So it seems I’ve got lots to say but nothing at all, at the same time. Sitting here at this PC is not getting any easier, especially as I’m now withdrawing from the amitriptyline (and yes, I did taper off, over months, but I’ve come to understand that this is the norm for this medication.). The pain is now more noticeable but it’s manageable with the TENS machine and CBD oil is helping with the anxiety and panic attacks. And although I’m now getting more than 3hrs sleep a night I’m not getting the 9hrs or so that I need. But I am coming out the other side, slowly.

All that said, I’ve just ordered something that should make blogging that much easier. I manage so much more of my business on my phone than I ever thought I would, and I finally decided to prioritise that. Like a huge percentage of people I don’t have a phone to make phone calls. I loathe using the phone. And to everyone who says “what do you want a phone for then?” I’ll say it’s my portable camera. My networking device. My eBook reader. My calendar and organiser. My way to interact on social media. It is so, so many things beyond a phone.

Realising this, I figured I should upgrade. So I did.

Previously when I’ve needed a new phone I’ve gone for 2nd-hand most of the time, until recently. My last phone was bought new, as the previous phone decided to play up when I was on a teaching tour and needed a phone sharpish. The previous phone was also bought new, and I only bought that because I was heading off on a photoshoot and my previous phone had died. And each time I’ve bought new I’ve purchased something that hits the budget in the least possible way. Possibly ‘cos they were bought on the quick in emergency situations (where there’s little time to weigh up the specs and benefits) but also because I’ve never valued my phone as an integral part of business, and refused to spend much on one. After all, besides these mentioned purchases I’ve survived forever on 2nd-hand phones.

Now that I’m waged, I don’t see the purchase of a higher end phone as coming directly out of my pocket. Instead of seeing it as competition for food on the table, I can see it as an investment. Which is weird, but also progress. I’ve always tried to buy the best tech I can afford - laptop, PC, camera - but somehow I’d never thought to do the same with my phone. I don’t like to be replacing tech every couple of years; it’s an incredible waste on precious resources, not to mention a waste of money. So where I can, I buy thinking forward and get something that’s future proof. And also on sale! It’s paid off - my laptop is 8 years old and although it’s no longer my primary machine, it’s still a working beast. My camera is almost 4 years old and we’ve no need to replace it any time soon. I can see a pattern over the years, demonstrating how my business has grown, which is reflected through what I could afford to buy. For someone who started with a donated laptop and an old digital point and shoot, that’s been quite the journey.

And so I’m waiting for my new phone to arrive. And I’m ever so excited.

Instead of buying a digital notebook and a new, more powerful tablet and instead of buying a video recorder I’ve bought something that does all of these things in one device. It’ll also let me have a virtual desktop. I’ll be able to use it for power-points or slideshows when I’m teaching. In fact it has so many features that I need and could use to improve how I work that it didn’t take me any time at all to reach my decision.

I’ve bought a Galaxy Note 9 and despite everything I’ve written here, I still yelp a little at the cost. Even with the VAT off. But it’s going to be so worth it.

I’m feeling incredibly grateful and fortunate to be in a position to buy a phone like this outright. As I said, I started with nothing and have slowly moved forward, with careful saving and conscious purchases. So it might have taken 14 years to reach this point, but this point I have reached.

This wasn’t what I came here to say but I’ve blogged and I seem to have released some of the word tangle!

Posted
AuthorWoolly Wormhead
CategoriesIndie Biz

2018 was a busy year, despite almost 4 months off with my two frozen shoulders. A lot of those patterns were already done and dusted before my left shoulder almost froze solid, and I’m mighty grateful to my past self for being that organised!

 
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11 self published single patterns - Filigree Slouch, Ponderosa, Pebbles (which comes in Beanie and Slouch flavours), Laccio, Rhinebeck Hat, Lifted (MKAL), Juxta, Misura, Shuttered and Wrapped (which had never been available as a single pattern before).

