My Etsy store has now been closed.
My Craftsy store still exists, but only stocks free patterns.
I hope that these closures are temporary, but only time will tell.
For the time being, my patterns will only be available from https://payhip.com/tartankiwi (see link above).

Thank you for your patience in this time of transition

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hopes and Dreams

I've started to write a few blog posts in the last couple of weeks, but each time I've got halfway through, read what I'd written and scrapped it. All that I saw a depressing list of whinges on the screen in front of me.

The thing is though, I don't want to start the new year by complaining. I want to look forward to the challenges and achievements of the coming year with excitement and positivity.

If I'm honest, December was tough, it left me feeling tired, ragged and in need of a break. I was close to burning out. My days were long as I struggled to balance family life, quilting commitments, pattern designing commitments and visitors.

When we went on holiday in the beginning of January, I did a minimal amount of knitting and spent the rest of my time reading. Unusually, I didn't do any designing while I was away and I didn't come home brimming with inspiration for new quilt patterns.

It took most of the holiday for me to unwind and I think that a bit of stress lingered on. Once back home, I put the finishing touches on the In Flight Quilt-Along and suddenly a weight fell off my shoulders. I hadn't realised just how much it had been weighing me down.

A significant part of what made December so difficult was the discovery that the new EU VAT rules would apply to little old me all the way across the world in New Zealand. I was just beginning to think that maybe I could turn this quilting lark into a career when WHAM the EU dealt their blow. The pragmatic part of me believed that the closure of my Craftsy and Etsy stores would only be a temporary thing (and it does look as if solutions are being sought from several angles), but that still didn't make it any harder to deal with.


But I don't want December to over-shadow the fact that 2014 was an amazing year. If I compare my quilting dreams now with those of this time last year- there is no comparison! They are so much more ambitious, and I have a good deal more confidence that they are achievable.I'm not yet ready to reveal most of my plans, but I will at least tell you about one of them.

About halfway through last year, I made a decision that after Christmas I would start saving my pattern profits to buy a new sewing machine. At the time, I assumed that this would mean no buying fabric for at least 6 months. It blows me away to admit that thanks to my monster pattern sale and the In Flight Quilt-Along, I am now within touching distance of reaching my target. Each time that somebody new buys a pattern, I let out a cry of excitement as I know that my first goal of the year is one step closer to being achieved. It makes me excited to think about the other things that 2015 may bring.

Its still school holidays over here and I am enjoying the slower pace of life and the fact that I am getting to spend some quality time with my children. I have decided to allow myself to relax for a bit longer, until the children return to school. That said, design ideas are beginning to pop into my head and I'm beginning to feel the urge to get back behind the sewing machine and sew sew sew. 

A few days ago, inspiration for new designs was running a bit low and I was thinking that I would be doing a fair bit of soul searching, deciding what pattern to design next and how I wanted my style to develop. The moment that I stopped stressing, a new idea came. As usual, I'm going to play it by ear and see where my designs take me- its the best way to work!

The beginnings of a new design- words still to be chosen.


How about you guys? How is the new year treating you? Have you started on the In Flight QAL yet? Are you having any problems? I'm loving seeing finished blocks appearing on instagram!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

IN FLIGHT- Block 1- Swan

 
After months of teasing, I'm really excited to finally release the first block of the In Flight Quilt-Along.

As promised, you have two options. You can buy the complete pattern bundle or you can buy the patterns one at a time.

The first block of the In Flight Quilt-Along is a swan. I kept this design simple and elegant, so as to ease you all into the quilt-along.

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To me the simplicity of this design balances some of the more complicated designs that will appear later in the quilt-along.

To make this block you will need less than a Fat Quarter of background fabric and less than a fat eighth of fabric for the bird.

I am using Oakshottcottons for the birds of my quilt. The background is yarn dyed Essex linen.
For some blocks I use a single colour of Oakshott cotton, for others I will use a mixture of different tones to accentuate the feathers.

I kept this block simple with a single colourway.

 For more details about the In Flight quilt-along see the introductory post and this overview of all the posts.

Don't forget to come back and join in the linky party.


Monday, January 12, 2015

IN FLIGHT- Introduction

Hello and welcome to the In Flight Quilt-Along.

Whether you have years of experience or have only recently caught the paper piecing bug, I hope that I have something for you. I have designed a series of flying bird patterns and I'm hoping that you will join me in creating a quilt using them.

THE DESIGNS AND LAYOUTS

When I designed these blocks, I was looking to challenge myself. I tried to design blocks that were unlike anything that I had done before. I wanted the designs to speak for themselves no matter how people choose to interpret them.

I think that these are paper pieced patterns which can be used by all quilters, no matter their style.
If you choose, you can keep things minimalist and simple with black silhouettes against a blue or white background.
You may prefer to use textured blender fabrics or to create a rainbow of birds using solid fabrics – the choice is yours!
What about floral birds? They would look really pretty don't you think?
If you prefer a more scrappy style, this could easily be added into the designs with different fabrics used to accentuate the feathers and features of the birds.

