Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My thoughts on blogs and blogging...

I knew the question at the end of my last post, "Are you reading blogs?", was self-evident. What I didn't expect was the overwhelming response both in the comments and through email. {And the fact that so many of you read to the end of the post!} Thank you! I enjoyed reading your comments and the passion for blogging appears to be alive and well!

First, let me reassure many of you - no, I'm definitely not going to stop blogging. And thank you, thank you for all the compliments :-)

What got me thinking about blogging is some things that I've heard recently. A comment that "blogs are dead", a statement that "blogs are now marketing tools", and Rachel's post pointing out that there are definitely fewer hobbyist bloggers. Couple these comments with the fact that I seem to have lost my blogging mo-jo this Summer. I've been asking myself "do I like my own blog?", "would I read it?". Since joining on Instagram, the blog here has become - look at this finished quilt. Is that all readers want to see?

So I'm feeling the blog needs a little shot of adrenaline {or maybe I do!}

Certainly as many of you pointed out - blogs have changed.


I think that was certainly inevitable and change is good. Shifts and changes improve things - I think of how quilting has improved since my Grandmother's day.

Grandmother's Flower Blocks made by my Grandmother in the 30s
Sometimes the changes don't feel so good. As a passionate blog reader I've noticed:

  • Some of my favorite blogs have disappeared. Many bloggers have used the platform as a jumping off point for a quilting career. And good for them! In 2006, when I wrote my first book, it was tough to get noticed. But it doesn't mean I don't miss some of my favorites. I always looked forward to Camille's {Simplify} beautiful photos and Anna Maria Horner's  beautiful writing. {If you love beautiful writing, read Posie Gets Cozy. She's poetic!}
  • Blogs have become a marketing tool. Several of you mentioned a dislike for blogs that are constantly trying to sell you something. It's the way of the world, but I definitely avoid blogs with too much of that {especially those pop-up ads}
  • Comments are down. I'm guilty of writing fewer comments too {Was it easier to comment when we had Google Reader? I don't remember} I don't blog for comments, but I sure do like them!
In thinking about all this I have been asking myself "What do I want my blog to be?" "Do I want to keep up my 'hobbyist blog'?". The answer is yes - and here's why:
  • Like Thelma commented, my blog is a great diary of my quilts for ME!
  • I've found myself finishing a quilt, folding it up and moving on to the next one. My blog makes me stop, appreciate it, think about it and feel the joy I find in quilt-making.
  • I'm a mediocre photographer and writer. I'd love to improve in both areas and this blog is a way to push myself, practice and hopefully get better.
  • Whenever I figure something out - whether it's a new block, method or twist on a purchased pattern - I feel a need and obligation to share it. I get so much good info from other blogs and bloggers, I can't not give back. It may be a tutorial or just a simple tip to make quilting-life easier.
  • I was watching the Olympic gymnastics with my 6 and 8 year old granddaughters. A few minutes into the competition they both put their bathing suits on and started practicing cartwheels. It made me realize how much seeing another's success and achievements is so motivating. I strive to do that here - inspiring just one person makes my day!
So, yes, I'm still blogging. Things may stay the same or they may improve. We'll just have to see. But these thoughts and your comments have given me that little touch of adrenaline that I needed. 

I'd love to hear from you. What do you like to see?

Finished quilts? - I'll always have those!

In progress photos? I've seem to have gotten away from those.

Scrappy Trip - not so scrappy
Things I make that I don't finish and don't know what to do with? Sad to say there are many!

EPP Hexagons


Fabric Crushes?

Les Fleurs, Playground, new mini Henna garden

Personal stories related to quilting? Like these dresses I made for Elyse and Madelyn this Summer for my son's wedding. {Pictured with their new cousin Ava}


Decorating, storage and organization ideas? Another passion of mine...

Fun storage basket for quilts from Target
Thank you, thank you, thank you for being here and sharing this journey with me. I really do appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to read this blog. As always I love your comments. Those of you who don't fit into the "Post as" profile can always email me. I have that set up so I don't get all the Spam comments.

And as an avid blog reader I'm always looking for new reads. Do you have any favorite "hobbyist blogs"?

