Finishing

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Since finishing the big, blue, cabled sweater, I’ve been on a finishing kick. I know it’s a phase we all go through, and I may as well roll with it. That’s the leg of the extraordinarily bright sock on display. It works up quickly; although, I’ll admit that given the simplicity of the pattern, sometimes it doesn’t keep my full attention. That’s where the urge to finish things is coming in handy.

I’m really not sure what I’ll start next. Part of me wants to start to turn this giant pile of Bare Naked Wool Yarn into a new sweater.

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Part of me wants to play with some Hazel Knits piquant that found its way into my house recently.

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Given that it’s cold outside, I’m also tempted to make some super thick, warm socks with some of the Romney Ridge Farms yarn that arrived as yarn support.

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There are worse problems to have than trying to decide on any of this.

Posted in Knitting, sock, yarn Tagged with:

I Have a Blue Cabled Sweater

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I hunkered down and finished the big, blue sweater. The sleeves really didn’t take very much time. Of course, after finishing the first one, the second one seemed like a bit of a chore. Seaming the whole thing together took longer than I thought it would, and I don’t know why that surprised me because that’s a lot of sweater to piece together.

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There are three cable patterns in the sweater. The center cable is something that I cobbled together based on something I found in The Cable Knitting Handbook by Annie Maloney. Basically, I took cable number 40, mirrored it, and joined the two cables together to create something swirly and latticey at the same time. (According to my spell checking software, swirly is a word, but latticey isn’t – life will have to somehow go on because I’m not changing it).

The medium-sized cable is something I threw together after flipping through many stitch dictionaries and not finding something that I wanted to use. That cable also appears on the arms flanked by the smallest cable, which I found in one of the Barbara Walker treasuries.

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(Full disclosure, I totally sucked in my gut in this picture. I’m working off the holiday weight gain, but right now, it isn’t pretty.)

I put saddles on the shoulders, which I had to rip back during assembly because they were too long. The sleeves are set-in. I think that’s the most flattering; although, it meant that I was flying by the seat of my pants when doing the decreases for the sleeve cap.

I finished the whole thing with a k2, p2 ribbed collar. After all that cabling, a simple ribbing seemed to make the most sense. Of course, since I’m me and have to make things fiddly, I did spend a good 1 1/2 hours using the Kitchener bind-off for the collar.

The yarn I used for this project is Miss Babs Yowza – Whatta Skein! in the Hope color way. I have no idea if the color is still available. This was the first yarn that I purchased at fibre space way back when. Each skein is 560 yards of worsted weight Merino wool. I bought 4 skeins, and this is what I had left.

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In the event that you can’t make that out, it’s 3.9 grams. I must say that not all 4 skeins went into the sweater. I made a lot of swatches. In fact, I used most of one skein on swatches. I think I stopped making swatches when I realized I had used most of the skein. What was left of the swatch skein became one of the saddles and the collar, so I did cut it close.

I love my new sweater, and I feel the urge to make another, which is a dilemma for me since I have sock deadlines looming. There are worse problems to have I suppose.

Posted in Knitting, sweater Tagged with: ,

Cordon – a sock pattern

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I’m excited to announce the publication of my first sock pattern of the year, Cordon. You may remember that I finished these a few months ago. With the craziness of the holidays, it took a bit of time to actually get the pattern pulled together. Cordon means a ribbon worn usually diagonally across the breast as a badge of a knightly or honorary order. Since these socks were inspired by a ribbon, it seems fitting.

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This is a fun asymmetrical sock pattern. I know, it’s so not like me to design socks that aren’t mirrored. There’s nothing wrong with switching things up a bit.

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Speaking of switching things up, the pattern includes instructions for an eye of partridge heel. I really do like the stitch pattern on the heel; although, I admit that I have to pay so much more attention when executing it.

The pattern testers have told me that they really liked the fact that the pattern doesn’t have a jog, which is a frequent bane of color work in the round. They also appreciated the fact that there are no long floats, so your toes should be safe.

This is my first color work sock pattern, so I’m very excited. I plan on doing more, but rest assured, I haven’t given up on cables.

