Things that have changed about blogging

Do you remember the good old days of geocities? Maybe someday horizontal bars and waterfall java applets will the plaid bellbottoms and doilies of technology.

My very first ever official “web presence” was in the mid-nineties, probably 1996. I created a Geocities account and set about learning HTML and then later JavaScript and CSS. It wasn’t a blog, but I filled it with page after tacky page of what I knew about the things that interested me: crafts, Tarot, runes, astrology, cooking, modern parenting, etc. There was no social network as we knew it. Instead, you searched through the Geocities database through the “neighborhoods” created by interest, or by using keywords in the search field. In those days, additions to search engines like Yahoo were user driven – I remember being enchanted with access to over 200 aromatherapy sites and thinking that was just fabulous. I was equally thrilled to be able to update the database with sites that Yahoo or Alta Vista didn’t have.

How things have changed!!

A lot of other things have changed, too. I was thinking about this when it dawned on me that I have been building webpages now for twenty farking years. Wow. I had accounts at Geocities, FortuneCity, Angelfire (come to think of it, I still have an account there), Xanga, and who knows how many others. Here are some of the things that I have noticed are different about blogging:

  1. The name. The first blog I ever owned was at Xanga and it was called a weblog. It was really simple and straightforward, you needed to know HTML to really jazz up your pages, and you had to pay for the privilege of having photos. Thank the gods it is no longer called a weblog!!! I can’t imagine calling myself a weblogger. There was no social sharing as we know it, there were individual bloggers in the community. If they liked you, they added you and your posts showed up in their dashboard newsfeed. Individual bloggers with HTML savvy would create their own blogrolls in the sidebars and show off everyone that they were linking to. It was a big deal when another blogger linked to you, especially if they were a popular blogger on the site. Blogging etiquette started to emerge.
  2. Coding. I haven’t coded – truly coded – a blog in years. YEARS. By this I mean making a pot of coffee, rolling up my sleeves, and pulling an all-nighter in front of the computer as I sifted line by line through my java trying with bloodshot, tired eyes to see where I went wrong and why my sidebar was gone. These days most websites are point and click. No knowledge of coding is needed. 99.9% of the time this is a good thing.
  3. Traffic. These days I am actively building my blog and its traffic. I guest blog, take classes in social media, blogging, and selling online. My goal is to be able to support myself as an indie designer. I remember the days when I was absolutely thrilled that my Xanga blogroll had about 60 blogs in it and I averaged about 20 comments to a post. It was like being in a charming, quaint cyberneighborhood that I could spend all day in, visiting neighbors and sometimes I did. Nowadays there are Better Blogger Books everywhere and everyone has a course that will teach you to “leverage your blogging presence” for maximum profit. Suddenly it sucks that I only get a few hundred hits to my site every day and I rip my hair out trying to make my presence known. Well…ok…maybe that was an exaggeration. I’m not ripping my hair out, but if I ever do I have a bag of hair extensions all ready to go.
  4. Comments. Back in the day we were all thrilled when the day came that we got, like, 50 comments on our weblog entries. Even better was when people were having conversations in the comments thread. You were totally one of the cool webloggers if people started having arguments in the comments thread. Oooooooh. The drama, the cattiness – you couldn’t not look and every one of you that made those sanctimonious “I just want everyone to get along, I don’t know why this stuff happens on my blog” – you lie!!!! You lied like cheap rugs, every one of you!!!! You all loved it, and you know it. These days hardly anyone comments on my blog anymore. I worried about this incessantly until I started taking classes in blogging and realized that people aren’t commenting in droves on a lot of blogs anymore. They’re commenting on Facebook or showing their support by pinning or curating.
  5. Twitter isn’t the big deal that it used to be. I still tweet, don’t get me wrong. My followers list grows every day and it’s over 800 now. I realize this isn’t massive compared to some other designers but it’s better than a kick in the bum, eh? I still do like Twitter, and I enjoy engaging there but I don’t get most of my traffic from there anymore. I get traffic from Pinterest, Google searches, and guest blogging. Not Twitter. All of my articles and patterns are shared, and there is a core of tweeps that I like to keep up with, but with the life span of a tweet being, like, 20 seconds, it’s not the best method of social sharing or self-promotion out there.
  6. Its ok to make money blogging. When monetization first came out, I remember the community at Xanga and other places being divided right down the middle. Some bloggers, like antisoccermom, embraced the idea and loaded their blogs with as much monetization as they could hold without sinking. Others bloggers that I followed couldn’t possibly comprehend why they should make money from their (insert foofy frilly adjectives here) pursuit of the blogged word. Both sides argued passionately and gave us all juicy stuff to read in the comments sections. I was in the middle. I used to give the side eye to my friends that argued about their noble pursuits being tainted with money, but I didn’t have the cahones to tell people to click those adlinks – I still remember antisoccermom getting after people in her blog posts – “You aren’t clicking them enough!!! You’re supposed to make me money!!!!” And you know what? They did!!! These days it’s not a matter of if you are going to monetize your blog, other bloggers will simply ask you why you aren’t, like as if you hit your head on the way to Google Adsense and forgot where it was.
  7. We are ok sharing way more about ourselves. I remember when no one would say where they lived, how old they were, what they looked like – we were all grand enigmas shrouded in weird little user names and goofy avatars. Blogging opened this up by opening us up. Those bloggers that were raw and open about their lives tended to be the most popular, because they were relatable. When social networking came along, it became de rigeur to be known by your own name because a lot of these sites insist upon it; the idea now being that you want to be found and you want to be known.
  8. Blogging started to change how we view photographs and photography. Nowadays the average 14 year old has about 10,000 selfies on Instagram and Facebook. Bloggers were among the first to plaster the internet with pictures of themselves, their DIY projects, and pets. Since those medieval times of the early 2000s, smart phones and apps have changed the way we display ourselves. No more stiff poses with red eye in front of the camera. That won’t do. Now everyone has at least half a dozen weird angle selfies, one bathroom in a bar shot, one looking down the table at the whole damned family at Red Lobster shot, a hundred photos of their meals, pictures of things on the ground with their toes in the bottom edge, up close shots of the texture of their sofa collaged with their kids, a flower in the garden, and a cupcake – you get the idea. Now there are photoblogs and sites like Instagram that communicate strictly with visuals.
  9. Sharing is a huge deal. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if blogs go the way of the dodo bird  because of interconnected smart phone apps like Instagram and I’m saying this as someone who loves blogging. I stopped blogging regularly around 2004 and then picked it up again when I started blogging crochet patterns in 2008. I worried about how I would share my work and how people would see it because there were no more web rings, blog rings, or neighborhood style blogging communities. I didn’t see how my little Blogger blog could be seen by anyone, anywhere. I had some serious catching up to do and I learned quickly as people found me left, right, and centre on Google when they searched for crocheted socks. I didn’t share a lot at first because I didn’t understand. I thought I would get in trouble for posting someone else’s things somewhere. When I first learned how to read my site stats and found out that for one month, 70% of my traffic came from a craft forum in Japan that was using one of my sock patterns for a CAL, I was excited and freaked out all at once. I didn’t know how I felt about that. It was weird. For about five minutes I wanted to take down my blog and hide everything. Then I got over myself and told one of my girlfriends, “Yeah. I’m pretty big in Japan.” hahaha

