The #VATMoss sledgehammer cracking tiny creative nuts


oh my…this EU VAT is tough to understand…I need someone to simply say, do, do that, you’ll be fine! hah!! Spinstar’s blog post makes good reading but really, I just want all the worry to go away :(

Originally posted on SpinStar's Blog:

I enjoy writing patterns.  I have several waiting to published, some of which I am planning to offer as paid patterns.  I have no way of knowing whether I will end up selling no patterns, a few patterns or, in the words of Del Boy ‘this time next year we’ll be millionaires…’!  My income as a fledgling self-employed designer, is (very, very, very) unlikely to edge over the threshold for income tax in the UK (about £9,500).  A typical pattern price would be £3 – £4 so that represents sales of 2,400 pattern sales in a year!

Just as I was about to publish my first paid pattern VATMoss/EUVAT raised its ugly head.  The rules on dealing with VAT on sales to Europe are changing and it seems that the smallest businesses have been totally disregarded and are about to be hit hardest – and everyone has to start small at some point!

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Pattern Testing

Just recently, patterns by Dog Under My Desk have been keeping me very occupied…I have made s few gifts (which I can’t show you yet) with Erin’s patterns and found that her construction techniques were so beautifully written, each step flows smoothly into the next, I was hooked!
A FB friend introduced me to these designs and truly, I totally love all of them!
I put my hand up when Erin was asking for pattern testers
This bag is called Take Off Tote and I made it for myself with fabric I bought at the weekend from The Eternal Maker in Chichester, wow what a shop that is! A cafe, fabric and yarn all under one roof…I think I need to spend longer there next time and maybe I should start saving now!! I have only ever bought from them online before, but we wanted to visit Maise as she is at Uni there. We did a little Christmas shopping and our last stop was the glorious fabric shop.
I also treated myself to a new popper gun, this one attaches plastic poppers to garment, no more shocks for little people! Whenever I used the metal poppers on garments, I would think that the coldness of the metal would make a baby jump!
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and lots of coloured poppers…
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So back to the pattern testing
Here is the fabric that was purchased on Saturday afternoon
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all the pieces cut and interfaced and wadded where necessary
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I enjoyed sewing this very much
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clear instructions

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and perfect results
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I am going to enjoy using this gorgeous bag….but now, I have to leave the bags alone and get on with a few more of the many presents I have yet to make, I do have a list, but not really enough time to do all the sewing that I’d like to, I will just do my best and see what happens
Time to refer to my list…x
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Even More Bionic Gear Bags

I have been on a sewing frenzy

14 Bionic Gear Bags in as many days!

Want to know how much stuff you can get into one of these amazing bags? Visit Sally’s website

To say I have had enough of zips this side of Christmas would be an understatement :)

This fabric is so gorgeous, balls of wool on a pale aqua background

I have put some pretty pink batik fabric inside, along with a beautiful Tilda print

This gentler on the eyeballs bag features a collection of fabrics by Tula Pink, Fox Fields
On the cover you will find rabbits, birds and a fox

You can see more rabbits inside…

I love this fabric very much, in fact my own BGB is made from it too

Sewing Notions, by Makower

Beautiful purple and lime green batiks have been used for the pockets, but for the front and rear trays I used the matching vintage cotton reel fabric

Gorgeous toning colours from Lewis and Irene, in their Dolce Brazil collection

wonderful toning fabrics on the inside

A knitters favourite, Knitting Sheep!

This time, I have gone for red inside with a lovely pale grey inside the pockets..

Beautiful hot colours here, designed by Zandra Rhodes, Lace Mountain, which is based on some sketches Zandra did of Ayres Rock in Australia, I learned today that this colourway is her favourite :)

Exciting brights inside too…

Same fabric collection as above but a difference colourway

So very pretty

There are 2 of most of these bags going into my shop tomorrow this evening Friday 12th December 2014, at 7pm, UK time, you can see what time that is in your country here

Looking forward to seeing you all there

PS you can sign up for shop update notifications here

I don’t want to see another zip for quite some time….but I’m sure I’ll soon get over it! lol

I’ll leave you with a photo of the lovely bag and purse I made for my step daughter’s birthday this week

I really need to make more of these, it was great fun, and not too many zips haha!! Don’t ask me about sewing with plastic…I coped, after a false start!

