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Saturday, September 27, 2014

MOP Monday - progress and finishes

The experiment of the "trial Linky Party" seems to be pretty successful!! 2 weeks in a row with more than 5 links!!! Hurray!! :)

Still 2 weeks for the assessment of the results, but it looks very promising!

Now for My Own Progress:

-- MOP: The list --
I decided to restructure my list of projects.
I will divide them into WIP and WNEIP.
WIP (as everybody knows) means Work-In-Progress, pretty self-explanatory ;)
WNEIP is Work-Not-Exactly-In-Progress, a term that I invented to describe project that are not UFO (because for me UFO are unfinished object that I archive in my sewing space in drawers that I never open for future unknown times). These projects, instead, are project that are still around and visible in my sewing space, but I work on them only when I am stuck/bored with other projects because the WNEIP do not have deadlines, but they are fun! :)

1. the SK project - 1 new block this week! (see below)
2. Rainbow Starburst - no progress
3. Topolino quilt - no progress
4. the Z quilt - 1 block done (see below)
5. Convertible bag - doooooone (see below) - this is my project for Sept. Lovely Year of Finishes
6. Tea Towel challenge and PPV BOM - no progress (progress last week)

1. Reversible sewing machine cover - no progress
2. College Days Blog Hop blocks for tote/grocery bag - no progress
3. Alice in Wonderland quilt - no progress
4. As You Wish - no progress
5. Happy Halloween wall hanging - no progress
6. Crazy optical illusion - no progress

(Linking up at Let's Bee Social)

-- MOP: This week new blocks --

I finished my first bag!!!
(pattern by Sarah @

Obviously as my first bag ever I had to choose one that has "thousands" of pieces and it is actually 4 bags in one!! :) because I like to challenge myself otherwise life won't be fun, right?

Despite my lack of experience the bag(s) turned out pretty good I think!! The pattern is easy to follow even if it has many different components. Sarah does a great job in showing how to do all the steps and she has some extra tutorial for the most complex ones. So even if some of the sewing line looks kind of drunk (it's my first 3D object that I sew, so I think it's understandable) I like the finished project a lot!!

The Z quilt, is a very special project I designed for a special person in my life.
The quilt itself has a lot of hidden meaning (from the measure of the blocks, to the color chosen and their location in the quilt, to the fabric line chosen, to the quilting I plan to do). I will share all those when the quilt is all together, but for now I can share the first block I made!

Lu (Professional success or Prosperity) (22''x22'')

Please ignore the fact that I don't iron my fabric nor my block :) I press them quickly because I have so many other things to do, that I spend time ironing only if it is absolutely necessary ;)

It is a Chinese symbol that I hope is what I want it to be. If there any of my reader knows that symbol and if it means something else please do NOT tell me ;) unless it means a very bad word ;).
Its a pretty big block and it's done with what I call "2-steps PP" meaning that the center of the different quarters is done first with a PP pattern, and then the surrounding circle is obtained from a different pattern. This is why I won't share the pattern here with you, it's too complicated to make it understandable for others :) if you are interested you can send me an email and I can share it with you at your own risk :)

For the Block Swap Adventure, my Sept partner received my blocks so I can share now what we exchanged!
These are the blocks she sent me:

And these are the blocks I made for her:

And finally we have 1 new opening line for my SK project.
I hope none will be offended by the language :) SK uses strong language at times but that's the beauty of his book IMHO because it makes them very realistic!!
Again I used the super-great method that I mentioned last week to transfer patterns on fabric: crayola washable markers!
Kate @ Thorn Trace shared on Fandom In Stitches her very through experiment.
If you want to read about it, just check it out on Fandom In Stitches.
The Shining
Pattern available on "The SK project" page
And now what are YOU going to link?
Let the game continue (trial linky party, week 3 :) )

Saturday, September 20, 2014

MOP Monday - thanks and many updates

Last week I had a post where I basically asked to you - people in the blogland - "why don't you link up in my linky party?".

