Basic embroidery digitizing

Q:  How does the embroidery machine know where to put all the stitches?A:  You just scan the image and the software analyzes the art and tells the machine where to place the stitches. Well, that's what our customers think.  I wish it were that easy.  Actually, I don't ..... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilt-By Request, My Woodworker

I am taking a little turn in the road this time.  Before Greg left AnnTheGran, he requested that I write a blog about Ralph and his woodworking skills.  After attending the ATG Community Circle, and meeting Pat Snyder, she also requested the subject.  My daughter, has asked me also to... [More]

It's Over (Sigh) for Another Year II - Coffee Cup Wraps

The sun shone on us all in Orlando and we had a great time at the second annual Annthegran Community Circle gathering.  We met up with old friends and made some new ones too.  For two days we learned lots, laughed lots and ate lots. Mary Mulari and Rita Farro kept everyone in stitches as ... [More]

Being Creative with few resources- Basket Weaving, Arts & Crafts in South Africa

Dear AnnTheGran readers, thank you so much for your comments and your excitment regarding South Africa. I so enjoy sharing this information with you and giving you a small taste and experience of African art and culture. I am always amazed how creative people can be with so little! Creativity does ... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilts-Hand quilting, It’s Personal!

If you have worked along with me, you will soon need to decide if you will quilt by hand or by machine.  I have a friend who began quilting a little more than a year ago.  As we talked, one day, I asked how she planned to do her quilting.  She quickly said, “by machine.”&n... [More]

Party Time ! 12.5 years of Artistitch

Twelve and a half years ago I wrote my first tutorial! Can you image? Twelve And A Half years of Artistitch. That's one eighth of a century. And isn't it great that AnnTheGran is organizing an event for me to celebrate this? Kidding of course! My first book for PE-Design version 1, in Du... [More]

Magic Bookshelf - Re-Connecting with Distant Family & Friends

Hello, AnnTheGran Community!It's only been about a month, and I miss all of you already, so I thought I'd come back and say hello. More importantly, I have unfinished business. I had some great requests from a previous Magic Bookshelf post about technology aspects to talk about, and I never ... [More]

Enjoy The Moment

I was supposed to write a blog last week – but I was just getting home from the “Sewing & Stitchery EXPO” in Puyallup, Washington – and then my son Elliott and his wife Emily had our FIRST GRANDCHILD – a beautiful baby girl named Lillian Claire. One of life’s... [More]

All Jazzed Up for Community Circle 2009!

Here at home in Minnesota, the ground is white and the sky is gray, so once again it's great to have Orlando and my trip to Florida to think about. I did get a break from winter when I traveled to the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup WA last weekend. Rita and I were both there and we did... [More]

Brother and Jillian Lewis Dedicate a Beautiful Red Dress to the American Heart Association

Last week many folks in this country were shoveling the white stuff.  I even got stuck in Seattle on Sunday evening because my flight into New Jersey was cancelled.  What I cannot understand is how my Colorado grandchildren were playing in their new playhouse in 70 degree weather duri... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilts - Borders, Square, Miters, and Fabrics

On this sunny, beautiful,  but cold day in Alabama, here’s wishing you a March that goes out like a Lamb.  Since much of the USA saw a snowy and cold first day of March, It must have come in like a Lion, so it should go out like a Lamb.  To all of you in the southern hemisphere,... [More]

The Redwork Wizard - a mini tutorial

Here's a mini tutorial, showing my sheer admiration for Design Center as "Redwork Wizard". Try and see if you can find a continuous path, without jumps in the above image If you are one of the embroiderers who consider PE-Design's / Palette's Design Center to be "beginne... [More]

Random Thoughts and Mindless Miscellany

Ways to save! I’m not unaware of or unaffected by the present state of the economy and I know that this isn’t the time to be asking you to spend money on non-essentials. On the other hand, when times are difficult it’s more important to connect with friends and take time out for o... [More]

SEW CRAZY for Community Circle 2009

Hi everybody!  This is Misty and Greg from Sew Crazy in Lake Mary, Florida.  We are SEW excited to be featured as the store at this years Community Circle 2009 event in Orlando, Florida.  We look forward to seeing some familiar faces from around the area and also meet new friends from... [More]

Autopunch and bean stitch tutorial

As promised here's a mini tutorial on how to use PE-Design Lite in combination with our Pre-Design Studio program. It's getting the best of two worlds: create filled areas using the AutoPunch function in PE Lite on the basis of an image made with Pre-Design Studio and create bean stitch line... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilts-Square it up!

