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!

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

We’re on for the pre-release of Lateralis to be available from thursday and everything feels back on track! So many things feel more under control somehow this week, so I’m making the most of it.

The pre-release will work like this:

The cover and an accompanying PDF (explaining the schedule etc) will be available immediately, as will the first single pattern. Then the single patterns will be published once a week until the final collection as the eBook will be available. Everyone who buys the pre-release will receive an update notification via email each time a new single pattern is published, and you can use the link in the email to download the latest instalment. It’s been a while since I put an eBook on pre-release but I think most folk are familiar now with how the system works.

Working this way allows me to start earning, which in turn means I can pay the team promptly. It means you can get your hands on the patterns as soon as they’re ready and start knitting them! And it gives me and the team vital extra time to add the polishing details to the eBook. Should be a win, win, yes?

And so the first hat to be published will be Duality. It’s a very striking Hat with a very simple detail that’s highlighted by the construction.

 
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The stripes are created by short rows, allowing the fabric to remain balanced. As I say, the stripes themselves, beyond being short rows, are simple in and of themselves - it’s the construction and placement of the stripes that makes this Hat so striking.

 
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Because there are a lot less short rows to this Hat, and because the colourwork is easier to manage, Duality is a great introduction to the construction and an ideal first Hat to try. It also gives you a sense about how the yarns and colours work, which should help you make the right yarn choices going forward for the other Hats. Most of the Lateralis Hats have a preference to whether a variegated or semi-solid works as the main yarn, but with this one it doesn’t matter - you can swap them around and see what happens!

 
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The theme behind Lateralis is symmetry, reflection; factors or concepts of two. Unlike other sideways Hats, these consist of two sections, two halves, that are head-shaped and meet at the crown. This in turn means that the Hats can be worn in two distinct ways, and we’ve aimed to show that photographically.

 
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Not all of the Hats are worked as two halves - some are worked entirely as one piece, with the two sections becoming noticeably after turning through the crown, and some are worked as not quite halves to allow for special short row trickery at the crown, yet still result in a Hat of two equal pieces. I suspect the way the construction works may not be apparent until they’re knitted, and I promise they’ll surprise you in the best of ways.

 
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I’ve put time aside today to (slowly) build the individual pattern web pages today, so you get an idea of yardage and yarn weight requirements. They all use DK weight yarn, and these have been kindly sponsored by RiverKnits so do go and check out her yarns! She’ll be at Yarndale this coming weekend where you can grab your yarns in person; failing that she’ll have her full stock up after the weekend. (one day I’ll make it to Yarndale…. maybe next year?)

 
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Talking of yarn, do bear in mind that these are graded by gauge - there’s virtually no room to adjust the pattern for different sizes. A couple of sizes are included in the pattern, but also in the pattern will be notes on exactly how many stitches and rows make up the Hat, so you can adjust the gauge for other sizes. This something we can definitely talk about more in my Ravelry group - we’ll set up a thread for each Hat.

That’s me done here for today! Tomorrow I’ll introduce the 2nd Hat, Undulous.

Posted
AuthorWoolly Wormhead

Sometime earlier in the year I fancied a trip to Rhinebeck. To not only experience the Sheep & Wool festival, but also to stock up on US indie dyed yarn 'cos it's so ridiculously expensive to ship odd skeins and then pay customs charges on top.

Before I knew it we had a group heading from this side of the Atlantic! And it soon became something bigger than a quick trip...

Carol Feller and I are both sponsoring the Indie Untangled show on the Friday, and I'm preparing marketing materials for indie dyers and knitters who buy indie dyed yarn. This all ties in very nicely with a few plans I've put time into to replace what used to be the print wholesale before I needed to shut down that side of the business. I don't know yet when those materials will be ready, but hopefully before this season is done!

We're arranging a meet up at the main Rhinebeck show for Woolly Wormhead fans and there'll be more about that in the discussion thread in my Ravelry group.

