MARCH 20, 2016
In case you want to get up to speed on why some of use are signing up on Ello … here is the why. You can skip this and head to the tutorial below.
Recently Instagram announced changes to the way they will present your feed. I love Instagram because it is different from Facebook. I like the community I have on that app. Upset about the proposed changes, there has been a petition ( now up to 189,956 signatures as of this writing), feedback sent to Instagram, and we had a little one day boycott. I hoped when I posted this wordy little green graphic that it would catch on and it did!
Not only did it catch on, but people ran with it, finding amazing creative ways to communicate the message. (My favourite is the don’t “Zuck” it up. Since Zuckerberg and Facebook bought Instagram, it was really only a matter of time until monetization changed things like the feed.). It is this creativity that I truly love about the creative community I have on IG.
(Attributions as follows, L to R @jetpackjason, ??, @notsewperfectbethany, @gaspare_1977, @theevergreenneedle, ??, @bornand_raised, @thequiltyox, @dollieandco. Let me know if you know the ?? mark ones or if I have any of them wrong).
Why does how Instagram present it’s feed matter? Instagram is currently a democratic platform with a chronological feed. Best post first changes all of that. Some have said the boycott and the hoopla over it is frivalous and that there are bigger issues this energy should be going towards. Our efforts and focus in no way minimizes those serious matters that need addressing. In fact it is about being able to see that social issue post if I follow you and you post it. It has also been said that Instagram is a free app so we shouldn’t complain. While we don’t have a physical exchange there is a transaction. We use the app for free. They mine the data we create for free. It matters to small businesses who use the platform as a way to grow their business and interact with their customers. As a small business on Facebook, my posts appear on the feeds of about 30% of my followers. I have to pay to boost my posts. Instagram changing to best post first heads down this same path of less exposure, more complex following. What the fuss is about is wanting to be able to have followers and ourselves see the feed the way we have been or at least have a choice to opt out of the best post first presentation. Okay end of that.
Here’s the Ello part!!!!
So In the past day (Yup, things are moving fast here), some us have been trying out Ello.
I am one of them and I love the app. It feels like Instagram went out and got a PhD and is all grown up! There is no doubt that some of the functionalities of the app involve a learning curve, but it really isn’t a huge one. It is still very intuitive. I think the developers really looked at how IG could be improved while keeping chronological feeds and then built Ello accordingly. It is definitely worth a look and you will find lots of us over there already.
I am not leaving IG just yet, but it is so nice to know that there is another option. It is an app built for an arts community. In spending some time there over the past 24 hours, I am discovering some really cool features about it. That being said, anything new can be a bit daunting. So below you will find a small tutorial on navigating that first bit once you get your account set up. On that note, you can skip the bundled feeds that they suggest as you are signing up and just get settled in, then find your real tribe. You can always join those feeds they suggested later. Hope these tips below help. See you there.
So you have an account … now what. Here is a quick tutorial on how things work so you will be at the party in no time. This app is really intuitive, but when it is feeling all so new, some basic stuff can go a long, long way in helping us all feel at home here.
A note. Ello is still in beta format. You will sometimes get the little smiling Ello icon spinning from time to time as it loads or switches pages. This is an elegant app and I can see as I use it that so much effort has gone into creating it. I don’t think it will be beta for long, but we need to be patient here. The developer has apparently committed to keeping the feed chronological and no ads, so our patience is our payment to them for a great app.
1. How do I find my tribe? There are a couple of ways of doing that. If you find one person you know, you can see who they are following and who is following them, and take it from there. You can also use the search function (the magnifying glass) and type in the word quilt or #elloquilters or type in the name of a friend to see if they have signed up yet. I haven’t found a way to take a look at peoples pages other than tapping and going in and then backing out. It takes time to build a community. If someone finds a work around, let us know in the comments. Of particular note, I have found that there is a tiny mini scroll movement, on my phone particularly but also on my computer, that is really helpful in having things like headers and footers appear. To go back pages on your phone, this tiniest of movements brings the top of the screen down a bit to reveal the back arrow in the upper left corner. An additional gesture, but gives maximum screen space to us artists. On the computer, you know where to find that arrow!
