The 30 Day Knitting Challege – Day 10

Day 10: Do you have a favorite pattern or designer?

In short, no…not just one! There are tons of awesome designers out there, and patterns for just about anything you could think of. There are, however, a handful of qualities I look for in a designer. I am selective about patterns that I purchase. I am willing to pay a decent price for a good pattern, and am in favor of supporting independent designers, but I expect a lot in return.

First, I appreciate when a pattern is well written. It should be clear and informative while still being concise. All abbreviations used should be described thoroughly in the legend. For example, one of my pet peeves is when ssk is explained simply as “slip, slip, knit”. Someone who had never worked that stitch before, which was everyone at some point, would not know from that description that you must slip each stitch separately, knit-wise, and then knit the two slipped stitches together through the back loops. I think care should be taken to use standard or common abbreviations when possible, as that both alleviates confusion and makes it easier for the knitter to look up any unfamiliar techniques.

Second, I think almost all patterns benefit from a good schematic. I remember looking at sewing patterns with my mom when I was a kid. I was always swayed by the drawings on the front, but my mom taught me to look at the back flap where there were clear diagrams of each variation the pattern contained. You could determine from those schematics if a pattern had gathers or pleats, darts or tucks, etc. Knitting patterns that include schematics are much clearer and easier to understand. I especially appreciate when a schematic includes the direction of the knitting, which is particularly helpful with shawls or other pieces knitted on the bias.

Third, the best patterns are thoroughly tested and tech edited. If I come to a stumbling block, I want to know that I can trust the pattern to have the right numbers and directions. Otherwise, I might second guess myself unnecessarily. Figuring out a complicated pattern can be quite a puzzle, and it’s disappointing if I ultimately determine there’s an error in the pattern.

When knitting, I like to challenge myself to try new things, figure out new techniques, and explore what’s out there. I do not think that challenge should extend to interpreting the pattern itself. The best patterns, those that meet all three criteria above, can help make tricky techniques fly off the needles without all the stress and confusion. A pattern like that, to me, is worth paying a fair price for.

Another quality I like in a pattern is versatility. Not all pieces lend themselves well to this, but many do. I appreciate when a designer has planned out different options or features and provided directions for them. That increases a pattern’s value significantly as it could be used to make things more customized. There are several designers (Tin Can Knits does this consistently) who size their patterns from newborn up through larger adult sizes, which I think is extremely useful. If I’m considering purchasing a pattern, I would be more likely to choose one that provided lots of options.

Finally, there is one practice that I find incredibly off-putting, and that is when designers attempt to place restrictions on what the knitter can do with any finished objects made from their pattern. I have seen multiple patterns that state that you may not sell items made from them, or that you must purchase a “cottage license” in order to have that right. Some say that you may use the pattern only to make items for your own personal use, or to donate to charity. The legal reality is that US copyright laws do not support this, and it only persists because people don’t tend to think designers would make that claim if it weren’t legit. In the US, copyright only covers the actual pattern*, not objects made from it. There’s a ton of discussion about this topic on ravelry so, if you want to delve into it further, there are many descriptions there that are far more detailed and informed than mine (such as some of the posts here). Suffice it to say it irks me when a designer adds such clauses, as it seems they are attempting to take advantage of people’s trusting nature.

So, that’s what I look for in a good pattern! How about you? Do you have a favorite pattern or designer?

A note about Thursday Sock-Along: You might have noticed yesterday was Thursday. You also might have noticed that I failed to notice yesterday was Thursday. Usually, I would have put up a sock post. However, since I haven’t been able to do any sock knitting this week, you’re not missing much! If you’d like to get your sock fix somewhere else, check out my fellow Thursday sock knitters. Paula blogs at Spin a Yarn and Hannah blogs at unsophisticated + jejune.

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge is the creation of Meggiewes who blogs at Knitting in Wonderland.

*And even that is debatable.

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10 comments

  1. Paula @ Spin a Yarn · June 11, 2016

    Wow! I had no idea that the copyright law would not extend to the goods made from the pattern! You learn something new every day πŸ™‚ I agree with all your points when looking for patterns. The hard part is knowing when you are going to get.

    I’ve bought a couple of books as well as patterns on Ravelry and still can’t figure them out. I thought they were advanced patterns; however, they are just not written to be conducive to knitting (unless you are the designer).