I was happy to see that a lot of you cared about my frustration and wanted to tell me their reasons and give me some advice. So before sharing my crafty projects, let me share what I learned:

1. the two most common reasons not to link are: technology issues (not having a blog, not having a camera, errors while linking, etc.) and time issues (not enough time in the day to interact with all the interesting blogs out there). And I totally see those are very reasonable reasons that prevent people to add links. I understand those issues and my little investigation was aimed at understanding if those issues are so common that the result is a poor participation in a linky party. It seems that (at least for my followers) those are big issues, and that will help me decide if to continue or not the effort on my side (no hard feelings if I will discontinue it... but we still have 3 trials week ahead to finish the testing phase).

2. many says that there kind of things need a lot of advertising to become big. Because I know that there are big linky party out there, so I know it's possible! :) but probably they are right: those other started small as well and it probably took a lot of time and a lot of advertising to become the way they are today. Honestly I don't have that much time myself, as I wanted this to be an "easy" way to show off your own work and inspire others. I don't do this for living so I have a limited amount of time in the day. I thought that the best way to advertise my own effort is to link in other places myself: that's what I will keep doing and then let's see how it goes.

3. you people are great! because even if you don't add your link, with the previous post you spend time to try to connect to me and because of that I started exchanging personal emails with several of you. Well, that was the point of the linky in the first place: to initiate some personal connection with my readers. So if an empty linky will cause this, then it is a successful linky after all ;)

And now enough rambling :) but thanks again to the people that shared their thoughts with me.

Now back to My Own Progress:

-- MOP: The list --
1. the SK project - 2 new blocks this week! (see below)
2. Rainbow Starburst - top dooooooooone (see below)
3. Topolino quilt - no progress (progress last week)
4. Reversible sewing machine cover - no progress (progress last week)
5. Tea Towel challenge and PPV BOM - 1 block done (see below)
6. the Z quilt - no progress
7. College Days Blog Hop blocks for tote/grocery bag - no progress
8. Alice in Wonderland quilt - no progress
9. As You Wish - no progress
10. Happy Halloween wall hanging - no progress
11. Crazy optical illusion - no progress
12. Convertible bag - almost done - this is my project for Sept. Lovely Year of Finishes

(Linking up at Let's Bee Social)

-- MOP: This week new blocks --
The Rainbow Starburst is done!! I finished it at night and I took the picture below. I didn't have time to take another picture with good light so this will have to be enough for now.
And my sewing helper seems to approve the final result ;)

I already have the batting, backing and plan on how to quilt it... now I just need to push myself to do it!!
One of my PPV block for September is done. Very easy and very fast. One more to go for my final layout.
For the Block Swap Adventure, my Aug partner had some issues with the postal service and some of her blocks are still on its way, lost somewhere :( but she is an amazing lady and she sent me a new batch of blocks with some extra fabric!! Charlene you are such a nice lady!! :)

These are the blocks she sent me:

And these are the blocks I made for her:

I also received the blocks for Sept and I made mine but not sent yet :( so I will share them once my partner receives them.

And finally we have 2 new opening line for my SK project.
I have to share my super-enthusiasm for a great method to transfer patterns on fabric: crayola washable markers!
Kate @ Thorn Trace shared on Fandom In Stitches her very through experiment.
If you want to read about it, just check it out on Fandom In Stitches.
But what I am going to say is that they are cheaper than other markers, they come in a ton of colors, they are smoother in writing on the fabric, they come off easily (see the tutorial for details), so I think it's a win-win-win-win-win situation :)
And now here are the new patterns!

Pattern available on "The SK project" page
Doctor Sleep (*)
(* this is not the exact quote, I edited out a piece of the sentence to make it shorter and easy to stitch.)
Pattern available on "The SK project" page

And now what are YOU going to link?
Let the game continue (trial linky party, week 2 :) )

Friday, September 12, 2014

MOP Monday - Reflections

Today I will not share with you my weekly progress, but my recent troubles in understanding YOU people in the blogland :) I also have a winner for for my giveaway so read the entire post to learn who won!

I am a scientist... so I am trying to use a scientific approach to understand a very simple thing:
*why are my linky party always pretty much empty?*

Using the scientific method I collected some facts, some numbers, some statistics about others and some comments. And then I drove some conclusions and set a plan for the near future.
Can you review my argument and help me understand if I am wrong or if something can be done to reverse the trend??