2. How do I navigate? There are two different locations for the main “toolbar” depending if it is your phone or computer. If that toolbar disappears, take your thumb and do that mini scroll. Same think with the mouse/trackpad on your computer.
On your phone, you will find the “toolbar” icons along the bottom:
The dazzling star icon on the far left is the Ello main page and discover feed. You can view the feeds two ways by choosing between the stacked images icon (the cubes) or the single image icon (the stacks) at the top of the page. Love that you have three ways to decide what to explore: featured, trending or recent.
The lightening bolt icon is your notification centre. Lots of options of how to view them at the top of this page. Going across: everything, comments, mentions, likes, reposts and who is now following you. A red dot means there are new posts to see.
The centre circle is your “home button”. That takes you to YOUR feed. A red dot means there are new posts to see.
Person icon takes you to your profile page.
Word bubble icon is how you comment.
On your computer it is all at the top.
The Ello icon = dazzling star icon and takes you to the main Ello discover feeds page.
The pen in bubble icon is how you post.
The discover icon seems to be the same as the Ello icon, but after less than 24 hours I am still discovering myself. Sorry not more help on this one right now.
Following and star icon – I am putting these together because I love this function. It means you can have two streams. When you Star someone their posts appear in your Starred stream. Star people you love, or use Stars to sort people that occasionally post stuff you don’t want to see (but who you want to follow anyway). Your choice of how you use it, but soooo great to have a choice. Thanks Ello! Have wanted this on function on IG for a while
Lightning icon This is your notification centre.
Search icon. I know you’ve got this one!
Your “cute mug” icon – the link to your profile page! Also the link to get to your feed, by clicking your photo and then going to your name in the dropdown box. It is also the gateway to see what you have loved, settings, logging out. And there is a link to communities. Haven’t explored that one yet.
3. I want to post, how do I do that? On your computer there is a black banner at the top of the screen on the left side where you can ” say ello” and comment. Just start typing in there. If you want to add photos, click on the two little grey boxes on the bottom right just under where you are typing. the “x” to the right of that would cancel your post. The arrow pointing to the right is like your return key and posts your message. On your phone, the bottom row of icons are key here. The lower right that looks like a message bubble is where you can “say ello” and comment. The “x” does the same thing to cancel your message. The camera icon is for uploading … you get it. The up and down icon between the “x” and camera icons, is for deleting I think, but I am still working on figuring that one out. Once you have finished writing your comment, then tap the long black the comment bar on the bottom right above your keyboard. You can type, cut and past, drag and drop, add photos, mention people with the @ symbol, hashtag, embed videos and embed links. Yup, I said links.
4. I posted and it has a typo and I want to fix it. How do I edit? On your computer you with the message on your screen, you go to the right end of the icons just underneath the comment box and two other icons will pop up. One is the editing (pencil) icon. Click that. On the phone, this one took me a bit longer to figure out. It is all about where you tap the screen I have found. You have to be on the post you want to edit. To do that I tapped on the post between my @name and the time of the post, in that blank white space. It took me to another page and at the top of the screen you will see the edit pencil icon. Tap that, edit and once you are done tap the black edit post bar at the bottom.
5. I really like a photo in my feed. Wish I could get a closer look. You can! Tap the photo you like. It will now show up on your screen surrounded by black. You know the drill from here. Use the pinch and spread motion we all know to get a really good look at those stitches (no judging right!)
6. I think My sister would like a post I am looking at but she is not on Ello. You can send it to her oh so easily. Under the post image is the upload icon (box with upward pointing arrow coming out of it). Tap that and choose mail, message or … I tested with an email and it was brilliant.