The pattern is available on ravelry for $5.00. If you are in the European Union, the pattern is in the process of being added to LoveKnitting.com (they’re a little overwhelmed at the moment). If you can’t wait, you can find it on Patternfish.

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In other news, the Winter 2015 KAL has started in my ravelry group. The prizes include a skein of Barking Dog Yarns, as well as a little something from my personal stash. I won’t lie, I’m hoping someone will cast on Cordon for the KAL. It’s always fun to see projects for my designs.

Posted in Knitting, sock pattern Tagged with:

Big Blue Sweater

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I took a couple of days off from work this week, and frankly, the few days that I worked were rather slow, so I thought I’d spend my knitting time working on the sweater that I mentioned. The front and back were done, so I cast on the sleeve. I haven’t properly shown this project off, so I thought I’d share some pictures. Of course, it’s overcast and gloomy outside, so I wouldn’t call these shots showing off. It’s the best I can do for now. The back is displayed above. It’s already been blocked; although, another soak might not hurt at this point since it’s been shoved into a bag for several months.

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The front hasn’t been blocked yet, and it shows. The sides are curling, and the piece looks a bit ragged. I thought it might be interesting to show both since not everyone is a fan of blocking. Hopefully, these photos show why I block pieces first. Not only does the back look better, it will be much easier to deal with when I’m assembling. The front is soaking now.

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This week I made one sleeve. I’m impressed with myself that I made an entire sleeve in a week. Then again, I had a lot of time on my hands. The sleeve needs a good blocking too, but it will have to wait its turn.

I intend on finishing this before I go back to working on socks. The crazy neon socks have grown on me, and I’ve received some requests for a pattern, so I’ll finish the second sock once the second sleeve is off the needles. Once that’s done, I’ll need to do some planning. I have a couple of commitments scattered throughout the year, so I will need to do some planning.

Posted in Knitting, sweater Tagged with:

A Few Words About Value-Added Tax (VAT)

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Things as certain as Death and Taxes, can be more firmly believ’d.

Daniel Defoe The Political History of the Devil 1726.

I wrote a brief post in my ravelry group about changes impacting European Union (EU) customers, and I thought I’d further elaborate here. In short, if you reside in the EU and attempt to purchase one of my patterns on ravelry, you will be redirected to LoveKnitting.com to fulfill your purchase. At this time, you will need to create a LoveKnitting account. Your local VAT rate will also be applied to the purchase. Once the purchase is complete, the pattern will appear in your ravelry library. If you do not reside in the EU, there is no change to your user experience at this time.

To explain this decision, and it is my decision, I thought I’d write a possibly long-winded explanation here. Bear in mind, I am not an accountant or an attorney. There have been many posts in ravelry forums, blogs, and twitter on this subject. Unfortunately, many of these posts confuse opinion with fact, and at times, emotions run very high on the subject. All of this is understandable. I have opinions on this topic as well, and will share some of them here. After reading many, many, many posts, I made the decision to use the integration between ravelry and LoveKnitting.

Since most Americans probably don’t know what VAT is, the closest thing that we have in our country is Sales Tax. That really is an oversimplification of the concept, but for the purposes of this post, the comparison will do. Per EU guidelines, on January 1, 2015, purchases of digital goods within the EU are subject to the VAT rate at the buyer’s location. Technically, as a US citizen with no physical presence in Europe, this has been the case for me since 2003, but it hasn’t really been enforced, and I frankly, wasn’t aware of it. This is a change for providers of digital goods located in the EU because prior to this year, these providers charged VAT based on the seller’s location. The other key change is that there is no threshold for cross-border sales. For example, last year, UK providers of digital content who sold less than £81,000 did not have to collect VAT. Now, UK providers need to charge VAT based on the buyer’s location if the buyer is located elsewhere in the EU regardless of total sales.