43 comments:

  1. All of the above for topics. I love learning about the personal lives behind the blog, it makes the experience more personal. Also as a organization and decoration lover please share how you store 100 quilts! I feel like mine are everywhere.

    You are right about blogging sifting, I like to think of it more as changing of the guard. The originals are moving on and others are stepping up to fill the void! I love the space you created here online.

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  2. I don't think I saw you last post (i was on vacation and am still catching up). But I'm glad to hear you'll continue blogging as yours is one of the few I read regularly. I'm guilty too of not posting as much on my blog and also not posting as many comments as I used to. But for me that's because my life has dramatically changed since I started my blog. I'm now working full time outside the house and more changes are on the way! I do plan to keep up my blog at least as a diary of my quilts, but hope to add more content as well. I love all your unfinished projects and especially the blocks from your grandmother!! WOW!

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  3. I'm fond of my blog! I think if you blog for yourself instead of trying to please or cater to invisible people on the internet you will like the results more.

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  4. I enjoy all of the above in a blog. I particularly like in progress posts as well as finishes. I like to see how others solve problems and what their thought process is as they work through challenges. I often say that I would blog even if no one read what I wrote because it is a log of my quilting. But it is gratifying to know that I have helped someone out and that others enjoy seeing what I am working on.

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  5. I always love reading your blog (even though I don't comment as much as I used to)! I miss Camille's and Anna Maria's blogs as well.

    I say blog about all of the above. I feel like my blog is still my diary of projects, but I feel like a lot of people are looking for useful information, too (and I feel like you do a great job of providing that).

    I think a lot of people (myself included) live in rural areas or in places where it's hard to get to a quilt shop or guild, and blogging provides a community of quilters.

    Thank you for all of your wonderful posts!

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  6. I am guilty of not commenting but did want to answer some of the questions you have asked. I appreciate the sharing of "what do I do with this" problems, why can't I finish this?" I also like to see work in progress and new tools and solutions that you have learned. New ideas for organization is also appreciated. Keep blogging, please.

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  7. These days I don't have enough time to read blogs or post to mine very often. I love blogs because they contain bits and pieces of everything. Great diary of what a person has done. I sometimes look back on mine and think Oh, I'd forgotten that. I guess I'm a little old fashioned and find Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook a little like cryptic crosswords - I haven't a clue what they are talking about (that is if there is any words or comments). Haven't a clue what they are responding to or saying.....all code. Blogs are so much more.

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  8. I don't have a blog, so this may be wrong. It seems like sharing the things that interest you is probably the best way to keep blogging enjoyable. Sure, stretching yourself now and again with something new is good, but sustaining something long term always seems to work best when one is enjoying the activity.

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  9. I've always enjoyed reading your blog. I'd say write about all of the things you listed above! I've always struggled with what to write on my own blog. I feel like Instagram was created the mentality that everything has to be finished and pretty all the time, even though life is rarely ever like that. It's nice that blogs can remove that filter and be more personal (something I need to work on).

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  10. I am guilty of "no comment". Trying to change that. I like to see in progress posts and
    to celebrate a finish with my regular bloggers. Thanks for posting!

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  11. I love your blog and have made several quilts that you shared on your blog. Great inspiration. My loves are similar to yours, always on the look out for a cute storage idea, fall for fabric even though I have more than enough to quilt for 3 years, love comments about family and have quilt envy when you and Thelma post another quilt all done. Keep up the blogging I will try to comment more often. Thanks H

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  12. I am a "longtime" reader/follower and WILL continue to be! :) Thanks.

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  13. I love to read quilting blogs and yours is one of my favorites. I love your work and your photos. You and and all those other great bloggers out there keep me inspired. I must have 50 quilts on my "I want to make". List. All found on these wonderful blogs. Thank you!

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  14. I have been following your blog since I started quilting 3 years. Thanks for all the great inspiration.