That’s what I can think of, off the top of my head. So have you noticed any changes in blogging over the years?


The importance of watermarking your images

OK, I will be the first to admit it, I am terrible when it comes to watermarking my images. This goes for both crochet and nail art (My day job is esthetics). I have read several articles online where lawyers, photographers, and other professionals basically poo-poo the importance of using a watermark on images because, in their words, “No one is going to make a million dollars from your photo.” True, that, but I’ve had my butt bitten locally. A discount salon in my city actually pulled my images from wherever I posted them on social media (probably Twitter or Instagram) and actually turned them into storefront advertising. Contact from one of my clients, a lawyer, resulted in all new marketing images at that salon – probably they just stole someone else’s – but at least not mine anymore.

The other argument I hear against watermarking is that it takes away from the image. This can be true but there are ways to make the watermark less obvious so that the viewer is not distracted by the tagline “ABC Crochet” (or whoever….I’m just pulling that one out of the air) and instead can focus on the lovely granny square afghan…or booties…or dishcloths. One of the things that we do with nail art is use the “curve” feature of some photo apps to produce a teeny tiny itty bitty little watermark that sits at the cuticle, hugging the shape of the finger nail. I’ve also seen wavy watermarks worked into the rows of blankets or sweaters. There are clever ways to watermark something, besides just stamping the image diagonally across the middle and ruining a good shot.

Like I said, I’m bad, bad, bad for watermarking things. I’d make it a resolution but I suck at keeping New Year’s resolutions. I am getting a little better at it, because I’ve been guest blogging and the blogs I’ve been a guest at have all required that my photos be watermarked with this website.