7. How do I repost something I like. Under the image/post is towards the right hand side are two reversing arrows. Tap that and a screen will pop up asking if you want to repost. Not sure I like this feature being “so accessible”. I woke up this morning to find a whole bunch of things in my feed that I had already seen but were being reposted. Kinda felt like it was taking the chronological part out of it and feeling a bit like Facebook having old stuff come up again. And one of the things I loved about the boycott was seeing how creativity spilled out in art as the message got passed along that reposting might just make us not consider doing because it is so easy to tap/click. Just saying
8. What about private messaging? They say it is coming soon.
9. Keyboard tip. As I have been writing this I have stumbled onto the fact that on my computer when I highlight the text I want to put in bold or italic, the toolbar does not always pop up. If I highlight and hit my command key the tool bar with the bold, italics and link functions does pop up. May just be me and my computer. On my phone the functionality toolbar pops up once I have highlighted something.
10. I am so far down in the feed and I want to go back to the top, but all that scrolling! Easy peasy! On your phone, do that little thumb motion mid screen that I talked about above, so that the time on your phone becomes visible. Tap on the time (ya, the time) and it will scroll right back to the top (works in all other apps too!). On your computer if you do a sort of mini scroll up and down, you will see three small icons pop up in the bottom right hand corner. The first one is an upside down “v” and clicking on that takes you back to the top.
12. Two ways to view your feed. You can view it in single image rolling feed or multiple images (more like pinterest). On your computer, doing that mini scroll will reveal two icons in the bottom right corner. They speak for themselves. On your phone, if you tap and choose one style in the Ello icon mode it doesn’t translate over into your feed. On your home feed page (centre button), look at the top and you will see the choices there again. Pretty cool feature.
13. Profile pictures and header picture. I had an issue with my header photo at first, but once I change it to their recommended size of 2560 x 1440, all was good. You don’t have to remember that or right it down, it will pop up as on overlay message in the header area when you are setting up that part. Your profile or avatar photo recommended size is 1024 x 1024. You can do this when exporting your photo file on your computer or in an app like Canva.
14. What just happened, I clicked outside the box I was writing the post in and the comment box disappeared? Don’t panic. I did it myself, scrolling enthusiastically to get to the bottom of this post when I was editing, I scrolled right into my profile and poof the post was gone. Go to the the “say hello” box and click it. It should be there. Same on the phone. If you are composing and go to see a message that comes in, if you go back to the post button it should be there. That was a frustrating part of IG … If you wanted to check something (like a hashtag) you had to back all the way and then back in.
15. Where are my photo filters? On IG.
16. What? I can put multiple pictures in one post! Yes you can. Love that this gives a more blog feel to posting.
17. Comments are chronological? Yup! No more scrolling to the bottom to see the latest comment. This seems so obvious! Thanks Ello.
18. Oh and one final thing … you can post a ridiculously long post like this one, which means that four part novel you have been thinking of self publishing … the one that includes pictures and video links so the reader can really get a sense of the scenery and mood … well it now has a platform!
So this is some of what I have learned in this first whirlwind 12 hours. By no means exhaustive, but it is the basics that got me started. Maybe you will find some of it helpful too.
Join me there and let’s get this party started!
#letsgetthispartystarted @elloquilt #newonello #quilters #quilting
MARCH 17, 2016
When I was developing the line, I had a really clear vision in my head of where I could imagine a Modern Country quilt being used and just what a modern farmhouse might look like. One of the things I did was to “mine” images I had here at home and on Pinterest and create a storyboard for myself. My Pinterest story board you can find here.
This is my story board (on the left). Windham liked it so much that we created one for the cover of the swatch book that goes out with salesmen (on the right).
I had a blast making the quilts. You have, of course, already met this quilt … Springtime.
Springtime by Mary Elizabeth Kinch
There were four other quilts created for the line!
With a plethora of half-square triangles that spin with unbridled enthusiasm, “Triangle Twist” is energetic and lively! I love the movement and asymmetry of this design. Look closely and you’ll see smaller triangles amid the masses for a little piecing fun! You can find the pattern here.