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  15. First, let me say how much I like your Reverse Sawtooth Quilt in your last post. I really like the fabrics you chose, but I must say I could not have used those fabrics on the back. They were too special and I would have wanted them on the front too! I am glad you shared the name and description of the background fabric because at first I thought it was just off white, but when you said it was dots, I had to zoom in! Very nice choice! I do want to know what you mean by organic straight lines. I am guessing you aimed for straight lines but didn't use any tools or marking to make them perfectly straight? I like the way your quilting looked. My great aunts quilted everything like that and I think it perfectly suits their quilts. I do have a new blog (and I suppose it is a hobbyist blog). It is PondHollowQuilts.blogspot.com . I don't do Instagram yet, so I don't understand the fascination for it. I enjoy reading quilting blogs and I think it is nice when they include other bits and pieces about the writer's life that aren't quilt-related.....like you did with your granddaughters. (I bet you enjoy them!) I enjoyed your post today!

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  16. I understand your feelings but you do very nice work. I don't blog regularly because my sewing and quilting is just not that good. We go full time RVing next year so my daughter is designing a blog for us. I also like tutorials. I follow several that are helpful.

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  17. I also live in a rather remote area and blogs are my quilting community. I've made many friends around the world, some for almost ten years, now. I 'meet' new quilty friends regularly. I want to read about whatever you are inspired to share. It motivates me, stimulates me, teaches me, and brings me pleasure. Taking pictures is what slows my own blog writing down! I can photograph the tiniest mushroom on the dark, dank forest floor and it becomes a majestic memory, but when it comes to taking quality pictures of my quilts and/or the process, I fall short! Guess we always need room to grow! I'm pleased you'll continue share your little corner of the world with us all. XO

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  18. "Yes" to personal stories; "yes" to in progress projects; "yes" to fabric crushes; "yes" to everything you mentioned as well as tips, tricks, techniques and tutorials! I miss you terribly since you've moved to SC. Following you on IG and reading your blog is an effective means of benefiting from your expertise and achieving that feeling of having you nearby. Gina

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  19. Yes, blogging has and is ever changing. I do not think that is is dead, though. Many bloggers have abandoned their blogs for social networking and other sharing platforms, but blogging still has an important place. It is difficult to keep up with multiple online presences. I really enjoy seeing your quilts, and hearing about your inspirations as well as the quilting process. The family aspect is also nice, though many limit the photos of their family members (I never publish photos of anyone without their permission). Some bloggers even purposefully crop their children's faces from photos, and with today's security issues that is actually not a bad idea. Great points you make about what do you want your blog to say to people, and what it says to you. I struggle with good blog writing. Trying to keep things upbeat and cheerful is not always easy. We all have sad events in our lives, but sometimes online is not the beat place to discuss those issues. I say this in reference to some blogs that always gripe/complain about things. Thank you for not doing that on your blog. No one wants to read a 1,000 word post full of that. So, moderation is a good thing. Please keep on blogging! So many of us love your blog. It is well written and cheerful, with great photos also. Plus, you teach us so much about quilting. Your post has really helped me a lot. Thank you for your insights.

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  20. I enjoy reading quilters' blogs. I appreciate the fact that they take the time to write and share photos and give me inspiration. In progress and or finished projects - they're all fun to see.

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  21. I love reading blogs and subscribe to my favorites. This way I do not miss a post. I think I do blogs here on my computer because I don't want to attach my email address to my phone and I don't do social media. Who can keep up! Just observing how they switch things up all the time is enough for me not to do that. Sometimes, the silence and the reading of what my favorites post is encouraging. I can use their tips, their color inspirations and patterns too. I have always used my hands and some form of needle. Too me that is a great gift and those that cannot use the tools are missing out. However, if they read the blogs, they too can learn and then our craft continues on. I'll continuing reading and viewing your posts as long as I am here and you are too!

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  22. Thank you for your thoughts Cindy! I have found that since reluctantly joining IG, I check on other things including blogs, less frequently...that may also be due in part to computer troubles, as well as a big move this summer. It all coincided to bring my blogging routine crumbling down! That said, I do not feel a connection to IG folks, unless I have a prior blogging connection. I also find the staggering quantity of color and quilts a bit overwhelming. compared to the easy scroll through one person's blog post at a time. I am trying to find the balance too. And I kinda resent my IG for that...irrationally maybe, but I do :)

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  23. I enjoy your blog as well as others, as I'm fairly new to quilting. So I use them to glean any ideas, methods, ways to improve my piecing, etc. I don't have the luxury of asking my Mom or NaNa for advice, as they passed away before I started quilting. So these blogs are now my "online cousins" who I go to for advice, even though it's passive learning. I love the tutorials, in progress photos, and especially seeing the finished project! The dresses you made for the wedding were adorable! Keep up all the good work!

