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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Cold Hard Facts: Copyright Violation

I get emails sometimes saying something along the lines of: "Did you know that 'such and such' Yahoo Group is sharing your 'Angel of Love' pattern? Is it okay for them to do that?" The answer is, of course, no, it is not. And now and then, I learn about someone who has scanned one or more of my patterns and posted them online.
I immediately write to the person and ask them to stop distributing my patterns. Fortunately, so far, everyone has taken the patterns down, or agreed to stop distributing them. If they did not, I would write to the forum where the patterns were posted: Blogger, Yahoo Groups, Flickr, etc. All of these sites have rules against using them for illegal activity, and distributing copyrighted materials is illegal. They will shut down the group or delete the offending blog or page once the copyright owner proves they are sharing documents illegally. Facebook also has such a rule; now and then pages show up on which entire pattern books have been scanned in. One even had a notice saying  "No copyright violation intended," as if that made it okay. But as soon as they are reported, Facebook will shut them down.
 All of my patterns are protected by copyright laws. So are practically every other self-publishing designer's, and certainly all patterns produced by the big publishing houses are. It doesn't matter if a book is out of print. Every pattern published since 1978 is protected by copyright law for 70 years after the authors death. Since I plan to live for quite a while yet, that means that none of my designs will  be in the public domain until somewhere around 2130. And even then, I hope that some of my descendants will renew the copyright on them (I plan to  set it up so that they will have the right to do so after my passing.)
The Internet has made sharing patterns easier than ever; there are literally thousands of free patterns which are available legally. I offer free patterns, too, and encourage everyone to enjoy them. (But even my free patterns are copyrighted; if you would like to share one of them, please share the link, so that your friends can download their own copy.)
 But we self-publishing designers have our place, too. Is it fair that we not be paid for our work? As my friend, designer Kathryn White, put it, "There are a lot of really good crocheters out there, but only a handful of designers that can truly create something new and exciting. Don't people understand they need to support us, not trash us? They have no concept of the amount of work that goes in to creating and writing up a pattern for one of these designs."
So the next time someone asks, "Will you share the pattern?" I hope you will think twice.
I, and all other designers, will be grateful to you.
NOTE: I just want to add that it is perfectly legal to sell your used pattern books. The problem comes when people make copies of them and try to sell the copies. In the case of pdf's, the problem comes when people post them online or make them available to others.
UPDATE: I have been asked if it is okay to sell finished items made from copyrighted patterns. It is my understanding that the copyright protects only the actual pattern itself, and  that it is perfectly legal to sell  finished items made from any pattern. I consider it a complement when someone makes an item from one of my patterns to sell, and I have several good customers who do so on Etsy and Ebay. But some designers  seem to have a problem with this issue, so I think it would be courteous to ask a designer (especially a self-publishing designer) if they allow finished items made from their patterns to be sold. They may not have the legal right to stop you, but  I would respect their wishes if they did not want you to. In my opinion, they are only hurting themselves by restricting what their customers do with their finished items, as there are many other designers out there who have no problem with it.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sylvie's Bird Doily

I love to see the creative things people do with my patterns, so I was thrilled to see what the talented Sylvie has done with the Blue Birds of Happiness doily.
Instead of two birds, Sylvie designed a little nest with three baby birds to place on one side of the doily. It is adorable, and so creative! (I do not have a pattern for this modification, it is Sylvie's own design.) Sylvie is a very talented crochet designer, and has a lovely blog here:
http://univers-du-crochet.com/
 It is all written in French, but it is a wonderful site to visit.
This is the original Blue Birds of Happiness doily. The pattern is available here: bluebird
Thank you so much for sharing the photo of your delightful doily, Sylvie! I love it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Possum

I have a kind of unusual fondness for possums. For many years, I lived in a little community that was called the "Possum Capital of Texas."
 We even had a Possum Festival every fall.


So, I was very happily surprised to see this little fellow in the pear tree in my front yard this morning.

Isn't he cute?
Rosie didn't know what to think about him, she wanted him to come down from the tree and play with her (not a good idea!)
I wonder if I could crochet a doily of a possum hanging from it's tail in a persimmon tree?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Crochet Online

One of the most wonderful things available to crocheters today is the Internet. There are literally thousands of blogs, web sites and videos available to provide inspiration, information, tutorials, free patterns, and well, just about anything you could want or need related to crochet. Here are a few sites that I have enjoyed visiting  recently:

The next time I someone asks me "But what can you do with all of those doilies?" I am going to share the link to this post on Mod Vintage Life: http://modvintagelife.blogspot.com/2011/08/doilies.html
Nita has collected photos from all over the web showing inovative and beautiful ways to use all the doilies we tend to collect over the years (well, at least I have!) Her blog is lovely, I love her decorating style!

If you are not a member of Ravelry, which is an online community of knitters and crocheters, I urge you to check it out. There are hundreds of different groups for every kind of interest you can imagine (I belong to groups called "Doily Heads," "Threadies," and "Crinoline Girls We Love" for example.) You can spend hours just looking at all the beautiful items folks have posted pictures of. Be sure you have some extra time when you visit: http://www.ravelry.com/

I love the fact that many big name fashion designers are featuring crocheted designs! Betsey Johnson is one of my all time favorite designers, and while I am afraid this little top is too young for me, I think it is adorable! http://www.betseyjohnson.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11529180
Copyright Betsey Johnson
And if you don't know about Crochet Pattern Central, you are in for a treat. They have links to thousands of free online  patterns. It is a treasure trove of goodies! The patterns are broken down into categories to make it easier to search for a specific type of pattern. http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/index.php
Well, that's all for today. Do you have any favorite crochet sites?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Coming Soon: the Stella Luna Doily

I am working on the pattern for a new doily which is called "Stella Luna." It features a little witch sitting on a crescent moon.