Triangle Twist by Mary Elizabeth Kinch
I found this photo years ago in a home decorating magazine
That folded black and white antique quilt crowning the stack captured both my eye and my curiosity. I loved the graphic presentation of those dark small squares and larger squares on point. Paper and pencil in hand, I began working out what the block construction might be and was laughing before I was done.
While not obvious at first glance, the popular churn dash block is the heart of this quilt. The monochromatic colour scheme is what gives this block arrangement its bold look. Here is the quilt I created. When you look at it, what do you see first? The churn dash block or those graphic squares? That’s why I called the quilt … Now You See It, Now You Don’t! You can find the pattern here.
Now You See It, Now You Don’t by Mary Elizabeth Kinch
I later found out that the original antique quilt is for sale here at Laura Fisher Antique Quilts.
(Three Squared) Squared is the perfect picnic quilt! I was incredibly fortunate to have the amazing Elisa Sims Albury, of the blog and Instagram account Stitch Outside The Ditch lend her talents in creating a quilt for the line. Elisa’s lively mix of creativity and logic, rhythm and random, creates this wonderfully energetic, yet soothing, design. My eyes naturally seek out and settle on the smaller nine patch blocks with their wee sashing and their incredible cuteness. Be still my heart! You can find the pattern here.
(Three Squared) Squared by Elisa Sims Albury for Mary Elizabeth Kinch Quilts
Sidebar is the final quilt that was created for the line and included in the “lookbook” (which you can find here on Windham’s website). Using a “responsive conversational” approach, I created this improvisational quilt from my intuitive side. This quilt is a class project where I guide students as they explore their creative potential and delve into the improvisational process. They learn about playing with colour, scale, proportion and balance. I would love to come to your guild or shop and teach this fun and free- spirited class.
Sidebar by Mary Elizabeth Kinch
The lookbook also includes two garments I designed for the line: the Margaux Tunic and the Madeline Smock. Is Miss K not the cutest thing in her Madeline Smock? Her mom is modeling the Margaux Tunic.
The Madeline Smock
The Margaux Tunic
Thank you so much for joining me and indulging me in celebrating!
Giveaway closes midnight March 19th EST. Three lucky winners will each win a fat quarter bundle of Modern Country. Click HERE to leave a comment about your favourite colour OR enter below by leaving a comment about which of the quilts is your favourite.
I will be quiet on Instagram tomorrow, Friday, as I observe the #boycottinstagramalgorithms and participate in the #silentsewin. I’ll be back on Sunday though, to let you know who has won!
Thanks for visiting
MARCH 9, 2016
I am so excited to be “officially” sharing my first fabric line with you!
Modern Country is a fresh presentation of reproduction fabrics, with prints and colours firmly rooted in the last quarter of the 19th C. It includes wonderful spring blues and spring greens, cheddar (one of my favourite colours), lively pinks and a rich dark charcoal-brown. I wanted to provide reproduction colours that are often hard to find (you repro lovers know the ones I mean … they are the ones missing from our stashes!) and I wanted it to be a palette that will also appeal to the modern quilter.
I was inspired by the modern farmhouse …. fresh white washed walls and a big comfy chair to curl up in with a quilt, a pitcher of daisies on a sunsoaked table beside you and the curtain rustling as the breeze drifts across a field of flowers through the open window.
Springtime, by Mary Elizabeth Kinch
“Springtime” is the embodiment of everything Modern Country is about. Using the softer colours in the line, I think this quilt would look smashing on a little girls bed. You can find the free pattern here on the Windham Fabrics website.
To celebrate Modern Country, I am having a giveaway. Three lucky people will each win a fat quarter bundle of all 31 fabrics! Giveaway closes midnight EST on March 19 … National Quilting Day.
To enter, leave a comment below and tell me which colour from the line is your favourite.
