Friday, 2 January 2015

Merry VATmess And A Bamboozling New Year

Micro-sellers roasting on a gov'ment whim,
VAT nibbling at your costs,
Yuletide tax being slapped on to skim
Tiny profit, all is lost,
It's a profit frost that doesn't help the little man
Make the season bright of yore,
Puny sales not worth much, down the pan,
Won't find it hard to close the store.

We know it started in '08,
Before the digi world was fixed in any state
To understand just how the internet
Would let the little guys soar like a jet.

Ravelry's offering a simple fix,
To help those suff'ring this snafu,
And with Loveknitting, all the boxes have ticks,
To bring patterns to the EU...

All parodies aside, it may have escaped your notice that the UK/EU in their desire to crack down on those big companies who are avoiding paying taxes in the UK (there's usually at least one story a week in the British tabloids about some massive company or other's UK tax dodge) has issued new tax laws that come in to force, oh, yesterday, to try and get them to cough up.  

Why is that a subject of YOUR blog post, Red?, I hear you ask... well...  It appears that all this new VAT tax shall probably achieve is the shutting down of many, many micro digital businesses...  It's a long, convoluted story on a subject that I must admit to not completely understanding enough to be able to wax lyrical, so I shall take Ravely's own code monkey, Casey's explanation:
On January 1st, 2015, a complex set of tax changes goes into effect in the European Union. Sellers of pattern PDFs now have to pay tax to European Union member countries when a pattern buyer resides in that country. [For more information and resources, see]
You can imagine the amount of pain this will cause to micro businesses and hobby designers, and I understand that there are not just a few of which have chosen (keeping to my specialist area, knitting) to stop selling their patterns completely, or offer them all for free.

As a band-aid, Ravelry and Loveknitting (a yarny shop website that sells all things knitting and crochet) have teamed together to offer EU designers a way to keep selling their patterns but without the headache of working out the VAT for each different country in which the purchaser resides.  (Oh yes, it is that complicated!)  

What do you need to do?  Absolutely nothing.  You can buy patterns as normal, through Ravelry, through my links, and now, also through Loveknitting.  Depending on your location, you will either be directed to pay through the Ravelry platform, or the Loveknitting platform.  (They also Lovecrochet, too!)  But thanks to this new VAT, prices will change, albeit only by pennies/cents, and each country will have a separate rate. You cannot BEGIN to imagine how thankful I am for this collaboration between Loveknitting and Ravelry.

We've been given a 6 months fees-free chance to keep selling our patterns, which is marvellous.  IF this mess hasn't been cleaned-up after 6 months, then LK will begin to charge us 20% commission on every pattern it sells.  I hope you understand that I will have to match this commission in my prices if that day comes...  I hope not!

So, really, thanks for reading, thanks for buying, and thanks for knitting my patterns!  I would have been devastated to have to pull my patterns, and stop designing, so I think for now I'm just going to continue to be grateful for small mercies!

Merry New 2015!

(And because I can't leave this post without a little knitting pr0n, here's a little hint of something that should be getting released into the wild in a week!)  ;)

All text ⓒNW

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Everything In The Garden's...

... boozy.

It's been a while since I opened up the drinks cabinet of my imagination. I am glad to report that it hasn't been emptied by teenage thoughts in the interim, although I'm still not sure how that bottle of Advocaat came into being...  Mind you, doesn't the Snowball cocktail use that...?  And the Bombardino?  Hey, there's also the Fluffy Duck... 

(My mind: a dangerous place in which to get lost.)