-- Facts --
  1. I started the linky party in Jan 2014, to share my weekly progress and open my blog for others to share theirs;
  2. The link is open more than just a single 24 hours, so even if I call it "Monday", people can add their link from Sat/Sun to Tue, so I think I am pretty flexible in terms of time;
  3. You can link anything you want: I don't require a finished project, nor a wip to be then linked as finished, nor a specific technique, nor a specific pattern/qal, and I don't even require that the blog post is recent. So I think I am pretty flexible in terms of content;
  4. I don't require to add a link back to my blog in each post, nor that you follow my blog: so I think I am pretty flexible on other extra-steps that you should do;
  5. I often offered giveaway for people that adds their link: I don't have sponsors and I have a full-time job so it takes an effort from my side to take the material out of my stash and to go to the post office and mail it to whoever wins (domestic or international, I never had any restrictions there either). 
  6. So basically what I ask, is for people to add a link so that we can initiate some kind of relationship and we can get inspired by each other. Despite this very simple goal and my efforts to offer as much as I can from my side, it seems that the participation is close to zero (see the next section for the actual numbers).

-- Numbers --
  1. I had linky parties for 28 weeks;
  2. The parties (and my blog posts) have thousands of views (so it's not like none comes by... they come and leave without saying hi :( ). I could collect the exact numbers but it would take too much time;
  3. I had a TOTAL of 45 links, which means an AVERAGE of 1.6 links per weeks, with a MAX of 6 links for 1 weeks, and a MIN of 0 links for 8 weeks

-- Others --
  1. I myself join several linky parties... and link my own blog post (with my own linky party) in those other places;
  2. I add my link in parties where there are few links and in places where there are hundreds of links (to get some visibility... and I get views, but I don't get links...);
  3. Some of the hosts of these other parties do not comment on my entry (which is totally fine since they are so big that they probably don't have the time to do that) BUT some others comments on my entry, which means that they see the linky party and often it is still open... so why don't they link their own post in my blog?? I don't know... (**this is one of the points that surprise me the most... I really cannot understand this one**)
  4. as I said before, I participate in small and big parties, so these are some numbers from last week (and they are pretty consistent over time).
    "Small" party: 10 entries (in ONE week)
    "Medium" party: 59 entries (in ONE week)
    "Big" party: 147 entries (in ONE week)
  5. Most of the others have either a very short range of time in which they are open, or they are about a specific technique, or they have text link without picture, or they require you to add buttons/link back, or they ask you to link just finished work, etc... all restrictions that are perfectly fine by me but I thought that less restrictions may help my case... apparently not

-- Comments --
  1. This is not a "new" issue, because I have seen these things discussed in several forums. And actually what they were discussing is from the other side: "is it worth it to add your link to a linky party?".  And the discussion that followed really surprised me because it seemed that the answer from many people is "No, if the blog is small because you don't get traffic back on your site" or "No, if the blog is too popular, because if there are too many links you don't get traffic back on your site". So the only thing that matter is "traffic, traffic, traffic" O_O.
  2. While I understand that traffic may be important for people that have a business connected to their site, I have always seen link parties as opportunity to get inspiration and to create personal connections with people all over the world. So my approach is quite different: if my current blog post follows the rule of the linky party, I add my link, no matter if the blog is popular, if there are tons of other link or just few, if there are pictures or just text, ... If I come across a party, I add my entry, that's it. And I hoped that people would do the same on my blog... but apparently not...
  3. I know that not everyone has a blog... however in these linky you can link a flickr picture or anything that has an url. So even if with an estimate of 10% of the viewing people to actually have a blog and a blog post to share, I would have hundreds of links every week! even 1% would add more links that what I have now!!

-- Conclusions --
Even if the statistics about viewers of my posts are pretty good and even if I receive encouraging comments from people on my patterns/projects, it looks like they don't want to party with me.
It makes me feel like I am in high school organizing a party and giving out all invitations and then nobody shows up at my house :) I get a lot of support when I distribute the invitations but then no people to play with because I am not "the popular girl" that give traffic to their blog :(
And it doesn't even matter if I don't have restrictions on what to link nor if I offer giveaway out my own pocket.
So this situation calls for a plan!

