Monday, 15 December 2014

How To Crochet a Hypercube Tesseract - Yarn Scrap Friday

Ok, so a fourth spatial dimensional shape may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are crocheting, but nothing like a challenge I say, when my husband joked with me I could crochet anything. 

So what is a fourth dimensional hypercube I don't hear you ask? Well, if you look at the diagrams below, it is the next spatial dimension up from a cube and yes, we are getting into the realms of parallel universes, space travel and unicorns, but when we show the hypercube in its two dimensional form, that is, showing it on paper as it were as seen below, it makes a rather pretty pattern called a tesseract, and that is where I started my design.

If you look closely you can see the two cubes within the hypercube and perhaps even more cubes if you look closely. I say spatial dimension because it is often thought by physicists that the fourth dimension is actually time, but without frying my own brain on astrophysics and ringing up Stephen Hawking I shall swiftly move on to the pattern in hand.

My video tutorial can be watched here for this pattern;

Materials Required

- You can use any yarn and hook size suitable for the yarn you are using that you like, but choose at least three to four different colours so you can see the pattern clearly
- Yarn needle and scissors

Step 1 [Main Star]
In colour 1, ch5, sl st in 1st ch to form a loop, crochet 10sc into loop, sl st in 1st sc to join - (10)

Step 2
Ch1, 1sc in same st as previous sl st (underneath ch), *2sc in next st* repeat from * to * until end, sl st in ch1 to join - (20)

Step 3
Ch1, 2sc in next st, *1sc in next st, 2sc in next st* repeat from * to * until end, sl st in ch1 to join - (30)

Step 4
Ch1, 1sc in next st, 2sc in next st, *1sc in next 2 sts, 2sc in next st* repeat from * to * until end, sl st in ch1 to join - (40)

Step 5
*Ch6, sl st in 2nd st from hook, 1sc in next ch, hdc in next ch, dc in next ch, tr in next ch, sk4 sts on main circle, sl st in next st* repeat from * to * until end, sl st-ing into ch1 instead at end and joining colour 2 as you do. You should have eight star points.

Step 6 [Squares x8]
TURN and crocheting along edge of star point, crochet 1sc in next 5 sts to point - (5)

Step 7
*Ch1 (dont count as st here or onwards), TURN, 1sc in 1st st and in ea st along to end of row, sl st into ch of opposite star point, sl st in next ch up, TURN, 1sc in 1st st and in ea st along to end of row* repeat from * to * once more, fasten off and tie in all tails.

Step 8
*Re-join yarn in 1st ch of ch6 of next star point (in crevice between two points), repeat steps 6 and 7 for next square* repeat from * to * until you have completed eight squares between all star points. Tie in all tails to save time later.

Step 9 [Diamonds x8]
*With RS facing, join colour 3 in top of one of your squares, at the point, with ch1, 1sc in next st, hdc in next st, 1dc in next 2 sts, (you should be working down the side with proper sts), 1dc in top of star point, now crochet as neatly as you can as you don't have proper sts to work in to with 2dc, 1hdc, 1sc, 1 sl st neatly up edge of next square to end - (11)

Step 10
TURN (do not ch1), sk sl st, 1sc in next st and 1sc across to last st, sl st in ch1 - (10)

Step 11
TURN, sk sl st, sc2tog, 1sc in next 5 sts, sc2tog - (7)

Step 12
TURN, 1sc in 1st st and in ea st along to end of row - (7)

Step 13
TURN, sc2tog, 1sc in next 3 sts, sc2tog - (5)

Step 14
TURN, 1sc in 1st st and in ea st along to end of row - (5)

Step 15
TURN, sc2tog, 1sc in next st, sc2tog - (3)

Step 16
TURN, 1sc in 1st st and in ea st along to end of row - (3)

Step 17
TURN, sc3tog - (1)* Fasten off and tie in all tails. Repeat from * to * until you have eight diamonds between each set of two squares. Tie in all tails to save time later.

Step 18 [Finishing Edge]
With RS facing, join colour 1 or 4 in top of diamond with ch1, *then neatly as you can, as you don't have proper sts to work in to, crochet [1sc, 1dc, 3tr, 1dtr] down diamond edge, 1dtr in point of square, [1dtr, 3tr, 1dc, 1sc, 1sl st] up opposite diamond edge* repeat from * to * until end, sl st in ch1 to join. Fasten off and tie in all tails.

And now you're done! Any questions or for more free patterns join me on my various social media channels.


or visit my website at

© HappyBerry This pattern can not be reproduced in any way without credit given to HappyBerry. This includes copying and pasting into another blog or website, and filming the pattern for use on YouTube. You can however print it off for personal use or for use in a crochet group. Items made from any of my patterns can be sold in your own stores however. Patterns are not for re-sale. Thank you.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

*UPDATED* New EU VAT rules Jan 2015 will affect all digital sellers, even those in the US

So, after my lovely evening sewing class, I came home to some rather astonishing news via my husband, and you may want to sit down for this one.