But I digress.  Slightly.   What I'm really here to bring you is the 'Summer Vegetable Most-Unhealthy Use' prize of 2014:  Peapod Wine.

peapod wine socks by yours truly
bbknits superwash sock in 'seagrass'
Yes indeed, this fruity little number... erm vegetally little number... has been grown from the seed of home-made wine memories of my youth. My Dad's home-made wines, that is.  The fruit or vegetable mash in the big tub which would slowly make its way to demijohns with their blip-blooping airlocks and finally to their final (temporary) destination in corked bottles under the floor where it was dark and cool.  It must be pointed out that Dad never actually made peapod wine, and although his raspberry, his rhubarb, and above all his parsnip wine shall forever live in our slightly hazy memories, there's not really anything sock-worthy about tipsy root vegetables.
So for inspiration I went instead to the rest of his garden, where the potatoes (great for chips, crap for socks), lettuce (can you even have boozy salad?), and carrots (pff, if you're not having them with dinner, then the only other decent and proper use is in cake) were passed over for the tendrilly fragrant vines that would climb up the old bamboo frames and present us with pods full of pea-popping sweetness. Perfect!

So I started the socks just how the pea plant starts - at the bottom with tendrils of vine, dividing up into stalks, ready to climb...

I have to admit I'm fond of this peapod pattern...  I wasn't sure whether I should make the pods in a cabled fashion, but in the end some natty, and slightly modified, skps did the trick!

But you know?  I think I'm most fond of the calyx cuff.  It's amazing what some twist cables and a little contrasting purling can do!

But really, this is a raised glass to my Dad, in sock form!!

The Peapod Wine Sock is worked from a pea-shoot toe up, with a peapod pattern foot and leg, short-row heel, and a calyx cuff, and you can find the pattern page on Ravelry HERE.  (You don't need to be a member to view the page!)

Or, should you be so inclined, you can just jump straight to buying this little gem by clicking on the button below!  At only €3 ($3.94, £2.37, or ¥410) it's a tipsy garden delight without the weeds, or the hangover!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

There Will Be Blood In The Water...

And The Sharks Will Come!

Oh yes, Iron Man aficionados, Whiplash is HERE!

dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuun
Jennifer at Holiday Yarns approached me a few months ago to create a pattern for her 'Heroes and Villains' sock club, telling me that the villain for May was in sad need of a designer.  Whiplash was mentioned and I had to say yes!

I started without knowing the colour of the yarn, but I knew that I wanted flashes of electricity to feature strongly in the design, as the Whiplash's Energy Whips were an enormous part of his sinister appeal and, let's face it, his ultimate evilness.

:: bzzzzzzzzzzz crackle :: © itgirl
But really, Whiplash isn't Whiplash without the stolen Iron Man Arc Reactor technology.  I decided to place this just at the intersection of the leg to the foot, surrounded by Energy Whip strikes!

as you can see, i can't work a decent yarn-over for toffee
thank goodness for my other testers who make this look AMAZING!
Jennifer worked up one test herself in the Whiplash colourway - an evil concoction of armour and electricity. I suspect it cackles in an evil manner when it's being knit up.  Evil and AWESOME!

© gwynivar
You have 2 options with this pattern - the first, and more importantly the reason for its existence, can be found HERE on the Holiday Yarns Sock Kit page.  Sock and yarn together in one deliciously heinous package.  (I feel a 'MWAHAHAHAHAHAH' needs to be inserted here...)

You can also buy the pattern by itself for only €3.50 from my pattern page on Ravelry (of which you need not be a member to partake) or, if you want an even quicker fix, you can click on the link below!  Simple in its villainousness!  (Totally a word.  That red wavy line only shows that spell-check is scared.)

© itgirl

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Ovens and Banners and Sales, Oh My!

So, my trusty tabletop oven, a little thing of only 20 litres capacity and bought ten years ago in France, has given up the ghost.  Grilled its last tuna melt.  Roasted its last red pepper.  The lamp inside illuminated its final casserole when there were still two zeros in the year, and the glass stopped being completely see-through after The Great Baking Disaster of '11.  But it was loved. And now it is missed.  (Well, I say it's missed, but it's still sitting in the kitchen because I can't bring myself to throw it away.  Yet.  But once it has its replacement, then I will have a teary and fond farewell.)

And so we come to this:

Rather self-explanatory, really.  A third off everything, including the free stuff!  Oh yes!

