A year later...


It's fourteen months since I last posted, and the last 12 have been spent in lockdown of varying degrees...I'm really not sure how to cover that one. It's like when someone says, 'What have you been up to?' and you feel so overwhelmed by the enormity of the question - do you go for 'breathing', 'watching Bridgerton', 'panic-buying loo rolls', or give the full low-down on 'discovering you have a long-lost brother whose been raised by wolves until recently' (only some of these apply; I'm just demonstrating the levels on which such a question could be answered), but ultimately, 'Oh, I don't know, nothing much', seems the easiest route. But also how to ask how you've been, when you may have lost family or friends, a job, sanity, sleep....or felt unbearably isolated in all of this. I simply don't know where to begin. So please try to imagine something elegantly expressed, a cuddle coming through the screen if you need it, a chair pulled out to welcome you back. 

Until the last few years, I've written this blog pretty consistently since 2007, but suddenly I just didn't feel like doing it anymore, which felt both odd and completely fine. My husband and I often used to talk about something Joni Mitchell said when asked how she could consider retiring from music: 'Easy, it's like a wind that blew through me, that's stopped blowing. It's gone.' The finality of that always seemed so shocking to us, but then we both experienced it in different ways, and it kind of made sense (do you see how casually I've aligned our paths with an internationally acclaimed wonder-horse). There was a summer where I made a whole new wardrobe of dresses and tops and didn't document a single garment...I think I realised I just felt happier existing more quietly. But recently, I've found myself drawn back to this space...there are so many projects I find myself wanting to write about in more depth, that Instagram's word count doesn't allow for. 

In short-form, I've posted on Instagram quite regularly though (that's only short form compared to a blog post...my posts are excessively wordy by Instagram standards, although one day Sarah told me that's called micro-blogging, and having a name for it seemed to make it feel legitimate). Looking back over the year on Instagram, I've sewn scrubs for the NHS (that seems so long ago now); made facemasks for family, friends, and sold them on Etsy (there's a mask pattern here); made quilts and erm, more quilts, and another! And this one...I think what these show, is how much I've enjoyed working with fabrics and backings that aren't traditional quilting cottons this year; I've asked many questions (and received amazing answers....sometimes people still message me with suggestions months later, which I love); I recreated a little street in Amsterdam (you can also read about the shocking and quite volcanic incident that meant this piece had to be started again from scratch when it was nearly finished here); the palm house at Sefton Park in Liverpool (which is a bit of a hybrid with Kew Gardens in terms of my inspiration point...which can be traced back to my 40th birthday); and a tube map using handmade 1/8" bias binding, which I'm calling Liberty Underground, as it is, predictably, made up with Liberty's Tana lawns (and as you can see from the links, I've also had Giclée prints made up of those things on German Etching paper, which is so lovely and tactile that it feels like the paper equivalent of fabric). I've talked about the books I'm reading and listening to (too many posts to link to); the things we're watching on television (ditto); sweet treats; the artists whose work I'm enjoying; how it felt when our daughter left home for university mid-pandemic; the sewing tools I'm using; my decorating escapades; random stories from our day; cats and dogs; And I made my very first technique demo video...I felt a bit like one of the animals in a Creature Comforts ad doing that...

And weirdly, only three paragraphs in I seem to have told you what I've been up to over the last year....I think I just needed to warm up to it! Please do share how this year has been for you, if you feel inclined. 

What I also wanted to ask you is this: I sometimes struggle to fit in all the things I want to say in an Instagram post...I'll often want to talk about four books, but have to limit myself to two; or I'll want to ramble from subject to subject to explain why I'm feeling a certain way about something and end up finding it's just too exhausting to attempt it in the generous-but-limited characters available. And I'm also aware that many of my old readers may not even use Instagram (or maybe most do now)? But either way, I've been thinking about how, if people want to hear about those things in longer-form, what might be the best way of doing that.

