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Archived posts from December 2006 to December 2008 are missing their photos. Key posts will be updated as soon as I have time!

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January Sale!

I know, I know - it's gone quiet here again.

Mostly I'm working on the new website build, and if you're interested we have a discussion thread in my Ravelry group - feedback is always welcome.

However, how could I not come here and let you know about the sale? Yes indeedy, it's that time of year. And the January sale is the one event that we rely on earnings wise, so please do share this around!



I'm hoping that the next time I blog, I'll be posting from the new site. That's a little optimistic given the amount of pages I need to rebuild, but given my blogging record of late, it's doable? ;)


Evaluating VAT and a price change notice

Earlier in the year I'd indicated that after a few months of the EU VAT being implemented, I'd look again at costs and whether or not I'd need to adjust pattern prices.

Putting aside the VAT that I pay on the patterns I sell, business costs are up more than I expected. I guess it's not surprising, given that I run a no tangibles digital only business - a huge chunk of my expenses, after people (labour ) and yarn costs, are digital goods. Ebooks, software, web hosting, domain email addresses to name but a few, and of course platform selling fees. Costs are up in nearly all of those areas thanks to this ill thought through law, and I can't afford to swallow those costs.

After much thought, I've decided to increase the cost of single patterns from £3.50 to £3.75 only. Ebooks will stay the same in both £GB and $USD, and single patterns listed in $USD won't change either, remaining at $6.00 which is the price they've been for some time. All print prices will remain the same except for the RRP on UK and EU single pattern sales - this will change to reflect digital prices.

The price increase will be effective from January 1st. Later on next year I'll evaluate again and see how things are. Once the new website is finished (I keep saying that, eh?) then Ravelry prices will switch to $USD and this website will remain in £GB - which has always been the plan (and yes, patterns purchased on this site will still go into your Ravelry library!)


Another special guest post for the 10th Anniversary tour

The last guest post for the 10th anniversary tour is from Silvia. Many of you will recognise Silvia - and for a long time I think many people thought I was Silvia, as she was a consistent face on my patterns! She was the first model I started working with when I moved to doing the photography myself on people (rather than polystyrene heads) and in many ways, my photography grew with her.

She no longer lives on the Yard but I managed to catch her when she popped by for a visit, and asked her to write something to share here today.




Prima di conoscere Woolly Wormhead non mi piaceva apparire in foto, poi mi ha chiesto di posare per lei .... e ho vinto la timidezza! E 'stato molto divertente indossare i suoi cappelli e interpretare ogni volta una " Silvia "diversa, perché ognuno dei suoi modelli ha un'anima propria.

Ancora più divertente è stato scoprire l'armonia tra i suoi cappelli e mio colore di capelli (che cambia spesso!).
Auguri Woolly!

Before knowing Woolly Wormhead I wasn't keen to have my photograph taken or appear in photos, then she asked me to pose for her .... and I beat the shyness! It was a very funny to wear her Hats and interpret a different "Silvia" every time.

What was even more fun was finding the harmony between the Hats and my hair colour (which often changed!). Best wishes Woolly!


Thank you Silvia!

One aspect of my photography which I haven't really spoken about much is the way I manage to record many of the people who come through the Yard, mostly women. Not all of my photos are shot in Italy, I do quite a few here in the UK too, most often with family. But when I shoot in Italy, I work with whoever is there and willing to help. Quite often it will be a friend of the Yard or guest who could use a little extra income, or more regular Yardies such as Silvia or Alyx. Each in their own way has moved on to new adventures in life, and as much as it can be frustrating to lose a good model, I appreciate the work we've done together and have come to understand how it has formed part of what is almost a visual documentary of the Yard and it's many faces.

The photos aren't just of the Hats or even the environment and the artistic influences; they're memories. Moments of a particular day and point in time, of progress and relationships, all captured through the lens.

Back to basics and some time out


No matter what I do or how prepared I am or how much I try and reduce my workload, September to December are bonkers. And utterly exhausting. It's just the busy season, and that's how it is.

