when an accomplished designer loves my design enough to brazenly gank my photograph and post on Facebook to her tribe that “I can do that! And I think we all should make this amazing moebius wrap!” Should I thank her for the increased traffic to my blog and project page on Ravelry and a couple of added blog followers by email and “friends” on Ravelry?
How do I know this happens? Because of the tight-knit community, of course. My colleagues and friends watch my back–they emailed me to let me know who is stealing my work. And I do the same for my knitterly friends. If it were not for my friends, I would never know that this occurs. The internet is a very large place and hard to monitor. For people who steal others’ work–without permission–and re-engineering design for publication…eventually it will catch up to you. Thanks to my wonderful friends, I came to know about my prototype photograph’s been broadcasting across cyber world just before Christmas. Disregarding my update that prototypes 2 and 3 and pattern are in the work, this designer has stolen my project notes, photographs, ordered yarn in all colorways used in my prototype, and announced to her followers/friends that she has started a dry-run this week. Her justification? It’s been over a year, nearly two, I haven’t been able to publish a pattern. Something so luscious and lovely and I didn’t kept it under wrap until it’s finished. Precisely–it is lovely and many people will try to make knock-offs before I have an opportunity for publishing The Original.
Should I be happy? Or shocked? What did I do? Angered for a while. Moaned for a bit. Shut down my old blog. Removed project details off my page and/or made pertinent posts here private. Sobbed in hiding, a little. Reflected and blogged vaguely a few days ago here. Beyond that, nothing, really, that I can do. I thought I have forgiven her behavior and moved on.
Last night, the fire re-ignited when one of her peeps asked me How does one get this pattern? At the same time, the designer posted the following on Facebook
Hi everyone, I believe that the designer has not put this out (and she’s promised it for a 1 1/2 years) because she made a critical mistake which she may not even understand herself. I figured out her crucial mistake after a couple of experiments (and 50 years of experience!) but do not intend to “knock off” another designer. I may be inspired, but think I could produce an even more lovely wrap. Yes? (Ganked image below–not my work–is one of the designer’s pattern, made by marianne_66047.)
I have no doubt this accomplished designer is talented enough to pull off something like my design. What baffled me was her statement…“her crucial mistake.” Interesting choice of word–as in life or death? What was it? Can you tell? I am all ears. If there is a mistake, bring it on. Please do not hide behind Facebook and your cheering squad :D Another one of her peeps commented today “this is an enlargement of the Inspira cowl; also agree with Ray Knitterman Whiting–since I have those skills, I may very well just attempt to create mine own.” Absolutely. By all means, if you know how to do a moebius scarf or wrap, do gradient color-changing corrugated ribbing, make eyelets, and expand to brioche lace edging…you definitely have all the tools you need to make your own.
Yes, Inspira Cowl is amazingly stunning and I must tell you I have full admiration for Marcy aka celerystalk‘s integrity–giving credit to her inspiration and sharing generously/unconditionally her exceptional creation with the community. (Ganked image below–not my work–from Marcy herslef.)
At the time I made my Wicked Autumn as a color study of Lion Brand’s yarn Amazing, I was unaware of Inspira Cowl or its knit-along. The making of my wrap came shortly after a couple of brioche scarves and a moebius shop sample I’ve made for self and for Knit-Purl and Twisted in Portland (all of which were well documented/blogged.) My friends who have been faithfully following my fiber journey over past three years may vouch for that.
Like many of things I made, the playful idea just came to me. Stop. Right now. How did I get to here, justifying my own design! After being angsty for another unproductive day, I shared my trouble with dear hubby. Bless his heart. You know what he said to me? “Hon, why are you troubled? What are you asking me? This is exactly the craps I get everyday. You clearly missed the boat. Move on.” Funny, isn’t it? So simple. Such clarity. The objective view from someone totally detached. Why didn’t I see it? Such irony? Only a day before, I posted on my FB wall “It does not change the past, but, enlarge the future.”
There are thousands of places to find inspiration. Saving a buck and creating a knock off from brand name items is all the rage. I may find plenty of inspiring ideas on blogs, websites, in magazines, at fiber/art/craft shows, thumbing through catalogs, browsing gift shops and online malls…the list goes on and on. It’s one thing to make a project based off of someone else’s idea and use it on me or in my home. How does that work for knitwear, fashion, or textile designers? Is it acceptable to follow someone else’s project notes, techniques, approaches, material, colors… and publish the pattern? Is that considering copying or referring to as inspiration?
copying - imitate or reproduce (an idea or style) rather than creating something original
inspiration - the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative
It’s a tricky balance because some level of copying and taking inspiration is inevitable and good. As a matter of fact, I have known a few Ravelers who have made their own moebius wraps or brioche scarves using same yarn or even same colorways inspired by my work. They, however, gave credit where it’s due and didn’t offer to the world to publish their inspired patterns. I deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness and respect from one artist to another. Me? I test often for other accomplished designers. Never crossed my mind I’d write up my own and publish something before they do! Believe me, I am not alone. Everyday, there are designs out that I’d say to self “I can do that! And I will make something inspired from it.” I have and I did. This one is a wonderful example gifted to my good friend Shannon,
inspired by an accomplished, talented designer friend Michele aka pdxknitterati‘s August pattern in the datebook, Created in Oregon: A Knitter’s Datebook 2012. (Check out her beautiful designs here. Her Hugs and Kisses OXO Cable Fingerless Mitts pattern is on sale through end of the month :D)
Do you have an opinion on this topic? Care to share your insight? Last year, my friend Kirsten Hall, another fabulous designer who aspires to bigger, better things–my constant inspiration–shared with me one of her designs was purchased by a magazine publication more than two years ago now. To-date, it has not been published. Unfortunately for her, the non-compete doesn’t kick in until the pattern is released. It means she can’t do anything with that design for as long as it stays dormant. Obviously through her experience, I translated that I have the right to my own creation and may take as long as I need to publish a pattern. Silly me.
Did I learn anything from this? You bet! No, I am not going to remove all my design projects shared publicly before this unfortunate event. Sadly, moving forward, I won’t be offering detailed notes or experiments openly with the world as I have in the past. Please forgive me for the abrupt change. It may not be permanent. I’ll heal over time…Until then, I will not take it personally should you un-follow and/or un-friend me here and/or on Ravelry. Thank you all who have been encouraging in my fiber journey over the past three years on and off Ravelry. You are an awesome bunch. Knit On! :D
Thank you and I am bowing to you if you’ve stayed with me through this lengthy rant. Now I must make up some lost time and get back to some serious knitting to meet my shop sample deadline.
Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!
(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook!)