Monday 31 March 2014

One super simple tip to get more comments on your blog

As part of the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge (the entries are still available to view here, if you haven't checked them out already), I've had reason to visit and comment on lots of new-to-me blogs recently. I noticed that a LOT of bloggers had word verification turned on, and that those bloggers with word verification turned on were not getting very many comments on their quilts, even though they were often gorgeous.

Oh no! It's the unreadable number of dooooommmm...

I have to be honest, I don't often bother to comment on blogs that use word verification, because it's just too painful!  Since I noticed such a strong correlation between the use of word verification and the number of comments people were receiving, I felt I had to do a public service announcement.  If there is one super simple thing you can do to get more comments on your blog, turning word verification off is it!

What about spam?  Well, I have word verification turned off, but I only allow comments from registered users, and I get about a dozen spam comments a year.  I can live with that.

Here's a mini tutorial for people using Blogger blogs:

Step 1:  Click on "Settings" in your blogging menu.

Step 2: Click on "Posts and comments".

Step 3: Under "Who can comment?" click "Registered User" and under "Show word verification", choose No from the drop down menu.

Easy as pie!

I hope that's helpful - let me know if you have any questions.

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Saturday 29 March 2014

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge - Winners!


First of all, I want to say that Anne @ Play Crafts and I are both blown away at all the beautiful entries that were submitted to the challenge. We tried to visit each and every one of you – Anne has done an amazing job but I know I haven't got to everyone yet.  If I haven't commented on your entry yet,  I will soon!

A quick note about judging. The judging process is truly a subjective one. Everyone has different tastes and favorites. Even if you didn’t win, that doesn’t mean your work is somehow lesser than the winners. It just means that something in a particular quilt spoke to that particular judge. If we all liked the same things, we’d all make the same quilts, and that’d be incredibly dull. So please keep that in mind if you didn’t win! We think you’re awesome for entering!

So without further ado, here are our winners!

Finished Quilts
Judged by Allison Harris @ Cluck Cluck Sew

1st – Meridian by Little Bluebell
Oakshott Fabrics – £100 Gift voucher plus free shipping

2nd – Radiant Bettey by bemmanator
Stitchbird Fabrics - fat quarter bundle of Ellen Luckett Baker’s Garden collection

Radiant Bettey by bemmanator on Flickr. Photo by bemmanator.
Radiant Bettey by bemmanator.  Photo by bemmanator.
3rd – Radiant Explosion by Mila Cuatro
Fat Quarter Shop - $50 gift certificate

Radiant Explosion by mila+cuatro. Photo by mila+cuatro.
Radiant Explosion by mila+cuatro. Photo by mila+cuatro.

Finished Minis
Judged by Elizabeth Dackson @ Don’t Call Me Betsy

1st – Kitty Love by Whims and Fancies
Fat Quarter Shop – $50 gift certificate

Kitty Love by Whims and Fancies
Kitty Love by Whims and Fancies. Photo by Whims and Fancies

2nd – Rings and Circles by Ahhh Quilting
Intrepid Thread – Mormor by Lotta Jansdotter fat quarter bundle

Rings and Circles
Rings and Circles by Ahhh Quilting. Photo by Ahhh Quilting.

3rd – My Monet Quilt by Quilter in the Closet
Westwood Acres – $20 gift certificate

My Monet Quilt by Quilter in the Closet.
My Monet Quilt by Quilter in the Closet. Photo by Quilter in the Closet.

Just the Top
Judged by Lee Heinrich @ Freshly Pieced

1st – Untitled by Color Me Quilty
Aurifil – Thread pack ($130 value)

Untitled by Color Me Quilty
Untitled by Color Me Quilty. Photo by Color Me Quilty.

2nd – Starburst Quilt by Malini’s Quilts
Hawthorne Threads – $50 gift certificate

Starburst Quilt by Malini's Quilts
Starburst Quilt by Malini's Quilts. Photo by Malini's Quilts.

3rd – Paint the Town by Sew Me Something Good
Robert Kaufman Kona – Half-yard bundle of Pantone Spring Kona cotton solids

Paint the Town by Sew Me Something Good
Paint the Town by Sew Me Something Good. Photo by Sew Me Something Good.

Viewer’s Choice
Judged by you!
Fabricworm – Radiant Orchid bundle
Rings and Circles by Ahhh Quilting

Rings and Circles by Ahhh Quilting. Photo by Ahhh Quilting.

Random Winners

Finished Quilts – Untitled by Run and Sew Quilts
Sew me a Song – $25 gift voucher

Pantone Quilt
Untitled by Run and Sew Quilts. Photo by Run and Sew Quilts.

Minis – Untitled by jennyrach
Polka Dot Tea – $25 gift voucher

Pantone Mini
Untitled by jennyrach. Photo by jennyrach.

Just the Top -Fractured Heart by Elmosmate
Pink Chalk Fabrics - $25 gift voucher

Fractured Heart
Fractured Heart by Elmosmate. Photo by Elmosmate.


Thank you again to our wonderful sponsors and judges, and also to you all for sharing your beautiful work!

If you have any feedback on the challenge, please let Anne or I know. We’d love to hear how to improve for next year!

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Thursday 27 March 2014

Scrap pile to kindle cover

I've been really busy at work lately which means I'm not really getting any sewing time during the week.  It's not ideal but it does reflect the fact that I'm doing some interesting stuff at work so life's not all bad!  Anyway, that's the reason that this weekend, I really needed an instant gratification project - something I could knock out from start to finish in a couple of hours.

