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discuss amongst yourselves

August 13, 2007

I’m crushing on the Cobblestone. When I saw it, I knew it would be the perfect sweater for my non-sweater-wearing husband. Isn’t Tiennie’s version awesome?!?! But wait! I could make a girly one for myself! The wheels are turning, especially with all that green yarn I bought.

Trouble is, I don’t have the magazine yet and I am dying to know how it’s constructed. I could try and make my own version without seeing the pattern. Or I might ask someone the simple question that’s killing me: Is that yoke knit in the round, or what??? (If you know, you don’t have to tell me. Just keep reading…) But I’m not going to do either of those things. I’m going to wait until I can finally buy the magazine for myself.

You see, I have a thing. A thing with patterns. Specifically a thing with copying patterns.

Once at knitting group (no, seriously) I was working on my Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket. As usual, everyone wanted to know what everyone else was working on. I was explaining the unique construction of the blanket and people were very interested because it was growing so very large. One knitter in particular said, “Oh, I’ll have to get that pattern from you.” I didn’t say yes or know at the time. I just thought quietly to myself about the $30 I had paid for the book the pattern was in, EZ’s Opinionated Knitter.

Next week, the knitter asked again for a copy of the pattern and I told her which book she could find it in. I think she got the point that I wasn’t interested in sharing because she hasn’t asked since.
Now, I’m not saying that I’ve never copied a pattern before, but I was new to the group and I hardly knew any of the other knitters. Which really got me thinking about copying patterns in general. Would I change my mind about copying patterns depending on how well I knew the person?

The whole thing had me in a tizzy for a few days, knowing that copying patterns is wrong, but also knowing that I had done it before! I was literally driving Gerald crazy with all my talk about it. I finally decided that from now on, I’ll do my part to give the knitwear designers their due. I’ll buy the book, I’ll pay for the pattern, and I’ll search out the magazine. On top of that, I won’t be sharing the patterns I pay for with others.

Maybe that makes me a meanie, but I can promise that I won’t ever ask you to copy a pattern for me.

And one other thing: I’m an avid library goer, and I have copied patterns from knitting books that I have knit or someday want to knit. According to this (found via this discussion), I think that’s okay. There is only one book that I may or may not have photocopied every single pattern from, so under my new self-imposed rules, I should probably buy it.

Wow. That’s a bunch to think about on a Monday morning! I’d love to hear your thoughts about pattern sharing. Am I just stating the obvious? Do you completely disagree with me?
From the Weepiness Department:
Jerry is off at Kindercamp this morning, a warm-up for kindergartners. For a boy who has spent most of his young life at home with his momma, this is a very big deal.
Little Jerry

Jerry, Oct. ’04

I’m trying not to cry myself silly.


Jerry, Jan. ’04

Thank goodness for knitting as distraction today.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2007 9:31 am

    I personally am very careful about sharing copyrighted material. I have some knitting pals who want to “share” the downloaded patterns I’ve paid for online, and I just tell them where they can download it. My rule is that I wouldn’t steal a 50 cent bag of M&Ms from the grocery store, so why would I steal a pattern?

    I don’t mind lending a book out here and there, and copying one or two patterns out of a library book is well within the fair use of a book (I am a librarian by training), but I think we are generally of the same mind.

  2. August 13, 2007 11:14 am

    So, now I feel guilty… 🙂 Just a little, ok, more than a little. 🙂

    I don’t see anything wrong with copying a few patterns from library books. That is a fair use idea–at least as how I understand it.

    Sometimes people don’t think about patterns the way they would about a bag of candy. It isn’t they don’t agree with the analogy, they just don’t THINK about it. After all, once the person buys it, it becomes that persons, right? If they choose to “share” it, that is their perogative, isn’t it? (Please know, that isn’t my particular belief on the subject, just my feeling about the perception.)

    Coywright laws are a deep and murky issue. There are lots of twists that make some things ok, and other things, not. I mean, if you sell or give your copy of “Opinionated Knitter” to someone (read me, haha), then is that taking away from the designer/publisher/author because they didn’t recieve any royalties or payment for the sale of that book, even though another person is now using the book?

