I love reflections! This is a puddle on the road where we walked on Christmas Day - very close to darkness so fuzzy and unclear but the water was still so the reflection is still quite distinct.
In knitting Fair Isle, the designs are often very attractive when reversed, and Felix Ford used several ideas like this in her lovely new book, The Domestic Soundscape - see here. And here is a preview of some designs on which we are working for a (less than usually naff) seasonal pullover.
And of course, we are thinking about patterns, particularly downloadable designs for European customers, at present. This is due to the changes (from tomorrow) to the rules for calculating and applying Value Added Tax to digitally downloaded products. While the objective of the new rules, to catch and tax those who have avoided this in the past, the unfortunate result is less helpful for people who were outside the scope of VAT in the past. Isolda has written an excellent blog which explains the problems and, sadly, the lack of helpful or easy solutions.
So we have looked, and reflected upon the fuzzy situation as it applies to our downloadable patterns. In the end, as we are VAT rated, we could simply (!) register for the VAT MOSS system and thus create a second set of VAT accounts specifically for quarterly returns on the sales we make to customers within the European Union. However, identifying them with two pieces of evidence and doing the admin work seems disproportionate when what we really want to do is ensure that anyone, anywhere (including our friends in Europe) can get equitable access to our designs. More importantly, our designs are principally there to showcase and use our Blacker Yarns to their best advantage.
Therefore, our reflections have led us to decide to make all of our downloadable patterns free to everyone, all over the world. So we have reduced the prices on our Blacker Yarns downloadable patterns to zero and made all our own downloadable patterns on Ravelry free as well.
In addition, we have always had some free patterns anyway, and there are then printed versions, which are not included in the new rules. My book, Pure Wool, includes versions and variations of our patterns and also some which are only available in the book (see the list on the link page). For our printed patterns, which are in colour and post free worldwide, we have now decided to reflect the real cost, so the prices have gone up to £7 (or £4 for a couple of smaller ones). Previously the real cost of the printed and posted patterns was probably subsidised by the prices of the downloadable patterns. This means that such designs are now more expensive but in this increasingly digital age we hope that most people will be able to find a friend to help them if they cannot access the free downloads themselves.
So, to complete the blog and clarify the picture ... here are some more photo's, of the wonderful Marie Antoinette farm at Rambouillet, where I was lucky enough to visit earlier this year when attending the World Congress of Coloured Sheep in Paris, France.
The first of those above was almost too clear and still, so the second shows a bit more of the surroundings, just to prove it is indeed a reflection!
This is the picture-book farm of which we can all dream! Where Rambouillet Merino sheep can safely graze and all the world is beautiful - which is what we wish everyone for 2015! And which we hope our newly freed patterns will help to provide.