Firstly please take the following information as a guide as I am not a tax expert, so if you have any further questions then it is best you contact your local tax authority, but here it is in a nutshell;

I have just been informed that come January 2015 anyone who sells digital downloads; so that could be crochet patterns, gaming apps, e-books, etc, if it's digital and you're selling it, you will now have to pay VAT, no matter who you are, how much you earn or where you live in the world.

*UPDATE December 2014 - How Etsy and Paypal sales are affected*

The Twitter storm, as the reality of this implicates thousands if not millions of independent sole-traders and small businesses, has led to some concessions by HMRC, or rather 'bending of the rules', which may be a relief to some.

HMRC have confirmed that an element of human interaction with your digital sales is key to perhaps getting around the new VAT rules (see table) if you don't use a market-place. If your digital sales are automated or use minimal human interaction, such as clicking a button to transmit the digital download by email or to an online account, then sadly you will still be liable for the new VAT rules, however if you implement a lot of human interaction such as emailing the digital file manually or filling in a form in great detail such as on Patreon manually then you are clear of the new VAT rules and will not be liable for the new VAT rules.

So it seems an email sent to a customer with the attached file or links to the digital file, is ok if it's sent manually but not if it's sent automatically, even though there is no physical way of knowing how an email was sent because fields can easily be populated. Even so, I hope this comes as a relief to some and a possible way out if using your own website.

Some other good news for the knitting and crochet community is that has teamed up with Ravelry for people to sell their patterns on their website, where they have openly stated they will be liable for the VAT.

Many people have asked what determines a market-place, who is liable and who isn't. A VAT liable market-place would include a website who takes payment and transmits the digital file on your behalf via their website, so Amazon for example. It does NOT include PayPal as Paypal is a payment provider and do not deal with your sales. They are effectively just a bank.

However Paypal are liable for allowing you as a digital seller to set up your VAT requirements in your paypal accounts (just like you do say, for postage etc) and they have openly admitted that they are no nearer to providing this before the deadline. So it seems even if we were to follow these rules as we are suggested to do so, the functions required are not in place by these companies.

With regards to Etsy sales, you will not be liable for VAT regardless of how you have set up your shop. If you utilise the instant download feature where Etsy take payment on your behalf, facilitate the sale and give you your cut then Etsy are liable for the VAT. If you sell digital sales without using the instant download facility, but use the credit card system that Etsy have implemented then Etsy are still liable. Even if you take payment directly via Paypal, you will then presumably be manually emailing the digital file and thus will not be liable as stated above. Similarly this applies to sales on eBay.

However the worst news is that by 2016 these new VAT rules will apply to actual goods, throwing the manual escape route out the window which will affect anyone who uses Paypal, either via Etsy or eBay.

So my update concludes with; 1. everything is still a mess and it's only to get worse, but 2. there is some hope for website owners in the meantime.

*UPDATE November 2014* 

I don't know 100% how this applies to selling on Etsy, Amazon or Ravelry, but as my understanding goes, and through the research I have done via the British Government website on this subject, is that you should be okay if you are not taking payment directly. If you sell a digital item, which you then email after receiving payment directly via PayPal for example then you WILL be liable, but if you sell instant downloads via Etsy and they take the payment, take their cut and then pay you, then this falls under B2B (business to business) and Etsy have to worry about the VAT, not you. Again I reiterate that I am not an expert on this matter so do contact Etsy, Amazon etc first if you have any concerns. Google Play are updating their system so you can avoid the VAT problem, which you can read more on here.

Quote from HMRC "Determining who is making the supply
Where digital services are supplied B2C, it is the supplier of those services who is liable to pay the VAT to the tax authorities. Consequently it’s essential to identify who that is. In the majority of cases this will be straightforward, although special rules apply for services through internet portals, gateways or marketplaces.
Supplies via internet portals, gateways or marketplaces
If you supply digital services to consumers through an online portal, gateway or marketplace then it’s important to determine whether you’re making the supply to the customer or to the platform operator. Where the platform operator sets the general terms and conditions, authorises payment or delivery, or doesn’t clearly state the name of the supplier on the receipt or invoice issued to the consumer, then they’ll be seen as making the B2C supply even if they’re contractually only an agent."

But for those who sell directly to customers via their own websites, or take payment directly from Etsy for example, read on!

Now, HappyBerry doesn't even earn enough to reach the tax threshold here in the UK, let alone the VAT threshold, but that will no longer matter because the EU have changed the rules, which will mean I will have to register for VAT regardless of how much I earn if I wish to continue selling patterns on our own website. But sadly it gets worse, sellers who also do this won't just have to register with your own country, oh no, you will have to register for VAT in every European Union country, under their laws, in their language, in their currency!!

So how come??! Well, it is because VAT will no longer be charged and accounted for based on where the business supplier is established, but according to the EU country where the customer belongs.