Regardless of what other people’s opinions on this may be, I can think of two reasons to watermark your crochet images:

  1. It is not a fool-proof means to theft protection, but at least your name is on there somewhere, provided that that the watermark isn’t in a spot that can just be cropped out. I know that no one is going to go out and “make a million dollars” on my work, as one lawyer wrote in a blog article on this subject, but he’s looking at the whole vast expanse of the Internet. I’m looking at the crochet world. The online crochet community may be millions of users strong, but thanks to the Google and Facebook algorithms, some of us keep bumping into each other because of our searches. Therefore it is highly likely that if my work gets stolen, someone I know or know of, will see it and let me know. This type of scenario plays out a lot in the crafting communities.
  2. Marketing!!!!! Share my stuff!!! Steal my stuff!!!! If it’s watermarked, then I know at some point at least some of those users are going to come back to this blog or to my Instagram or Facebook page. I know this because when I see something that I like, I look for the watermark to see where it came from and then I look that person up. I generally end up subscribing, liking, following, or whatever it is that I have to do to keep seeing that person’s work.

So go ahead – steal my stuff (well, please don’t because both stealing and pretending that my work is yours are wrong) – but steal the stuff that’s been watermarked. Everyone will know what a big poo-head you are for stealing and all that drama will drive traffic 😀

There are a lot of crafters posting and sharing photos that aren’t watermarked, that should be. I’ve watermarked for others and even though I stink when it comes to do it regularly, I know how and it always shocks me, how many of us don’t know how to get the most out of our smartphones. The app I use for this is called Phonto. That link takes you to the Google Play Store to look at it, but you can also view it on your phone at the right app store for your device.

Here is a short tutorial I prepared, using Phonto to watermark an image. The image is actually my next free pattern, which will be posted some time over the next few days:

Tap the app to get this page
Tap the app to get this page
Tap the icon to open up an image.
Tap the icon to open up an image.
You'll be prompted to choose your source.
You’ll be prompted to choose your source.
Once you've got your image, tap the edit icon to start watermarking.
Once you’ve got your image, tap the edit icon to start watermarking.
Voila!!! This image has been watermarked with my Instagram nic. I curved it to fit along the cowl edge. This makes it less likely to be lost if cropped, but doesn't really take away from the image itself.
Voila!!! This image has been watermarked with my Instagram nic. I curved it to fit along the cowl edge. This makes it less likely to be lost if cropped, but doesn’t really take away from the image itself. Once the image is saved, Phonto will prompt you to share. You’ll be taken to a page with a list of various social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.


Things that crocheters are tired of hearing

  1. “Crochet is a dying art.” Sure…..that’s why I’m doing it. That’s why there are eleventy billion crochet videos on YouTube….because absolutely no one but me is interested in this stuff.
  2. “This isn’t your grandma’s crochet!!” No, no it is not. My grandmother died in 1989, but she did teach me how to crochet, and how to make some kickass tea biscuits….don’t you feel like a big jerk right now.
  3. “Whatcha knitting?” Come closer….closer…..closer….THWAP!! Crochet hooks can also be used to pop you on the forehead when you ask that question.
  4. “Yeah…..crochet is okay for trim/baby booties/aghan/toilet paper cozies/insert awful 70s item here, but if you make socks/a sweater/gloves/etc., then you should really knit it.” If it can be knit, it can be crochet. It won’t be the same but that is the great thing about DIFFERENT techniques. They tend to produce different end results.
  5. “That yarn is for knitting. You can’t crochet with that.” I am going to carry a heavy wooden 20mm crochet hook in my purse, just so I can make like Little Bunny Foo Foo and pop yarn store staff on the head the next time I hear that. You can crochet with any yarn that your happy little hooking heart desires to crochet. Just because the label says “knitting worsted” does not mean that you can’t crochet with it. Knitter, please!!!
  6. “Gee, I wish I had the time to do all that.” I have the same 24 hours in a day that you do, I just choose to spend my free time doing this. Sometimes I also work out or walk the dog or do laundry.
  7. “You should totally sell that.” Are you going to buy it? Probably not. The market for handmade is there but it’s not cheap like you probably think it is. Thank you for the compliment, but no, I probably won’t be selling my things any time soon. Also, what is wrong with making something for enjoyment’s sake? OR it’s equally charming opposite….
  8. “Do people actually pay you (insert price here) for that? Like, I mean, they seriously pay you to make that stuff???” What’s worse is when other hookers say this to each other. I saw this play out in a crochet group recently. “Well, I would never charge that much for a blanket. Who on earth would pay that? Blah, blah, blah (insert self-righteous bitching about high pricing here).” Seriously? If someone is selling something, chances are good that someone out there is buying it. Who cares if you wouldn’t pay that price. I can deal with the uninitiated public saything this because they (mostly) aren’t makers, when fellow artisans put each other down over pricing. Wow. Way to lend a hooker a hand.
  9. “You should teach me how to do that.” Sure. You buy a pattern that you like, purchase the yarn and hooks, and we’ll get together…..probably not. Chances are good I’ll never see you at the yarn circle, but that’s ok. More cookies for me.
  10. “If I buy you the yarn and pay you for your time will you make this for me?” Nonono infinity!!!! Experience has taught me that no matter who you are to me, you’ll start treating me like the help while I make whatever it is that you need so much, and when it’s over you’ll try to reward me with a nice, crisp $20 bill or some gift card for a store that sells something useless, for all my efforts because you “paid for everything”. Are we friends? Yes? Then let’s stay that way. You buy the yarn and you make it yourself. When I feel like selling something, I’ll invest in it, I’ll make it, I’ll price it fairly, and you can visit my craft table like everyone else.
  11. “OMG you should totally make baby clothes!! People go nuts for that on Etsy!! I know this girl who does that and blah…blah….blah…..” Sorry. I have a mental block about baby anything. It’s like The Fonz trying to say he’s wrong. I try and I try to do baby gear but it just doesn’t come out and I’m totally okay with that.
  12. “What kind of needle are you using?” THWAP!!!! It’s a hook!! Crochet means hook!!! Not needle – hook!!! It’s a French word!!!

