Taking the fun out of crafting

You know, I’m really pleased with the slippers I designed. I spent hours looking for patterns for crocheted Mary-Jane slippers, and I couldn’t find any in the style I wanted, or even any close enough that I could modify a pattern to make my own. So, I sat down with a tape measure, pencil and paper, made a few sketches, drew the design of the slipper I wanted on my foot with marker pen, measured all the dimensions, researched international shoe sizes on the internet, and set about designing a pattern of my own. And it took ages – the swatching, the calculations, the planning on graph paper, the crocheting, taking notes, frogging, re-crocheting, taking more notes, frogging again… and again… but I ended up with a pair of slippers that I was really pleased with, and that were exactly as I’d envisaged they would be.

When they were done, and I had transcribed all my notes and doodles, I was happy to publish the pattern here, free of charge, for other people to use, because I have found so much inspiration on the internet from other crafters, and wanted to give something back.  And it’s been lovely to see people adding the pattern to their Ravelry queues, posting pictures of the slippers they’ve made, and reading all of the lovely comments and emails I’ve received about them.

But now, I am sitting here wishing I had just kept my pattern to myself. Why? Because someone is selling slippers on etsy that are exactly the same as my design. I studied all of her photos and her slippers are identical in every detail to mine, down to the number of stitches, the number of rows, the design and the construction. So I contacted the seller via etsy asking if she had used my pattern to make them, and saying if she had then please note that she is not permitted to sell items made using my pattern. She denied using my pattern; she said, “I didn’t use your pattern… I just google imaged slippers and improvised. I apologize if you find them similar.” and offered to send me the pattern she had made.

If, as she said, she didn’t use my pattern but instead improvised a design based on google images, then either it’s a pretty big coincidence that she came up with the exact same design as me, or she must have copied my design from my images.

I wish I could be more philosophical about this, and just shrug it off, but right now I just feel really sad, and bloody cross. I’ve been googling “etsy and copyright violations” for hours today to try to decide what to do, and came across some thoughtful posts from people on the same issue, such as this one from Melissa at tiny happy, this one from chile con yarne, and this one from Flint Knits.

I haven’t yet decided what I will do – the similarity between her slippers and mine is so big that I don’t believe it’s a coincidence. (She is also selling some other items that look as if they are made from other free patterns on the internet, such as the lovely Durango hat by Catherine Lindsay.)  But can I prove that she violated my copyright? I don’t know. Can I be bothered? Again, I don’t know.  But what I do know is that I am going to think twice about posting anything I design on this website in future, because I really don’t want to feel the way I’ve been feeling today ever again.

18 Responses to “Taking the fun out of crafting”

  1. dottycookie Says:

    Oh, that’s rotten. It does happen, and more frequently than you might think. Check out what’s happened to Little Cotton Rabbits and Wee Wonderfuls if you want to be really horrified …

  2. Celeste Lytle Says:

    I am really sorry that happened. I love your slippers and I would be so sad to have missed your tutorial. You can always post a note advising people that if they would like the pattern to email you on the side? I have already cut out the mushroom pattern and again, I would be so lost without your pattern.

  3. Linda S. Says:

    I am so sorry this has happened. I have the site Fabric Follies Two and have linked to your pattern. If you would prefer, I will remove the link. I have several free patterns on my site, but they are very, very simple patterns that I knew could be made and sold easily, so I did not put up anything that I would mind having someone else sell… I just wish I could make this better for you.

  4. UK lass in US Says:

    How annoying. I’m not sure how the copyright thing works – what is considered using something as inspiration and what is considered downright copying. So far I have just been asking people to ask me first if they are going to sell anything based off my patterns, as I do not plan on selling them myself. I do ask them to credit me as designer, though.

  5. Sally Says:

    I’m really sorry that this has happened. I love your slipper design, and am so glad you posted it. But I would never dream of making & selling them as if they were my own design (or selling them at all if that were against the creator’s wishes). Yes, sometimes it’s possible to copy a design from a picture – but it’s not okay to profit from that.

  6. Claudia Says:

    I am so sorry about what happened to you. I can imagine how you feel especially as your pattern was so new and you had invested so much time and thought into it. I am also a person who profits very much from the many many beautiful patterns that can be found on the internet. I will never in my life manage to make them all but I love feeling inspired by them. And I love watching other people develop their ideas and patterns. It is so much fun to watch how they do it. That also is very inspiring. I would miss these patterns very much but naturally can understand if bloggers wouldn’t give them away for free if their ideas are abused. So thank you for showing us your creations. I appreciate it very much. greetings from Germany

  7. Valerie Says:

    shame !
    this happens, unfortunately.
    i’m the one who respects the free patterns that are generously shared online and make them for myself or gifts for friends only.
    i know it’s hard to prove and sue as for copyrights…
    i’m sorry for you

  8. Megan Says:

    You know, it’s funny. I was a little annoyed that you didn’t post the Etsy seller name, but then I figured, hey, if it’s really a copy, I should be able to find the seller myself.

