Why I turned off my IFTTT recipe for auto-posting Instagram to Twitter

Isn’t it annoying that Twitter will show “cards” including a summary and image in your twitter feed when you post most links, but it won’t show images from Instagram links? When you share via Instagram you do have the option to connect several networks and automatically post to them. However when you do, your image won’t be included on Twitter. I always found this annoying when I see others share these updates. I call it a #zombiegram. See? No picture.

zombie-gram

At one point, Twitter used to show Instagram images in the main flow of twitter stream, but they turned it off in 2012. Sure, why show media from a competing social network? (Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012.) So for the last few years people have come up with some work arounds.

If this then that to the rescue?

An obvious solution is to re-post the same image manually on Twitter after you use Instagram (nicer filters of course!) But why does that extra few clicks seem like a giant pain?

Instead you can use an IFTTT recipe. The “If this then that” recipes can be used to set up lots of automated services. It’s a rather cool tool! For example, Get an email if there will be rain in your area tomorrow or Tweet your Facebook status updates.

To deal with Twitter ignoring Instagram images, there are a few recipes that will automatically post your Instagram picture as a native Twitter image, and link to your full Instagram post.

There’s two annoying things about this.

  1. Often users have different instagram IDs from their Twitter IDs. Why this is so is completely beyond me! FYI – If you use the native Instagram share to Twitter it will correct the ID if the user has also connected their Twitter account.
  2. Unless you’re really careful how you write the first characters of your Instagram post, you’ll likely get cropped @mentions and #hashtags.

ifttt-pic

Still a Zombiegram

My other main problem with this is it means your Instagram > Twitter post is still a zombiegram. I notice that when people I follow on Twitter use either IFTTT or the native Instagram sharing option, it’s like a ghost of a post. All the action is over on Instagram and the Twitter share is merely a residual image.

Unsurprisingly, most of the creative people I follow are heavily focused on Instagram. Being a visual social network, it lends itself to artists and craftspeople. So even though the native images are on Twitter, they still aren’t interacting on Twitter. I interact with the Twitter pics and then I realize the conversation is elsewhere anyway. You would still need to click through to the original Instagram post.

Control what you post

Another strange effect I noticed after I set up IFTTT is that I was limiting posting Instagram as much knowing it would go to Twitter. I’m usually pretty careful about what I post on Twitter or how frequently I post. I worry about “my mix”, because my Twitter feed is a weird combo of craft/marketing/technology. I don’t want to drown people in yarn on Twitter. When I was just sharing on Instagram, I didn’t seem to mind sharing frequently, where I know it’s going to be all craft/nature/travel. Over there, it’s more clear why people are following my posts. On the other hand, I rarely share political images on Instagram.

So here’s a solution! Instead of auto-posting everything you can choose what you post. There are two useful options:

  1. Be more selective. Use the Instagram to Twitter IFTTT recipe where you can use a hashtag to mark which Instagram posts to share on Twitter.
  2. Use Tumblr as an intermediary, so you can select to just share to Tumblr those things you want to post to Twitter. Here’s a tutorial.

The thing is, I don’t think I’m going to use it. I’ll go back to sharing selected images manually. I actually don’t use Instagram as much as I intend to. I don’t pay attention to what is happening on Instagram as much as Twitter, but I’d like to. I like that it’s less spammy, less newsy, and more easy to control what I see. I don’t mind that it is an escape from reality. I like that sometimes.

So for now, I’m turning off my auto-tweeting of my Instagram images, and I’m going to probably be sharing more on Instagram too @nearlythere

Tips for anyone embarking on YarnKonMari

I started writing what was going to be one blog post and I decided to write it all out. So this is part 3, wherein I warn the gentle reader if they are about to start on their YarnKonMari project. You can read Part 1 or Part 2 of this epic cull.

stash-odd-ball

You need time and space

I planned this originally thinking I had time off in April for Easter, but I have to go on a sad trip. So I had to wrap things up quickly last weekend. As I mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to photograph the yarn and I thought I’d queue it (ha no!) And even on the day, I tacked BOTH books and yarn. Don’t do what I did. Start KonMari early in one category. I wish I’d had the whole weekend, but I was booked.

A sound track helps!