    I also prefer when a chart is written out. I don’t like buying patterns, only to find out that I’m going to have to do a lot of work myself to figure it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · June 11, 2016

      I was very surprised when I learned that. It really changed how I regard patterns and designers. It makes me wonder because, unless that designer wants to knit and sell FOs from that pattern, it really doesn’t cut into their market at all. And if that’s the case, why offer the pattern (for sale or for free) in the first place? If anything, having someone making items and selling them could promote visibility for that designer and might actually boost traffic. There’s not a significant amount of money in it anyway for either designer or maker, in most cases. Some posts on ravelry have cited concern that independently published patterns might get snapped up by huge companies and mass produced. For the most part, though, patterns for handknitting don’t translate to mass production machine knitting, anyway. And furthermore (can you tell I have strong feelings about this?), the actual design of a “useful item” can’t be copyrighted, anyway. So there’s nothing from stopping anyone, independent or corporate, from making completely legal knock offs of any design, provided there are no trademarked logos or graphics.

      Whew.

      As for knowing what y0u’re getting…sometimes you really don’t until you’ve purchased it. I typically will do my research before buying. I look at comments on the pattern as well as blogs posts and ravelry forum posts concerning it. I will also search any projects already made and filter them by “most helpful” first–sometimes that turns up some interesting information, positive or otherwise. If I do find a pattern that I think is of very high quality, I will be more likely to buy from that designer again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paula @ Spin a Yarn · June 12, 2016

        I can tell πŸ™‚ You’ve made some really good points. I will definitely keep these in mind when purchasing future patterns!

        Liked by 1 person

      • alexand knits · June 12, 2016

        Okay, I’ll get off my soap box πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. changmarce · June 15, 2016

    hi
    about the topic of the copyright. I put always “In purchasing this pattern you agree to print and use this pattern only for your personal non-commercial use. You may not distribute or sell electronic or paper copies of this pattern.” But not because of I don’t want people makes the FO for sale, is because there is a lot of people selling the print. If someone wants to make the pattern to sell the finished object.. for me is fine. But if this person is selling FO’s in etsy or whatever plataform I will love that she/he name me as the designer. I’ve seen a lot of knitters in Etsy who claim the design as yours and I know that is not true.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · June 15, 2016

      Thanks for reading, and for sharing your thoughts!

      Copyright of the pattern itself is a different thing than attempting to license the use of the pattern. While most patterns actually don’t have much, if any, copyrightable material, I agree that a designer’s pattern should not be reproduced and distributed by others, whether for free or for sale. I actually have not come across people doing that, although I’m sure it happens.

      I think some of the confusion arises from the phrase “for personal use”. Legally, that phrase refers to use of the pattern, not use of the item made from it. So, someone could make a photocopy of a pattern they had acquired legally, provided that photocopy was for their own use and not for distribution. If that person then knitted the item the pattern was for, she (or he) would be free to keep it, give it away or sell it, without infringing on the designer’s copyright. Designers who say or imply that makers must pay extra to “license” the pattern in order to sell items from it are uninformed at best and unscrupulous at worst.

      I see requests to link back to the designer if makers sell items fairly frequently, although I don’t believe I’ve seen it on any patterns I’ve used to make items to sell. That request might be a mixed bag, though. Individual skill levels and tastes vary widely and makers might end up with items significantly different than what the designers intended, good or bad. For the most part, people buying knitted items from me are not knitters or crafters themselves and so would be unlikely to ever purchase the original pattern. From a legal perspective, you can’t actually copyright a design, just the pattern to make it. So, if people pass off designs as their own (that aren’t), I think that’s in poor taste…but it’s not a copyright infringement.

      Like

    • alexand knits · June 15, 2016

      By the way, what’s your ravelry store name? I would love to check out your patterns!

      Liked by 1 person

      • changmarce · June 16, 2016

        thanks.. my rav name is changmarce… you can find the store there

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The 30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 15 | alexand knits
  4. changmarce · June 16, 2016

    I agree with you… after you buy the pattern you can do whatever you want with it.. but designers put a lot of effort in make a good and well written design.. so what is the difficult on name it…in say.. I knit this item designed by… Thats all!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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