But not everyone is enticed into partaking of a wonderful sale opportunity by mentioning ovens in the title, so I thought this could be better:

But given the dates for the sale, starting on Valentine's Day, it was perhaps a little too on the innuendo-ey side.  (Which, of course, was fully intended, but still...  Not everyone appreciates a little euphemism with their sales banner.)

A reference to the 'Say It With Flowers' slogan that originated with the UK flower delivery company 'Interflora', but may have been considered too obscure., even though Interflora were taken over by an American company.  (Sobs.)   But better safe than sorry when it comes to intelligible sales banners...

And lastly, a cute banner that suddenly made me think of margarine just as I was setting the final type.

I think I need to get out more...

p.s. click on any banner to take you to the pattern page!!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Lovely Bubbly!

Champagne - the most decadent of alcoholic beverages, and usually so expensive to prohibit it's consumption except in the most celebratory of circumstances.

So until you can get your neck around a glass (or indeed a bowl) of the good stuff, help yourself to some free bubbly socks instead!

champagne tower socks by yours truly
Champagne!  And what's more decadent than a glass of champagne, but many glasses of champagne, of course!

My Champagne Tower Socks are made from the top down, with a short-row heel, and were inspired by watching a 'how do they do that' TV programme that included the proper (or at least a successful) method of pouring champagne down a pyramid of champagne bowls!  I love the idea of champagne and froth carrying on down the sock in luxurious stripes - a gentle froth topping some over-the-top twisted rib - the epitome of luxurious ribbing in my eyes!

I did two versions, one a straight champagne and froth, the second a slightly more frivolous kir royale (crème de cassis, or blackcurrant liqueur and champagne),  

kir royale tower socks
araucania ranco solid in 'PT485'
kartopu kristal in 'white'
but the options are not few - there are a good many cocktails that include champagne that could inspire you to any number of colour combinations!

I think my ultimate favourite champagne cocktail is the Black Velvet - champagne and Guinness.  Delicious!

And how often do you get offered free champagne?  They're just one click away...  Either HERE, which goes straight to the Ravelry pattern page, or...

(It says buy now, but the button just takes you to the paypal download page, but you pay nothing!)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Composition of the Stars

You may have noticed from my last post that I have a new pattern up - the Gold Star For Effort Scarf/Shalwette.  I have to say I'm rather pleased with it, especially as it took a very long time for it to get to its finished state.  Yes, I know - a designer of such simple items is perhaps not supposed to admit to taking months to get from the original concept to the finished item.  I suspect it should appear more like the apocryphal stories about Mozart and his compositional style - where we're led to believe most of his works were written as-is.  No revisions, no piano score to begin with, just pure and utter symphony (for example) in full score first time.  (He did just that, it must be said, for quite a few of his pieces...) 

No, I'm no Mozart of the shawls, I'm afraid, but I am quite interested in reliving the journey my little shawlette took to get from its starting point (from a comment by a Ravelry friend) to its final testing.

I explained in the last post how a comment about my first shawl led eventually to the latest shawl, but I thought it would be interesting to map out the journey in photos...  So here, starting from the first swatch, is a cosmically yarny tale in (mostly) picture form...

1.the confirmation that a chevron stitch creates an
excellent lower edge for a star
2. but the horizontal points at each side are proving
a tad difficult to line up properly
3. but they being to work better in a smaller form...
4. but then all definition is lost through an
overzealous eyelet effort
5. which then changes to an effort at doubling the eyelet
line which leads to a different kind of messiness
6. as does the second effort
7. but eventually the spacing begins to look neater
8. although there are still a few odd eyelets to fix
9. and the placement of a the upper double line to widen
10. there is hope and beads
11. and garter stitch
12. and enough yarn
13. for the finished item
14. which is rather dapper, even if I say so,

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Twinkle, Twinkle

...Little Star shawl,
How I wonder what you... 

What you... 

...are all...


