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Monday, 11 March 2013

Now this is something you'll have trouble googling

So I spent Mothering Sunday in a sports hall. A cold sports hall. My Sunday lunch was a houmous and carrot sandwich that I'd packed myself before I set off.

I was there for five hours, watching children do gymnastics. It was a bit spectacular, but long. Very long. I'm pretty sure that the local sports centre could put on a pretty good closing ceremony at the Olympics. Swirly lights. Opera. Two hundred children all doing the same moves at the same time.

But still. Five hours. I did English paper piecing, though I could barely see my needle because of the lighting.


I've been making this quilt since August. I've pieced on holiday, in front of the TV, on trains, on weekends at the in-laws, at Christmas: everywhere. I pieced the other weekend, constantly, whilst chatting and laughing and eating with an amazing bunch of bloggers, hosted by Tracy. We talked about socks, about food, about - lord, I actually can't remember what - and about blogging.

I wore my lovely handknitted socks - a gift from Kristina - during the five hour gym display. My feet were the only part of me that were warm.

Have you read this post, on Maxabella Loves? It's about when blogs become websites; about when SEO takes over, and the number of page hits matters more than the relationships behind them. And it's how we all exist in cliques, and how we get less able to step outside them. And about how we should read more blogs.  It's really good.


Am in a clique? It might look like it. I have blogging friends whom I've met; they know blogging friends whom they've met. But even though my blog is over five years old, I still came late to the party, and their community welcomed me with open arms. Now, when I search for new blogs, I find it harder to find my way. Blogrolls are losing popularity: being edited down, sometimes even being ditched altogether.  And it's a huge world out there now, in Blogland - it's getting harder and harder to navigate.

It's also hard to spot your child in a darkened hall, with swirly lights, surrounded by 199 other children in almost identical leotards.


Is that why we read less blogs? Because they're getting harder to spot? And what makes us form the communities we do?

A while ago, a very influential UK blogger told me that no-one, NO-ONE, replied to comments by email. NO-ONE. AT. ALL. But we do. Most of the blogs I read - we all do. Blogland is massive. We do different things.

There are children doing gymnastics on the assymetric bars. Then, later, a class full of girls waving ribbons. There are some very, very tiny children wiggling their toes in a circle.


I've been to blog events where we've talked about Effective Use of Social Media, about Branding. But around Tracy's table, we talked about writing.

The thing is, even though I know about how to best title my blog posts in order to maximise their search potential, I shall continue to write things with headings such as How the Stuffed Became the Stuffing and Just Get On With It. It doesn't help my traffic, so why do I do it? Because it makes me happy. Look at this! Monica's blog, with its numbered headings. Tell me that's not the right way to do it. Go on. Try.


So who is in my 'clique', my community? Bloggers who've never acknowledged me, bloggers who've politely responded. Bloggers whom I've met, whom I've never met but learned things from, bloggers whom I could text right now at ten past ten because they're actually friends. Chances are - since you didn't find me today via an anonymous google search for 'miserable cow' or 'stapling together an ottoman' - you're in there too.

You, over there, on the balance beam. I'm over here waving a ribbon. I know what I'm doing. You're doing fine too.






57 comments:

  1. Good toes, naughty toes. Excellent post, missis.

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  2. "Tis all true. And it should be fun and make you happy. Keep it up!

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    1. Thank you! If it's no fun, there's no point, really.

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  3. Much food for thought Mrs Coffee. I do so agree, especially about post titles. The quilt is looking spectacular.

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  4. I love the colours in your quilt.

    I don't believe that I have ever Googled a blog but I have found lots by following one then being directed to another and another and so on. All of which I read because I enjoy the writing and for no other reason. Just please yourself, after all it is your blog.

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  5. Loving the words - but REALLY loving the quilt xx

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  6. A small and silent part of your blogging cliche, are people like me (or so I hope). I read all your posts, but rarely comment. This because you write so well and with so much wit, that I nod and laugh and sometimes shout out 'Yes thats so true!' but am usually unable to come up with a comment to do justice to your post. Dont go changing - loving your work!
    By the way,I found you through blog rolls on other blogs, surely the only way to find the writing I want to read?

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    1. Oh, you're very kind! I do love a good blog roll, too.

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  7. I'm vaulting - the only thing I was ever good at in gymnastics. And I went to read that post, which was, as you said, most excellent. Bit like your quilt.