I think it’s really helpful to hear people TALK about organizing and decluttering while I organize.
And a special Google Talk by Marie Kondo.

You need a vision

I think in the end I have a KonMarieFail. I did eliminate a good bit of yarn, but I feel like I just pushed stuff between boxes. I certainly know better what I have now, but I didn’t even get photographs as I had planned.

I think KonMarie says you should start with a vision of the lifestyle you want so you can work towards it.

I do want a lively, big, fun stash. But do I want it all out in the open exposed to dust/air? I think if I maintained a small stash then it would be easier to keep out on the open and enjoy it.

I don’t think I looked into how people store and display yarn. And that is why everything pretty much just ended up in boxes again. I think if you have a vision, you also know when you’re successful.

Danger zone: Don’t wake sleeping yarn dragons

After clearly eliminating the joyless yarn, I looked at the rest, and decided to sort it further. I had a “Hall of Fame” of yarns; I had “spark joy” yarns and I had this whole pile of “moderate joy” yarns.

I sat down with this moderately joyful pile, and organized it by colour. I woke it all up. I found I was surprised by the sparkly joy that the scraps and leftover yarn bits had. Suddenly they seemed like some exciting materials to play with freely without fearing using up too-precious yarns.

I wanted to try combining them immediately, to hold them together multi stranded. I made a quick swatch. Clara Parkes talks about it in her Craftsy class on stashbusting. (Follow the link in her newsletter for a cool discount!)

I decided to combine 2 neutral with one pop of colour, and use up some bits with texture.

I know I'm supposed to be #sorting #stashbusting #accidentalswatching #Marled #knittersofinstagram #procrastinating

A post shared by Heather McNamee (@nearlythere) on

But my husband caught me and we had a discussion about the whole project. It was clear I wasn’t making progress. Of course, first I finished and cast off the swatch. Then returned to business.stash-swatch-combine

This might be the yarn equivalent to reading a book while you’re doing konmarie on your books. I really should not have started knitting! I love the swatch though and I think this would be a really fun project. I can picture it in a jacket: which would like being thick and heavy. I love Stephen West’s Marled Madness coat.

stash-swatch

I think this is the “magic” part of the process. You open up your ideas to what you have around you, and then you are less likely to accumulate mindlessly. (hopefully!)

Reflecting: Was I successful?

Though I didn’t start out with a vision, I started to develop one. I would like to achieve a state of active, live, exciting stash.

Clara Parkes calls this “slow stashing“, which I mentioned in the previous post.

“At its core, slow stashing involves being mindful of every skein we own, and only bringing in new skeins that are truly deserving of our time, our attention, and our resources.

Slow stashing starts with an unblinking survey of our stashes. Pull everything out—including deep in the closets and attics where yarn tends to congregate. Remove it from cover of darkness, take it all out into the bright open air, and study what you have…. You are seeking yarns that inspire you, yarns made from noble fibers and by good people, yarns that are truly worthy of your time, your attention, and your dollars.”

I think in terms shaking up the stash and getting familiar with what’s in there, I know what I have now. But the problem is, will I remember?

I really like Hanna Fettig’s advice about organizing your stash.

TIP FOUR. Take a a few hours to organize your materials in a pleasing manner.  I’m not a big fan of storing things in ziplock bags inside plastic bins.  I like to have everything out, sorted by color or coordinates, so it can inspire me on a day to day basis.  I shuffle everything around from time to time to give me a fresh perspective.

I have put the yarn back in plastic bins because that is what makes sense for the amount of stuff I have in relation to the space. However I have pulled out current projects into a basket so I can see what I’m working on. A spinning project and a few WIPs.

stash-next-projects

What I should do is take out yarns from time to time so I can just enjoy them, play and wake them up.

And I still have fibre to sort through!

Lightfrost shawl in all Fyberspates yarn

This pattern, Lightfrost by Louise Zass-Bangham, alternates silky stripes with translucent stripes. My recent attempts at other knitting projects reminded me I’m still very much a beginner. So I decided to try this super simple triangle shawl. The graphic effect of the stripes is a good pay off for something rather simple. I’ve also learned I really like sh*tloads of stockinette, and I’m OK with that.

lightfrost shawl finished

Some modifications

The original pattern calls for Debbie Bliss Party Angel, (4% Metalized Polyester, 72% Mohair, 24% Silk) for the contrasting (transparent) colour. But around the time I started thinking about this pattern, Fyberspates came out with Cumulus, (74% Alpaca, 36% Silk). It’s a heavier weight and less yardage than Party Angel.