Poetry.  Not my forte, as is rather eloquently shown above.  What I can do, however, is turn out little cosmic creations like this:

rain's obsessive stitchery fred sock in 'telltown'
aade lõng artistic 8/2 in 'flame'
and this:
fearless fibres lightweight superwash merino sock yarn in 'sloth'
More stars than there are in the heavens.  No, wait.  That's MGM.  Part of an Amazing and Expanding Universe.   Ah.  Eric Idle may have me for nicking that...  But I suspect you get the idea...

May I present the Gold Star For Effort (or Morning Star) Shawlette.

I was inspired to create this pattern by a friend on Ravelry who told me, after they saw my Cocktail Umbrella Shawlette, that I deserved a gold star for effort.  It was an innocuous comment that never-the-less took root somewhere at the back of my noggin, which was then jogged to the front after perusing some of my favourite cocktail websites for pattern inspiration, after finding mention of the Morning Star mocktail*. And the final falling in to place came when Rain of Rain's Obsessive Stitchery contacted me about a potential collaboration - her yarn, my pattern!  That plus a little bit of sparkle at the points of each star, and voilà!  A Star (scarf/shawlette) Is Born!  (Oops - sorry Barbra!)

*The Morning Star, by the way, can be a myriad of things: a medieval spiked mace; one of the many names for the planet Venus; a town in Western Virginia; a newspaper; a song by the UK band N-Dubz, but for my purposes, however, the Morning Star is a mocktail, or mock cocktail, and is one of the lesser-known non-alcoholic drinks in the cocktail firmament (see what I did there?!!)  There are a few differences in recipes, but on the whole it seems to involve one teaspoon of sugar, and one of honey, ten fluid ounces of pineapple juice, three pineapple chunks, and mineral water to the top of the glass.

The Gold Star for Effort (or Morning Star) Shawlette is a reversible crescent scarf-shawlette, worked from the star motif edging upwards, with some beads (60 to be exact) for a bit of added (optional) bling. The body of the shawl is worked in garter stitch using short rows.

My testers and myself have used varying amounts of yarn, from 400 yards, to 453, so to be safe, I've suggested that you have at least 450 yards of your chosen yarn before you start.  (The Fred Sock by Rain that I used for the gold version is 463 yards long in total.)


And where can you find this little gem?  HERE, of course.  Ravelry is again playing host and this link will take you through to the pattern page, which is available to all, not just Ravelry members.  Should you wish to purchase straight away (and why not?) feel free to click on the button below.

How much?  Only €4!!  (or £3.40, $5.40, ₪19, NOK32, ¥530.24..) and for the first month you can get 25% (or 1 euro) off with the code 'twinkle'.  Just apply it when prompted at checkout!

You know you're worth it! :D

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


(...or an off-facebook rant about the hypocrisy of the singing world.  Or, to be fairer to the mostly non-hypocritical singing world, a rant for the hypocritical singing circumstances under which I currently struggle.  Or something along those lines.)

I'm intrigued.  Did you really want to use twenty top-class singers in this way?

No, really, where on earth did you get the idea of bringing together twenty excellent singers from all over Europe, then barely ever let them sing over a mezzo-piano?  In fact in the whole of the two programmes (which include bombastic gems like Vivaldi's Gloria and Tavener's Svyati) you only let us sing forte twice.  TWICE. 

Silver-lining: I have finally found my falsetto register, something I never had as a soprano.  It's a shame that it may not last the week, though.  I am preparing a black armband as I type, and a short eulogy to the effects of new life lost too soon to the hypocrisies of the singing world.  Or something along those lines.
I understand, I do, that as a whole we make an extraordinary pianissimo.  So many people making such a tiny sound.  I hear it, (just, over my heart pounding with the strain of making long, l o n g  phrases with an extraordinary pianissimo) but hell's teeth, man, you're slaying our chords with quietness.  Too much of a good thing, and all that.