In my opinion, there are at least two major flaws in this legislation. Both of these flaws serve to stifle creative endeavors that were only made possible because of the internet. This saddens me more than words can express. First, the lack of a threshold places small and micro-businesses at a huge disadvantage. Imagine having to identify the location of the buyer, charge the correct VAT rate (every EU country has their own rate), collect the appropriate data for each transaction, and routinely file these tax returns. It can be a huge administrative burden for any small business. Secondly, the legislation, and my understanding of its interpretation by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), do not account for business models built around Software as a Service (SaaS).

The best way that I can describe SaaS is to compare Patternfish to ravelry. My designs are available for purchase on each site; however, the business model of both sites is dramatically different. When a customer purchases a pattern on Patternfish, they are purchasing from Patternfish. Patternfish collects the payment, and pays me a royalty on a periodic basis. This is essentially a wholesale arrangement, and this is not SaaS. Ravelry, on the other hand, provides SaaS. When you purchase a pattern on ravelry, you are purchasing it from me. The payment goes directly to my paypal account, and ravelry doesn’t touch the money. Depending on the volume of my sales, ravelry invoices me for the use of the service.

The reason I point this out is that there is a very vague statement in the legislation about authorization of delivery, which can or cannot be interpreted to mean that sites like ravelry are responsible for collecting VAT. This creates a technical challenge for sites like ravelry because they don’t touch the money. It would require a significant change to the site and their business model to handle all the VAT administration.

In light of this legislation, ravelry partnered with LoveKnitting. LoveKnitting operates in a model similar to Patternfish. Customers who purchase designs from LoveKnitting are purchasing directly from LoveKnitting. LoveKnitting pays designers a royalty based upon sales each month. Since LoveKnitting handles the payment and are located in the UK, they are better positioned to collect and administer VAT. This partnership was the result of concerns raised by many designers, and there was a very real concern that many designers would close up shop if nothing was done.

As someone who works in the IT field, I must say that I’m extremely impressed with ravelry and LoveKnitting’s response to this challenge. Ravelry designers have been provided with options to meet their own needs. We can use LoveKnitting or another site that handles VAT, or we can choose to deal with this ourselves. This solution caters to a wide range of business models and desires. I suspect that customers may experience a few hiccups because these changes were rushed, and I ask that everyone remain patient. This was a big change.

I chose LoveKnitting for two reasons. First, this provides another site where my patterns can be seen and purchased. Most of my sales are on ravelry, but I’m of the mindset that it can’t hurt to be seen elsewhere. Admittedly, EU sales account for a very small portion of my total sales, but who knows what the future holds.

The second reason for my decision is based purely on my own opinion. I doubt that any European authority will invoice me for back taxes and penalties due to noncompliance. I do believe, however, that European tax authorities may try to invoice ravelry for back taxes and possible penalties. I base this opinion on statements that have been attributed to HMRC. I have seen nothing from the U. S. Department of Commerce or the U. S. Department of State to indicate if existing tax treaties are in place to enforce this, which is a bit disconcerting to me. If either department could provide some insight, it could provide some real clarity for U. S. based enterprises. I would caution anyone against relying on statements from their Congressperson, as most members of Congress, in my opinion, are not experts on tax laws or international treaties.

I love ravelry. I wouldn’t be a designer, and I wouldn’t be the knitter that I am without ravelry. I have made friends because of the site, and I will always be grateful to Casey, Jess, and their staff. Choosing the LoveKnitting option is one small thing that I can do to try to protect them from any fallout. I could very well be wrong about this. As I said, this is my opinion. I can assure you, there are plenty of opinions on the subject. I am entitled to mine.

The LoveKnitting integration has been described as a band-aid to buy us all some breathing room while everyone adapts to the legislative change. It is entirely possible that there will be other changes occurring in the next 6 months. I don’t know what these changes will be, and I don’t know what my choices will be when faced with them.

In closing, I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to both ravelry and LoveKnitting. They have implemented some significant changes in the last fews weeks while many of us were enjoying the holidays. They have responded to a torrent of concerns, questions, panic, fear, and sometimes anger with level heads. I’m sure there are bugs, and there may be some very human mistakes that have been made and will be made in the next few weeks. I am grateful, and I hope that our community greets these changes with grace and understanding.

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