This season wasn't helped by not being well and rested as I went in; I'd worked non stop since I had surgery September last year. I had to work that much harder to get business back on track to keep the pennies coming in (turnover last year was down 25%; that was partially due to the EU VAT kicking in at my busiest time, and partially due to less output from me the previous year, which in turn was due life being what it has been). I'm long overdue some down time. A proper holiday is out of the question, we don't have the budget for that! We can't afford for me to take much time off either, so I'll need to take it in dribs and drabs.

What I really want is a quiet Xmas, a few weeks of not talking to anyone or doing anything or going anywhere. But that's not going to happen, as a big family Xmas is planned and we're catching up with everyone, so I'm starting to take my quiet time now, now that things are slowing down. If I can recharge a little before the holiday season I might just get through it without breaking, and hopefully January will permit me to be kinder to myself. To be honest I'm not looking forward to Xmas - it already feels too stressful, and I'm inclined to spend the next couple of weeks pretending it's not happening, rather than allowing it to get to me!

I've been working away on a few garter stitch things, new designs, that are helping me get through it. It's a project I've been working on quietly, with the exception of the few images I've shared on Instagram. I've not spoken out loud about it, as I don't want it to become a thing... if it becomes a thing then it becomes something to fail at. The project is as much for me as anyone else, and I need not to have any pressure or deadlines or even any expectations - those things are suffocating and this needs to be my release, not another ball and chain.

I'm starting to feel ready to talk about it though, now that brain space is freeing up and a few more things are dropping into place and starting to make sense.

In the meantime though, I'll be chugging away at those knit stitches, hoping that keeping my hands busy will keep my mind calm.


ps/ yeah, I bought myself a fish-eye attachment for my wide angle lens. It was about £20+shipping, a fraction of the price of a true fish-eye, and it's fun. Tom's used it more than me, though!


Bimitral & Knitty

psst/ if you've popped over for the first time (hello!) or have missed a few posts, you might be interested to hear that I'm running a #hatvent throughout December on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook whereby I offer a discount on different (surprise) Hat pattern each day. I'm also posting the Hat of the day in my Ravelry group, too. Follow along to catch the latest deals and news!


Let me introduce Bimitral!



Bimitral is a sideways knit Hat worked on the bias, in two colours. Short rows are worked at the brim end and crown end to create the shape, and the construction makes it incredibly adaptable. Want something more slouchy beanie, less beret? Leave out the short rows at the brim end. Want to work in a different weight yarn? Simply check your stitch gauge for depth, cast on the appropriate amount, and keep knitting until it fits around your head. The softly gathered crown leaves lots of room for adjustments - as long as it fits at the brim and doesn't drown in depth, you're good to go!



The Hat is designed for Anzula Cole, which is a wonderful blend of camel and silk. Soft as it is, it isn't the stretchiest of yarns naturally, so the garter stitch sideways helps out there - when turned through 90 degrees garter stitch makes the perfect ribbing.

You could also add a slipped stitch edge to the garter stitch, too. I tend not to, as I haven't yet worked out the best way of mimicking that slipped stitch on the selvedge when grafting, but that's me. I tend to get bogged down in the little things.



The pattern calls for garter stitch grafting to finish the Hat. That may sound odd, considering it's all panels of stocking stitch, but you see those purled ridges that separate the colour panels? When you graft, you'll be replicating those. And whilst a reverse stocking stitch graft might be the obvious choice, it doesn't work. A reverse stocking stitch graft adds two ridges, whereas the garter adds only one.

Without getting too technical when you graft, you're sort of creating two rows. Or rather you're not, you're creating a top half and a bottom half of a row - two half rows. You are only grafting one true row (it's physically impossible to do anything else) but it has a relationship with the rows either side of it, and it's that that's important. A purled graft creates two sets of ridges with it's neighbouring rows, creating the effect of two purled ridges. A garter graft creates a ridge at the top (or bottom, depending on which method) and a V (or valley) the other side.

(for the record, stocking stitch graft creates two 'V's, two valleys, and mimics a true row on stocking stitch.)

Still with me? A garter stitch graft is really the easiest of the lot, really - what you do on the front needle you do on the back. There's no mirroring to do or four sets of manoeuvres to remember; just repeating the same two motions over and over.



Bimitral is a fun knit, and if you're a fellow lover of less than common construction and other than normal directional knitting, you might rather enjoy it!


ps/ have you figured out the name?