Scrap pile

I started with my scrap pile and pulled a few random bits and pieces to improv piece together.  I then quilted my improv panels with straight lines and turned them into a simple pouch for my kindle.  Of course, I used my favourite open wide pouch tutorial from Noodlehead, except that I didn't box the corners and I didn't use any measurements.

Scrap pile kindle cover

Putting the zipper in took me far longer than it should (I sewed it facing into the lining, twice), but now that the pouch is done. I really love it.  The cute little bunny zipper pull just adds to it and having a little something handmade in my handbag makes me happy.

Tell me - do you like to have a little handmade goodness in your life too?

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Wednesday 26 March 2014

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge - voting is open!

Well everyone has really outdone themselves for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge!  We have received well over a hundred amazing and creative entries and are so impressed at the range and quality of what people have made.

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Radiant Orchid

Whether you entered or not, you can vote now for your favourite entry in each category.  Voting is open until 11pm PST on Thursday 27 March, by clicking the heart in the top right corner of your favourite entries on this post here.

The judged winners, reader’s choice winner, and random winners will all be announced on Friday, March 28th!

(We extended the voting period due to the number of entries we received. We wanted to give the judges plenty of time to consider each of your entries instead of feeling rushed. We hope you understand!)

Saturday 22 March 2014

Caturday Wisdom #62

It's over, I have the high groundRalph

No wisdom last week so that no one missed out putting up their various items for the Pantone Quilt Challenge.
Ralph understands the simple rule for winning all battles and this pile on the ironing board provided that perfectly. The mean face was just the cherry on top.

Thursday 20 March 2014


I meant to post this up yesterday, but I ran out of time.  Anyway, better late than never!  A couple of weeks ago I shared the start of my Autumn with a Twist quilt.

Autumn with a twist quilt top

The quilt top is finished now and I'm hoping to get it basted this weekend.  Please excuse the less than perfect photos - I am having a very busy week and had to sneak out for super quick quilt photo shoot during my lunch break!

Autumn with a twist quilt top

Anyway, I'm really loving this quilt, and apart from the bit where I sewed the rows of triangles together wrong and had to unpick about 400" of seams, it has been pretty painless.

It's still Wednesday somewhere, so I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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By the way, if you're looking for where to enter the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge, it's here!

Friday 14 March 2014

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge - Open for Entries!

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Radiant Orchid

The 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge is open for entries!  You can link up here or over at Play Crafts - the linky runs across both blogs so it doesn't make a difference where you link up.

The official "Radiant Orchid" swatch!

Before you link up, check out the rules, our wonderful sponsors and our amazing judges.


All items must be started in 2014 to be eligible

1. There will be 3 categories:
 - Minis: Shortest side under 30". Pillows, table runners, place mats, mug rugs, etc. will count as minis.
 - Quilts: any size from baby to bed (shortest side must be at least 30").
 - Just the Top: any size from baby to bed (shortest side must be at least 30").

2. This is the Radiant Orchid Quilt Challenge, so your project must contain at least some Radiant Orchid or similar purple. You can also use any other colours or neutrals you like (and as many as you like). That said, we would like to see Radiant Orchid as the feature colour of your quilt and we will be asking the judges to take your use of Radiant Orchid into account when making their decision.

3. You can submit one entry per category. Entries for quilts and minis should be completed projects, including quilting and binding.


Quilts - judged by Allison Harris from Cluck Cluck Sew

First place - Oakshott Fabrics - £100 Gift voucher plus free shipping
Second place - Stitchbird Fabrics - fat quarter bundle of Ellen Luckett Baker's Garden collection
Third place - Fat Quarter Shop - $50 gift certificate

Minis - judged by Elizabeth Dackson from Don't Call Me Betsy

First place - Fat Quarter Shop - $50 gift certificate
Second place - Intrepid Thread - Mormor by Lotta Jansdotter fat quarter bundle
Third place - Westwood Acres - $20 gift certificate

Just the top - judged by Lee Heinrich from Freshly Pieced

First place - Aurifil - Thread pack ($130 value)
Second place - Hawthorne Threads - $50 gift certificate
Third place - Robert Kaufman Kona - Half-yard bundle of Pantone Spring Kona cotton solids

Random Winners

We would really really love to see an entry from absolutely everyone who feels the slightest bit inspired by Radiant Orchid, regardless of skill level, so an entry in each category that hasn't already won a prize will be drawn at random, and will win one of: a $25 gift voucher from Sew me a Song, a $25 gift voucher from Polka Dot Tea or a $25 gift voucher from Pink Chalk Fabrics.

Viewer's Choice

We also think it's more fun when everyone gets to participate, so we will also run a viewer's choice award where everyone can vote on their favourite creation!  The winner will receive this amazing Radiant Orchid inspired bundle from Fabricworm.


We are delighted to have three fantastic guest judges on board.  These ladies are seriously talented quilters, designers and authors.  We love their work and know they'll do a fantastic job when it comes to judging your entries!


From left to right: Allison Harris from Cluck Cluck Sew, Elizabeth Dackson from Don't Call Me Betsy, and Lee Heinrich from Freshly Pieced.


1. Entries are open NOW, and will close at on March 21 2014 at 11pm PST and winners will be announced on March 26 2014.

2. Each entry should link to a blog post / Threadbias post / Flickr page

3. Each entry should include quilt dimensions.



Just the Top

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