Collaboration vs. Competition (and Clapotis Tips Too)

I’ve noticed something about some patterns lately that I don’t remember seeing on old, vintage patterns.

Once in a while, there will be a statement somewhere on the pattern prohibiting making the item for sale; I’ve heard these referred to as personal use only patterns.  I’ve seen this on both free patterns and patterns I’ve bought.

Now, call me crazy, but it seems to me that if I buy a pattern I should be able to do whatever I want with it (except sell it on directly, of course).  I think the time and materials I put into a knitted item, say a shawl, are quite a contribution, and give me the right to sell it, gift it, keep it, or even destroy it if I wish.

When you buy a cookbook, there isn’t a disclaimer that you can’t make cupcakes from the recipe and sell them.  The very idea is laughable, and I don’t see much difference, they are both intellectual property.

Attempting to place restrictions on the use of your creation speaks volumes about a mindset of lack and scarcity – which is not the way I choose to live.  I believe there is plenty of business for everyone.

I don’t see how it hurts the pattern designer for me to knit and sell from her pattern.  I’ve already paid for it, more people will see her designs, and that could result in more pattern sales to other knitters.

As a matter of fact, I know of at least one pattern designer, Natalie Larson, who recognizes that collaboration is a better way to do business than the old paradigm of competition.

Here’s what she says on her Star Crossed Slouchy Beret pattern page on Ravelry about knitting her patterns for sale.

If you buy the seller pattern, it allows you to sell an unlimited number of finished products. This is lifetime license with no sample knitting required. I ask that credit be given and that you provide a link from your listings to my etsy, HC and Ravelry pattern store. I will provide you with the links and exact wording. Additionally, I will link to your shop information from my stores – perhaps you’ll get some extra business!

She is a forward thinking business person.  Collaborating with other knitters will get her pattern more exposure, more word of mouth and very likely, more sales.  And it doesn’t cost her a thing. The knitter gets free marketing assistance.  Win-Win – I love that!

In news about my own knitting, I’ve received some custom orders lately.  I’m on the second one now, it’s a Clapotis in Malabrigo Rios, colorway Aguas.

Here’s a picture of the first Clapotis I knit.  This yarn is Cascade 220, the colorway is 9923.  It reminded me of a thunderstorm sky, I called it Thunderclap on my Ravlery page.

Clapotis in Cascade 220

And here’s the beginning of the new one in Malabrigo.  I’m thinking it will be spectacular.

Clapotis in Malabrigo Aguas

I find the clapotis pattern to be overly complicated as it’s written on Knitty.  Fortunately, Kim at SoulKnitting has made a wonderful checklist you can find here on her blog.  Makes the whole process very simple, just knit and check off the rows.

If you have any trouble with the checklist and can’t reach Kim feel free to contact me, I’ll email you the spreadsheet.

So, genius pattern design and easy to use instructions from someone else – see what I mean about collaboration?

What do you think about this subject?

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3 thoughts on “Collaboration vs. Competition (and Clapotis Tips Too)”

  1. I think a lot about this subject, yes! I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think it’s a cheek to ask the buyer not to sell the result for profit. Why not? Do they want a share in that as well as selling the pattern? I call that greedy. I think once you’ve bought the pattern, you should be able to do what you want with it.
    One artist who does this is Tilda. She designs beautiful dolls and such. I bought one of her books. It is wonderful. Then I noticed that she asks us not to make to sell the products in the book. Most people wouldn’t have the time to make enough to sell for a profit anyway! Then … I noticed that a blogging pal was selling one of the dolls, obviously out of the book! Should I tell her or not? I decided to tell her only because I didn’t want her to get taken to court over it.
    Why are the artists so inward thinking and unwilling to share their skills?

  2. Thanks for the shout-out! I’ll have to update that link so it works again. Please share it as you see fit. I love the Clapotis pattern and reworked a spreadsheet because I am for sure a row and stitch count knitter. Hope this helps others. I do give credit to all who helped with that spreadsheet and pattern before me too. Kim AKA SoulKnitting

  3. The more I explore your site, the more I find to like and agree with. I tend to avoid patterns/books that have the “not to make for sale warnings”. It is as ludicrous as if I tried to limit what is made from my hand spun yarn or hand dyed roving. (but I do like to hear/see how well something works out:) I think linking to the pattern creator is great!

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