Another way that you can play is with the sizing of the blocks. Six blocks are provided as 12” blocks (with formulas included if you want to resize the pattern yourself). Four blocks are provided as both 12” and 24” blocks and two patterns are only provided as 24” blocks.

By playing around with the sizing of the birds, you can add to the sense of depth and perspective of the quilt.

I do not recommend minimising the 24" Osprey block, but if you want to make all your patterns 12” you could swap in the bonus pattern that I have included in the pattern bundle.

I will provide the layouts for a few different quilts at the end of the quilt-along, but I guess that what I am trying to say is that I really hope that you will make this quilt and these birds your own. Don't be limited by what you see me doing. 

Have fun and play around! 

I really can't wait to see some creative uses of my patterns.

BUYING THE PATTERNS

For this quilt-along, I will offer two ways for you to buy your patterns.

For those of you who like the gradual approach, you will be able to download a new pattern every 2 weeks. Each 12” pattern will be reduced in price to $2 for the first fortnight that they are available. After this time they will go up to the usual price of $3.50. Each pattern which contains a 24” block will be available at the reduced price of $3 for the first fortnight of release and will go up to $5 afterwards.

If you prefer to jump in with both feet and immerse yourself in a project, then you have the chance to buy the pattern bundle. The advantage of buying the bundle is that it includes a bonus pattern. I was initially very unhappy with the seagull pattern so I designed a new block. When I came back to the two patterns later I discovered that I actually liked them both so I decided to make them both available. Buying the pattern bundle is the only way that you can get your hands on this block.

The bundle will initially be available for $25 (there are over 200 pages to the bundle so this really is a bargain). This price will be increased to $35 on 1st March 2015.

For the first two weeks, there will be a 20% discount to those who tweet or share the In Flight Pattern Bundle using the share button of the bundle listing in Payhip shop.

Please note that for those of you based in the EU, VAT will be additional to the quoted prices.

FABRIC REQUIREMENTS
For those of you who are interested in finding out how much fabric to purchase, I have updated the existing fabric requirements post. I have not altered the PDF downloads, but I have added extra information to the bottom of the post.

Please note that as I suspected, the fabric requirements for the background fabric provided by my computer software are proving to have been very generous.

SCHEDULE:
The blocks will be released on to following dates (or as close to then as humanly possible):

Event
Date
Detail
Block 1- Swan
14th January
(The pattern bundle will be released on this date.)
Block 2- Swift
28th January

Linky
1st February
Open for a week
Block 3- Seagulls
11th February

Block 4- Curlew
25th February

Linky
1st March
Open for a week
Block 5- Peregrin
11th March

Block 6- Swallow
25th March

Linky
1st April
Open for a week
BREAK FOR EASTER
Break for Easter

Block 7- Duck
22nd April

Block 8- Kestrel
6th May

Linky
13th May
Open for a week
Block 9- Cormorant
20th May

Block 10- Buzzard
3rd June

Linky
17th June
Open for a week
Block 11- Eagle
24th June

Block 12- Osprey
8th July

Quilt Layouts
22nd July

Final Linky
5thAugust

Final Linky Closes
1stSeptember


Remember I am in New Zealand, so these dates are probably (hopefully!) up to a day ahead for many of you.

MONTHLY LINKY PARTIES
I encourage as many of you as possible to join in with the regular linky parties. You can link up using blogs, flickr and even instagram. 

The linky parties are a great way to show how you are getting on, no matter whether you start with the first block or jump straight in with the more difficult blocks. Share your successes (and your frustrations- who knows I may be able to help out if I hear of problems).

PRIZES
Now what is a quilt-along without some prizes?

At each of the monthly linky parties, a winner will be chosen at random.
They will receive a prize consisting of:

An Oashott colourshott COTX31-57 5” Charm Square Pack 
We all know that I love Oakshott fabrics and it is no coincidence that I chose to use them for the birds of my own In Flight Quilt. I am thrilled to be able to offer a number of you the chance to sew with these beautiful fabrics.

and the winners choice of 2 Tartankiwi patterns.

At the final linky party there will be three prizes on offer:

1st Prize
(This prize will go to someone who has made at least 9 blocks and has at least created a complete quilt top)

- $25 Fat Quarter Shop token

This beautiful large box of Aurifil thread.



2nd Prize 
The winner of this prize must have made at least 6 blocks and have a complete quilt top or finished item.

A $25 Fat Quarter Shop token

This beautiful box of Aurifil thread.

Umbrella Prints Mosaic Kit
If you are not familiar with Umbrella Prints fabrics, go and look them up, you won't be disappointed in these beautiful organic screen printed fabrics.

3rd Prize
Open to any item created using an In Flight block or blocks.

A $25 Fat Quarter Shop token

I really really hope that we see lots of completed quilt tops at the final linky.

As a final word, I'd like to take a moment to some very special people who have helped to ensure that this event happened. 