    Deep stuff.

    I was thinking about your Kindercamp sendoff today. I’m already getting weepy about the sendoff here.

  3. Sarah permalink
    August 13, 2007 12:02 pm

    You take such lovely pictures 🙂

  4. katie permalink
    August 13, 2007 3:36 pm

    There is so much about copyright, and everyone has their opinion. I think if something is in the library, you can make copies for your own use. And if I want to share one pattern from a book with a friend who can’t buy the book, I see no problem with that. But (obviously) I think reproducing patterns and selling them is Wrong.

    One thing I don’t get, is the patterns that say you can’t knit the article and sell it. I have a friend who doesn’t knit and will likely never knit. If she wants me to knit her a sweater, why can’t she pay me for it?

    I cried myself silly last year when DJ started 3K. He only stayed in for 6 weeks. This year, I was relieved when he went off to his first half-day of 4K. Much easier.

  5. August 13, 2007 5:32 pm

    oh lending someone a book is okay. and in a way it could be a way to make people want to buy the book later.
    i don’t really have the problem since i have no irl knitting friends here in copenhagen….
    and what is so sad for me is that it is so difficult to get hold of the different magazines. i am dying for the interweave magazine but my usual sources in england don’t carry it yet. and i ordered vogue knitting in the belief that it was the anniversary issue and alas it is not.
    cute son and lovely pictures and the few on your earlier post it adorable. i don’t suppose i could borrow the pattern????

  6. August 13, 2007 6:18 pm

    Wishing Jerry (and you!) very few tears as he strolls off to Kindergarten.

    If I had the skills, I would “copy” a pattern myself just to modify it. For instance, I do have Interweave Knits, and would love to make the Cobblestone sweater for myself, but I think it would need modifying to be a little more shapely, and I don’t feel very confident about doing that. But I know that’s not the kind of copying you are talking about. But designers do that kind of thing all the time, though–taking “inspiration” from others’ designs and tweaking them just a little to make them their own. How many freakin’ ways has Debbie Bliss done this to her own baby sweater patterns?

  7. August 13, 2007 7:29 pm

    Hmm. That’s tough. I’d let people borrow a book before letting them take photocopies of it. With library books I’ll only copy charts that I might need after the book is returned.

    I just ordered yarn to make myself a Cobblestone. We should do a girly-Cobblestone KAL! I think because the yoke is garter that it will look pretty good on a woman, extra stretch where we need it! And it’s made entirely in the round, but I think I’ll do the garter back and forth and seam it afterwards.

    Happy Kinder-going to Jerry!

  8. August 14, 2007 3:35 am

    Thanks so much for the link to my blog! Can’t wait to see you cobblestone.

  9. August 15, 2007 12:42 pm

    Oh, sweet pics of your little man. Kindergarten – that is big stuff, and definitely weep-worthy.

    And I’m with ya on the patterns and copyright stuff. Though I do feel fine about making copies of library stuff. The thing about the library books though, most of the time if I really really like the stuff in it, I end up buying it anyway. So I feel like that makes up for the time I completely photocopied an entire out-of-print pattern book that I could only borrow for 3 weeks (non-renewable) on interlibrary loan. Right? !?

  10. August 15, 2007 4:23 pm

    Copyright is tough. I usually just want to make sure that the knitwear designers get their due royalties or just desserts. It definately takes on a new angle when you “know” the designers via the blogosphere. I use the library all the time, particularly if there is just one or two patterns that I would like to knit. If I like a book so much that I know I want the whole thing, I just go and buy it.

    I hope Jerry likes school, and I hope you can adjust!

  11. mandy permalink
    August 20, 2007 10:07 am

    i am much like you in copywriting. chris is so vocal about audio stuff. he always says that he would not burn a copy of a cd for some one and i should not print copys or share books. i agree.
    i wonder what a designer is payed for a pattern?

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