-- Plan for the near future --
I already decided to cut the giveaways (in general) because the response is not what I expected. I will probably participate in the annual big one on Sew Mama Sew even if I believe that big events like that are pretty useless in terms of making personal connections because everyone is just rushing through the post to enter as many giveaways as possible (a lot of traffic, but that doesn't really matter to me). This is not always the case, because I found great new blogs to follow myself because of that event... but it's not so common to make real connections in that situation I think.

So now I give myself an ultimatum: I will keep the linky party open for other 4 weeks, but each week I need at least 5 links (from different people). If I get to the end of this "trial time" with the desired minimum number of links, I will keep the linky open for another few months and keep monitoring the situation. If for one of these "trial weeks" I don't get to 5 links I will just close MOP Monday and I will just share my own projects without asking you to come on my blog to inspire me and others with your work!

So as a famous character said: Let the game begin.

P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Gador Medea! I sent you an email and I will get your prize in the email as soon as possible!! :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

MOP Monday - 2 new patterns and giveaway

Last week in my giveaway!!! Get your links in for a chance to win this fun bundle!!

These are the rules:
- to participate in the giveaway you have to link a post of your blog on my MOP Monday linky party (at the end of this post) OR send me an email with your block (see later for details)
- each link added will give you one entry
- if you share one of the blocks designed by me, you get 2 entries!! and if the block is one of the untested ones, you get 3 entries!! :)
- if you want to share one of my blocks and you don't have a blog, you can send me an email and I will add the link to the linky party for you. My email is in all my patterns!
- if you guess which city is the one depicted in the placemat on the background of the giveaway image I will add an extra bonus fat quarter ;) just write it in the comment below or send me an email (note: I will not publish the comments with the answers to avoid helping others ;) )
- links must be "new" (any date after Aug 15th is fine)
- the standard MOP Monday opening/closing time applies (the collection usually opens on Sat or Sun and is open until next Tue 12:05 pm EST)
- the giveaway will be running for 4 MOP Mondays and the winner will be announced around Sep 10
- I reserve the right to delete non-relevant links and/or exclude them from the count in the giveaway
- following my blog and commenting on other links is not required, but is greatly appreciated!!
- the giveaway is open to everyone, international entries are welcome (as well as US ones)!!

And now, for My Own Progress:

-- MOP: The list --
1. the SK project - no blocks this week (designed a couple of them but not completed)
2. Rainbow Starburst - no progress (progress last week)
3. Topolino quilt - 2 blocks doooone!!! (see below)
4. Reversible sewing machine cover - 1 block done (see below)
5. Tea Towel challenge and PPV BOM - printed blocks for Sept.
6. the Z quilt - all the fabric is finally here!! ready to start it (will share it soon)
7. College Days Blog Hop blocks for tote/grocery bag - no progress
8. Alice in Wonderland quilt - no progress
9. As You Wish - no progress
10. Happy Halloween wall hanging - no progress
11. Crazy optical illusion - no progress
12. (NEW project) Convertible bag - printed the pattern (more info in the next few weeks) - this is my project for Sept. Lovely Year of Finishes

(Linking up at Let's Bee Social)

-- MOP: This week new blocks --

Last week I couldn't finish the block for my Mickey&Donald's series because my little helper wanted all my attention for her :) but this week I could finish that block and also a new one because my helper preferred just to take some naps on my ironing board ;)

So here are the new blocks:

Magica de Spell, flying around and dreaming about the Number One coin
The pattern is available in my "MickeyM, DonalD, Alice" page

Goofy Gone Fishing
The pattern is available in my "MickeyM, DonalD, Alice" page
This week finally I was able to go back to the lovely blocks for my sewing machine cover and I pieced one of my favorite ones:

Pattern by Susanne @ Quilt it out  

The original one had a "chocolate" background that I thought was perfect for the block, but I wanted to use the same light background of all my other blocks, so I kept the chocolate reference in the fabric chosen for the word and the color of the thread for the embroidery :)

And now, link YOUR own progresses below!!
Links for the giveaway: dated after Aug 15
Rules for the linky party:
1. You can link finished projects or WIP at any stage! Every step is worth sharing
   (A journey of thousand miles is made of single steps)!

2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others to read about your progress!
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link (code for the button on the side bar)
4. Comment on other links!! It's always good to support each other every step of the way!! :)