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  8. I like blogs because they give me intelligent yet pretty things to look at when the daily humdrum threatens to erase my very soul! Like your quilt. And your words! I've found new blogs recently through random searches for intelligent yet pretty things on Google Images. Mind you, I found a horrendously frightening feminist rant against Nanny McPhee there at the weekend. And I call myself a feminist!

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  9. Agree with everything you say, and I went and read (and agreed with) the post too. I continue to be completely in awe of your quilting skills--and how much you accomplished during the meetup--I think I knit one round! And very happy I could keep your feet warm! K x

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  10. Nail firmly hit on head. Thank you!
    I could only ever do a head-over-heels (I was that inept, it couldn't even be called a forward roll!), so any gymnastic move is worthy of my awe. Perhaps not 5 hours of it though … xx

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  11. I'm with you.
    (Well, certainly not in the darkened sports arena.)

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  12. Aw. I'm awfully fond of you, you Martha Stewart-esque crafting FREAK. And yes, I don't give a frog's fat arse about my stats. Whatevs! I live to be random, to please myself, and to make sure that I'm staying at least somewhat in touch with the darlings who somehow magically became my friends via blogging. Including the miserable cows who staple ottomans and then OVERNIGHT turn into quilting experts.

    Oh, I'm the one at the back of the bleachers stuffing my face with nachos and wishing I were digging in my garden. But cheering you on, all the same.

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    1. Snorting into my red bush tea here, awesome comment Lynn.

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    2. There are no more words to be said. This place is effing brilliant

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    3. Except the words, I second that!

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  13. I read you daily and many of the lovely sock group ladies (my new name for your collectiveness) and have to say I love you all. You're funny, articulate, thought provoking and a great read plus you post pretty pictures of things I like to look at. I think blogs are a great way for very talented people who might not otherwise be heard to be heard and it's great. I don't google for blogs but I do look at 'blogs I like to read' lists that bloggers I like put up - I reason that if I like their writing I might like what they read too.
    Please keep writing Sue if it's still fun for you and the quilt looks great - damn I must get that UFO off the shelf!

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    1. What lovely things to say. I love the name 'sock group ladies'!

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  14. I have always thought it was a shame when bloggers removed their blogrolls. It started with Jane Brocket and then became de rigeur. I have not always maintained my blogroll very well and was rather horrified to find recently that a valued friend was missing from the list. However I do think that in the move towards more stylish formats we should not forget the importance of blogrolls for supporting new writers and helping break down the impression that bloggers form impenetrable cliques

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    1. spot on, Alice. I'm a fairly new blogger, one year only, and I love having a blogroll, it introduces other people to the bloggers I like to read. And I hate this hierarchical thing that has emerged in blogland.

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  15. I feel like blogging at the moment is kind of like after a really big party. You have all these zillions of conversations, shouting over the music, and people saying to you, 'have you met...you should meet...and this is...', then slowly everyone leaves until you're sitting around the kitchen table chatting the rest of the night away with the people who've stayed.

    Beautiful quilting.

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  16. I love that quilt. And am intrigued by the idea of stapling an ottoman - must've missed that one!

    Excellent post, o caffeinated one. I would love to come to England and meet my UK clique one day. I feel as if i know most of you already but would love it to be in person.

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  17. I got so excited when the first time I commented on a blog I got a lovely email reply. It's a shame it's not more usual.

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    1. It all depends on which blog platform you're using, but one of the problems with Blogger is that it doesn't always give you an email address for commenters. For example, yours...

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    2. Yes, Blogger does seem to dislike WordPress users.

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  18. I feel I'm one of the clique on here as I always read and am entertained by your posts though don't often comment and of course we have never met. Great post!

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  19. Love this post. It was lovely meeting you and now I can read your posts with your voice in my head... although when we met I kept telling myself "she sounds just like she writes", which is a but topsy turvy but I'm sure you know what I mean.

    Till the next time..

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  20. AND AND AND, the quilt is GORGEOUS!!

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  21. I think I have fallen off my balance beam.