OK, Everybody, If you have followed this blog from the beginning, and have been making quilt block as we go, you should now have enough block to make into a quilt. “How do I do that?” someone says.  Well, that’s the purpose of this blog.  Let’s put those little bugg... [More]

Behind the scenes at HGTV on Uncommon Threads

My Television experience on the show Uncommon Threads with host Alison Whitlock.Leora Raikin, African Folklore 999-6094Click here to view clips from the HGTV show. Back to Our RootsDuring summer I spent seven weeks in South Africa, regroupin... [More]

My Valentine Box

Here we are coming up on Valentines Day, coincidentally Bill’s and my half year anniversary. Coincidentally because we first met on the 14th of August and, when we decided to marry, set the date at one year from our first meeting. There wasn’t any thought about Valentines Day and it was ... [More]

Graffiti Glam Coming To Community Circle 2009

Mary and I are so excited about coming to Florida for the Community Circle Event the last weekend in March!!  What perfect timing.  It's been a bitter cold winter here in Iowa -- and I am really looking forward to FLORIDA.It is always a joy for me to present my seminar, "Life Is N... [More]

Sun in Florida - Shade in Holland (quick and easy project)

Only a couple of weeks to go before I meet you all at the Community Circle Event in Orlando Florida. I will meet you all, right? You just have to come: in two days you will learn more than you could learn in two years on your own. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then lecture demos are worth ... [More]

What Makes Our Furniture Different - Construction Boards and Finishes

At Sylvia, we pay attention to detail and quality.  Period.  So if we plan on spending quite a bit of time and money on the hardware we use, the dowels necessary to hold tight the joints of the cabinets, and even the lift for the sewing machine, it only makes sense to use quality construct... [More]

Greetings from Mary Mulari - Looking Forward to Sharing Project Ideas

Greetings to the Community Circle participants and those of you who are still thinking about attending! Rita and I, the Midwest YaYa Sisters, are eager to come to Florida for this event. Both of us are looking out our windows at lots of snow. Here in northern Minnesota we've set some records fo... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilts - Tricky Triangles

Hi there, all of you Ann the Gran readers.  Welcome back to LaRueSews-quilts.  This is a bright and sunny day in east central, Alabama.  It is, however a bit chilly outside.  But I guess that’s better than cold, cloudy and rainy.I have said before, and I’d like to say... [More]
Putting Knowledge in The Magic Bookshelf - What is a Wiki?

Putting Knowledge in The Magic Bookshelf - What is a Wiki?


Who do You Trust for Information? 

Where do you go when you need to know whether something is true or not? Is there a person you ask, or a place you go? Think about it -- everyone needs to have somewhere, something, or someone to help establish what is fact and what is fiction.

The Buck Stopped Here

Spiritual information aside, there was a time not so long ago that one of the most trusted sources of factual information, the place where the buck stopped on almost all knowledge, was the encyclopedia. I'm hoping it won't be a stretch for many readers to recall, in your school days, sitting down at your desk or table (either at home or in the local library) to do your homework (with pen and paper - what a concept!), accompanied by a trusty encyclopedia.

The Fall of the Index Finger

Young people today may find that a rather quaint notion, that you would trust one source of knowledge so completely, but have things really changed that much? Where previous generations once turned to the encyclopedia or the library, recent generations have their own go-to guy for information -- the Internet. Thanks to the Googles, Yahoos, and AOLs of the world, we can sift through all the information on the Internet with just a few keystrokes, the way we used to scan the index with our fingers. (How long before we'll have to start calling the index finger the keyboard finger?Wink) The question is, can we trust the information we find there? When was the last time you found exactly what you were looking for on the first Search Enginespage of Google?

What's a Wiki?

Fortunately, there is a place on the Internet where information is at least as trustworthy as that old family set of encyclopedias. Most of you will have almost certainly come across Wikipedia at one time or another in your Internet travels, but if you haven't, it's definitely worth a few minutes (hoursHuh?) of your time. I don't want to go into detail about Wikipedia (you can explore it for yourself, if you like), but I do want to draw your attention to why it is called what it is. The "pedia" part is self-explanatory, but what exactly do they mean by "wiki"?

