Thursday, March 29, 2007

Isn't he a doll!?

I have now entered a new odd phase in my knitting life where I buy patterns if I think that the baby on the cover is cute. I am not currently pregnant, have one friend who is, and am 41. You could say that that fertility train is leaving the station, and you would be right. As my beloved friend Phil says, "that pasture gate is OPEN". So why am I buying baby patterns? I am not old enough to be
oohing and aahing over babies in a grandmotherly way, but old enough to know that my own chances are dwindling by the minute. Is this baby pattern frenzy some pathetic attempt to conjure up a baby in my life, à la if you build it they will come? (That was Babs' hilarious line). But look at that little fella on the cover of the Nashua Bloom leaflet, is he not the cutest little thing ever? I know I am attracted to him because he looks like a baby version of my dad, as everyone knows that old men and infants look very much alike. Baby projects are enthralling because they are also a. inexpensive to make, b. mico-versions of adult projects that take f-o-r-e-v-e-r and c. so dang cute! So the one baby in my life will be getting "Baby's First Aran" made out of Nashua Creative Focus. Could that yarn be more appropriately titled for this here A.D.D. Knitter?

While I was at Kathy's Kreations buying the yarn (only two skeins! what a deal!) for the above mentioned project, I got into an interesting conversation with Kathy Zimmermann (the shop owner, designer and all around fantasic yarn impresaria) and Lisa, the designer of the well known and beloved Lisa Knits patterns. I had printed out my copy of Glee and was looking for some yarn to make it with, that is before I came to my senses and tapped back into this whole baby garment mania. They wondered where I had gotten the pattern as they were unfamiliar with Zephyr Knits as well as the other designers that sell their patterns via pdf downloads. The two were somewhat shocked to know how widespread the practice is among internet knitters and designers and expressed concern regarding piracy issues. Both had been ripped off before and found their patterns posted on listserves and sites without their permission. My impression is that knitters who are heavily into the knitblogosphere and buy a lot of patterns on line really value the work that these independent designers put into their patterns and tend to support LYSs over big box stores anyway, so would most likely be more careful to respect copyright. They weren't so sure. They felt that the electronic format lended itself to people more readily sending it to their friends and disseminating copies illegally. The discussion was very lively as it was interesting to see the issue from their perspective. Part of me wonders whether it's a generational question, or if it has to do with a shop owner's legitimate need to have knitters dependent on patterns from a brick and mortar store. I'd be curious to know what other knitters thought about the issue...(hint,hint)!


Veronique said...

I think it's a generation thing... Personally, I've rarely printed out copies of a pattern for a friend, and I am shocked when a random stranger emails me and has the gall to ask for a free copy. I completely agree with you that the reason I would rather purchase my own copy is to support an independent business! I also think that many of the patterns you can download as pdfs are sold by internet-savvy people, who can check your blog... (I have a friend who got an email from a designer who thought that my friend was showing too much of her pattern and asked her to take down that picture).

Zarah said...

Yeah, and if we wanted to rip off the designer it's pretty darn easy to scan or photocopy the pattern. I think if people respect the copyright in the first place, then the fact that the pattern is in electronic form isn't going to tempt them to share it illegally.

Melissa said...

It would be just as easy to photocopy or scan and e-mail. Seriously.
I'm with everyone else that if the copyright is respected, then it shouldn't be an issue.
Definitely a generational thing I think.

The baby is adorable. :)

pamela wynne said...

Really interesting question! I also think that PDFs sold through blogs carry a sense of (1) indie DIY-ness, and (2) personal connection. Those two things seem to make folks more concsious about supporting the designer.

Erin said...

I think there are always going to be people who don't respect copyright and will take advantage in whatever way they can. Most knitters I know and those I read online, however, seem to be honest people who are ultra sensitive to and supportive of independent designers. So I doubt there is a huge problem--or at least I hope there isn't.

ali said...

