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List free Blogging from A to Z in April – some tips for WordPress bloggers

The Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge is coming up soon. The Theme reveal, where bloggers advertise their chosen theme for the challenge will be on 20 March 2017.

I have participated every year since 2013, when I came across the challenge just in time to take part.

When I began blogging I had no idea how other bloggers were managing to find my posts. Later on I discovered the WordPress Reader. This is a tool for managing the blogs you follow and for finding blog posts on any topic.

I use the category Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and (among others) the tags A to Z, April, challenge, Letter A (etc.), blogging challenge. It is important not to use more than 15 categories and tags in total. As I understand it, too many prevent the post showing in the reader.

Many of the blogs I follow in the Reader are those of A to Z bloggers from previous challenges. There is the opportunity to add more – even from blogging platforms other than WordPress. For these it is necessary to copy the URL of the blog into a space on the Reader and click follow.

Searching in the Reader allows bloggers to find the most recent posts with the category or tag selected. This may help bloggers, who post their comments way down any list on the Blogging from A to Z website or Facebook page.

Adding links to these lists is also useful for driving traffic to your blog (I mean encouraging other A to Z Bloggers to visit 🙂 )

It is also important to continue sharing your links in whatever is your usual way, eg on your own writer’s Facebook page, Twitter, etc.

Have you any tips for this year’s A to Z challenge?

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What I read in February 2017

This post coincides with World Book Day UK and is the next in my regular series about books I have read.

In February 2017 I have read and enjoyed four books, three novels and one children’s book – dare I say classic? The novels were all well-written with keen observation of human nature and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. (The children’s book had a lovely example of generosity.)

I bought a second hand copy of The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory from the ongoing used book sale at the local parish church. Although this is not the first in the series of books about the Tudor court, I found it easy to read as a stand-alone story. It opens in the reign of Edward I and continues through to the end of the reign of Queen Mary. The storyteller is a fictitious character – the Queen’s Fool. This is a mass-market paperback and a real page-turner.

Following on from Winnie-the Pooh I read The House at Pooh Corner from the same volume. I did not possess a copy of this as a child, although I did read a library copy. The stories are less familiar to me than those in the first book, but equally delightful.


I bought a copy of Trying to Fly by Annie Try. I reviewed her earlier novel, Losing Face last year. Trying to Fly is well-written and easy to read. The story drew me in from the first page. It has a similar flavour to the Evie Adams books by Mel Menzies, but in this case it is not the therapist, who investigates the mystery. I read it in a single day at a time when it was not easy for me to get out – an important concept in the book. The strap line is Haunting Memories arouse a dormant mystery. The mystery is intriguing and the plot is well-constructed. I am looking forward to the next book from Annie Try, due to be published in September.


I also bought a copy of the third in the Tales from Goswell series by Katharine Swartz. Her earlier books The Vicar’s Wife and The Lost Garden are also mentioned on this blog, which incidentally now has 600 posts. The Second Bride is written in the same style as the two earlier books with chapters alternating between two parallel stories set in different centuries.  With rather small print and around 350 pages I finished reading it the day after I bought it! There are questions for book groups at the end. The Tales from Goswell series seems to be going from strength to strength. The stories in this latest book involve the tensions of blended families and have unexpected twists and turns.

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A knitted hat and some baby bootees

I had some oddments of yarn from earlier projects, which I decided to use up.

Hat with bamboo needles and a circular needle

Hat with bamboo needles and a circular needle

Hat

Hat

My first project was a hat. I used a pattern from The Aran Look by Patons No 151. The pattern was called “For country walks”. There is a “Stalk” on the top of the hat in the pattern (instead of a bobble). I omitted it. I also omitted one pattern repeat (4 rows) to reduce the depth of the hat as I was knitting it for someone with a smaller than average head. (The pattern was for an average head.)

The yarn I used was Airedale Aran from Texere yarns. I had bought some when it was discontinued. The garment, which resulted in spare yarn for the hat, appeared in an earlier post.

There was a large number of stitches so I found it easier to work backwards and forwards on a circular needle for much of the project.  For the shaping of the crown I used straight bamboo needles, which I find more comfortable to use than needles, which feel cold to the touch.

The pattern for the baby bootees was from an old copy of Woman’s weekly, Top to Toe Layette. It was for Robin yarns. It is just possible that I used a modern Robin yarn, but I didn’t make a note. It was certainly a well-known brand. I used 1 metre of  approximately .25in wide ribbon for each pair of bootees. (Yes, we are metric in the UK!)

Bootees

Bootees