being regular is important, being authentic is more important.

10. Be You
Your Instagram should be a reflection of the story you want to tell, whether you are an online quilt store, or a quilter at the North Pole, figure out the story you want to portray and work on that. Nothing is more important than being genuine and honest. Only you know you, so don't try and copy the instagram icon that has 40,000 followers. Be You. Because that is pretty awesome!

Friendship Quilt Along with Amanda Herring Designs

You will be a little bit jealous. I had the thrill of participating in the sweetest quilt along ever! Amanda Herring hosted this fabulous quilt along!

This is what Amanda had to say about this fun quilt along:

Friendship is one of life's most vibrant quilts. It warms us, gives us a comfortable place to land, and brings color and pattern to our lives.  Join us in a quilting celebration of friendship as we sew the Friendship quilt together.  

Check out Amanda's blog to see what other participants are doing with their blocks!

I have my block done and am just stuck staring at it as I love it so much! 

I chose to use solid colours as I try and explore modern quilting a bit more. 
Seeing as I couldn't decide what to put my block into, I took the block and just repeated it and checked out

Thursday, June 7, 2018

How Quilt Guilds Can Use Social Media

Do you belong to a guild? No doubt if you do, you love it for so many reasons, and one huge part of that is probably the social!

The downside of that is many guilds only meet once a month. 
How nice would it be to stay connected to your guild every day, when you want!

Enter social media for quilt guilds. 

Social media has so many extraordinary tools that guilds can capitalize on to make the most of your guild!

Have your guild set up an Instagram account. You can read about it here.  Post pics of your guild's show and share so those that missed the meeting can see the eye candy. And if you shared a quilt, you can share on your instagram account by using 'repost'. You can post up to 10 pics at a time by simply hitting the little pic icon at the bottom right of this pic that will then allow you to select up to 10 pics from your gallery. 

I love scrolling through a guild's instagram post to see the great quilts shown at their meeting.

What a fantastic way to reach your members and keep socializing long after the meeting is over!

You can create a page that allows everyone on facebook to see what you are up to and to really hilight your guild and events. With a page, only the editors and administrators can post. But you can add comments. An example of a page is mine  at Jackie's Art Quilts. You can see that only I create posts but anyone can comment. 

 A group is often a great way for guilds to communicate and it can be open or closed. Regardless if it is open or closed, anyone can post in the group. Which is a fabulous way to ask questions, show your quilts , send meeting reminders etc. 
Open meaning that anyone on facebook can view the group's content. 
Closed meaning, a person must get permission to join and you can then share pics, post guild reminders, events etc within a network of people.  The Modern Quilters of Canada is a closed group but you can ask permission to join and then see and post pics of quilts, ask questions, comment etc. 
I love facebook groups for guilds as it encourages dialogue and continues to build communication and friendships.

Blogs used to be very popular and some guilds still use them as a tool for their guild. It is like writing a small story on a timely basis. Some guilds will post once a month and hilight the activities of the guild, pics of the quilts, and promote shows etc. You can often sign up to receive an email notification when the blog has been updated. The drawback is that this doesn't allow for much engagement by the reader. They can leave a comment but that is pretty much it. 

I find this is a great tool to share the guild newsletter, remind members of a guest speaker, what to bring etc for guild meetings. I like this used in conjunction with another social media platform that allows engagement or conversation back and forth. 

I hope your guild considers using social media to benefit their members.


Friday, May 25, 2018

4 Easy Steps To Create Friends Lists on Facebook and Why That Benefits Quilters

Do you have quilting friends and 'other' friends on facebook? And by other friends I mean those that don't quilt? (heaven forbid!)

I do have different groups of friends on facebook, and I was having some concerns that my non quilting friends were being inundated with quilt pics and my quilting friends probably didn't care about me asking what time hockey practice was for my son on facebook.  

Friend Lists

I did what every conscientious friend does, I created friend lists on facebook. With friend lists you can take all your friends and put them in special lists according to topics or things you have in common with them. And you can have them on more than one list. 

For example, I have a 'local' list which has all my friends in my community on it. And I have a 'quilt' list that obviously has all my quilting friends on it. 

Only Me So when I create a post, I pick which list sees the post. Sometimes I pick the 'only me' choice too if I want to save it in my feed. When would I use this? If it is a special post that I am sharing to my timeline that was on someone else's newsfeed that I might not want to share ie. a recipe or a great craft idea.

Are you convinced that friend lists are awesome?

Here are some easy steps to follow to create a Friends List.

How to Make a Friends List
  1. 1. Click  'Friend Lists' under 'Explore' on the left side of your News Feed.