Filigree Beanie is missing from this collage as it had been previously published as a single, even though it was unavailable for a number of years. So I guess that’s technically 12 patterns?

 
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7 free patterns were also published! I started publishing the free patterns exclusively via The Woolly Hat Society and I reckon that’s worked really well, I’ve certainly enjoyed it. I intend to pick it up again once the season starts dying down (late February time?) They’re all available on the Free Patterns page as downloads now, so head over there to find them.

 
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And of course, the Lateralis collection.

This one is still kinda tangled for me, personally. Mostly because it’s a project that had been in the planning stages forever. I’d calculated the construction and maths a long time ago, years, but by the time I was ready to pick it up my shoulders were at their worst and I couldn’t knit. It ended up being released late which had quite the knock on effect on sales, marketing and general reception which added to the tangle.

That aside, I got to work with RiverKnits which was a great experience and I’m really happy with how the Hats turned out. I’m disappointed that they haven’t had their moment and I’m thinking about rephotographing them… this was the first time we’d really focused on a studio shoot, and we learnt an awful lot, but I miss the atmosphere of my natural light shots. The way the environment adds to the mood and story of the photos. We couldn’t manage an outdoor shoot when we took these as it was completely the wrong time of year (another consequence of late production, thank you shoulders) and I can’t help but feel that a re-shoot might give these some extra oomph? I’m probably just making more work for myself but I can’t help being me…

 
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The last pattern published in 2018 is Trittico, which is in Carol feller’s Echoes of Heather and Stone book. A fun sideways design that allowed me to indulge my love of symbolism, and a design that was also done and dusted before shoulder issues fully kicked in.

That all adds up to 25 patterns, which isn’t bad considering the year it was!

I’ve lots planned for this coming year and 2019 already feels off to a better start than 2018. I’ve more time, I can knit and work without too much pain, and ideas are a plenty.

2018 is also the year that big big changes were made backend. Moving the business to Estonia was a huge moving that I just went ahead and did, and that hindsight tells me was bigger than i expected to be. I’ve learnt a lot, and I’ve started writing a lot of it down as so many people have asked me about it. It is without a doubt one of the best things I’ve ever done. The business is now safe out of the UK and away from Brexit; the business is healthier and I have wage slips.

And I think the biz move is in part why this financial year won’t take a hit. I know from experience that whenever life gets in the way, turnover drops. For instance turnover went down 25% the year after Aran was critically ill and we faced eviction. It’s always the financial year after the life event that’s affected, and almost 4 months off with these shoulders earlier in the year would mean this season is when we’d be feeling it. An extra productive 2017 combined with the new accountancy system has helped keep us afloat. I’m not expecting to see much growth on last year but I’m not expecting to see a drop, either. Growth has been the norm for every year except the years where life has got in the way big style, so I’m happy to be keeping afloat. Who knows, the financial year or season isn’t over yet, but traditionally everything starts tailing off pretty quickly after January, so this is when I need to go for the last final push. We shall see.

So that’s my round-up for 2018! Thank you for your continued support and let’s see if 2019 can be better than 2018? Can’t be hard, right?

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

Feel free to share, the more the merrier.

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The discount changes and the code stays the same. 33% discount for the first 36hrs; 25% discount for the next 72hrs then 20% discount for the remainder of the sale. 

Enjoy! Go fill yer boots! 

Posted
AuthorWoolly Wormhead

I've not been able to write, to express myself in any cohesive way, for months. The words are continuing to come out in a tangled mess and I've essentially given up on trying to make sense of things and instead have stuck to emotional ranting on Twitter.

Our bureaucracy nightmare continues. My business is safe in Estonia, and it's doing well. Whilst this year might not see the same growth as the last few years (two frozen shoulders and the stress that's been dumped on us has understandably taken it's toll) not being dependent on an ever devaluing Sterling means we're actually better off. Despite paying accountant fees once a month, not having to pay exchange rates and fees on everything and earning in the main currency we're now living in means that what I'm earning is going further. We lost a lot of money when Sterling took a tumble two and a half years ago (pennies to most, but a lot to us) and we're unlikely to ever recuperate that, but it's reassuring to not be losing more.