Thank you so much to all of my sponsors. I really appreciate your support. I hope to share a little bit more detail about each and every one of them at some stage.

I also have to say a huge huge thank you to my pattern testers Leonie, Raewyn and Jennifer. They have done a stirling job of searching for mistakes in the patterns and helping me to improve the patterns. Any remaining mistakes are all my own fault!

If I have forgotten to include any details in this post, please ask and I will do my best to answer your questions.

Friday, December 26, 2014

My VAT MOSS Solution and a Pattern Sale

As some of you are possibly aware, the EU is bringing new VAT legislation into effect as of 1 January. In effect it means that everybody selling digital products (such as pdf quilting patterns) to anybody in the EU must charge VAT (value added tax) at the rate of the country that they are selling to.

The legislation was designed to stop the big boys (such as Amazon) from setting up shop in low tax countries and circumnavigating higher taxes in other countries. Unfortunately, at the moment it would seem that those who are hardest hit are those of us with teeny tiny businesses. No matter where in the world we live or how small our income, we are being forced to either agree to a lot more bureaucracy, stop selling to EU countries or to shut up shop completely.
I have been patiently waiting to see how this legislation will affect me and to see if Etsy and Craftsy will do anything to help those of us who sell through their platforms. Although both Etsy and Craftsy are taking steps to help in the collection of these taxes, their solutions are just not workable for me. I have neither the time, the energy, the inclination nor the resources to deal with these tax returns myself. As a result, I am reluctantly shutting my Etsy Shop and will only stock a few free patterns in my Craftsy store. I remain hopeful that this will be a temporary measure, but only time will tell how this all pans out.

I feel a great deal of frustration as I have spent a lot of time and energy building up my stores and was beginning to see pattern selling as a realistic way for me to gather income while still remaining at home where I can be available for my children. Now I just don't know what is going to happen.

BUT there is good news, I am not shutting up shop completely. For the time being I am moving my patterns onto a different platform called payhip.com and I am looking into other options. If you look at the top of my blog, you will see a new tab called "My Store". This is where you will now be able to buy my (VAT compliant) patterns. I will keep you posted as to when and if my patterns become available from other platforms.

Please bear with me, it will take some time until I have uploaded everything. It is the Summer/ Christmas holidays over here, the whole family is on holiday, I have family visiting from Europe and I am also trying to put the finishing touches on the patterns for the In Flight Quilt-Along so patterns will not be uploaded overnight.

Talking of the In Flight Quilt-Along. That is DEFINITELY still going ahead. I can't wait to tell you about all of the prizes and to start sharing the patterns. I must admit that I was hoping to kick things off on 1st January. Unfortunately, this may need to be delayed for one or two weeks, as reading up on this VAT problem and finding a workable solution has cost me a lot of time and energy over the last month. This was time that should have been spent on finishing the In Flight patterns.

No matter what, the QAL will start in January as promised and I will keep you up to date regarding dates and details.

Sorry for this long business type post, but I felt it was important to keep you all up to date with where I stand.

For those of you who have stuck with me till the end of the post, I have some good news. I am holding a closing down sale at both of my stores.

Until the end of 2014, I have reduced the price of all patterns in my Craftsy store.

Use the code VATMOSS in my Etsy store for a 40% discount.

Wishing I had a more cheerful post at this time of year.

Juliet x

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sew Together Bags

Last weekend I participated in a secret santa swap with the wonderful and talented girls in my Knitting Group.

The other girls in the group have serious knitting and yarn dying skills. I'm pretty lucky that they tolerate my dodgy knitting skills and don't complain when I talk quilts and rock up with binding to sew on instead of knitting.

Bearing this in mind, it was a no-brainer that I was going to sew a gift for my partner and not knit it. When the partners were handed out I already had a pair of mini singing in the rain blocks and I had half a plan to use them for secret santa. Then my partner commented in passing that she'd love to learn how to paper piece so that she could sew my singing in the rain pattern. I took it as a hint and decided to turn those blocks into my first ever sew together bag.

By some fluke they were the perfect size. I love how the bag turned out.


Thanks to the Quilt Barn sew-along, the Sew Together bag came together really easily. I am very visual when it comes to sewing so the photographic instructions work far better for me than words.

I'm pretty sure that I could have made better choices when it came to choosing types of interfacing, but all in all I was really happy with the bag (as was the recipient). So much so that I went on to make a further two sew together bags.

I forgot to take a photo of the first one when it was completely finished, but here is are a couple of photos of it pinned ready to hand sew the final binding.

The third and final bag that I made was probably my favourite. I used some of my precious Melody Miller Telephone print. I love the proportions of the bag to the fussy cut and was very tempted to keep it for myself.

If it weren't for the fact that I have now made 3 sew together bags and don't think I can cope with the boredom of making a forth one, then I'd definitely make very very similar one for myself. How do people manage to churn out hundreds of the same thing? I get bored if I repeat myself and need to make new things every time.



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