Can’t wait to see if you win one of the fat quarter packs …
you can find the fabrics online at
Pink Castle Fabrics
The Fat Quarter Shop
- Update April 3. Julie Kovach just let me k is that you can still find a complete fat quarter bundle at The Quilted Castle. Thank you Julie!
And thank you to everyone for your kind words of support as I enter back into things.
It means the world to me!
FEBRUARY 15, 2016
One year ago this past weekend, I was just on way my home from a second trip to emergency. Three days before, dinner was in the oven and almost ready. The kids were scattered throughout the house and the dog was in the backyard. It was -23°C with the wind chill outside – a good day to be cozied up inside. I pulled on my boots and put on my coat to run out and bring the dog inside. He’s a Tibetan Terrier. He loves winter. Nobody heard me go outside. I passed my cellphone on the counter as I went out.
He is definitely a snow dog!
It happened so fast. Black ice and whop. I thought I would never forget the sound of my head hitting the frozen flagstone patio stones. It is fading. No hat, no mitts. I don’t think I was outside for long and I was able to manage to make my way back into the house, calling for the kids as I collapsed on the kitchen floor.
Diagnosis: Complex concussion.
The next three weeks were spent in bed, in a dark room, watching paint dry. No screen time. No reading. No music. Few visitors. You get the picture. Total rest. And then the slow climb back.
At two months intensive therapies started. I am so grateful to all the research that has been done on concussion recovery in the last two years. I got to benefit. I am truly indebted to my physiotherapist for her passion on the subject of concussion recovery. At six months the doctors told me I had exceeded all expectations.
At the end of June I took the subway for the first time since I fell. By July I was walking 5 miles a day. In August I tried sewing again, with tears streaming down my face because I could do it without wanting to throw up! And I taught my first class again. You gals in Grand Rapids were awesome! And I got to watch a half hour of TV.
String Piecing Tell All class in full swing!
In September I got my licence back. In October I drove two hours to a speaking engagement. I took the scenic route home to enjoy the view.
And at the end of October I took my first plane (and ferry) trip to take a Gwen Marston class with friends.
Intently reflecting on the progress of our quilts. Chocolate chip cookies from the cookie jar helped a lot!
In November I went back to a more regular program at the gym. On December 9th I was discharged from the outpatient Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic and I took on a new interior design client and I took another plane trip, this time to Austin.
And January saw me teaching in Kentucky. What an amazing group of women.
And February … I am enjoying extended screen time to be able to compose something like this blog post.
It’s been a journey.
So one year later, I am celebrating! Celebrating good health and recovery. Celebrating silver linings … I have learned to pace myself (a solid life skill to have). I finally took that formal meditation class I had on my bucket list. I am celebrating and am incredibly grateful for family, friends and colleagues who were beyond supportive … those who made phone calls on my behalf, the ghost writers of letters, emails, and blog posts, the readers and proofers of copy for magazine and quilt projects that were on the docket, and those who posted on Instagram and Facebook for me (and for Siri for dictation) … for the friends who brought meals … for my walking team, who went with me on my daily walks, first just halfway up the block and back and then in the end for miles … and for those who were my drivers to my many appointments. I am thankful for the understanding of the guilds and groups whose events I had committed to and had to cancel.
I missed out on things, sure, but it was what it was. I was doing what I needed to do. There is one thing though that happened during all that time that I missed: the launch of my first fabric line, Modern Country. It has been very well received, even if I missed out on being more involved in the launch of it. The folks at Windham were just so incredibly awesome and understanding. Still I have to give a shout-out now to the fabric and and later this week I will share some of the quilts made from it, just because I am so thrilled with the line.
And I am so glad to be back! And I am grateful. So very, very grateful.
And our dog remains ever faithful. By my side.
Last year I fell just one week before I was to be heading to Quiltcon in Austin.
We were shooting my #helloquiltcon photo for the Instagram campaign. Is he photobombing my photo or am I photobombing his selfie?!
But I am going this year!
This year’s selfie for #helloquiltcon on Instagram and buttons for the button swap.
Will I see you there?