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  22. Found your blog (well, I've only read this post so far....) via Monica's blog - or was it via googling 'miserable cow' - one or the other anyway. Interesting stuff. I shall read more of your posts later after I've been swimming (I'm just giving you a bit of warning, so you can pop back a do a bit of dusting, tidying up, etc.) x (Lovely quilt, btw)

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  23. Hello, I've just found you via the Quince Tree. Your quilt is beautiful by the way. I rarely leave comments as I feel someone has already said what I would like to far more eloquently than I could. I'm also guilty of just removing my blogroll whilst doing a bit of a "spring" clean, which having just read your post was a daft thing to do, as I generally find new blogs through blogrolls.

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  24. fantastic post - totally agree with everything you've said. and love the quilt!

    Nikki x

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  25. Thank you for linking to me! Your thoughts on this topic are really interesting. I agree that it's hard to find each other these days because the blogiverse is ever-expanding. Back when I started blogging I did the blogroll hopping thing and found so many gorgeous blogs (some of which I added to my own blog roll and so on!). I will always keep my blogroll for that reason.

    The whole SEO / traffic thing just gives me the heebies. I think it takes away from good writing. A search engine isn't the most creative thing in the world and if you write to please it, your writing and the heart within it are going to suffer.

    It's why I always say that I got into blogging to be a writer, not a marketer. I want to craft words and share things, not worry about the numbers and pleasing a 'brand'.

    Loads of bloggers I know respond to every comment by email. Disqus allows them to do that and I've often toyed with the idea of getting it on my own blog. But then that would be even more things to do and, let's face it, if it ain't broke, I won't fix it!

    Thanks again for the link and your thoughtful post. Whenever I get over here to your corner of that big, wide blogisphere, I always enjoy what you have to say very much.

    x

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  26. PS - Sorry for the essay!!! x

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  27. I'm new here after following a link from the Quince Tree. What a brilliant post, very thoughtful and so true. I've become a follower and I'll be back for more! Linda x

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  28. And I thought no-one was noticing me wave that ribbon. Also, that's one heck of a gorgeous quilt.

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  29. Great post. I love your blog and your quilt

    I am laughing at myself and shrugging my shoulders--to discover that the blogosphere is just as socially challenging for me as face to face life is and I feel just like a pimply school girl again, as I realized I was trying to "break into" a clique. I was actually grateful to finally realize the bloggers I was reading were part of a close-knit circle with a character all of its own. Helped me not feel so hurt that they weren't choosing to follow my blog--there is just so much time one has to give to this fascinating place

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  30. Hi!
    I can't remember how I got here (maybe through Sue at the Quince Tree), but I enjoyed your posting on blogging! Yes, there are definitely "cliques"! You're either in or your out... and it's good to remember never to take it personally!
    I know nothing about sewing, but can admire other's handiwork and you have some nice shapes and colours going on up there! My passions are photography, crochet and cooking and one of them is usually flavour of the day, depending on the day!
    I enjoyed visiting you here! Sandra

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  31. That quilt is really lovely! Thankfully my days of sitting watching judo gradings are past but I should have realised that they could have been more tolerable with some handicraft on the go. I too agree with your comments about blogging - now I feel a tad guilty about not having a blogroll, especially as I have found so many wonderful blogs through other's blog rolls.

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  32. What? Many, many bloggers email in response to comments. I often do it. In fact, never doing it is a good way to make the commenter feel like her comment doesn't matter. Yes, the blogosphere can be cliquey and I've had the experience of my blog being ceremoniously dropped from someone's blogroll. It was ouchy, and I'll probably never know that cause. But as Whoopi Goldberg says, "As soon as you open your mouth you lose half your audience." BTW I'm a typepad person, and if I choose commenting w/ typepad, your commentbox takes me to the typepad homepage w/out ever posting the comment.

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  33. I read here but I rarely comment ... as Mrs King says, you're too good an act to follow.

    You've sure given me a lot to think about. I don't generally reply to comments by email unless there's a specific reason for me to contact the commenter directly, but I don't mean to be rude, it's just that with 150 or more comments a week if I did reply that way I'd never have time to blog. What I do do is comment on the blogs of bloggers who visit my blog, comment often (not always) on the comments of the non-bloggers, and I always make a point of giving time each week to blog hopping ... Maxabella is right, there are so many brilliant and inspiring blogs out there that you'll never find unless you go looking for them. And I have made so many friends through blogging, some of whom I've met, some of whom I have a date to meet, some of whom I hope to meet, and some I never will. It feels like just the most humongous blessing to be part of this community of like minded women.

    As to post titles, the weirder the better say I! (Sadly mine tend to be totally unimaginative, if slightly obscure.)