Selling Crochet Series –

(please note, this endorsement is NOT compensated, I just happen to like Sedie and I think you should, too)

Sedie is at it again!! If you haven’t encountered Sedruola in your crochet related travels then you should stop on by – especially if you want to sell crochet or learn other ways to earn money as an artisan. I’ve taken both her free and paid courses and I highly recommend her. This course is coming up in 2016, so drop by and join her mailing list for more information, if you’re interested. In fact, there is a distinct possibility that you could see me taking it, now that I’ve gotten over my mental block about selling my finished work 🙂

I can safely say this: without a plan, flailing around is not fun. No one likes losing money and now that handmade is HOT, everyone is doing it. You’re never “too anything” to learn something new, so you should absolutely click on the image and go nose around Sedie’s site. Her blog is pretty cool, too!!

Making entrelac look interlaced

The term “entrelac” is derived from a French verb “entrelacer”. In English, this means “to interlace”. Knitted entrelac looks woven/interlaced. Each round or row moves in the opposite direction of the round or row before it because rows are turned and every other row is worked from the wrong side, so it will move in another direction. Tunisian entrelac moves in the same direction because the right side is always facing.

When you worked knitted entrelac from the wrong side, chances are good that you are purling – unless you are working in garter stitch. What is a purl? Well, depending on your point of view, a purl is either a stitch on its own or the reverse of a knit stitch. Since a purl stitch produces a knit stitch when viewed on the right side of the work, it is my opinion that a purl is just reverse knitting.

Now enter a little bit of debate/confusion in Tunisian entrelac.

If you were to be a Tunisian crochet rebel – an act which I wholeheartedly endorse, by the way – and flip your entrelac to work from the dreaded wrong side – and you consulted your handy dandy stitch compendium to see what to do, you would be confronted with two different stitches: the Tunisian purl and the Tunisian reverse stitch. These stitches are going to also be interchangeably named, depending on the designer or publisher.

If you work alternating rows of squares in TSS and TPS (Tunisian purl stitch) then you will still get a Tunisian entrelac sample whose rows or rounds still move in the same direction and don’t actually look interlaced. If you flip your work around and work the TPS on the wrong side, you will get a piece of work that now shows two different directions but you won’t get TSS (or TKS or whatever your main stitch is) on the right side. You’ll just get the backside of TPS.

So really, the Tunisian purl stitch isn’t a true purl because it isn’t a reverse of another stitch.

Are you cross eyed yet?

If you would like your Tunisian entrelac to look interlaced, then you need to perfect your main stitch in reverse. If you are working your entrelac in TSS, which most of us do, then you need to TURN your work and work the Tunisian reverse stitch…..which is sometimes also written as Tunisian purl stitch….which can become pretty farking confusing.


Here is a photo of the right and wrong sides of Reverse Tunisian Simple Stitch (RTSS). I left it on the hook simply because these little swatches are curly and the hook weighs it down a bit.

If you always work your Tunisian entrelac from the right side, your entrelac stitches will always move in the same direction. There is nothing wrong with this, and you certainly don’t need to change how you do things. It’s probably how 99.9% of us do our Tunisian entrelac. If you look closely at this corner-to-corner example you will see that all the stitches run in the same direction:


One option is to do the “around the world” technique and begin from the centre out when you make something. Its how this blanket was started and when you work around and around, with the right side facing, you will see four visible sections all moving like a spiral. The self-striping yarn helps to see the direction that the stitches are moving:

This is a baby blanket. I am doing the corners a little differently on the last round.

