English Country Garden BOM – Block 10 – Primrose

Hi everyone, sorry for the delay. I’m still not 100% set up, but I have released the new block. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for an update of where I’m at with the previous blocks.

This pattern is free to download from Craftsy until the next block is issued on 2nd February. Previous templates are available if you missed out, see the bottom of this post or email me for details.

bom-primrose-complete-1  Click here to download
Please note, if you’re getting the old pattern when clicking the link I have simply over written it with the Primrose so you may need to clear your Internet cache.

This pattern includes the same instructions for applique as before, and the same instructions as the Hyacinth block for the background, but with new templates for the primrose. The instructions are: turned edge and raw edge machine applique, piecing the log cabin background, thread choices and the pattern in standard and mirrored formats depending on which type of applique you opt for.

I’m on the end of an e-mail if you get stuck, just leave a comment here or email me.

For previous posts on the BOM, please click the button below. Don’t forget to share your photos in the Flickr group!

BACK PATTERNS
Because of the whole VAT thing that’s changed in the EU, I have had to adapt the way the BOM works. I can no longer offer the back patterns at $1.50, they are now $2, I hope that’s OK. There will be a discount on the whole BOM when it’s finished but this is still the most economical way to get a block or two if you missed one. This extra cost covers the extra fees I now have to cover as I now offer these patterns for sale in three locations, some taking as much as a 50% cut.

At the time of writing, I’ve not transferred everything over (other than the Pansy block) but I will be very very soon. In the meantime, please email me and I can help you quicker that way.

The three places you can now get the back patterns are
ETSY (manual purchase- will be emailed)
PAYHIP
and soon also on Patterns to Print

I will have a whole new blog post up when everything is nicely set up. The free pattern will continue to be available through Craftsy initially.

 

Christmas and Birthday sewing gifts

Last Monday (22nd) it was my birthday and I received…

A walking foot (and a quarter inch snap on plate) from OH. I don’t think I’ll ever need to take this off my machine.

Some fat quarters from Wendy

 A bundle of stuffs from Hannah including a little fabric basket that will be perfect as a much needed thread catcher, Seriously don’t look at my floor…

I also did a little more shopping with Clair with money from my grandma which hasn’t arrived yet (obviously), so the above will give you an idea of what she sells over in Australia for reasonable prices – brand new stuff – and I know that fabric is more expensive there than it is here so consider that a shared secret! This little lot were bought a couple of weeks ago and only took a week to arrive, even at this peak time! My next batch has some Charley Harper Nurture in it!

I also received some lovely Lucky Penny from Ange with a pouch too.

And Santa then brought…

Some fabrics of varying sizes in the style (or are they actual?!) Denyse Schmidt- these will be so good in so many things (from Wendy again, she spoils me)

A Gardenvale charm pack pre-release from Hannah (YEY!)

A fat quarter bundle of Best Day Ever from OH

I’ve also placed a couple of sale orders and bought myself a stitch in the ditch plate for my walking foot. My gran got me a new cutting mat too. Best get some sewing done then!

Quick EU VAT update

Since my last post, HMRC have updated their information and now it seems you definitely can email files (rather than instant download) to circumvent the new law. With this in mind I am changing my plan at last minute pulling my (non free) Craftsy files and I will be loading onto Etsy tomorrow as a manual purchase to save me all the mucking about with paperwork that I honestly can’t be bothered to investigate, which means leaving Craftsy for all but the freebies for now until the EU sees sense.

Another update is that we now have a six month grace period in which to gather the two pieces of information that will prove the country of residence of the customer in order to prove the rate of VAT that is payable. This is good news because if people choose to stay with Craftsy, they won’t automatically be breaking the law come tomorrow (as they bearly provide one piece in most circumstances), HOWEVER it will be up to the seller not Etsy or the like to find out these pieces of information in the future so I imagine my strategy will change come 1st July 2015.

I’m off to remove my BOMs, for now at least. I’ll update with the next block on Monday.