    And I did! It’s totally a copy. Down to the color schemes. And that’s totally a copy of the Durango hat as well – it’s too much of a coincidence to have 3 buttons on the brim, and the ribbed sections. I don’t know what you should do, exactly. She’s selling the slippers for pretty cheap, considering how much time it probably takes to make them (if she had to factor in the time of designing the pattern, she’d probably charge more – hah!). Perhaps you could offer a paid version of the pattern that includes a certificate to sell the slippers? So if someone paid you a small amount per pair sold they would be OK?

    I, for one, hope you don’t stop posting free patterns. I love free patterns, and I just knit for myself and for gifts. I’m also a pattern designer (Peekaboo Mittens, published in now-dead Magknits, and available free on Ravelry), and definitely know how much fun it is to see your pattern show up in Ravelry queues. I’m going to have to go search Etsy for my mittens now…

  9. Michelle Says:

    Maybe corresponding with other people who have delt with this issue might help or at least point you in the right direction. At http://quiltville.blogspot.com/ Bonnie has dealt with this issue as she shares free patterns, Another lady is the Dear Jane quilt pattern franchise, she is almost milltant about searching the web to find people and telling them they can’t copy or sell quilts from her patterns, and she knows how to get them to stop. It would be a shame for you to stop doing what you enjoy with such a giving spirit just because of a few sour mellonheads that take advantage of such goodwill. But it is your call, or maybe an email sign -in to access your patterns then you have a track of these shifty people, either way know that the good followers of your blog appreciate you ;c).

  10. Joni Says:

    Bummer. It sucks that people like that ruin it for the rest of us who are just trying to craft without spending a fortune! It’s very irritating actually! Sorry this has happened!
    I have one word for her- KARMA.

  11. Cissie W Says:

    I found your website more or less by accident -cheering myself up in bed recovering from swine flu- and I’ve enjoyed it very much up to this point. Don’t let this person get under your skin – have a good swear and carry on. She is the lesser mortal and is not as creative as you!! I love your slippers too by the way x x

  12. LJ Emerson Says:

    Research, ” Intellectual Property “.

  13. Katherine Says:

    That sucks! I’m so sorry. People like that make me so angry. What have you decided to do about it?

  14. Bekah Says:

    I’m very sorry to hear that someone has taken your pattern. I found your site back in September and decided right then and there to make these slippers for my sisters and friends for Christmas…they have been a big hit! Again, I’m sorry for what has happened….every time I was making a slipper, I kept thinking about you and how talented you are to come up with your very own pattern.

  15. Tamara W Says:

    Hello – I just found your site and am TOTALLY loving it. I really appreciate that you shared your slipper pattern and I plan to attempt it soon. I’m so tired of seeing only “cool” patterns in knitting – which I can’t do. So, I just want to thank you for sharing and I am sorry that someone took advantage of your kindness. Tamara

  16. Manuela Says:

    I know you started out this post a while ago, but I really felt the need to say this. Your pattern reached me all the way over in Brazil, and I have to say, having tried out a number of crochet patterns for slippers from several different websites, this one is BY FAR the best written one. I really appreciate you sharing this with us, and I’m genuinely upset that someone took advantage of your generosity. I wonder if you shouldn’t get in touch with Etsy and see what their policy is for this kind of situation. Meanwhile, I think the best thing to do is to get as many people excited about crochet as possible, so that they will prefer to make their own items, rather than buy them, so having well-written, well-photographed patterns has its advantages! I visit your website often and love seeing your patterns and what you’ve been reading … you offer a great book list, too!
    All the best!

  17. NoviceCrocheter Says:

    I just discovered your pattern today and was so excited when I saw it, and then I read this and it truly does make me sad. I wanted to say, again, thank you SO much for sharing. I’d like to apologize on behalf of whomever it was for making you feel this way.😦

  18. Erica Wieland Says:

    If you are concerned about copyright violations, you might want to check this out on Amazon. Looks a lot like your pattern to me. I can’t find your name anywhere on the blog, but it doesn’t sound like you.http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004OEIU3M/ref=s9_simh_co_p351_d2_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=left-1&pf_rd_r=0NYNJCHSSM4GYCNZ04XX&pf_rd_t=3201&pf_rd_p=1280661682&pf_rd_i=typ01

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