Moving the business was the best thing I ever did. I completely understand why more and more businesses are moving out of the UK, and I don't blame them.  My only wish is that I'd done it sooner, but the route we've taken wasn't available then. But it's done now and it's one of the few positives to come out of this whole mess.

This week all of our paperwork has fallen into place and we're going to start the procedure of applying for residency in Italy. This won't be quick and there's no guarantee we'll get it, but we have no choice but to try. Residency won't guarantee us anything in light of a no deal, but it'll at least put us on a par with other British migrants.

When we faced eviction some 5 or 6 years ago, we had nothing to our name except our rusty old bus and we had to knuckle down and save and somehow build ourselves a safety net. We did it, slowly, and although we were barely a quarter of the way to having 6 figures in the bank by this summer, we finally had ourselves some 'life savings'. It made me mighty proud, especially as we were still living below the poverty line. But I knew most of that would be disappearing, and it has already. 

Getting everything in place - separating the business from me and parking it safely somewhere other than the UK or Italy; getting married and getting all our paperwork sorted out; taxes settled and advice taken - has cost us thousands and thousands. And we still have so much more to pay out. Whilst we've had to deal with all of this, especially over the summer, we've been living on our savings, which has depleted them further. We will earn some of that back, but for now it's all tied up elsewhere.

So right now, we've about a third of what we had saved left. And we still don't have residency. And there are more costs to come.

We'll need to start paying tax and national insurance in Italy. There's no threshold here, so our tax bill is going up. We'll have to sell the car after a year and get an Italian car and insurance, and those cost about 3 times what they'd cost in the UK. The list goes on. It'll settle down after a few years, when HMRC refund me my overpaid tax and we get access to the money that's tied up. But that doesn't help us now.

The residency application itself is less than €100; it's everything else we have to do to comply that costs big.

And then there's the issue of us losing rights. This is hurting me more than anything right now.

The UK press and politicians are all saying that EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU27 will be able to carry on their lives as before, that our rights are protected. But that's pure propaganda. 

The Prime Minister has made it clear that Freedom of Movement will end. Shes actively celebrating it. But what she's not saying is that this is reciprocal. Which means we are ALL losing rights. For some of us, ourselves especially, those rights have been critical in allowing us to life and work as we do. I won't be able to teach at events that aren't in Italy or the UK, for instance. And those FoM rights are what have allowed us to live in a place that doesn't have a residential address (which is one of the reasons we are not guaranteed residency).

So whilst everyone is being told in the UK that it's fine, you'll still be able to go on holiday without a visa, what they're not telling you is that it's going to be very difficult to live, work, study, retire or fall in love in a different country. I'm sure for a lot of people that doesn't matter, and most people don't care until it affects them. But please be aware that we've been utterly screwed by this.

I've spent a lot of time trying to deal with all of this in my head. I've tried to rationalise it, understand why people would vote the way they did, despite the lies and deliberate smearing of facts and fact givers. I've tried to manage the anger at being abandoned by a government; the anger at the naivety or ignorance of old friends and family back home (none of whom have shown any concern at our situation. NONE. I'm assuming that's because they don't know; because they're believing what they're being told or somehow still believe in British Exceptionalism (the believe that we'll be ok just because we're British. Which is a myth, btw). Or maybe it's because they feel guilty). The only people who have shown any care are our Italian friends and our Woolly friends, and for that I'm eternally grateful.

But I can't make sense of it. I'm still so incredibly furious at what we've been thrown into. 