Now, I don't wish to be a doom and gloomer, I hate anything to do with tax, politics or complicated economy stuff, but this news came as quite a shock to me (I literally wondered if it was April 1st then I realised I had to order Christmas presents soon) because I realised that people in my situation, especially digital sellers who don't have an accountant to inform them of such changes, will be completely clueless to these new rules and will inevitable be breaking the law come January.

You could of course ignore all this and carry on as you are, but you face being audited by ANY of the EU tax authorities and face fines. Youch!

But it gets even worse. You may be fooled into thinking this doesn't affect you if you say live in the US, or Canada, even on the Moon, but if you sell digital downloads and sell to people in the EU then this will apply to you just as much as me here in the UK.

So Helen, who sells the odd knitting digital pattern in Iowa, just happened to sell one of her patterns to Isha in Germany, even though it was only for a few dollars, Helen now needs to register for Tax in Germany and pay anything due in Euros.

However, I think the situation could even be worse for any digital download seller, regardless of whether they sell to the EU, because it could apply even to say, an American company, selling to American people, who's customers registered their accounts in America, because if your American customer just happens to buy your digital download whilst on holiday in say, France, then the company is liable to suddenly pay VAT to France, even if they logged into their normal account Don't get me started on people travelling to multiple EU countries on a cruise.

However this also affects consumers! You may be fooled into thinking this is just a horrid post and go back on your way to downloading and purchasing some wonderful crochet and knitting patterns, but you may start to experience a shortage, because as companies and individuals struggle with these new changes they may be forced to close down and cease trading. We may have a worldwide shortage of crochet patterns! well digital ones at least. Not to mention music, gaming apps, e-books etc.

So why is this happening I hear you ask?

Maybe the EU have just gone mad, or more likely it is because the EU are fed up with larger companies such as Amazon and Google etc avoiding tax, but stupidly forgot how it affects us little people.

You would be fooled into thinking there may be a threshold amount, but there is none. You could literally earn as little as a 1 dollar, 1 pound, 1 yen, if your customer is based in the EU then you are liable. I know it's madness.

So what are your options if you do sell digital downloads?

Worst case scenario you will have to register for VAT in every single European Union country and pay extortionate amounts to an accountant to deal with all the paperwork, currency conversion and language barriers. This will require you to charge VAT on ALL of your products not just digital ones as well, but you can't just charge your country's VAT rate, it will need to be charged to the customer's country's rate. I know, impractical to even get your head around let alone do. This would require changes to your own website if you have one, not only to charge VAT in numerous different amounts that could possibly change frequently, but you will also have to keep records for up to ten years proving where these people were when they bought your download. You can't even rely on their IP address as Mr Frenchman, if he buys a digital download whilst on route to Paris from London and uses a French IP address and he lives in France and is basically just French as far as you and he knows, the VAT will apply to the UK as that was where he was travelling from. So you'd better get a crystal ball out while your at it because you're going to have to be psychic to know that kind of information,

So option 2. Well if you are British, then you can apply for the new MOSS program and register for VAT just in the UK (even though you earn no way near the threshold, this becomes irrelevant if you sell digital downloads), where HMRC will work this out all for you, (there is a similar program for the US), but this will involve you filling in VAT forms and for every quarter, so four times a year. You will probably need an accountant, which can get expensive and you still face the records and website issues stated above.

Option 3? Ban selling to the EU. You could implement website changes (if you have control, you wouldn't on say Etsy) to prevent selling to EU customers, which no-one wants, but you still face the problems listed above of customers being on holiday and you becoming liable. Blocking IPs are not fool proof either.

Option 4??
Give everything away for free, which of course is ridiculous or sell actual products. So you can harp back to the stone-age and post patterns in the mail instead, as actual goods do not come under the same rules. Great for Royal Mail I guess, but it's massively increasing your carbon footprint, time and cost.

Option 5 - probably the best solution
Sell through a market-place, but do check who takes the payment from the customer. If you sell through Amazon, they take the payment and not you, and then pay you what's left after their cut, similarly with Etsy Instant downloads, Patreon etc (although sponsorship is a grey area anyway). So all may not be lost, even if it does mean taking a small loss from the charges and percentages taken from your sales by the market-place. Even if the market-place you sell through says the responsibility lies with you, if they take the payment then it is still business to business, which means they are liable regardless under the EU rules. A saving grace maybe.

How will this affect HappyBerry. Well, it will mean over-all some positive changes for you guys who love my patterns as most of our patterns will become FREE! And some other exciting changes will be occurring to accommodate this issue, and over the next few months I will let you know what they are. So at least we are ending this post on a happy note!

There is a petition to protect us Brits, which you may want to sign.

And you can read more on this issue here.

Some info on how this affects those in the US:

I implore you to spread the word, as many sellers may be unaware and it may put pressure on the EU to introduce a threshold amount. Thank you.