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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Finished Objects and a Great Give Away

I finished the scarf I’ve been working on for my lovely sister, Linda.  I’m very happy with it overall.  I did find the yarn, Lunabudknits BFL Sock (100% superwash Blueface Leicester Wool),  to be a bit kinky and thus tangly, but it sure did knit up into a gorgeous scarf!  The pattern is Milky Way Scarf, available free on Ravelry.  I’m really sure my sister will love this.  This is year 2 in the annual “Linda Picks, Sandy Knits” program my sister and I conduct.  We go to a fiber festival (with my mother) and Linda picks out some lovely yarn.  Then we come home and explore on Ravelry until we find the perfect pattern.

Last year’s result in the “Linda Picks, Sandy Knits” tradition was the Trellis shawl, knit in a hand dyed silvery purple merino/bamboo blend.  Click on the picture to see it more closely.  Lots of nupps in this pattern, I was very glad to bind it off!

I’ve been working on swatching some lace patterns for my Craftsy class, Lace Shawl Design.

Here’s one

Openwork Leaf Pattern from Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns

I’ve done four practice charts to see which ones I’d like to include or adapt in the first shawl I design.  As a result, last week was a bit short of actual productive knitting.

On Labor Day, I got back into the “real knitting” swing and started a new project.  The yarn is Mini Mochi, colorway 01.

Love free yarn?  The Making Spot is running a contest right now with a prize of a year’s worth of British Made yarn from Blacker Yarns.  Their yarns look lovely to me and well worth winning.  The Making Spot also has great patterns to dream over!  Join me in entering the contest.  Good luck!

Lace Shawl Design

I have taken the Craftsy plunge and signed up for a class! Lace Shawl Design with Miriam Felton was my choice, as I hope to sharpen my skills in this area. I love many things about Craftsy classes. For a very reasonable cost you get access forever to the lessons, it’s easy to watch part of a class again and again until you “get it” or if you were interrupted (thanks, kids), and there’s a cool way to take notes that are saved in the lesson so you can find them later.

Miriam is easy to listen to and watch as she demonstrates what she’s teaching.  Occasionally she seems the teensy tiniest bit nervous, but that just makes her even more human and endearing.   I have finished lesson 4 of 13 and have learned a lot about charting lace.

I easily charted a very attractive pattern called Openwork Leaf from Barbara Walker’s wonderful book Treasury of Knitting Patterns.  However, I am having quite a lot of trouble charting Fluerette from the same book.  The stitch count changes and I am having a  murderous time figuring out how to chart that.  So, I am going to take Miriam’s advice and knit a swatch in the hopes I will understand the pattern enough to chart it correctly.  It’s a really pretty lace; the pattern is described as an “charming old French lace pattern (with a ) delicate, meshlike quality”.  Sounds ideal for a shawl.

Another thing I like about Craftsy is that you can ask questions, the instructor and other students will answer, so I know this will be resolved in the end!

I met my business partner and friend, Cheryl, along with our  friend Christel to knit yesterday.  We spent an hour and a half catching up and knitting away on our various projects.  I’m working on a scarf for my lovely sister, Linda.  It’s almost done and then I plan to knit a series of cowls for my kids.

They asked for cowls last year and I just never got them off the ground, so this year I am committed to them.  If my daughters actually ask me to hand knit something I am certainly willing to do it, especially something as easy as a plain ribbed cowl (which, to be truthful, I will probably find a bit boring ).

Cheryl brought a cowl she knit from some of my hand spun yarn to our little knitting group yesterday.  This is the first hand spun yarn I’ve created that I’ve seen knit up.  I was stunned and really amazed at its beauty.  It is so much more than I ever dreamed!  What do you think?

And here is a close up.

I have an idea for a series of lacy cowls.  When will I have time to write up those patterns?  I see many days in the near future with very little housework getting done (oh, let’s be honest – no housework being done).  Hope no one minds sandwiches for dinner (over and over).

Charts Made Simple

Today I am reviewing a knitting book called Charts Made Simple by JC Briar.  The book is subtitled understanding knitting charts visually – and that says it all.

Charts Made Simple

JC is a genius, in my opinion.  This book is clearly written and well thought out; it’s the best book I’ve seen on knitting from a chart.  You may wonder why you need to learn to knit from a chart – well, I used to knit from the written instructions.  I avoided those charted only patterns like the plague, because I didn’t understand them.  After reading this book, I understand how they are written, how to read them, how to knit from them and how to create them!  And I spend a lot less time tinking (unknitting) to fix silly mistakes.

There are lots of good illustrations that are big enough to see with clear explanations of what is shown.  She also offers exercises to practice the new skills learn (an answer key is included).

I learned I was reading them the wrong way around and covering up the wrong parts, and that was the big reason they were so difficult for me.

I learned how to read cable charts and how simple cables really are.

I learned how to read charts that show changes in shape, how to get back on track after I do something wrong, to enlarge a chart to make it easier to read – these are all things that were not intuitive for me.

I bought the book at my local yarn store for $17.95 and it was worth every penny,  You’ll find it a useful addition to your knitting library, and will refer to it many times, especially when learning a new charted technique,  like cabling or working with multi-stitch symbols.   Ask your yarn shop if they carry it or will order it for you.  You won’t be sorry, as you’ll soon be an expert user of knitting charts!