It’s also *exactly* the same colour as the main yarn. This means the design has a more subtle effect. Because of the yardage, I needed two balls of Cumulus. I wasn’t able to finish 8 rows of the final repeat. So it was pretty close. You could possibly just skip the last repeat if you wanted. But I really wanted to stick to the pattern.

I cast off with an “Icelandic bind off” which I found in the “Cast on, Bind off: 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting” book. It comes out sort of “round” on the end, and it blends nice with garter. It was listed as a stretchy bind off.

icelandlic-bindoff

I hadn’t worked with something so light and fluffy before, but I loved Cumulus. Though it was hard to read. I did realize much later that I had dropped stitches, which meant ripping out 10 rows of knitting

20140618-085949-32389499.jpg

dropped two stitches. trying to show where this was.

I was at a knitting meet-up at the time, and generally we all thought it would be impossible to rip out. But it came out smoothly, which was shocking. Maybe it’s because of the loose gauge? Frogging was bit of a set back, but I learned to be more careful in checking my stitches more frequently.

I liked the idea of buying the yarn from the same company, and supporting them. Here’s a nice interview that the designer Louise did with Jeni from Fyberspates. Jeni’s very driven and works pretty hard. Her mother also works with her dyeing yarns. Though I think Jeni is stepped back from hand dying so she can grow and scale her business. Pretty exciting!

About the designer: Louise Zass-Bangham

Under the label “Inspiration Knits” and for her clients, Louise has 50 tempting patterns. Many accessories, which is nice! I also bought the Song of the Sea cowl pattern. I had seen the stitch pattern elsewhere, but I liked how she had graduated the sizes of waves.

Louise is hosting a mystery cowl KAL, which released clue-by-clue on her blog. The Fyberspates team recommens some yarns for the mystery cowl KAL. We’ll see how I get on with other projects, but it would be nice to pick up some Fyberspates in person at Unwind 🙂 Which is tomorrow!

I wanted to post this FO so I can say I have at least something done. I suspect it’s so I can justify a yarn purchase. Eeek!

 

 

lightfrost1

Liebster Award is a blogging welcome wagon

This is fun! I was nominated by Kaiya from Winter Lime Knits for a Liebster award.

Liebster Award

I had never heard of it before, but it’s a cool meme to help people discover new blogs. I did a little googling and found many good examples. 🙂 I’ve learned it’s a nice welcome-wagon tradition. Calling it an “award” gives you some confidence, and the random facts and answering questions gets you out of your shell. Aww nice!

Rules:

  1. Post 11 random facts about myself
  2. Answer 11 questions the awarding blogger has asked
  3. Nominate 11 blogs with less than 200 followers, add their links to this post, and let them know that they have been nominated
  4. Create 11 questions the nominated blogs have to answer
  5. (and post these rules!)

11 random facts

  1. I grew up in the US.
  2. I live in Northern Ireland, after following my sister who moved to Ireland and she had 4 kids!
  3. When I took the “Which English?” test I came out as “Northern Ireland, Scottish, Irish”. Which is weird because I regrettably still have my American accent, I just lost my grammar!
  4. I see everything in double. Wee! Double the fun. I had eye surgery, which improved my vision from 20 diopeters to 6, which is better, but not perfect.
  5. I can’t drive because of 4)
  6. I still get zits.
  7. I have finally admitted recently I don’t like milk in my coffee. For years I’d get fancy coffee because plain coffee is boring. But now I realize I just like espresso, filter coffee and americanos. And that’s OK.
  8. I am a slave to a cat. He meows, I say “how high?” (But just look at him.) We have another really lovely cat, but she is nowhere near as demanding.
    Image
  9. I like living in border places, disputed or “in between” places. I did a BFA degree between two colleges; I did my Masters between two departments. I lived in Taiwan; I’ve only lived in border counties in Ireland; I live in Northern Ireland. Seems to be a pattern.
  10. I am grateful everyday for my main man. I probably don’t shower him with enough gratitude. But I adore him.
  11. I started knitting to help me “relax”, but I also think it’s a way for me to meet people outside of my little tech world too. I enjoy my local knitting group and wish I could make it to their meet ups but it conflicts with work.