It appears that you want a single-voice sound from many people, but I wonder if you've ever thought how easy that would be, say, with one to a part?  Not that I like pointing out the obvious, but, really...
Now,  please don't get me wrong, it's actually rather exhilarating to be part of such mammoth quiet, but not, and may I be crystal clear here, not ALL THE TIME. 

Silver-lining: I'm not the only one who feels this, and have been surprised, yet at the same time not surprised, to hear from most of the female singers that this will be their last project.  They, too, are concerned about the damage constant pianissimo does to their voices.  I thought that perhaps my last (first) project with this ensemble was an anomaly (who really asks their singers to make such teeny-tiny noises for Mozart's Requiem or Mass in c minor) but it appears to be his 'thing', his calling-card, and party-piece all rolled into one.   I guess this also explains why so many of the old alto and soprano sections aren't taking part this time around...

Wait, I'm getting confused, that's schadenfreude, not a silver-lining.  Or something along those lines.

And don't forget that we haven't had our first rehearsal with the orchestra yet... after which I suspect all that time making pseudo-singing noises might just have been wasted.   Although, to be honest, he'll probably just make them play pianissimo, too.

Then we get to those singers who have stayed...  Yes, some of them have voices of amazing beauty, but... some of them don't.   And of the latter it appears, to me at least, that you don't want to scare them off...  The loud alto who constantly sings flat when she pushes her voice, (I forgot the cantus firmus in one of the contemporary pieces: loud and louder all the way through, although the rest are pianissimo-ing their way to the end) at which the rest of us try to tune up then get a mouthful for not being together, pitch-wise, with the louder lass.  And do you *really* like the way she back-chats you and tells everyone what they're doing wrong, or are you suffering in silence?  A bit like us...  And the tenor with the constant vibrato.  Baroque, classical,  or contemporary, it's there distorting harmony and, if nothing else, my sanity.  Yet for these, and other mistreatments of music, you say nothing, yet demand of the rest of us complete and utter homogeny of sound.  Which is effing hard when you've got a flat alto, a wobbly tenor, and other small but annoying anomolies of the perfect sound you want.  

Silver-lining: I should be able to pay my rent.  I suspect that statement makes me somewhat hypocritical, too. 

Or something along those lines.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Luck Of The Irish

irish ale shawlette by yours truly
guinness version in ice yarns kid mohair 'black'
and rowan kidsilk haze in 'ghost'
green beer version in yarn chef minestrone in 'spring vortex'
and bbknits prima superwash merino nylon in 'innocence'
The Irish Ale Shawlette is a companion piece (as they say in the art world) to my Irish Ale Socks.  I love these socks so much that I've been thinking about making something with a similar pattern for yonks...  

The stitch pattern always makes me think of settling ale, swirling, newly poured, in a pint glass, and the bubbly head at the top (or in this case, the bottom) just cries out to be made out of such a pretty (if I may say so) ruffled edge - a somewhat stylised form of the main stitch pattern. 

And so this little shawl was born. Or perhaps poured...

The Irish Ale Shawlette is worked from the top down and knits up well in most lighter-weight yarns, as long as you finish the body of the shawl after one full repeat, as the froth is calculated to work with that specific numbers of stitches.  

My Guinness version was worked in lace-weight, and the Green Beer in fingering-weight.  They both look extremely tasty and the stitch pattern is well defined in both weights.  Try in sport-weight, or DK for something a little more substantial!  Gauge isn't important, and as long as you have enough yarn, you're guaranteed of a darling little shawl, designed to keep the Autumn (or Spring) chills from your shoulders as you partake of an Irish Ale down the pub!

And BONUS! for the first month, you can take advantage of the introductory price of  €3 - this price is available until the 10th of September, after which it will go up to the normal price of €4.  

Further details can be found HERE on the Ravelry page (available to members and non-members alike).  You can also click the button below, which will take you immediately to the paypal page.  

Goan - you know you wanta!

Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

  © Blogger template 'Tranquility' by 2008

Back to TOP