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  24. Cindy, you have beautifully articulated my reasons for blogging. Thanks so much for putting into words the thoughts that were only half-formed in my mind. I'm looking forward to your continued blog and whatever you care to share, with whatever changes happen along the way.

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  25. I love your quilts and the beautiful work you do. I also follow you and other blogs I follow on Instagram. I read the blogs when they're not selling something; I'm pretty good at being passive. But I'm also a great "lurker." I think there are more lurkers out there than you think. We love to read blogs but just remain in the background for various reasons. I just don't comment vary often, but I still read blogs. Of course, my reading them goes in spurts just like your writing them does. Summer is almost over and I'm getting back to my sewing room more often, so my blog reading has increased recently mainly for inspiration.

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  26. I just found your blog, so I hope you keep blogging
    I have tons of unfinished stuff...... I thought I was the only one, really.
    I used to have shame, but now I just do not tell anyone.
    It is good to put stuff aside for a while and think about it.
    Vincent Van Gogh did, and I am sure many other arteeests.
    I love the scrap quilt!

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  27. I like your blog. Some bloggers don't write often enough for me. I lose interest if they only blog every six months.

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  28. I'm so pleased you will continue blogging, Cindy. Yours is one of my absolute favorites, even if I don't comment often. I came to Blogland late -- didn't even start reading quilt blogs till 2011 or so. Being a blogger myself (since 2012), I understand and appreciate the time it takes to come up with attractive posts containing interesting content and sharp photos. I do follow some quilters on Instagram but much prefer the depth that blogs provide. I have, however, given up on some blogs that are so sponsor-heavy they take forever to load (and aren't as fun to read)!

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  29. I enjoy reading your blog. I have for a few years. I love to quilt and enjoy reading blogs on my favorite pastime. I have learned of new pattern designers, new techniques, favorite blocks, tips and tricks, and all about sewing room storage plus fabric. Love all of it. Continue writing and showing us your passion. I read several blogs all will start commenting more often so that you know you are appreciated.

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  30. I just found your blog in another blog's sidebar. I have many of the same feelings as you do. When I first started reading blogs, Camille's was one of my favorites and I miss it. I began blogging in late 2010 or early 2011, I can't remember exactly without looking it up. I wanted to be one of those who shared pictures and stories with others and I do love to get comments also. I miss the bloggers who only instagram, because I don't and I don't want to. I am always looking for blogs to take their place. Blogs inspire me to keep on quilting and give me new ideas to try when I get stuck, as all creative people do sometimes. And I call bloggers my friends because I feel like they are my friends. I stop reading blogs when they become just a self promotion vehicle. I get it, but I don't want to be a part of it. Jeni Baker of In Color Order has recently stopped designing fabric and is going back to more creative pursuits that she is blogging about, so we are not alone. We all lose our mojo occasionally. Last year I had breast cancer and lost the desire to sew, blog or even read about sewing and quilting. But once treatment was over, it came back, albeit slowly. So keep on blogging and I will start following your blog too. I love finishes, fabric shots, WIPs and even personal sewing for the grandkids. All stuff I do. And I will try to take the time to comment occasionally.

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  31. Glad to hear you are not stopping your "blog" as I read all the time and do try to comment now and again. Love, love, love reading all your posts and looking at your great quilts....
    Thanks

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  32. I'm glad that you are still blogging. I am also completely turned off by blogs that are nothing but pop up ads. I read blogs for inspiration and help on my own projects. I find inspiration for color placement, tips on organization and designs that I want to put on my bucket list. I love to see photos of projects in progress and lovely fabric. The pictures of your grandmother's hexie flowers really intrigued me as I've been commissioned to put together a quilt using some antique grandma flower garden blocks. I've pondered over the way to do this for months. If you have any thoughts on the topic I would love to hear them. My client only has 7 blocks so it limits things greatly. I really enjoy your blog-so a big THANK YOU.