Kaiya’s Questions

  1. When did you really start getting hooked on crafting? Was there a particular project or technique that sparked the hunger?
    • I was living in Japan from 2005. And for some reason I started to get drawn to making stuff. I can’t remember how it came about, but I made this little wooly monkey I named Mori. I made his face from felt and embroidered the details. I think I had seen many amigurumi in crafting books, but I wasn’t drawn to the kawaii style. I wanted something more vintage looking. And that just set me off.
      monkey-family
  2. What’s the most challenging project you’ve faced down so far? Did you conquer it or did it vanquish you?
    • Probably attempting a cardigan. I tried knitting years ago, but didn’t really “get it”. I picked it back up recently, and recently thought I had progressed enough to where I could make a garter stitch cardigan. But what I didn’t know is that APPARENTLY I CANNOT COUNT. Also I should have read the pattern through and done some calculations, since the schematic didn’t have measurements for the arms. And I have batwings, not upper arms. I am waiting for the courage to rip out and restart it.
  3. Do you like to have something going on in the background while you craft, or do you need stillness and concentration?
    • I like to listen to audiobooks or podcasts!
  4. What is(/are) the dream tool(s) you would get if you had the money and opportunity?
    • Probably a spinning wheel, though I’ve never tried one before!
  5. What’s one skill or hobby you’ve always wanted to pick up?
    • I think my big dream is “knitting without looking”. I never liked the fabric that crochet created. To be draped enough it would need to be lacy. I was jealous of people who could knit. Now it’s not so scary. My dream is to knit without looking. I LOVE the idea of being able to knit in the cinema, or while talking. Right now, I have to look at every stitch.
  6. What are your favorite colors? Least favorite?
    • Favourites: I like natural colours. I’m particularly attracted to the colours I can see by the sea near where I live. The dark teal of the sea; silvery grey of the water; dark grey of the rocks; bright yellow-green lichen. Least favorites: primaries or tertiary colours with no white or grey in them to make them interesting, neons and flat baby blue, baby pink or cornflower blue.
  7. What are your favorite foods?
    • I love meals which allow you to sample many flavours and textures and share with friends. Chinese dim-sum tops my favourite list; after that the Venetian cichetti; middle-eastern mezze; and Spanish tapas.
  8. How has technology impacted your crafting?
    • It’s made it so much easier to learn! And also nice to get connected to other people.
  9. Is there anyone for whom you will Never Make Anything Again?
    • I’ve made really time-consuming dolls for friends kids, which took ages to make and weren’t appreciated. With that said, I’ve had to make the same doll 3x for my nieces and they were made from old t-shirts. You just never know!
  10. What literary character would you most want to be like?
    • I can’t think of a character in fiction right now. But I love Gretchen Rubin, the author. I’ve listened to her “Happiness Project” and I think it was very helpful. I would love to be more like her, but she’d probably say “Be Heather”. Which is something I need to start doing!
  11. Finally, do you have any exciting plans for the future of your blog?
    • I’d like to get better at meeting others, commenting and such. Is blogging dying out? It’s so sad if that’s true! I love it!

11 blogs I nominate

Hmm… nominate 11 “small” blogs. As Knitsbywhit said on her nomination page, it’s hard! Good thing it made me go through some searching to find some. Some of these folks I know in person, some are also learning handspinning, and some just looked interesting!

  1. http://traceycoxknitwear.wordpress.com
  2. http://arianek.com/
  3. http://amillionpaperstars.wordpress.com/
  4. http://attheendofthisrow.blogspot.co.uk/
  5. http://silkandwool.eu/
  6. http://serendipidouscreativity.wordpress.com
  7. cozycapecottage.blogspot.com
  8. http://somasknits.blogspot.co.uk/
  9. http://www.vittoriasegreta.co.uk
  10. http://toboldlycraft.blogspot.co.uk
  11. still looking, if you want to play, please leave a comment 🙂

My 11 Questions

These seem to be materials focused. Some of the people I tagged might also not be knitters!