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  34. I do try to reply to blog comments by email although sometimes I run out of time and sometimes I don't have an address to reply to - but I do try. The joy of blogging is finding new, fascinating blogs to read - yours is a recent addition to my Google Reader and I'm very much enjoying it. But I was dismayed this morning to open Google Reader and see the message that it is going to be "retired" in July - how will I keep track of all my bloggy friends? Lucy x

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  35. That quilt is exquisite and I agree with everything you've written. I shall enjoy clicking through all your links.

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  36. What a perfect post, I can relate to a lot of it, mainly the blogging bit and the sitting for hours at gymnastics (and several other sporting venues too). I'm glad I found your blog!

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    1. Other sporting venues too? Oh, poor you.

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  37. "So who is in my 'clique', my community? Bloggers who've never acknowledged me, bloggers who've politely responded. Bloggers whom I've met, whom I've never met but learned things from, bloggers whom I could text right now at ten past ten because they're actually friends. Chances are - since you didn't find me today via an anonymous google search for 'miserable cow' or 'stapling together an ottoman' - you're in there too."

    This is my clique, too. I started blogging because I was working full time at a less than thrilling job with two young kids at home -- I had a lot to talk about and no time, and no physical person, to talk to. I loved having a space to make sense of my life. The unintended side effect was that there were other people out there doing the same thing, and once I overcame my shyness, they became my friends. It has really changed my life.

    Also, that is one amazing quilt, Coffeelady.

    And I agree 100% about the blogrolls.

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  38. Oooh, what a great post - I agree with you about cliques and when blogs become websites. I am mostly happy with my own little corner of the blogosphere and the regular commentators and friends I have. I feel that I hover at the edge of other cliques and communities rather than actually belong to any. I am rubbish at replying to comments, not because I am not bothered or rude but because I find I barely have time to blog. That piecing looks fabulous by the way - I am the daughter of a skilled quilter but am far far too sloppy personally to manage any.

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  39. I so enjoyed this post. A few points: love your hexie quilt top. I have one I started about 26 years ago....or even more. It is still an unfinished top, mainly because the fabrics are revolting, unlike yours.

    I reply to all my comments on my blog. When I reach the dizzy heights of having hundreds of comments perhaps I'll leave off, or get a social secretary; til then, I enjoy the conversation. I dislike the creeping celebrity edging its way into Blogland, I dislike clicking on a blog link to find I can't read the post for all the cr*p surrounding it ....... 'pretties', adverts etc, I am quickly clicking off those sites, I can tell you.

    One or two bloggers who seldom reply have emailed me to tell me they enjoy my blog others don't reply to comments at all, some bloggers are real regulars - and me to their blogs, we feel almost friends. One or two bloggers I have indeed become friends with. How wonderful Blogland can be! Oh, and yes, I will be following, because I like what I've read.

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  40. Great post - I love your quilt

    I'll have to look into putting my blogroll back on my blog. I took it off because the google widgit I was using would occasionally spam other blogs with back links, not good. I doubt that google have fixed the bug so I'll have to think about another way of doing it.

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  41. I still have a blogroll, hardly ever read new blogs and I'm definitely in a clique. I don't always email back to comments either .... *hangs head*

    Quite a lot of my clique (myself included) are blogging less frequently and a few of us are hanging out on facebook, which makes me sad because in the glory days, blogging was so much fun. I don't want to stop blogging though, I still love it. Just struggling to make the time for it..

    Lovely quilting. Wish I'd thought to bring some handwork to the gymnastic comps. Will definitely do so in future.

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  42. I never email back to comments (because their email addresses aren't shown) but I do usually go to the commenters' blogs to comment back again.

    Very interesting post. And I love your patchwork. And your children will appreciate your being there!

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  43. I've just discovered your blog and it rings true to what I enjoy and how I live. I am a new fan, though not a blogger. Keep it up!

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  44. I googled you today because I thought of you. I tried very hard once to get in the 'big girls clique' but now find it doesn't matter. I just blog because I like to and read them when I feel like it. Like now.

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  45. What an excellent post, and a beautiful quilt! I love a blogroll, and have been woefully bad at updating mine of late, off to rectify that right now.

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  46. My sister has a similar skill, she one made me a quilt, took her weeks. I spilt coffee on it after a few days. My name was dirt :)

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