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Quilted Camera Strap

A few days ago, my precious Mum fell out of her back door…she dislocated her shoulder, has a haematoma on her forehead and needed 6 stitches below her eyebrow. As the days have gone on, the bruising has come out, she now has two black eyes and her legs are bruised too

I felt so sad when I heard this news, I had only just put her on a plane back to Northern Ireland, we had had 2 lovely weeks together, just pootling along at Mum’s pace. Mum has a stairlift in her house, but our cosy little cottage doesn’t, so going up and downstairs also took Mum some time, but she coped ok. We had lots of fun, both my boys visited whilst their Grandma was here, it felt good, even if a lot of my time was spent cooking and clearing up again…I love nothing more than a house full of happy people

This is Mum, looking lovely at Rutland Water

This is my youngest son, his lovely girlfriend and their darling little girl in the gardens of Haddenham Galleries, Indi kept calling Mum ‘Grandma Mavis’ and as there were too many Grandmas in the house, she didn’t call me anything! Apparently, she doesn’t call her Mum’s Mum Grandma either, she calls her Darling because she hears her Grandad calling her that, how precious is that?…I have since seen a cute video of Indi opening her birthday present from me, and at the end, she says ‘fankoo Grandma’….that’ll do for me :)

The is my oldest son, Edward and his lovely wife Michelle, sorry I made you all look into the sun …

So, well, yes, it has been a busy old time, but I loved every moment in their company

Oh yes, I was telling you about Mum and her fall she’s had…

She is on the mend, but 6 weeks with her arm firmly in a sling will take an age to pass, and I feel helpless over here but I know she is in good hands

So, going back to the title of this post ‘Quilted Camera Strap’

While Mum was here, she proudly showed us her new camera but she only had a wrist strap for it and we decided that she’d probably get on better with a proper strap, ‘I know, I’ve seen a lovely quilted camera strap tutorial online somewhere, I’ll make you one!’

However, when i searched for a tutorial, I could only find ones for a wider strap of a bigger, heavier camera, so I decided to write my own…I have taken some photos to inspire you

I will make another and take detailed photos as I work so that you can make one for yourself

This is my boring old strap that I will cover very soon…do you like the way I’ve got it focussing on the one I made for my Mum? lol

See that dinky pocket…it’s for putting the lens cap in, this is almost the best part of the strap for me, I always forget where I have put the lens cap, now there will be no excuses and no pocket and bags hunts going on!

It’s a great way of using up some fabric scraps and another opportunity for me to use some of the pretty embroidery stitches on my machine :)

aren’t they gorgeous?

Do click on the photos for a better look at the detail, love the variegated topstitching thread that I used

Today, I have cut out a skirt for me!! It seems like an age since I made myself anything

I bought the material at a pop up fabric shop in Trumpington Village Hall, it happens once a month and is well worth a visit, beautiful fabrics at excellent prices..this is some very soft needlecord, embroidered with strips of voile

I’ve had the pattern for ages, I did make the trousers and they came out rather large and I never wore them, so this time, making the skirt I will be aware of the largeness ;)

The pattern is V8499

Have a lovely weekend everyone…I’m in my sewing room if you need me!

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Fibre Sale

Over in my shop I am having a bit of a sale, I have taken 20% off all my fibre stock and I am pleased to say that it is selling really well :)

there are some more…

and a few of my WigWams left…

I had made just one Bionic Gear Bag and I sold it straight away! I love mine so much and really enjoy the challenge of making them…I just need to decide what fabric to use for the next one :)

so, if you want to grab a bargain in the fibre department pop over to Fluff-n-Stuff, I’m not sure how long the sale will run for, I am making room for some lovely new stock, when I get a chance to start dyeing again ;)

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WigWams or Spindle Bags

Well I’ve been on a 2 week sewing frenzy and I’ve managed to make quite a few of those WigWams

To tell you the truth, I am a bit fed up of sewing them now, every spare minute has been spent making them, in between Barry and I decorating the guest room…it is looking a bit posh in there now but still full of mess, that’s another job for another day and no doubt another blog post!

There are quite a few photos but you can see them from all angles in an album here

But here’s a few photos to whet your apetite

the standard sized ones are 11″ tall and 7″ across the base…..and I’ve made some mini ones too

they look like the big ones in the photos but they are smaller…7″ tall and 5″ across the base

The Update will be at 7pm tomorrow night, Tuesday 23rd September GMT

A link to the WigWams will appear on this page at that time so do refresh your page at 7pm, I would hate you to miss out!