  1. If you could do your favorite craft in any dream location, what craft and what location would it be?
  2. Is there a craft you’ve tried but would never do again?
  3. What is your ultimate favorite material or medium to work in?
  4. For you, how important is the source of your materials? In terms of ethics, is it something you consider.
  5. What’s the state of your stash?
  6. What is something you can never have enough of?
  7. Are you creatively procrastinating anything?
  8. Mindless knitting or mindful knitting and when/why? (if you don’t knit, replace your creative activity of choice!)
  9. What’s the next event you’re looking forward to? (if it’s public, please add a link!)
  10. I’m hungry, what’s your favorite quick kitchen pantry/cupboard dinner?
  11. What’s one blog post you’ve written that you think represents your blog? (link too please!)

FInished: Dissent shawl by Lisa Mutch in Gotland

I finished this shawl. The wool fluffed up so much, it’s lovely.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nearlythere/dissent

Pattern: Dissent by Lisa Mutch.
Wool: Gotland 4ply by Blacker Yarns

I wrote about the start of this project earlier.

I had seen a Colour Affection shawl and loved the idea of a warm wrap. But then the yardage put me off. So I chose Dissent… however not I find it’s simply not big enough at all! I’d want it wider but also longer to wrap around. I didn’t get a photo from the front but the ends just sort of meet.

I love the way it looks, but I want to be enveloped by it.

I don’t know why, but my shawl came out more like a manta ray. I can’t figure out why. I did see others who’s shawls were shaped this way, but they did much more aggressive blocking maybe? I don’t know, but the cast off wasn’t tight at all, so that doesn’t seem to be preventing the growth.

It really looks like I could have just not done the first group of small stripes.

Leftie finished!

My Leftie is complete! Maybe this wasn’t an ideal beginner pattern, but I did learn loads!

I had to pull out all the weaving in I did first, because it was not allowing the knit to stretch. The Very Pink Knits tutorial is very good.

This is how it looked before blocking. I love the little curl at the end.

Compromising

I mentioned in our last knitting meet-up all the errors in the earlier parts; how this sort of turned out like a record of me trying to get more consistent tension…  I was saying that my friend I’m making this for is really *uncompromising* in her own life. This gift is full of compromises… simply to just get this DONE. I had to decide at some point I wasn’t going to rip out anymore, but just get on with it!

The lady at my knitting meet up thought it might be good for my friend, to see something flawed could be lovely. What a nice idea. And anyway, there are plenty of flaws for S. to ponder. Anyway, I told her that I thought of her while I made it, and to think of it as a hug. Because right now, S. needs a hug.

I blocked this the night before, and the next morning I missed getting a photo. I didn’t even get a decent photo of my friend wearing it. She did seem delighted with it, despite her expression in this pic 🙂

Yarn pairings

This is a lovely pattern I’d do it again, but not in this yarn. I had made 5 attempts to use the same yarn combo in a “Dream stripes” pattern, but it wasn’t working, the sides were puckering.  I’ve decided it was the yarn/needles combo which caused the trouble.

I think there are good “yarn/needle pairings” like good wine pairings. Slippery metal needles + Alpaca isn’t a good one for me!

I was using Addi needles, which were brass. I loved the long taper, but I didn’t like the smell. Also, since they were slippery, and the yarn was slippery, it was drop stitch madness~ And um, picking up dropped stitches in garter isn’t fun.

A tacfile element: Dissent in Gotland

I made some progress on Dissent in Gotland. Love this pattern. I’m ignoring the puckering I’m getting. it’s because I’m trying to learn to improve my tension. Hoping it sorts out in blocking.

I found this quote on Ravelry, on “Cornish Tin Socks” by LaraFi.

“They’re really rough and gritty, but I like that because they feel good and natural. I love knitting with wool because it feels like something – it has a texture. When you knit with synthetic fibres it doesn’t always have that tactile element to it.”

She was writing about Gotland 4-ply by Blacker Yarns. I have to agree, it’s such a different sensation. Knitting with this yarn feels more like knitting with a rough flax, if you’ve ever handled that. It’s dry and sticky/catchy.

I washed a swatch in Eucalan, so I know it’s going to be more drapey. The swatch was done in 3.50mm needles, but that looked too open. So I moved down to 3mm. I did try 2.75, but that was too small.