Serious About Knowledge

Simply put, a wiki is a place where the users, the readers, contribute the knowledge. So, unlike a more traditional encyclopedia, where the experts and editors do all the research, in a wiki it is the community that shares its expertise. At first glance, you might think this is a formula for disaster, what with everyone saying whatever s/he thinks is true, even if it isn't, and creating lots of erroneous information. This does occasionally happen, but only occasionally. By and large, the wiki is an amazingly effective way to gather great information, that also happens to be true. A quick check through Wikipedia will tell you that a community that wants to know what is true and what isn't takes its knowledge very seriously.


So, how does that relate to us, and what does it mean to our Magic Bookshelf? Well, Wikipedia is great if you want to know the history of the yo-yo, but it's a little sparse on details like how to hoop a baseball cap or how to prevent your specialty thread from breaking. That is where we come in. We want to be your new "Create-a-Pedia", the place where you come when you absolutely need to know the facts about your passion, and the place where you can always trust what you find.

You Have Something of Value

We've built a site that will allow us to do just that, but we can't do it without your help. I don't just mean you the audience, I mean you the person reading this. There is an unbelievable amount of knowledge out there about making beautiful and functional things, and whether you've just started or whether you are used to wowing people on a regular basis with your creations, you have something valuable to contribute. Maybe it's a question about what to do, maybe it's just an idea that you haven't tried yet, maybe it's a time-saving technique, maybe it's a horror story about a project that went very wrong -- whatever it is, it is valuable to someone, perhaps very valuable, and that someone would almost certainly love to hear from you.

One Giant Brain for the Picking

In my last post, in answering the question "what is a blog?", I said that the blog is the part of our Magic Bookshelf that the experts create. The wiki is another important part of our Magic Bookshelf. The wiki is the part that our community Pick Our Brainscreates, the part where all the combined experiences of our users come together into an in-depth resource for information. I also wrote about tags as the way to quickly find exactly the information you're looking for in blogs, and you'll be pleased to know that the same applies to wikis. Imagine being able to "pick the brain" of any one of the thousands of people in our community any time you needed to; that is our goal.

Today's Top Tips

So you may now be asking "Where is this wiki thingie that I'm supposed to get so excited about"? Well, I'm not going to give you the complete answer right here (after all, I want you to read next week's post!), but I can tell you where it starts. Look at our Today's Top Tips forum. When a question, tip or technique is posted there and it is even remotely educational, we approve it and it goes directly onto our home page for all to see, share, and learn from. We did this because, once everyone gets the hang of it, we want everyone in our community to have access to new knowledge each and every time they visit our home page. Actually, don't just look at Today's Top Tips, add something to it. Whether you answer a question or ask one, add something for the sake of the beginner that you once were or still are, for the sake of that person whose best friend's birthday is next week and is stuck in the middle of a project, and for the sake of the warm fuzzy feeling you'll get knowing that you've contributed something of value that is going to help someone else. If you're not sure whether it will fit or not, submit it anyway and let us decide -- chances are it will be exactly what we're looking for.

Next Piece in the Bookshelf

Our Magic Bookshelf is starting to take shape. We have our books and magazines (blogs), we have our index (tags), we have our encyclopedia -- the next piece of our Magic Bookshelf is the scrapbook with all those favorite creations and memories. I hope you'll join me next week as we learn how to create it.

And please keep those comments coming!

Comments (2) -

This is great knowledge to have. I just found out about Wiki a couple of weeks ago. Went to the sewing pattern site and found they need help with putting the patterns in the right sections or even adding pics of your patterns especially vintage ones. My question was how to use Wiki for your own personal benifit as to if you wanted to sell ect.... I am so glad you did this write up today. Lots to learn!  (-:

Thanks, leftylaska (I'm a lefty,too!), I'm very pleased that you found the information useful. Regarding your question, there are ways to use Wikipedia for one's own personal benefit, but I would say that one of the nice things about it is that it's quite hard to do so! For example, some companies that have something to sell have been known to go in to try to promote themselves, but the community usually doesn't let them, and the self-promotional stuff gets edited out!

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