hope to see you there


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A Tilda Doll

I had wanted to make one of these lanky dolls for ages and so, this year I made one for Maisie to take to University with her. This is her second year and the first in a shared house… I have a few of the Tilda books, and love looking at the pictures and really love the dolls/angels so much I loved making her from start to finish, well that’s not exactly true, stuffing those tiny limbs was a bit of a nightmare! I bought all the proper Tilda fabrics for my first one, it is such beautiful quality to work with I used a transfer pencil to draw out the shapes and sadly the blue shows through the fine seams, I will think of a different way of working next time

I did however, really love dressing her

but her hair was another story….it sort of looks ok, her eyes are french knots, the pattern says to use a black marker pen…eeeek! She has my new lipstick on her cheeks, just dabbed on very lightly

and her little slippers are so dinky and cute

Last year I made Maisie a quilt to make her bed at Uni feel a bit more like home…

I have made a start on some wigwams for my shop, small and original sizes…I’ll let you know when they are going into the shop…I know that many of you have been waiting patiently for me to make more of them This summer has been particularly busy for me, I have started to find time to do things that I love, anything creative really…I have another machine knitting design I want to get down on paper, a child’s top..oh and another for a batwing cardigan for a woman….oh and another round of my Luxury Fibre Club is imminent…it’s going to be a bit different this time, if you’ve signed up watch out for an email sometime this coming week :)

This weekend has been spent decorating our guest room, I was surprised at how much I have enjoyed doing the woodwork and radiator…so strange, I used to loathe and detest painting but to slow down and enjoy being in the company of my very busy husband has been wonderful. I was worried that we’d fall out over the decorating but instead, we are both feeling a great sense of achievement and have both mentioned that we wish we had done this sooner! I will have to sew a roman blind for the window…oh the hardship lol Still got a fair bit of work to go though, think we’ll be doing more next weekend as Barry is away again this week….and really, evenings are spent with my feet up on the sofa and knitting!!

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend Marianne x

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Hint of A Peplum

This lovely cardigan has been a long time in the creating…it had been test knitted before I went to Australia in July but somehow the time was never quite right for me to finalise and publish it

Today is the day!!

Some details about the design (copied from the pattern)

This feminine cardigan is lightweight, figure hugging, stylish and useful.
It features an unusual tuck detail at the waist and cuffs and a flattering peplum which gently curves over the hips. It is cleverly shaped using the tension dial on the knitting machine carriage. The garment is designed with no ease so it fits neatly around the bust and curves easily into your waist. The sleeves are narrow and overly long so that they ruche up your wrist with the help of the tucks, the curve of the sleeve hem will drape prettily down the back of your hand
To fit 32” 34” 36” 38” 40” 42” 44” 46” and 48”
Sleeve measures 19”from underarm to inside wrist for all sizes
If you would prefer a cardigan with more ease, then consider going up a size
Standard Gauge Knitting Machine without ribber
Adjustable 7 prong transfer tool (optional)
1 cone Yeoman Yarns Sari
Ravel Cord
Waste Yarn
9 x ½” buttons
Tension 33sts and 40 rows in st st MT6 on my Silver Reed SK280 My tension sample was washed and dried fully before measuring.
Picking up stitches from rows previously knitted to create tucks
Short row shaping
Casting off at the beginning of a row
Narrow hems

I really enjoy knitting tucks and had done a few in my hand knitted projects but I wanted to create a cardigan with tucks on my knitting machine

I also love tiny hems, this cardigan has both, I hope you like it…

I love the low scoop neck

The gently flaring peplum and ohh those tucks!

My favourite detail is the cuff, those tucks sit under your wrist and the front of the cuff curves down onto your hand

You can purchase the pattern from my shop, via Ravelry or from the link in the sidebar on the right

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Mary Poppins Sewing Bag

When I showed my latest bag on Facebook, someone said it was a Mary Poppins Bag for sewers! Well it really is amazing and holds so much stuff!

The design is the Bionic Gear Bag by Ripstitcher

I did feel a little daunted by the complexity of the design, and that is unusual from me as I consider myself quite an advanced seamstress

I read through the pattern a couple of times, then I chose my fabric which was already in my stash waiting for the perfect bag

It is so neat and easy to transport to my sewing group, I really love it!!

I love that I can simply zip it up and move it around the house to where I am sewing

Everything I need is in this clever holdall

And look at that cute little dish holding my wonder clips, it simply poppers into place but the magic is that I just leave it there with the clips in when I zip it clever!