Do you still read blogs? Or do you prefer a newsletter delivered direct to your inbox (I know some people subscribe to receive a copy my blog posts to their inbox, but I set that up years ago and never really understood how it worked and still don't), but I'm thinking more of a newsletter where I'd be heading there intentionally, which somehow feels different in my head, at least. Or maybe, if you don't use Instagram, you might like a hybrid, where I embed my Instagram posts here, like I've done above, and then write a longer form post around them? Or would you prefer for me to save them up and put together some kind of printed journal every now and then? Things seem to have changed so much in the last five years, that I'd love to hear how you enjoy hearing from people for longer-than-Instagram posts, if at all.

With love, Florence x

Ps. The quilt in this post is made with Nani Iro cotton sateen and backed with a really lovely synthetic sherpa fleece that's so cosy and warm - no batting needed. The drape is delicious. Let me know if you'd like the details of where those things can be found online. x

Comments

  1. I read blogs but a newsletter also is finr

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  2. I was a fairly new follower when you stopped posting last year. I don't use Instagram though there are probably many quilters who have gone to that venue. I enjoy reading posts that describe the quilting process and thoughts about why a quilter chose one method over another, as well as design decisions. Hope this helps you decide how to proceed.

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    1. Thank you so much - and sorry for dropping away just as you'd started following. x

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  3. I read blogs because I love stories. I have an Instagram account, but I forget to check it. I would love it if you'd blog again, although you should do what works for you!

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    1. That's what I love about blogs too - thank you so much for letting me know :)

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  4. What a treat to see you back here!! I’ve missed your writings but, of course, completely understand how the past twelve months turned into a sort of invisible quicksand of a year! I still enjoy blogs but also like the quick read through of Instagram...I guess I’m not much help. ❤️

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    1. It's just lovely to know you're still here - I've noticed several feedreaders (Bloglovin' etc) have disappeared and wondered if anyone would actually see I'd posted, so it's lovely to know you have - thank you ☺️. x

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  5. I love reading blogs because I am a reader. I love the detail and inspiration that I can get in blogs. I don't do or feel the need to do Instagram, I feel that I can only do so much social media or I will be sucked into it never to climb out. regarding the links above for some reason I could open up your etsy shop (the tube line is divine and I will be asking my husband to buy it as a present this year) but couldn't open up any of the others. x

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    1. Ha! Yes, there is that danger. I'm so sorry you couldn't open the other links - they were to Instagram's website, and I'm wondering if it blocks you from viewing them if you're reading on a phone without the Instagram app installed...I'm so sorry, but good to know - thank you 🙏🏻. x

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  6. You've been missed, and with all that's been going on I've been afraid to ask! Please keep blogging. I really enjoy your blogs, all the bits "around" the stitching. Welcome back!

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  7. I start every day reading my blogs while having breakfast. Over the past year I realise I'm enjoying those that have more content in them, rather than just facts and instructions. Perhaps the result of shielding for so long. I don't use Instagram, so would really prefer your blog and or a newsletter. Lovely to have you back, by the way.

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    1. That sounds like such a peaceful way to start the day. I feel the same - the blogs I still read are more for the content than tutorials etc. And thank you. x

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  8. I start every day reading my blogs while having breakfast. Over the past year I realise I'm enjoying those that have more content in them, rather than just facts and instructions. Perhaps the result of shielding for so long. I don't use Instagram, so would really prefer your blog and or a newsletter. Lovely to have you back, by the way.

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  9. I am on Instagram but prefer blogs because I also like longer stories. In my blogreader posts also don't disappear so soon if I don't check it for a couple of days. I am not scrolling through couple of days on Instagram because the number of posts that's produced there is just way too high to keep with. If you did a newsletter I'd probably sign up.
    Eventually I think you should just do what you want to do. It's your blog and your time that's spend creating and writing things.