2. Click 'Create List'

3. Name Your List

Enter a name for your list that will give meaning to you, and then enter the names of friends you want to add. I often just type in the first letter and a whole list of names comes up. Hit 'Create' when you are done. 

  1. Also note, you can go and edit these lists anytime and add or remove friends. And friends can be on as many lists as you want. 
  2. 4. Make a Post Using Your Friends List
  3. Now when you go to post the practice schedule for your kid's hockey or your amazing quilt, you can choose who sees the post. If you want every facebook friend to see that you just got your quilt juried in post, you hit 'Friends'. 

  1. Let me know if you like Friends Lists!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Modern Bookmarks to Teach Kids to Sew and Quilt

Do you want to teach kids to sew and quilt but sometimes find the task daunting? Although there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a child accomplish a project and be so proud of it!

I have a number of tutorials on teaching kids to sew, but the bookmarks are probably my favorite for those beginner projects. 

How to Make Bookmarks

Supplies - enough to make 5
Scraps of bright fabric
Batting 10” square
Backing 10” square

  1. Take your scraps of fabric and with your ruler cut long straight sides. You are looking at about 10” long by 1/2”-2” wide.

  1. Begin sewing the scraps together along the long side until it is approximately 10” x 10". 
  2. Press well.

  1. On the 10”x10” backing fabric, on the right side, draw out as many 2” x 7” rectangles as you can, leaving a 1/2” space between each and not getting too close to the outer edges.

  1. Layer in order:
         Backing wrong side up
         Scrap top right side up

  1. Flip over and pin in the center of the rectangles to hold layers in place.
  2. Set the machine to a tight zig zag stitch and sew on the lines you made for your rectangles.

  1. Once done, cut out close to the stitch line and you have made your bookmarks!

Start enjoying using them! They have endless possibilities and make fabulous gifts! Be sure to send me a note if you make some!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Pinterest - Why Quilters are Obsessed With It


Why are some quilters in love with pinterest? What are those pins and boards they spend all their time on?
Read on to see why quilters adore pinterest!

What Is It?

Pinterest is where people discover new ideas and find inspiration to do the things they love! Pins or pictures of items are saved to boards, keeping your ideas organized and easy to find. 

How Do I Use It?

1. Create a profile. 
Similar to facebook and Instagram, work your way through the profile steps. Here is a great 2 minute video.

2. Create a Board

To create a new board on your account, click 'Boards' button in the middle of the page and then click the big red '+' button on the page. Select the option to Create a Board and give it a good name. As an example, I created one called 'Beginning Quilting'.

3. Add a Pin
To add a pin to one of your boards, use the search engine in pinterest to search for  a topic you like. I typed in beginning quilting in the search bar and then hit enter. 
Hundreds of 'pins' or pictures will show up. By clicking on the image it will open up another screen to give you a close up and description. By clicking one more time, it will take you to the website the picture came from. 
As you hover over each picture, in the top right hand corner will be a small red box with a picture of a pin and the word 'save'. This will give you the opportunity to save the pin or image. You can also click on the pic and still have the opportunity to save it on the next screen. 

Once you click on the 'save' button, you will then be guided to see what board you want to pin your image in.

If you want to add your pin to a new board, you can create one directly from the drop down menu as well. Once you've selected the board, write a description of your pin. Your boards can be public or 'secret'. Secret means only you see them. I have used this when planning a surprise party and one of my followers was the person I was planning the party for, so I didn't want to tip them off on ideas I was collecting for the party. 

I love pinterest as I not only have boards for all the different genres of quilting, but woodworking recipes, gardening, you name it, pinterest has it! 
To get you started, take a look at the different boards I have created. 
One of my favourite followers is Jina Barney. She has a board for everything! 

4. Follow People, Boards and Topics

You can also follow people on pinterest and they can follow you. When you click on the image, at the bottom it will tell you who saved that pin to their board and name their board, you can click on their name to see their profile and if you like what they are pinning you can follow them. Or you can even just follow one or two of their boards if you like. Again, look for the red 'Follow' button on their profile and on their boards. 
Once you follow a profile or boards, on your own profile, if you hit Following, you have the option to look at the people, boards and topics you are following. 

Give it a try, although you may want to set a timer. Friends have told me they get lost on pinterest!  
Let me know what you enjoy most about it!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Meet Maud

Please go and check out my new page 'Meet Maud' on my blog.

Maud is a part of me so familiar that sometimes I feel she is me.
Starting with one little sketch in my design book and playing with thread, fabric and my machine, Maud was created. From there my sketch book is filled with possibilities and now she has taken on a journey that I truly don't know where it will end.

