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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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A sign and crafty projects

At the weekend hubby and I had an outing to Keswick.  I have already written about it in a post (with my first slide show ever) on my words and pictures blog.  As we were approaching Hope Park I was stopped in my tracks by what I read on a blackboard outside a café.  Amusing signs have long been a source of inspiration to photographers or snappers up of unconsidered trifles.

Skinny people are easier to kidnap!

Be warned!

I don’t know where the author of this one found inspiration.  I am still telling my friends about it.  There was a mystery at the same time that I noticed the sign.  A busker had disappeared.  I hope he was simply eating cake and that it was nothing more sinister.

In other news I completed a coat and larger bonnet and bootees using the pattern featured in an earlier post.  For any knitters, who might be interested, I have a few hints and tips.  I used circular needles (one at a time, working backwards and forwards) for most of this project.  The coat is knitted in one piece to the armholes and the stitches fit more comfortably on an 80cm circular needle than on a pair of knitting needles.  It also helps for bootees as the stitches, which need to be held, while the instep is being knitted remain on the needle.  Ordinary knitting needles might be OK for the sleeves, but the yoke is best on a circular needle.

Baby coat

Baby coat

Finding somewhere without shadows to take the photo of the coat was a problem.  In the end I found a bright spot with uniform shade!

I had a really useful idea this week, when I tried on a pair of trousers to adjust the fit.  As I was going to put extra elastic inside the waistband, I put the trousers on inside out.  It was then easy to pin the elastic in place.

Perhaps I need a sign.  Danger radiation hazard – brainwaves!

Have you seen any funny signs or had any good ideas recently?

Baby’s bonnet and bootees

My latest knitting project is from a modern pattern, the first I have purchased for several years.  It is Peter Gregory designs for knitting 685 with a link to www.ukhandknitting.com on the cover.  There is an interesting blog on this website, which is currently being reconstructed.

I have substituted WonderSoft by Stylecraft baby double knitting as it was the only suitable yarn I could find locally.

Knitting the smallest size of bootees allowed me to practise the lacy pattern.  (I find lace knitting is the most difficult.  This pattern maintains a constant number of stitches on each row.  Some patterns, where the number of stitches increases on one row and decrease on another, are even more difficult.)

Bootees

Bootees

I am now knitting the coat, which requires 235 stitches for the largest size.

Although I have been a lifelong knitter, I still have difficulty counting stitches.  I count the stitches I have just cast on two or three times and arrive at a different total each time!  For this project I am using a circular needle and knitting backwards and forwards.  I realised that I could reduce the number of stitches I need to count all at once by dividing up the work using safety pins.  I used a safety pin after each 100 stitches, but it would be easier to use one every 50 stitches.

I am also checking that each pattern row is correct as I go along.  Usually I press on regardless and then having to unpick (frog) inches of knitting!

Bonnet front view

Bonnet front view

This pattern gives four sizes for a dress and a coat and two sizes for the bonnet and bootees.

Bonnet side view

Bonnet side view

I managed to reach a straightforward section of the coat, where the pattern is similar to the sides of the bonnet, so that I could knit at craft group without making lots of mistakes.

How often do you think, why ever didn’t I think of that before?