FO: Minimalist Christmas wreath

I’ve been tweeting a lot this week about VATMOSS, for which I’m afraid I make no apologies, because it’s about to have a massive impact on the online crafting community. If you have no idea what it is, there’s a quick summary with links at the bottom of this post. If you sell any digital products to the EU, you’re affected. It’s worth a read, even if you don’t think it applies to you, just to see how wrong good intentions can go!


Right, on to happier things! I’ve finished quite a few things recently that I haven’t blogged, but this is the only one I’ve managed to get pictures of. It started with this:

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As I’ve said before, I’m going a bit all out on the decorating this year, and as part of that, I wanted to make a wreath. For years, I’ve looked at Lucy’s amazing creations and wished I had the time to make one. Last year, I even bought the polystyrene ring but never got around to making anything. So this year, once I’d picked a colour scheme, I asked Emma at Lemonade Yarns to help me out with yarn choices. Pity the poor shop owners I buy from – I’m always emailing Alice at Backstitch for colour advice – with the only comfort being at least I spend money! Anyway, Emma and I settled on the Stylecraft Special DK in 3 shades of grey and away I went.

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Yes, I know I used that picture on Wednesday. Shhhhhhh, I don’t think anyone else has noticed.

Things went fairly smoothly, although on getting to the end, I discovered that my strip was slightly narrower than at the beginning. I’d lost a few stitches along the way, which I decided not to worry about, as I’d more or less finished and was sure it would be fine. Which it is, but learn from my mistake, people! You want your strip to stretch, but not too tight. I got away with it because of my colourscheme, but for something colourful, I’d make sure the stitches weren’t quite so much under strain.

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My other piece of advice would be PATIENCE. It’s not something I’m normally blessed with in the field of crafting, but I really took my time sewing the strip on, then sewing in all the ends, and I’m so glad I did. Like Lucy, I used the tails from the stripes for sewing the two sides together, and while it was hard work, it kept everything lined up.

When it came to decorating, I spent a happy couple of hours last night with some sparkly grey yarn from the pound shop, making up more of Lucy’s decorations, mostly Little stars and Little flowers. They’re so quick to make that they’re like sweets – you can’t just make one, you have to keep going! They curled in on themselves, so I did my first ever steam blocking of acrylic and WOW. Honestly. WOW. The difference was just incredible, and I can’t recommend it enough. I even steam blocked the May roses, which ended up being the only things I put on the wreath. Despite all the work, somehow, the colour leant itself to something more understated. I used pearl-headed pins to hold them in place, and some more of the sparkly yarn, knotted and pinned to the back for hanging it.

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Ta da! Very different in character to Lucy’s wreaths, but definitely inspired by them. It’s hanging in the hall at the moment, but I’m contemplating hanging it on the front door, I’m so proud of it!

Now for the rest of the flat. If you want to see how I get on in real time, I’ll be Instagramming as I go 🙂 Otherwise, I shall report back next week!


VATMOSS
If you follow me (or other crafters) on social media, you’ll know that there’s a storm brewing over the new VAT regulations that come for the EU on 1st January.

If you sell any digital products to the EU, you’re affected.
This is really, really important – even if it’s just a little ebook, single pattern, anything. You’re going to have to sort out the tax.

If you buy digital products in the EU, particularly from tiny, independent producers, you’re affected. I’m not an expert, but I am a librarian, and information gathering is sort of what I do. The short version is that tax will have to be paid according to the rate of the buyer’s country rather than the seller’s. The logistics of gathering that information are back-breaking to impossible, not to mention the absurdity of tiny sellers registering for VAT when there are thresholds in place to protect them if they’re selling physical goods. It’s complicated, but rather than waffle on about it even more, let me just point you to some useful pages, and recommend following the hashtag #VATMOSS on Twitter.

Basic summary from TechCrunch – it’s not just crafters affected! This is the best summary, worth reading even if you don’t sell.
Ysolda’s incredible helpful summary – much more detail for sellers about the problems.
Advice from an accountant
Summary from a web consultant
This is an incredibly in-depth summary from a web developer, including useful links and probably the most comprehensive for anyone selling anything digital online.

I’ve been following things fairly closely, as I’ve been thinking of selling patterns for a while, so if you’ve got questions, I might be able to point you in the direction of the right answers. Ravelry have teamed up with Love Knitting to solve things for yarnies, but U-Handbag and Fat Quarterly have already said that they’ll stop selling PDFs at the start of 2015, while lots of US folk have said they’ll just stop selling to the EU. It’s a pretty sorry state of affairs, especially since HMRC don’t seem to have any consistent or useful answers. If you think you’re affected, read up, and ask questions of the tax people in your own country – it’s better than getting a bill later!

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4 thoughts on “FO: Minimalist Christmas wreath

  1. Oh those little stars! I see what you mean by sweets 🙂 I had to click on the link, didn’t I? And then, since I have a hook and some spare yarn by my PC, and it’s even a bright golden yellow, I just had to make one! And now I’ve made one, I see more in my future… but I have lots of WIPs to finish.
    Your wreath is very elegant.
    I have come across the VATMOSS issue and signed a petition or letter or something that came up on FB about it and will continue to do so as much as I can. I didn’t realise some sellers would stop selling to us though 😦

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    1. The stars are lovely, aren’t they? And yes, definitely addictive – have fun with them!

      Some folks in the US are going to try to block buyers in the EU, but it’s not clear how successful that will be. It’s going to be a complete mess, and all we can really do is wait and see what happens!

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  2. Thank you so much for including my post, Laura. I am a big fan of action over panic, so if panic is currently your middle name, have a read of my blog post. It’s a lot about what you can do for your business right now in the short term and after that, just stay updated (and campaign!).

    Any WI members, get them involved? (says she, who realises she hasn’t told her own WI about this, oops).

    http://onemanbandaccounting.co.uk/eu-vat-changes-2015

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    1. No problem, Rosie – as you’ll see from my blog post, I’m only affected as a customer, not a business-owner, so I’m mostly sad rather than panicked. The WI could definitely be another good campaigning source!

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