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  33. I love to see the accomplishments but so appreciate the "real" in life. Not saying the failures per say but life isn't so perfect. Sometimes it is portrayed that way and I appreciate that when others share the not so perfect and how they handle that along with all the great knowledge you have! Thanks so much!

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  34. Great post. I'm still very into blogs and love seeing not only the finished quilt but all of the steps, and sometimes missteps that it takes to get them to the finish line. For me it's about the fabric, the patterns, the motivation of seeing so much wonderful work and the creative energies of all the gals that I follow online, and I try and weave that into my blog as well. Oh, and the humour. Where would we be if we couldn't laugh at ourselves and with our pals? Keep blogging!!!

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  35. Thank you for continuing to blog! I love reading the quilting blogs, including yours (and subscribe), & miss some that have switched to Instagram only. Everything that you mentioned writing about are great subjects! I am also currently working on a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt & have not idea how to finish it off with a border/binding. Any tips on that would be much appreciated. One of my all-time favorite blogs is Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew. Her blog posts are short & sweet, but very informative and useful. She will post to IG, usually to let people know info for the quilt/project is on her blog. Blogs are inspiring & informative ... and you do beautiful quilting to inspire us all!

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  36. I've enjoyed this post - there's been a lot of interesting talk in blogland about this subject lately and it seems that there are still plenty of people out there who enjoy blogging and reading just for the fun if it. I'm pleased to have found your blog :-)

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  37. All of the above! I enjoy reading the thoughts of other quilters: successes, frustrations, family life, fabric musings...all of it. You never know when a particular line will just jump out and make a difference. For instance, in your last post about using simple straight line quilting on the sawtooth stars, you said it sometimes felt like "copping out." I think that every time I choose an "easy" quilting design. But your quilt is so beautiful that it reminds me that there are many paths to creating a lovely, finished quilt. I would *never* judge yours as too easy, so why should I judge my own that way? It's so, so helpful to have these discussions!

    I'm happy to browse a variety of blogs, reflecting the inner life of many quilters. It makes me feel part of a real community.

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  38. all of the above for me too! i definitely blog less since i started instagram but i still love sharing the process and where the inspiration comes from. i will always appreciate it as a personal journal of mine.
    thanks for the great post...i love your quilting and your blog...

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  39. I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate that even though you design your own patterns, you also support the quilting community by featuring quilts and projects you've sewn using patterns from others. Just recently you showed your finished Triangle Hexies quilt and I loved it so much I popped over to Quilty Love and snagged the pattern! I appreciate what you choose to share and admire your style. I also like the overall feel of your blog --- it's bright, uncluttered, and fun to read! I hope you keep at it because you do a fantastic job!

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  40. I blog with the hope to inspire someone with the quilts I make. Quilting has such a range - fabrics, skills, purposes, that there is something for everyone. I look at other blogs as inspiration, and to think of quilting in new ways, whether it's in progress or finished pieces. I do hope quilt blogging doesn't die out!

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  41. What I always love is seeing how a project develops, maybe with re-dos and detours, with the thoughts of the maker on why she/he chose to go a certain route.

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  42. I have fallen off both blog posting and reading this summer and am just now trying to catch up and get back into the habit. I could have written much of what you shared in this post. I am trying harder and harder to think of my blog as a personal record of my passion for design, color and fabric and not be too concerned with what other people think. I hope some of what I share will inspire and inform. That's why I read other blogs. To learn and find inspiration. I read mostly in Bloglovin and find it so frustrating when the links sometimes won't go through. Don't comment as much as I used partly for that reason. Also, if I've already seen the same thing on Instagram I might be less likely to read the blog post. I definitely don't like the pop up ads. My computer slows way down with those so I just go elsewhere. I think I've rambled on enough. Glad to know you're sticking with blogging.

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  43. All of the above appeal to me in a blog. It doesn't always have to be a lengthy post either, sometimes just a little list of what's happening right now with some beautiful photos is good too. I blog as a record for me, and to show my family who live away from me what I am up to. Keep blogging though - some of us enjoy taking time to read them.

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Thanks so much for taking time to comment!