The one above is my second one..the first one I made is going to be used for all my quilting paraphernalia…I forgot to interface the pockets so it is not so sturdy as the one above but I really love the colours I used


I’d like to add that it really isn’t a design for the faint hearted, it was quite a fiddle but I have to say that my second one went together perfectly and each step makes sense now…and I totally enjoyed the challenge! These take me most of a day to make but I am hoping I will get a bit faster the more I make :D

My next job it to dye up some fibre for the next round of my Luxury Fibre Club….if you’re a member and are reading this, check out your inbox in a day or so ;)

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Jet Lag

So, we left the UK on the 21st of July and headed for Dubai and our connecting flight to Melbourne….Once safely arrived at Howard and Maria’s it became apparent that I had misplaced my phone! My lovely new purple Xperia Z2 no less. This was my second one in a fortnight as the first one had a dodgy camera focus problem.

Hope I’m making sense here, we only landed back in the UK this morning and I’ve been feeling rather peculiar ever since, but I just wanted to tell you the story of my phone

I looked through all my hand luggage, answered all the usual questions from Barry, but no, I did not have my phone any more :( The last I remembered using it was to phone my Mum, but we were a little late getting to the check in so after saying bye to Mum I remember just stuffing it into my hand baggage….I think it must have fallen out of my bag in the cramped conditions of the 6/7 hour flight to Dubai. Losing such a precious item is sickening, leaves a big hole in your heart, especially as I had only just renewed my contract. We contacted O2 and managed to put a block on my phone and number

The next day we went out with our wonderful hosts and visited some very interesting places, but I will tell you more of that in another post. One of the places was a mobile phone shop. Barry bought me another one of the same and a local sim to keep me going and all was well. We would claim for the new phone on our return to the UK,or so we thought…

So then, almost 4 weeks later, we find ourselves back in Dubai and Barry has a brainwave of asking if they have a lost property department. The security chap nodded his head towards the Police Office, so off we go. I managing, with some help from Barry, to explain about my lost phone and wondered if it might have been lost on the plane on our outward journey

It was a noisy office, lots of handsome policemen in there all talking arabic…except for the one asking me questions about the flight details and phone details…when, an oriental gentleman seemed to appear at the door saying the he was drunk and could someone please direct him to the toilet! Hmm…this was like border force, a programme that Barry and I enjoy watching. The oriental gentleman was ushered away and we continued with our business…I was left on hold to the lost property department whilst still sat at the desk in the police office, thankfully, the woman on the end of the phone spoke perfect english

Then, the officer, dealing with me, suddenly said, “Do you want to sit down in here or go to a police cell?”…with some relief I realised that the oriental gentleman was back in the room, all the policemen started offering advice, in arabic, then the drunken man, said that he needed water, to dilute the wine so he could get sober again. This caused a few smiles and I heard some mention of coffee…then he would be fine and able to go on his way. The silly man then said, with his arms flailing all over the place that coffee would send him to sleep and that he needed tea, tea would work!! This caused even more smirks from the officers…I was still on hold and was mouthing to Barry that we needed to go, we only had a few minutes left to get on the connecting flight to Heathrow. I was getting in a right old panic, the chap dealing with me seemed in no hurry to deal with anything, but Barry said we would give it 5 more minutes….still on hold…then suddenly the lost property woman was back and said she had my phone!! Hurrah!!…well sort of hurrah as we then really had to leg it to the boarding gate as we could hear the final call for our flight being spoken on the tannoy. I explained that we had to go, they made a note of our flight and told us to be on our way…so near yet so far….

We boarded the plane, explaining to the air hostess about the phone, she made a note of our seat number and said she’d let us know either way

Oh well, they had our details and gave us an email number if the phone didn’t reach us before the plane left…..oh such a kerfuffle…we were trying to calm down when suddenly, one of the officers was walking towards us with my phone in hand…I signed a form and that was that! I now had 2 phones safely put away in my zipped up bag :D

Then there were a few messages to the passengers about belongings left on the plane when we had to leave it so it could be cleaned before returning to it an hour or so later for the last leg of the journey. There were some headphones, then an ipod and headphones and then a camera was mentioned…hmmm…Barry had asked for my camera during the previous flight and I didn’t remember putting it back in my bag. I looked for it but no, we didn’t have it…can you imagine how flippin stressful all this is??? Barry summoned one of the airline staff and told them the model of the camera and the bag, a while later, he returned with my precious camera. I nearly cried with relief! The chap sat next to me must have thought we were really careless, which as it happens, is exactly how I was feeling!

So now we are home, Barry told me to stay awake until bedtime, but well, yes, you’ve guessed it, he’s snoring, loudly and it’s only 8pm!

I’ll leave you with the last photo I took on the newer phone….and because the phone was found, Barry has a lovely new phone the same as mine! Howard and HIlda live

Is it bedtime yet?

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