You won’t always have the option of going around and around for every project you make, though, and sometimes, like in the mandalas, going around and around in a circle DOES NOT produce a change in direction because you aren’t moving in a spiral.


If you flipped your work around on every even row or round in Tunisian entrelac and worked a reverse stitch from the wrong side, you would get entrelac that looks like this beret. The purple rounds of TKS move in the same direction but the blue rounds move in the opposite direction, which make the work look truly interlaced.


For the love of Purl!!!


Many of us come to crochet having learned to knit first. When you knit, of course, you learn the basic knit stitch and then you learn the purl stitch. When you work a row of right side knitting followed by a row of wrong side purling, you get that nice, smooth fabric known as stockinette. This is what 99% of the world thinks of when they think of knitting. Now because knitting tends to shape our world view – hence the reason that well-meaning yet annoying people constantly pester a hooker with, “Whatcha knittin’?” – a lot of artisans approach crochet, especially Tunisian crochet, from a knitter’s perspective. If you’ve never knit and only crocheted then you won’t get why the former knitters-turned-hookers are off in the corner looking perplexed.

So let’s talk a little bit about what a purl stitch is. We know that the name comes from knitting. We know that it is the opposite of the knit stitch. When you purl and make little purl bumps on the wrong side of your fabric, a nice little v is on the right side of the fabric, matching up with all the other nice little v’s put there on the knit rows. So really, there is no separate stitch known as “purl”. It’s just a backwards knit stitch.

So now enter Tunisian crochet, which is hailed as a hybrid between knitting and crochet due to similarities in appearance of the fabric and in the creation of stitches. Sometimes it looks like knitting and sometimes it looks like crochet. It’s a crochet hook but with a bunch of live stitches on it, like knitting.

The confusion about purls occurs when you realize that:

  • There is more than one stitch in Tunisian crochet. Trying to apply the logic of knitting to crochet will just make your eyes cross.
  • If you consult a Tunisian crochet stitch compendium you will find something called a purl stitch and some other stitches called reverse stitches.
  • If you consult multiple authors and websites you will find that one calls the thing you just learned was a purl a reverse stitch and then another calls something else a purl and then you get really cross-eyed and you start overthinking your project and you get really frustrated and go into the Facebook groups and flip your cookies all over the place. Have some tea, nice artisan, and breathe with me.

Here is what some publishers are calling a Tunisian purl stitch (TPS):

1447616887128 (1)

They call it this because it looks like a purl stitch from knitting BUT remember, a knitted purl stitch is just a knit stitch done backwards. When you look at the other side of this particular stitch, you may then expect to see either a Tunisian simple stitch (TSS) or a Tunisian knit stitch (TKS), but that isn’t the case. You’ll just see the backside of this particular stitch. I happen to like it. It has a nice, organic texture that shows relief well.





Most Tunisian projects are worked in the Tunisian simple stitch (TSS). This is what that looks like from the front and back. I like the backside of TSS. It reminds me of chain mail:










I do a lot of Tunisian entrelac with the Tunisian knit stitch (TKS). This is what that looks like from the front and back:


None of these stitches look like the purl stitch that we expect to see. In fact, since a true purl is just a knitted stitch in reverse, It goes without saying that there are many “purls” in Tunisian crochet because there are many different stitches. It would be better to simply strike the word purl from Tunisian crochet forever and just use the word “reverse” in our stitch names. That would get the point across and eliminate a lot of the knitting baggage that gets dumped on Tunisian crochet.







I am so not a codemaster :)

So someone was kind enough to point out that they were not seeing any AsSense ads on my blog. Apparently the plugin that I was using has recently updated in such a way so as to be a complete pain in my bum.

Hopefully all is fixed!!!

I am wanting to install a new theme. I run the Genesis framework but I am thinking about a child theme. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Five Point Pinwheel Motif

I’m a bad, bad blogger, folks. I forgot to make a blog post about my pattern at MyHobbyIsCrochet!! This is a great little motif that can be used on its own to make hotpads, dishrags, or star shapes for a blanket. Worked with several stitches it can be a blanket unto itself.

In other news, I found a great app called Clef that lets me log into my blog from the work computer (which is where I am right now -shhhhh!!!!….don’t tell) It’s a timed log in, so if you do use a public computer for your blog, and you don’t actually shut it down properly, the app will log you out anyway after a specified time period.