Happy new year!

Kathleen Quilts

Today I have the pleasure of introducing Kathleen, as part of a blog post swap organised by Gnome Angel. I’m so glad I signed up for this as I’ve now discovered another amazing quilter.

Timber Quilt by Kathleen Kerr

How did you come to be a quilter? I’m not sure that I became a quilter so much as was born a quilter. My mom sewed all my clothes when I was little, and I used her sewing machine enough to know that Santa had the same sewing machine as mom— as they had the same decorative stitches. Mom would put the foot control on a box so that my short little legs could reach it before I was tall enough for my feet to reach the floor. My parents opened a quilt shop (Quilting From The Heart) when I was 11, and my mad love for sewing only grew. By the time I was in high school I attended Quilt Market with my parents and I was quilting nearly every day. While other teenagers were out… doing whatever teenagers do… I was at the store quilting with the quilting ladies. And I haven’t looked back since.

What is it that you love about being a quilter? Everything! I love fabric and making things and meeting people… and I can’t even put it into words. Mostly though, I love how much fun I have. I love that no matter how much else is going on, a few hours or minutes with my sewing machine and I’m good to go again. I love that I have met and not met (but still feel like I know) so many awesome people. And, I won’t lie to you, I love that I’m good at something. Even if it isn’t something particularly useful when it comes to life-skills.

Peaks and Valleys by Kathleen Kerr

What’s the one piece of advice about quilting that all new quilters should know? ! I’m a very mean teacher, and usually just tell people to “get over themselves and just do it”… meaning, you are always going to think you aren’t good enough, but you’ll never be good enough if you don’t just try. The first quilts I made my points are off by as much as an inch, my free motion quilting stitches I can fit my finger under, but I still love them. The only way to get better is to make actual quilts, to quilt actual quilts, and love them anyway.

What are your 3 favourite quilts that you’ve made that reflect who you are as a quilter? I’m not sure that my 3 favourite quilts reflect who I am as a quilter… but here are 3 quilts that are one or the other…

My Avonroy Tiles Quilt. Which pretty accurately shows who I am as a quilter I think… Over quilted :D I have a tendency to spend way more time on the quilting then on the piecing, and this quilt is certainly no exception. I also often have more fun with the quilting, and I am a much better quilter than a piecer — I’m to lazy and in-precise with my piecing, whereas I don’t seem to have that trouble with my quilting.

Vicki’s Socks. I love this quilt, and am super proud of it. Of the few patterns I have done, this one is my favourite. It was so much fun to put together, and I think turned out really well. I made it twice and love it just as much the 2nd time around.

Indelible Night Sky. This is one of my favourites. I had fun all the way through. I loved the fabrics, the pattern, and the quilting. It’s also where I seemed to gain some momentum, and have more followers on my blog and other social media, so that doesn’t hurt anything either :D

If you weren’t a quilter, what other creative endeavour would you like to master? The sad answer is that all the creative things I’d like to master are quilting… I’d like to be able to design better patterns, to design fabric, and to have the skills to actually make all the things in my head.

What is your favourite kind of pie? My mom makes this totally delicious raspberry pie. So good.

What holidays, traditions or religious occasions do you celebrate in your family at this time of year? Some of my favourite traditions are decorating the Christmas tree then lying on the ground staring up into it, Cinnamon buns for Christmas morning, hiding in the basement with my cousins to avoid helping with dishes after Christmas dinner, sledding at my grandparents, Christmas supper of Turkey buns and Mclearen’s cheese on crackers, and the post-Christmas pause,where I work fewer hours and have no responsibilities aside from maybe remembering to eat.

Do you listen to music, watch television or prefer the hum of the sewing machine when you sew? I watch TV when I’m sewing and listen to audio books and podcasts when I’m using my longarm. My secret favourite TV show is Phineas and Ferb, which is a show aimed at 8 year olds, but which I have been watching over and over and over again over the past 6 months.

What’s your favourite colour combination to work with and why? I love colour. The brighter the better. I tend toward lime green and turquoise, but any thing with COLOUR I am up for. The colours cheer me up, and brighten my entire house (if only because of the scrap fabrics and threads that somehow manage to find their way into every corner of my house)!

Do you prewash your quilting fabrics? No. I’m super lazy. Plus, I’ve never had and issue with it, and I actually
don’t know anyone who does pre-wash.

What’s the best quilting tip you ever got? When making half square triangles, cut ⅛” bigger than the given size, then trim your triangle down to size after. Makes life SOOOO much easier, and perfect ½ triangles!

OTHER PLACES TO FIND KATHLEEN
Instagram – Facebook – Pinterest –  Twitter – Flickr

***

By the way don’t forget to link up your top 5 sewing goals for next year by the end of tomorrow. Sorry, but comments don’t count as a link up but if you can post a picture somewhere (if you don’t have a blog- though blogs are still best for linking up) I think it takes links from anywhere social media-wise now.

Festive bear time

Merry Christmas everyone! I gifted the bear quilt to OH today!

imageHere’s some photos I took earlier.

The original photo by Stefano Unterthiner

Stefano-Unterthiner-photography-bear

The plan drawing…

And some finished pics on the living room wall!

I’ve managed to disguise where the-idiot-pup bit a bloody hole in it whilst I was sewing on the sleeve (as you may have seen on Instagram) with a spot of bleach, three washes and creative quilting, but I’m not sure yet if I will need to add appliqué before it goes in the Quilt and Stitch Village show. Good job he’s cute. The binding is my usual invisible binding since I rarely use anything else these days.

STATS
Size – approx. 46″ wide x 38″ tall from memory (today’s not the day to get the tape measure out)- quite a bit smaller than I aimed for, not sure how that happened.
Number of blocks – N/A Machine appliqué with freezer paper turned edges
Time to make– 14 hours
Fabric – A mix of scraps plus Klona white off the bolt and dark greens donated to me by Ruth and Aimee.
Backing Fabric – Half a single duvet cover from Ikea
Binding Fabric – Same as above
Threads – Gutermann for the greens and browns, plus a variegated brown Aurifil and white is Coats Moon.
Batting – 80/20 Soft and Elegant
Quilting- Realistic texture-y stuff

Last finish for 2015? Probably, but who knows….

By the way don’t forget to link up your top 5 sewing goals for next year by 31st December. Only one person has so far so the winner is currently guaranteed! Sorry, but comments don’t count as a link up but if you can post a picture somewhere (if you don’t have a blog- though blogs are still best for linking up) I think it takes links from anywhere social media-wise now.

2015 sewing goals – with a linky party giveaway

goals(you may copy the image above and link to this page if you want!)

Here are my top 5 things I want to achieve in my sewing next year…

DSCF8495

1) Enter three items in the Quilt and Stitch Village Competition
One of them will be the Bear quilt (big reveal Christmas Day, a peek above) but I also want to make a patchwork dress maybe using the Francoise pattern and fusible fleece to still qualify as a three layer quilt (and obviously doing it in plenty of time to avoid the pitfalls of before) or perhaps as a pinafore style and also sew a quilt I’ve designed called Pancakes which brings us to…

pancakes

2) Get good at curves
I’ve done the odd bit of Drunkard’s Path stitching before but it’s hit and miss. I’ve designed “Pancakes” that I want to make. Not sure if it will be two tone, or multi-tone yet, I’m thinking possibly an unlikely solid choice plucked off my new Kona Solids card coupled with my bundle of Priory Square that I’m itching to use.

Err I need to get better at stitching in the ditch too...

Err I need to get better at stitching in the ditch too…

3) Attempt Y Seams again
In a similar vein I’m BAD at Y-seams. Last time I used them was in my Left-a-Lone Star quilt (yes, yes I haven’t quilted it yet, shhh) and they were not at all good. Maybe a mini quilt is what I need to do to get more confident? Any pattern recommendations?

4) Write more on the quilting scene and market in general
Next year will see two of my articles- rather than projects- in Popular Patchwork magazine and I have another up my sleeve on the subject of Postmodern quilting, which I like to bang on about every now and then. I’d like to keep doing them, they’re quicker and strangely more satisfying than making an item for a magazine.

5) Quillows
I’m still not sure how to make a quillow- how is the pocket attached? What about sewing it on after quilting- does it need to be done by hand like a sleeve? If I do it before basting do I need to hand tie my quilt instead of quilting it? I have seen instructions on how to make one but they didn’t make a whole lot of sense and this is eating away at me- I really want to make one!

DSCF8501

What are your five sewing goals for 2015? Why not link up here? I’ll pick someone at random out of the link-ups on 1st January 2015 to receive these cuts of fabric (some FQs, some a bit smaller but adequate pieces)!

 Loading InLinkz ...

How I aim to work the EU VAT thing plus free spreadsheet

I know some people are a bit confused by the mixed messages yet again being sent out by the EU and HMRC. I thought I’d share how I’m going to work it in the short term, as I’m sure in the long term it can’t sustain itself. I’ve had a think as I’m not going to shut up shop. I think it’s such a shame that some well know quilt pattern designers are closing some of their venues or blocking sales to the EU as it will mean that I personally as a customer will lose out. From a UK perspective, here’s what I plan to do.

Problem: There are different rates of tax for each EU member state.
Solution: I can’t possibly add on an extra flexible charge depending on the customer, so I am going to put all my block patterns up an extra 50c regardless of location, so they will be $2 each and a similar increase will occur for other patterns too on 1st January 2015. This isn’t particularly fair to non-EU shoppers but it makes things consistent. I will then take the VAT out of that purchase depending on the rate shown here: 2015 VAT rates

Problem: I need to keep copies of data for many years for each EU purchase.
Solution: I’m going to stick with the 3rd party providers. Between Craftsy/Etsy and Paypal, “the Cloud” stores all the data that it is possible to capture, without any additional security risks that may arise through keeping the data myself. Transaction history on Paypal works.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 10.21.22

Problem: How can I tell where my customers actually are?
Solution: If you look at the screengrab above (if you can see, sorry for smallness) from my Craftsy shop, the vast majority of people don’t show their location and this is the sum total of data that Craftsy shares with the sellers. It’s inadequate. What I will have to do on a weekly or monthly basis is go through the non-free downloads manually and check the location on Paypal as I’ve yet to find a transaction on there with no address. If that fails I will have the Paypal email address of the customer and I will just have to ask them nicely which country they are in if it’s not obvious from the address, but I don’t think it will come to that. It will mean that I’ll be able to do my tax return faster too, as I usually leave all accounting ’til late January. Maybe this will be good for me?

Problem: Registering for MOSS
Solution: I’m only going to do this when my first EU (non-UK as I am in the UK) sale comes in. I don’t need to do it sooner and really there aren’t many transactions this will affect. As with my self-assessment, I’m going to cross my fingers that it doesn’t come right at the end of a quarter to give myself the opportunity to complete it properly as I can’t afford an accountant. Hopefully these tiny VAT returns every now and then from lots of people like me will overturn the decision, but for now we need to keep going and not let them shut down out shops. I’m dreading the day I get my first sale from France or somewhere, but hopefully that will come in the second quarter after the first quarter returns have been done by less fortunate people all amounting to about £1 each that will hopefully put it in perspective for the tax office.

What else I’m going to do
I’m going to sell patterns through PatternsToPrint.com – my friend Sam’s site. She is taking care of all the VAT stuff so the sellers don’t have to. Obviously this comes as a price, but I think an extra marketplace can only be a good thing, regardless of this EU issue.

I’m going to keep raising awareness and trying to get more petition signatories- please sign if you haven’t already to reinstate the VAT registration cap of £81k: https://www.change.org/p/vince-cable-mp-uphold-the-vat-exemption-threshold-for-businesses-supplying-digital-products
At the time of writing, it needs 2000 more signatures to be debated.

I’m going to keep campaigning for this, but I most certainly am not going to close my shop, stop my BOM or get myself into deep water with HMRC as stubborn avoidance or ignorance is no excuse and I have been on the end of that sharp stick before. I’d love to pull out of using Craftsy since they’re unwilling to help, but honestly I think the footfall the site gets is worth it to me to stay open there, otherwise I’ll have to put a lot more marketing effort into my own shopfront, which isn’t possible for me right now.

Here’s my basic spreadsheet (xlsx) if you want a starting point for your own small scale digital shop. I’m going to use my to calculate my turnover in general as well as deduct tax. Each quarter is on a page of its own and on the first page it totals up the payable VAT. Please use it if you think it will be useful.

Come back tomorrow for a more cheerful linky party about sewing goals for 2015 :)

Francoise – part 1

May I introduce you to my new (almost finished) Francoise dress?

DSCF8479 DSCF8487

The pattern is Francoise by Tilly and the Buttons, and I submitted it 10 minutes before the deadline for the competition last night. I am exhausted and I need to adjust the back. I also need an invisible zip foot and to redo the zip again as I’m not happy with it. The bust area is a weird shape but it’s not half as bad as it was at 10pm last night when I was getting frustrated with the thing. I need to consider my options for making it a bit less weird.

The main part of the dress was supposed to be made in the diagonal stripe print from S’more Love by the Comstocks, so on discovering I was short on time (i.e. I cut the pattern pieces out yesterday) I substituted in this vintage bed linen cotton. The sleeves are Jersey, just because I wanted to try it! I love the sleeves.

Buy the pattern for yourself HERE!

I’ll have more on this when I get some better photos and have made the adjustments- in the rush we hadn’t noticed that the camera was set to Macro.

DSCF8491 DSCF8494

Also only one Christmas item left now! I finished off the cushion for my MIL yesterday too, with a touch of piping and a standard envelope back.

AOB – I need to announce the giveaway winner! I added the extra entry comments from my mini quilt post to the end of the giveaway comments, which meant there were a total of 434 entries!

And the winner is… Robyn!

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 09.56.39

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 09.57.25

Congratulations!

 

Gigglish Allsorts

This post has absolutely nothing to do with the kids TV programme from the 90s.

A bit of housekeeping. There’s three projects on the list to complete before Christmas and as of last night, that list is now two.

DSCF8475 DSCF8476

I finished off this Sew Together bag so now I have two for gifting. My remaining two projects are a bear wall hanging for himself which is now quilted but it needs binding and a hanging sleeve adding. The other thing is a cushion for my MIL which I keep forgetting about. I have this pieced star block so far but it needs a border and cushion-ising.

DSCF8467

In the comments on my last post about the sewing machines (my garage looks like a machine repair shop at the moment), Wendy asked if I have a Smokey and a now-dead Smelly, what will I call my new Brother machine. As you can tell, my naming tradition is a bit tongue-in-cheek as I don’t really “get” it when people name their cars or machines, so staying with tradition, this is now called Scarface.

DSCF8474

It was better than Scratchy which was my first thought.

DSCF8470 DSCF8468

I’ve had my black friday purchases delivered. I have got an idea for the bundle at the top already (Eclectic Elements 2) but I have two other quilts to make at least before I get round to it. The other bundle is Trail Mix by Bo Bunny which I got a little extra of the cream bear print to add to my bear fabric collection. No plans for this one yet. I’ve now got a fair few masculine prints and of course this helps top up my recently depleted brown prints reserve.

Also public service announcement, there’s just over a month to submit entry forms for 2015’s Quilt and Stitch Village. I think I will enter three categories this time, including the 3D one! This year they have a modern quilting category too if that floats your boat.