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    1. Ooh yes, good point - there are so many people who I follow on Instagram, but where the algorithm somehow means I don't always see their posts. Thank you for commenting. x

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  10. Like many of the comments I love to read blogs with stories and humour or sadness as well as detail (sewpreeti is an example) and I don't do Instagram, so would miss your blog. I don't like blogs that are full of advertising or sales. Strangely enough i was only looking at your previous blogs the other day. I would sign up for a newsletter I think. Do what feels best for you.

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    1. I'm going to look up Sewpreeti - thank you for the recommendation :) And thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on blogs. x

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  11. Are you going through menopause ? Yes , I'm serious but of course you don't have to answer. I can be a bit straight forward and blunt. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your blog , everything was so elegant and well put. You do what's best for you, Always !!! May God fill your days.

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    1. Goodness, your comment actually caused me to splutter out loud when I read it! No, I'm not, but I'm pleased you enjoy my blog :)

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  12. As others do, I read blog posts. I’m not good with newsletters and am not on Instagram. I love reading about more than just quilting or crafting....

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  13. I love reading blogs, although I’m happy to keep up with your sewing projects and book recommendations in any format as I enjoy them so much.

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  14. I like reading your emails and bi-monthly would be good. I don't care for Instagram. I have not changed my daily living routine except for wearing a mask out in public and practicing social distancing. God bless you and everyone else in this crazy world.

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    1. I'm so pleased to hear lockdown hasn't impacted on you too much, Lorena :) And thank you for commenting. x

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  15. I love to read blogs, but in saying this, I also love Instagram. I find IG is a quick fix. A quick catch-up, of what is happening in the the quilty/crafty community. A quick look at pictures of what everyone is working on or has finished. I honestly don't spend a lot of time reading what is written on IG posts, just scroll through and double tap if I like a picture.
    I love that Blogs tell the story and are a wonderful way to express what you want with as many words as you'd like. I don't see a majority of the posts friends share on IG (something to do with the algorithm) but I know that I can go through the list of blogs I follow on Bloglovin or Feedly and read them, even if it's a few days/weeks later.

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    1. Is Bloglovin' still going? I was confused about that as it looked like it had suddenly disappeared to me? And I completely agree, I love blogs for the more complete story they tell. x

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  16. I love blogs and do not use Instagram at all.

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  17. I would love to know where the things can be found online for the quilt in this post, is gorgeous. I read Instagram and blogs, again a blog is lovely as there is much more content, but I love both.

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    1. I'm so pleased you like it - it's one of my favourites. The two prints used are both a Nani Iro cotton sateen - a bit of a slippery eel to cut out, but worth it, as the drape is lovely! I think it may still be available at The Draper's Daughter online... The fleece backing is called Sherpa fleece and it's from Billow Fabrics in the UK - it's amazing stuff and when I use it I don't bother about using a wadding or middle layer. The only downside of it, is that it's not quite as wide as I'd like and usually needs piecing to make up the back. I hope that helps :)

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  18. Just nice to read your blog again, love your styke of writing it feels so relaxing and soothing.

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  19. No contest! Blogging wins over Instagram by a lot! Would love it if you started blogging again!

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    1. Thank you so much - it's been lovely to know people are still here, and I think I will :)

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  20. So lovely to see a blog post from you again...quite apart from my inherent interest in and love of what you blog about I also just really enjoy your style of writing too! I use Instagram as it is a platform on which i promote my business so I tend to interact a lot on there but I also enjoy reading through lengthier pieces so I enjoy blogs and newsletters in my spare time. I’ve been enjoying seeing your quilts using alternative materials on instagram!

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  21. I've wondered what became of you and hoped you were not ill. Very happy to see this post pop up today as I enjoy your writing, your perspective and your projects very much! I'll follow you on Instagram too now that I know you post there.

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  22. I really enjoy blogs... I like the longer thoughts, and much as I love Instagram too I’m always pleased to spend time with old favourites. Good to hear from you again, glad you are well.

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  23. I read blogs. Instagram seems too full of influencers and nonsense. The best bits escape me!!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x