Friday, June 20, 2014

The Dark Side of Designing Knitwear

This has been bothering me for awhile. It's about knit and crochet pattern designers. 

First off, let me say that I love the online fiber community. I really do. I signed up for Ravelry with my heart full of ideas and eager to learn. I started this blog to showcase my art. I also make and sell art and designs on Etsy.

I love being a part of the internet crafty community.

But right now I’m upset, because no one told me about the dark side.

The side where I’ll be accused of copying a pattern, even through I didn’t. It’s stripes, people. You don’t own strips. Or buildings. Or strawberries. Or gnomes.

You can't see a item I made that has such-and-such on it and say OMG! My item also has such-and-such on it! YOU must have COPIED me! Because I didn't. My such-and-such, while still looking like an item, is not exactly like yours.

I am not kidding, I actually get hate mail over this. One time a very famous designer (who will remain unnamed) posted an entire blog post about how I "stole" her design. She listed my twitter and my website on her blog and for about a week I received messages and threats on my twitter telling me how terrible a person I am because clearly my pattern looks so much like hers they must be identical, even through these people never took time to compare the patterns because they aren't.

I talked about it a lot on facebook when it was happening, but I didn't have the heart to write a blog post about it at the time, mostly because I was really upset. 

There aren’t many ways to put "strawberries" on leg warmers. Or hats. No matter what you do you kinda want it to look like a "strawberry". No one can own a copyright on "strawberries". You can copyright the image you create, to a certain extent (like a pattern chart) but you can't say every single thing that suddenly appears with "strawberries" on it belongs to you.


This is knitting. This is crochet. This is not a competition. This is not a war. I am not here to win. I am here to love my fiber. I am here to make friends.

Don't bully me. If you think I've copied your pattern, ask. I would never download a pattern and re-upload it as my own. All my designs were designed by me. Please, try to treat me with respect. I would do the same for you.


Breenah said...

I'm so glad I haven't delved that deep into patterns and stuff yet. Goodness, that is ridiculous. I'm glad you finally wrote about it though, and that you're taking the high road by not naming. Although I am totally curious.

Deanna Fike said...

i remember the ridiculousness that went hand in hand with the lovely gnome gloves. :)

Rachel G said...

Oh man--I've never gotten involved with this (I never follow online tutorials anyways) but I've seen from a distance some bloggers going all crazy about how someone "stole" their post idea (and it was the most generic idea ever...seriously, it was on the level of "15 random facts about me" it was so generic)....and sewing bloggers going crazy because someone "stole" their very generic pattern (I mean...think plain old zippered pouch pattern generic....)

It all boils down to the fact that common sense is very uncommon. I mean, when someone does steal--that's wrong. If someone published my Rapunzel poem or my story about the 2004 tsunami as their own...that's stealing. Those aren't generic. But especially in the crafting world I feel like saying....Honey, people have been knitting and sewing for hundreds and thousands of you really think you're the first to come up with this?

p.s. I always call people "Honey" when I'm mad/frustrated at them. One time I called a male friend "honey" in front of Angel and our friend told Angel, "Did you hear that?" and Angel's like, "Yeah, you don't know what 'honey' means when Rachel says should be scared." :P

gracie said...

Here's the thing though. People *do* copy/steal/imitate patterns. I'm not saying that you did/do it, but it does happen, and quite a bit more than you probably think, mostly because you seem to think it doesn't. But if you're defending yourself against multiple people accusing you of stealing their patterns, then maybe you should stop and think for a minute. Do some due diligence and see if someone else already has a pattern like that. I'm not saying you're ripping them off, but if you're as creative as you think you are, you should be able to at least come up with something that's original.

Carolynn said...

I know people do copy patterns. I think that's wrong. But that is not what I am addressing here.

What isn't wrong is imitating a pattern. At least not in the sense where I want a hat with strawberries on it so I create one. If someone else already has created one (and their are millions out there) does not suddenly mean that I can't create one. Creativity should not be limited to what "other people" have already done. I certainly think I am creative, but I am not as vain to think that I am unique. Creativity and uniqueness are two different things, and you seem to think they are the same. I don't have to search and see if someone has a similar thing before creating mine. I mean, thousands of other girls wear pink wigs, yet here I am being creative wearing a pink wig. just not unique.

Carolynn said...

I totally agree with you! :)