The original Meet Maud quilt. 2017

I am currently working on a submission for a juried exhibit at the Houston Quilt Show. It requires a woman on a quilt that is 6' tall and 2' wide. 

I had to draw it out on paper first and then cut the shapes out of fusible paper and then transfer that to fabric. The background is strips of yellows that blend into strips of green. 

Following the same style as the original small pieces, the shapes are outlined two or three times in black thread, bringing her to life. Flowers made of rick rack and fabric were added down at Maud's feet. 

Since her outfit was a combination of light and dark pink polka dots, her purse was a bright blue polka dotted ensemble. 
Stay tuned as I finish this life size Maud quilt!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Instagram - Why It Is the Fastest Growing Platform for Quilters

What is Instagram
How Can I Connect It With Quilting?

Instagram is a photo and video sharing network connecting people. Quilters so far, mostly use it as a photo sharing tool.
It is a platform (app) that you can use with your mobile device, (phone) to take and upload a picture, give it a description and use some hashtags and you are off and running. If you aren’t comfortable or don’t have a phone, you can still enjoy looking at Instagram on your ipad, or laptop or desktop.  

How Do I Use Instagram?

Similar to facebook, you set up a profile after you have downloaded an app, complete with login information. Simple instructions are found here. A nice thing about Instagram is you can keep your account private if you want, meaning only those you choose to allow as your ‘followers’ can see your pictures etc.  Kids often use this privacy setting. It still allows you to explore the platfiorm and follow whom you wish.

If you have a public profile you can follow and can gain followers to your page.
You can find industry leaders in quilting on Instagram, your favourite quilters and so much more!
  Kathleen Riggins for example, one of Canada’s leading long armers posts wonderful pictures of her quilts and how she is quilting them. Stacey Day a well known pattern designer is also on here.

Benefit of Instagram for Guilds

Many, many modern quilt quilds also put up there show and share from a guild meeting on Instagram. Look at Vancouver MQG.
Instagram is great because you can put one picture up or up to ten photos and the viewer just swipes across to see them all. You can also post videos up to one minute in length as well.

Instagram also allows for 15 second stories that stay on the top of the screen for 24 hours.
For the average quilters to use, you will most likely use the upload of pictures of your quilts.

Do I Need to Add a Description and Hashtags?

Adding a description is basically telling the story of your quilt. Which as you know quilters love to learn what the picture of the quilt or block is all about.
Hashtags are wonderful search engines and are mostly found in Instagram and twitter. By putting the pound sign or # in front of a word or group of words with no spaces, it allows people to use it to search for topics.  As an example try searching #modernquilt or #quiltsofinstagram and as you can see in the example 80,017 posts used the tag #modernquilt in Instagram and you can search through them... maybe not all 80,000, in one night=)

I use  Instagram to show my work and will use tags so that others that like the same thing I like can see it. Some will follow me and I have the opportunity to follow them. You can also use it for brands as well. I often use #janome or #rileyblakedesigns when I have used that product in my work. Most brands have their own hashtags and will look for those using that brand. If I enjoy a product, I like to tell others about it.
On one such occasion I used #janome and Janome America contacted me and asked if they could put one of my pics on their site… that was fun!

How Do I See All the People I Follow on Instagram?

You will get a newsfeed similar to facebook by pushing the little house or home button at the bottom of the screen and it will show you your feed of all those you follow.
As you scroll through your feed you can hit the heart found at the bottom of each post, showing you like the post and also add a comment using the bubble button. You can see below I have liked the picture by Sue Daley.

How Do I share a Picture?

On each post you see  the heart, comment bubble and an arrow, by hitting the arrow, you will be able to find whom you want to send the post to and add a comment. So I could send this post on to my friend 'myquilts' and tell her how much I like this colour combo.   It is a private message between her and I.

What is Tagging?

Tagging is simply identifying someone in a post. You can do it in facebook, Instagram and twitter. By using the @sign and adding their name, it will alert that person that they have been tagged in a post.
What quilters can find lots of fun is if for example they used WonderFil threads in a project, when they post a pic of their quilt, they can add their description and within it say used @wonderfilspecialtythreads and then WonderFil will get a notification and most likely will go and like or  leave a comment on your post! On occasion they will post your work to their site, which can help you gain followers if you are interested in that and if not, be flattered they loved your work!

Regardless of what your motive is for using Instagram, it is a wonderful platform for being able to see the quilting world.

What are your favourite features about Instagram?