And then last week it occurred to me that I may be able to design a Rhinebeck Hat... 

 
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 ... and there just happened to be a design in my head that needed out onto the needles.

 
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I've been beyond stressed this week and the panic attacks are creeping back, and the black dog is doing it's worst. Knitting this has helped keep me anchored.

 
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and doesn't it create such a beautiful fabric?

 
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The pattern is almost written and ready for editing, and I'm trying to arrange a photoshoot. This isn't something that's gone too smoothly of late but fingers crossed, eh?

The Lateralis collection is now with the graphic designer, and I'm hoping for a cover soon so that I can put it up on pre-release. The single patterns are all done but it won't be ready until layout and final editing is done. I can at least though get the single patterns into your hands as soon as it goes on pre-release - I'll follow up shortly with more info on that. 

 
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I've been thinking about release schedules and how mine is all over the place, because I had a few months forced break earlier in the year. I'm still playing catch-up as we head into the busy season and I know from experience this isn't a good place to be if I want to get the most out of it. Knowing this is what’s behind most of my stress right now - if I can’t produce, I can’t earn.

And the way my business works is that I don’t see the downsides of a problem like two frozen shoulders until the next financial year. When Aran was critically ill and we faced eviction I did very little work for 6 months. The (financial) year this all happened in was fine, pretty normal… but it was the next (financial) year that saw a 25% drop in earnings. And that’s a lot, especially on a relatively low income that the whole family relies upon. And so yeah, that’s what’s eating away at me. Lateralis should have been ready for September 1st but I couldn’t knit and finalise the patterns, so it wasn’t. That then had a knock-on effect for the rest of the team who brilliantly help me produce my eBooks. I’ve missed at least a whole month of earnings on the collection at a time when we could really use it. What I earn between September and January has to keep us going until the following September, and that usually dries up come end of August. Right now, we’re living on our savings, the savings we put aside to pay for pt2 & pt3 of our #brexitscapeplan…. so, yeah.

Anyway. On the upside, Rhinebeck will be fun and Lateralis will be a hit, yes?

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
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I’ve said previously that we’re trying to work at getting our studio photography perfected so that we can work whatever the weather (usually we’re battling the sunshine, rather than the rain) and slowly but surely, we’re getting there.

For me, the biggest hurdle is lighting. We’re gathering a few lights that pack a lot into a small unit (necessary, given the size of my studio) yet somehow I’m rarely content with the lighting effects we get, even when the various set-ups that Tom puts together work well. I am so much happier working with natural light; I’ll always have a diffuser by my side as the natural light here is invariably too strong, but I loathe using reflectors as they always look so false to me - they make light bounce in ways it wouldn’t necessarily bounce. And if I struggle to use a reflector, you can imagine the state of me trying to give a yay or nay to studio lighting.

Slowly, though, we’re getting there. And the one set up that pleases me is dark and moody (quelle surprise). I don’t even care if there’s a lack of light on the face (I much prefer the presence of shadows to their absence) if the light hits the Hat at the right point. As I’m editing the first photoshoot for the Lateralis collection I can tell you there’s some shots where the face is barely visible but the Hat looks a stunner… shots that many people would say are too dark, and to my mind, that’s the point.

Before the shoot we had Monday afternoon we did a few practice shots with Aran for a future free pattern. When he’s in the mood for getting in front of the camera, he goes for it!

 
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Fun as these are, these shots told us that we needed to change the lighting and make it more dramatic… when Aran wasn’t larking around the regular shots looked too much like school photos and there’s no way I’m putting anything like that out, so more shadows on the face it is then, not less.

I suspect in the long run we’ll be inhibited by the pokiness of my studio (compared to that of a the photography studios we usually get a glimpse of) which in turn inhibits our control of light. I know I’ll also get bored of using the same background too often. But it’s a good exercise, and the next plan is try night photography around the Yard, which, if successful, would mean we may never have to battle the sunlight again.

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead