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[Fibres Exotica News] Sad news – Closing Down Sale

closing down sale

I’m sad to say that I’m shutting up the shop. After giving it a good 5 years, It’s time to call it a day, because whilst I love doing shows, talking to people and selling beautiful yarns, the business is very much not paying for itself, let alone paying me. It also takes a massive amount of time and energy to take the yarns to shows (Ally Pally for instance costs me around £1500 to do, most of that being the cost of the stand), and they usually don’t cover their own costs.

Right now though, it’s “everything must go!” time – not just the yarn but the fixtures and fittings also.

To that end, here’s a 30% off coupon in the shop: CLOSEDOWN

I’ll be putting various Yarn and Fabric craft equipment, as well as the “shop” fittings I take to shows on eBay: – Subscribe to a list for eBay notifications

I’m not leaving yarn and colour behind though, I’m going to be concentrating my efforts more into coaching and teaching, separating out again and filling it with dyeing information and the ability to have me teach you dyeing either in your home, at my home or in a convenient location –  And because I don’t want to bug you if you don’t want to know about it, subscribe to a list for FluffenStuff Updates

Image used, DSC06222 by Andrew_Writer
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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Customer love: Chunky Bucket Bag in Red Tiger

I said last month that I could wait to see what Gem did with with the skein of Red Tiger she also bought, and yesterday she reached out to me again on my FaceBook page to show me that it had twined itself up with with some chunky grey yarn and insisted on being a Bucket bag!

As I observed before, looking at Gem’s web page, she hooks beautiful bags,  blankets/ throws, hair accessories, as well as working the occasional fascinator and dinosaur.

hearts and flowers - chunky bucket bag

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Customer Love: Satchel Bag in Purple Daze

As you know, I always love Customer love, and Gem reached out to me on my FaceBook page to tell me that she’d turned one of the Purple Daze skeins that she purchased at Ally Pally into a small satchel.

Looking at Gem’s web page, she hooks beautiful bags,  blankets/ throws, hair accessories, as well as working the occasional fascinator and dinosaur!

She’s really done the yarn justice with the stitch she’s picked for construction. I can’t wait to see what she does with the skein of Red Tiger she also bought!

(As always, click to see the bigger picture)

hearts and flowers bag 2

hearts and flowers bag 3

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[Fibres Exotica News] Ever wanted to learn to dye? Watch this…

Dyeing animal fibres with food colouring

Last weekend was rather productive.

As you all know, I love to inspire people and I’ve been wanting to share knowledge about dyeing (and a whole raft of other subjects beyond the fibre arts realm!) in a more tangible way for a while now.

One of the things that was holding me back from doing this was that “fact” that I “don’t own a video camera…”

About 3 weeks ago however, I had a rather spectacular brain-fart, and suddenly realised that, yes, I do own a video camera, and rather a good one at that – The 12MP camera in my mobile phone also records 1080p and 4K video footage!

So, purchase of a clamp to fit my phone onto my camera tripod, some downloading of CODEC packs and Windows Movie Maker to my PC and I was all ready to rock!

I’ve given a “Food Colouring dyeing in the microwave” tutorial in person a few times now, so I updated the presentation slides, wrote a script, set my kitchen up to record myself dyeing yarn with food colouring and about 30 hours later, uploaded my first video tutorial to YouTube!

Producing the video also inspired me to create a new DK yarn range –  O.n.D – It’s my colourful and  random contribution to a world that is rather too staid and stuffy, but I’ll let the product page tell you all about that!

I do hope that you enjoy the video, if you do, please “like” it, subscribe to the channel and leave me feedback!

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A drop of drive by news…

I’m going to be going to exhibiting at both I Knit Fandango and Fibre East  – both shows are targeted at small suppliers and exquisite yarns, fibres and tools, so I should fit right in! More specific news on these closer to the time.

I’ve also taken the choice to not be at Spring Knitting and Stitching – Baldly put, it’s just too expensive for me to attend for what it will give back to me.

I’m also just getting ready to dye up for the next round of club yarns, want in? Come join here: Fibres Exotica – Club

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[Fibres Exotica News] Season’s Greetings! / Looking forward to WAWS 2015

Season’s Greetings!

Hope that your festive season is going well. Me, I’m a touch “Bah Humbug” about it all; I love this time of year, as these two weeks are generally filled with Time. Time to relax, to see friends and take stock of the past year. The “Spirit of Yule” – the opening of the heart to joy and the return of light, the giving of self to loved ones and sharing good times with people close to you.

However, too many enforced and structured “celebrations” of the day itself (that were really anything but pleasant time) in my twenties and thirties have left me very “Bah Humbug!” about how over commercialised and pressured the concept of “Christmas day” has now become.

So, now that the day itself is done and dusted, I’m enjoying a week off from the day-job and firmly looking forward to 2015; planning dye jobs, doing labelling, yarn prep, website admin, & getting ready for the first show of the year – Waltham Abbey Wool Show

Date: Sunday 18th January 2015
Time: 10am to 4pm
Venue: Waltham Abbey Marriott, Old Shire Lane, Waltham Abbey, EN9 3LX

Tickets: £3 in advance on-line or £4 on the day

In their second year, this show has definitely found their niche, with  luscious hand dyed yarns, beautiful handmade wool and felt items, unique knit and crochet kits, a wide selection of accessories from buttons to project bags for sale, demonstrations of spinning, weaving, rag rugging and crochet plus a gallery of projects on display as well as Workshops, a Best Funky bag competition and Knit & Natter area.

For more information please call 01992 651066 or see their website:

So, I see you there I hope!

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New EU VAT regulations – What does that mean?

(The TL;DR version of this post: I’m going to be withdrawing “digital download” services to EU customers as of 01/12/2014. Patterns will instead be available by post in paper form (i.e. a physical product) )

From January 1st 2015 the way that VAT is charged on digital products within the EU is going to change. A nicely detailed article in plain English is here: 

The EU has decided that instead of being charged at the rate of Country of Origin, and VAT going to the Country of Origin, the VAT must now be paid to the country of destination, at their VAT rates. This affects ALL sellers of digital products globally, not just within the EU.

In the UK, you do not have to VAT register with HMRC until you turn over £81,000 per year – this takes a massive administrative overhead off of UK small businesses.

However, unlike selling physical products, from Jan 1st once the change happens, VAT will due on all digital sales from day one at all times, via a quarterly VAT return (And you have to file a “Nil return” if you have made no sales that quarter) – Unlike with physical products there is no threshold and records have to be kept for 10 years.

Also, to comply with this, once a company UK VAT registers, all the products it sells then become VATable, not just the digital ones.

Consequently, small traders such as myself pretty much have 4 choices:

  1. Register for VAT in each of the 27 Countries of the EU, and submit quarterly returns for digital sales to each VAT authority.
  2. Register for VAT in the UK, sign up to the UK VAT MOSS and submit returns for all goods sold.
  3. Find a large corporate 3rd party that will sell our digital products for us, take care of the VAT headache for us, (charge us commission to) process our digital sales and forward on the money left over to us.
  4. Stop selling digital products to EU customers.

Unsurprisingly, I’m taking option 4 – I have a tiny turn over, and simply cannot afford the time or money it will take to submit a VAT return every quarter.
Until there is more clarity about how this rule (which was allegedly designed to get more VAT from Amazon – they currently use Luxembourg as the home of their Digital arm, where they charge only 3% VAT on e-books) will be implemented and if there can be an exemption made which is the same as Physical products for Small Business , I cannot afford to trade digital products with the EU.

I’ve re-added the “full” checkout process for Digital as well as Physical products (It has been previously set to just collect an e-mail address) and will be removing the digital download shipping setting for the EU at the weekend.

EU customers will only be able to buy a paper copy of my patterns, as I’m not liable to pay VAT on physical products (yet – apparently, that might well happen too, in which case I’ll have to withdraw entirely from being able to ship to the EU!).

I must ask customers to not lie to me at checkout to get a download – If I contravene the regulations, I’m liable for an unlimited fine if I do not then VAT register and submit the return, even for just the one pattern.

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Just a quick “Come see me!” – Festiwool 2nd Nov

Just thought I’d drop in a quick ‘blog to remind everyone that I’m off to the 1st Annual Festiwool in Hitchin on Sunday.

As it’s a table show, I’ve only 6ft of space so my hand-dyed yarns and fibres will take centre stage – If anyone is particularly looking for me to have something with me from the rest of the range, drop me an e-mail – I won’t be bringing any of the Indian Mill dyed silks, Undyed yarns, Acid Dyes, Soak! or Knitting needles/Crochet hooks.

I hope that I’ll see lots of you there, and as well as all my fine hand-dyed yarns, I’ll have a tub of sweeties with me, as it’s also (nearly) my birthday! (That’s on Tuesday)

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Life is good when it has colour in it

If you’ve been looking at my Twitter feed, you will know that I’ve spent the week before Ally Pally throwing colour at Fibres and Yarn.

One of my personal philosophies is that a day where nothing is learned is a day wasted, and I’ve learned large amounts about my own personal dye style, fibre handling, just how saturating my dyes are (very, as they reminded me!), doing much research about how dyeing in general and how fibres are used, developing a sideways want to do nuno and fibre fusion felting projects (not a craft I was previously interested in doing at all!) and how “everything” generally goes together.

I’ve discovered a couple of new techniques that give wonderful results, as well as other techniques that save time and create less mess. As I don’t get to dye nearly as often as I would like, I recalled with joy my particular style & colour palate. I’m a vibrant dyer, and generally find that when I’m making a new colourway that I reach for the red-purple end of the spectrum dyes.

As I was dyeing, I found that I have a real thing at present for Violet with Lime Green, Emerald with Lime Green and Pink with Chocolate Brown. For instance, as I was dyeing the various batches of Mawata, I used these colourways twice over, not realising that I’d already used them with a different dye technique the previous day until I checked my dyeing notebook later!

I also love the dye technique I stumbled on towards the end of the week whilst playing (because, let’s face it, dyeing really is wonderfully enjoyable play) that gives a beautifully “heathered” effect – I’ll be using this much more in my design on both fibres and yarns going forward, both in the pastel tones as I used this time, as well as with my more usual levels of vibrancy.

So, my aim is now to develop a consistent “me” set of colourways (with “guest stars” naturally – after all, the same thing all the time would be dull!) for my base yarns and fibres – and I made some very useful contacts at Ally Pally to give me some wonderful, and more importantly repeatable, rare-breed and luxury fibres and yarns to work on going forward into the latter quarter of the year and onto 2015.

So, big plans ahead! First jobs first however, scanning all the Ally Pally sales through the shop and then buying myself a few new tools to make life even easier and a whole heap of new base yarns! It’s exciting times ahead.

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Come see us at The Knitting & Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, London!

Just thought I’d drop in a quick ‘blog about Knitting and Stitching 2014 – As usual, We are on Stand TGA13 at The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, London.

The Knitting & Stitching Show is the largest and most highly regarded textiles and craft event in the UK.  Whatever your craft passion it is the perfect place to find inspiration, learn new skills and shop for your essential supplies.

We will be taking part in the UK’s definitive event for anyone with a love of stitch and crafts from Wednesday 8th – Sunday 12 October and Twisted Thread have set a code you buy advance tickets for just £11 (normally £13).  Simply quote EX14 when booking online

As I’ve mention previously, there is now an extra day and they are again running late night opening on Thursday 9th so there are even more chances to come and share your love of textiles with others.

So, come see me, fondle my new hand dyed yarn range, chat about colour and cheer my flagging spirits come Sunday!