What people are failing to understand is that none of this was ever meant to be permanent. Friends and family should know us well enough to know that. That just because we're here doesn't mean we're staying here. That's what the freedom of movement rights provide - they provide everyone with the opportunity to move on. To try living somewhere else. To try a different culture. Those rights always left the door open. And we're angry at being forced to stay in one place, which is what the loss of FoM rights will do - we'll be landlocked. Without FoM rights, moving country is costly and eyewateringly steep in bureaucracy. It's prohibitive to anyone but the wealthy without those rights.

In my mind, hopefully with a successful residency application in hand, come next March we'll be cutting ties to the UK and not looking back. I've still a few things, a bank account and stuff, but otherwise we're done. With the Brexit vote the door was slammed on people like us and we've no intention of trying to open it up again. We've been held in limbo all this time, not knowing how our circumstances might change. But now we do know. We've been shown our value, how little we matter.

Its sad. But we don't really have any choice. For our own sakes we need to move forward and not look back. 

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
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Yesterday members of The Woolly Hat Society received their emails telling them that they can now get their hands on Lateralis!

 
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The collection is on pre-order, which means you’ll get a new pattern each and every week until the final eBook is ready. You need do nothing extra - the update notices will be sent to the email address through which you purchased, and you’ll be able to download the latest files. Once the eBook is ready you’ll then get the full and final file.

The first pattern available is Duality, which I shared in my last post, and over the next few days I’ll reveal the other 4 patterns.

If you’ve already purchased Elemental - either from this website or Ravelry - then the cart system will give you an automatic 30% discount off Lateralis!

For this to be effective you need to return to the same place you purchased Elemental (mixed shopping carts make a bit of a mess) and it might be wise to double check in your Ravelry Library that Elemental is there, and which shop you bought it from.

It’s important to bear in mind that although my website is a Ravelry store, it’s a distinctly different one to the store you see on Ravelry. I have two separate accounts, with separate records - this was done to enable me to sell in two different currencies and in turn it confuses the system if you mix carts with these types of promotions. That’s why it’s important to go back to exactly the same store.

When purchasing from my website, if you want the pattern or eBook to be added to your Ravelry library then you’ll need to make sure that you’re logged in in a separate tab. Similarly, the system won’t recognise a previous website purchase if you weren’t logged in. So here’s a few tips to help:

  • log into Ravelry & check your purchases section - if the purchase shows USD the you bought it via Ravelry, so use that shop. If it's GBP/EUR then you bought it via my website, so buy Lateralis there.

  • you HAVE TO make sure you're logged into Ravelry when you use my website, otherwise the system won't recognise previous purchases! Neither will it add new purchases to your library.

  • if you know you bought Elemental but can't find it in your Ravelry library then chances are you bought it from my website but weren't logged in - you'll want to go back to your original purchase/download email & add it to you library from there - I can't really help with this

  • the full eBook isn't available yet - you'll get the pre-order file with the release dates & the first single pattern, Duality. Please do read the pre-order file as they contains everything you need to know.

  • if still need to get in touch about a problem purchasing then please PLEASE include your PayPal email & Ravelry username!

  • there's only one of me & I have to pop back to Blighty later today for an important family thing this weekend, so I'll be offline from midday today until midday Sunday (CET) - if you can help yourself with this list or failing that, post in Ravelry, you'll get help much more quickly & reduce the pile-on in my inbox - less stressful all round.

If you haven’t already purchased Elemental but want to, adding them together in the same cart should trigger that 30% off Lateralis for you.

The 30% off promotion runs until the end of October.

Alternatively, you can use bringonthecurves to get 20% off either Lateralis or Duality, on here or on Ravelry. That code is only valid until midnight CET 2nd October, though.

I do hope you enjoy these patterns! This collection has taken so long to come together, with various life things getting in the way, and I’ve felt quite out of touch with it at times, to be honest. Part of me is also sick of looking at them, too! But seeing it all come together, with the yarns and photography and graphics tying it all together, I’m excited about them again. The response to patterns has really given me a lift, thank you!

Posted
AuthorWoolly Wormhead