As a designer, I have been 'encouraged' not to go the pdf route... And the reasoning coming from said encouragers has been the whole support the LYSs, which I certainly understand...
I also see the whole 'it's just as easy to scan/copy it and share it that way'
People just need to respect copyrights. But I don't see anything wrong with borrowing a book from a friend or, gasp, a library... to knit something. It's the photocopying that's an issue.
You could argue that my loaning a book to a friend takes away a potential sale... but not if she wouldn't have bought the book anyway. It never was a potential sale if she wasn't intending on ever buying it. As much as my knitting library is expanding (by 4 books today, in fact) I wouldn't expect every knitter to buy every book, or even every pattern they ever knit.
Oh, I have such mixed emotions, because at the same time, I would really hate to miss out on a sale!
Anyway, people are gonna do what they're gonna do...We can try to educate on the issues and encourage people to just do right, but the doing is there's to do, and what can ya do?
Well, enough rambling!
On with the knitting,

gray la gran said...

well, it would be very easy to send someone a copy of a pattern that was downloaded as pdf ... just attach that file to an email and it's gone!
but, i don't think it makes a difference if it's a hardcopy or pdf file. if someone's going to share, they'll share. perhaps the pdf makes it more convenient.
what i like about the downloads from independents is i feel it's easier to get intouch with the designer if i have an issue with the instructions. often, i can go back to their blog or email them. i don't necessarily have that ease with a widely published pattern via a yarnshop or magazine.
i want some of the stitch diva patterns, and though i could download them, without tax, without shipping, i kinda want them in hardcopy form ... because they're printed on nice cardstock in color.
oh, and just so you know ... i LOVE the opal! i feel so ADD right now ... not knowing which socks or yarn to knit, and wanting to knit them all at once! it makes me feel like a deer in the headlights.

Karen said...

I agree with what most have said - if someone really wants to share a pattern, they will share it, regardless of what form it is in. A pdf can be e-mailed, but a hard copy can be photocopied and mailed or scanned and e-mailed. I like to think we knitters are a pretty honest bunch, and wouldn't steal from the designer by violating a copyright.

Cindy in Happy Valley said...

It is most certainly generational, AND I hate to tell these folks that, the train has long since left the station.

My Cmp Sci students will forego doing business with brick and mortar stores in favor of internet shopping.
I suggest they get on board, or get left behind. They can use tools like those at Creative Commons to give themselves a little more protection.

Also I agree with what everyone else says. People will make copies just as easily as sharing pdfs.

Faith! said...

I like having nice printed copies, but I feel like I see more contemporary, edgier patterns on the internet. Essentially, the "new knitters" are on the internet, and that's where a lot of their patterns are too. I think overall, knitters are an incredibly respectful group of people and those that ask about sharing files or photocopying haven't been around long enough to figure out that it's rude. They'll learn!

nicole said...

Like gray la gran, I like buying a pattern directly from the designer. It's nice to have direct access to the individual that created it. I wouldn't feel comfortable using a pirated copy or a print out from a friend. I'd feel like I was robbing "the little guy".

But I've noticed I'm a little less "virtuous" when it comes to bigger business. I borrow a lot of knitting books from the library and will often photocopy a few patterns, especially if the rest of the book doesn't really interest me. If I like more than two or three patterns out of a book, I'll try and buy it instead. But many books are no longer available, so for those, I photocopy more freely.

By the way, I also love love love baby knitting and that Nashua cover is incredibly cute! I can see why you fell for it.

Anonymous said...

It's a generational thing!!! And that baby is absolutely adorable.

knittingphilistine said...

I find that knitbloggers (or the ones that I am in contact with, anyway) really do have a deep sense of respect for copyright issues and are very honest (and surprisingly educated!) people. And PDFs are a great way to sell, I think. Very useful for storing, convenient for printing when needed, etc. And, honestly, if people are going to disrespect copyrights and share with friends, they are going to do it regardless of format. Photocopies are just as easy to distribute, as are scanned copies.

Now, about this baby lust... perhaps you are just lusting after teensy little sweaters that take no time to knit. And, I honestly, truly believe that all of the best patterns are designed for the little people.

JulieFrick said...

After reading through all of these comments, something I rarely have time to do, I realize that often I'm probably only echoing what already came before, so I won't. Instead, I'll say that patterns for kids are super fun. Go for it. You'll always find very happy recipients, and you can fill up your FO album. Plus, you can constantly try out new yarns and techniques without a major commitment. Of the kind, say, a kid takes. Ha!

KnitPastis said...

Such an adorable baby sweater and totally loving the plaid shorts with it! I find knitting baby clothes so enjoyable. It was a great way for me to learn how to knit a sweater in the beginning since it goes so quickly. Great choice!

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

You don't have baby fever just baby knitting fever--quite different and all part of the being able to finish faster thing. It's the fever that induced a co-worker of mine (one I brought over to the dark side)to knit half a dozen things for the baby of a woman she barely knows (the manager of one of our other stores). That baby is seriously adorable BTW. I think most people try to respect copyright. I buy books I love and I buy patterns on-line that I love, it's how it is. But, as a graphic designer, I've had my work ripped off. It sucks but it happens.