As I’ve not posted a photo of Hank for a couple of days, I thought I’d start losing readers if I didn’t put up another one pretty quick. Not sure what this strange expression I caught him doing this morning is about…

IMG_3918

The one where Kerry accidentally buys two sewing machines

Background: Last weekend at the EMMQG meeting I intended to make a couple of stockings for the charity collection thing we were going to contribute to. Anyway I popped out Smelly, the smaller of my machines (Smokey being the Husqvarna), a machine that literally smells after a while of being used that was from either Lidl or Aldi that my Dad had bought me for Christmas when we lived in the house before last, so we must be talking at least 8 years old. It lived in the loft for a few years until I fixed the last problem it had. This time though, the stitch selector dial was somehow wonky when I put it in my bag and wouldn’t go back into place but I thought nothing of it.Until I started sewing.

It just chewed the fabric. I tried adjusting the presser foot tension,checked the feed dogs, had the stitch length on maximum and still it was stuck sewing on the spot. I gave up and OH kindly drove over and brought me my bear quilt to sit and glue instead.

I like to have a back-up machine, especially since I usually have some sort of publication project on the go and Hank is prone to such delightful activities as this…

So on I went to eBay to see if I could pick up a cheap working but ugly machine from the 90s or early 00s with a generic low shank foot attachment that was light and portable enough to bring to meetings, especially since these look to increase in number from January. I put an offer in for a Toyota machine in Nottingham whilst still sat in the meeting, but I didn’t win.

Then a few days later I bought this one (“Sew Land” apparently, which is code for JVC-own-brand- but if it works well I don’t care what the brand is, my last one was a Lervia/Aldi/Lidl one after all) from Leicester at auction…

DSCF8454

And then I had an offer I’d all but forgotten about accepted for this Brother PS-33 machine from Birmingham at about the same time. Oops.

DSCF8453

I’ve been driving around collecting them over the weekend and given them a test side-by-side before deciding which to keep.

First off, the Sew Land has a top load bobbin, which I prefer. Front loaders always seem a bit more temperamental to me and of course you can’t see when you’re running out of thread. It only straight stitches as far as I can tell, though the manual is excellent, I just need to take the time to read it.

The Brother has a one step buttonhole, plus a quick stitch selection which I prefer too. The Sew Land threads from a spool at the back which-in my opinion- makes it a reasonably good looking machine despite effectively being a toy. It’s teeny too. Comparing build quality (i.e. is it going to die if it falls over in my car) it’s not great as it’s mostly plastic bits- including the presser foot-  and it’s also noisy when in use and a bit slow for my liking too. In weight terms, I could carry it forever just with my little finger.

DSCF8458

The Brother meanwhile is in a shocking state. After having to go back to the address as the seller wasn’t in when I said I’d call round, I should have been a bit less shocked to see so many bits broken off such as the spool pin and bobbin winder, a dented needle plate and the reverse stitch button pressed back into the machine, not to mention the crazy amount of scratches that I tried to bleach to hide them a bit and the accessories box not fixing on. I’m looking at a quote for all the bits I need and I have been emailed a manual by a shop, but the accessories box will have to be cellotaped on. At the time of buying it I was only advised about the bobbin winder and also that it “needed a new needle”… -_-

When it comes to stitching, I tested it on some scraps. The Sew Land is the one with the red stitching on the left (note: I set it for short and for long stitches but I can’t tell the difference) the green is the Brother…

DSCF8462

After a bit of faffing with needle position I found the sweet spot on the Brother for a perfect 1/4″ seam.

Whilst I don’t like or dislike either machine, keeping both is a bit silly, so I’ve decided to keep the Brother, purely because the stitch is better and it’s a lot quieter. If anyone is interested in the Sewline one let me know and you can have it for slightly less than the price I bought it for- £20- (plus not-very-much-as-its-so-light postage if not collecting from NW Leicestershire)! It might just make a good present for a sewing curious child that isn’t worth taking the risk on a “proper” machine.

And hey, if anyone is interested in ol’ Smelly for free, you’re welcome- for spares or repairs- else it’s off to the tip on the next visit. Just drop me an email :)