I like her red and white striped stockings.

The bats were the hardest thing to get right; I bet I made a hundred different wings before I got one I liked.

My little ginger haired beauty!

The Trick or Treat Doily will be the gift pattern that will come with purchase of Stella Luna.

The patterns will be available on BellaCrochet.com in September, 2011.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Another Thing I Love About Crochet: It is Relaxing

If I had a nickel for every time someone said to me, "I just don't have the patience to crochet," I would, hmm, let's see now..., well, I would have a pretty big sack full of nickles.
These folks usually follow that statement up with something like, "I just can't sit still long enough to  crochet." And my answer to that is that I can only sit still if I have some crochet work in my hands. I feel all fiddly if I sit down to watch a movie or something and I don't have a crochet project to work on; I just don't know what to do with my hands.
Yes, it can be frustrating and difficult to sit still and crochet when you are just learning. Everything that is worth learning takes some time and effort. But if you keep at it (and it usually doesn't take very long) there will come a glorious moment when you will "get it," and the stitches start to flow easily. You won't  have to concentrate on every single movement, your hands relax, and crochet becomes the joy, the relaxing activity that has saved my sanity on more than one occasion.
When my children were small, I looked forward to the moments I could slip away to my favorite chair and add a few stitches to what ever project I had going; often it was the only time I had for myself during the day. The repetitive motion of crocheting the familiar stitches seemed to sooth my nerves, and the stress of the day would melt away.
When my mother was sick, I sat by her bed and crocheted. I would have lost my mind if I didn't have something to work on during that stressful time. I made easy projects; baby blankets and afghans with easy stitch patterns that I didn't have to think about. I could stop in the middle of a row or even in the middle of a stitch, get up and tend to Mama, and then pick my work back up. Sometimes she would look over at me, and seeing what I was doing, she would begin to make the motions of crocheting, too (of course, she had no hook or thread in her hands.) A nurse came in one afternoon, and seeing Mama's hands moving asked   if she was okay; she thought she was agitated about something. "She is just crocheting," I told her, holding up my own hook and yarn. The nurse laughed, and said, "Make something pretty for me, Mrs. Loftis!"
But it seems to me that when my hands are busy my mind can be still, or at least drift a little. When I crochet, I feel peaceful and calm. It is the most relaxing thing I know of, and that is one of the reasons I love crochet.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Happily Ever After Doily and Angel Wings Prayer Shawl Now Available

I have added two new pattern sets to bellacrochet.com.
First is the "Happily Ever After Doily" which is available here:
The happy couple!

The Bride wears a pearl necklace and tiara, and carries a bouquet of roses.

The Groom looks handsome in his gray tux and pink bow tie!
The "Annaleace" doily, which is the gift pattern that comes with the purchase of Happily Ever After.
The second new product for August is the "Angel Wings Comfort or Prayer Shawl."

Here is the back of it; it starts with my favorite Eyelet Foundation (instructions on how to do it are included in the pattern.)

But the really cool thing about this shawl is that it is actually shaped like a pair of Angel's Wings!

Here is the "Angel's Touch Throw" which is the gift pattern that comes with the purchase of the Angel Wings Shawl.

It is sweet and simple, but has a pretty ruffled border.

The Angel Wings Comfort or Prayer Shawl is available here:
angelwings
I am now working on a Halloween doily which features a little witch sitting on the cresent moon; I will post a sneak peek picture in a few days.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Things I Love About Crochet

It has been a long hot summer, and I have been in a bit of a designing slump lately. Since I always prefer to focus on the positive, I thought I would do a few posts over the next few weeks on some of the  things I love the most about crochet.
Today, I want to talk about something that I don't see mentioned very often, but which I think is a very positive thing about crochet; the fact that it is a relatively inexpensive hobby.
Of course you can spend lots of money on expensive yarn if you want to, but it is not necessary. Good quality crochet thread can be purchased for less than 5 dollars a ball, and a ball usually contains anywhere from 3 to 4 hundred yards of thread. You can make many thread projects for less than 10 dollars in materials. There are also many good quality yarns available that are reasonably priced; there is no need to spend a lot of money on yarn unless you just want to.  And almost everyone has left-over yarn that can be used  to make granny squares or other scrap projects if you don't have the money to go out and buy new yarn.
Crochet hooks can be purchased very inexpensively, and will last a lifetime (if you don't loose them, which I have been known do!)

Most of the crocheters I know own large collections of crochet patterns, but if money is tight and you want a new design to work on, there are thousands of free patterns available on the Internet (of course, I hope everyone will treat themselves to a lovely new  BellaCrochet pattern now and then!)

In these tough economic times, I think the fact that you can enjoy crocheting without breaking the bank is a very positive thing, and one of the many  things I love about crochet.

What do you love about crochet?
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