Cold Sheep 2016 – April progress

A third of the way through the year, and my first net increase to stash in the year. It won’t be as bad as July though, when the Tour de Fleece will have me spinning for almost three weeks solid. I am still ahead of the game in the year overall.

I turned my Diamond Wristers pattern into gloves, using up 317 yards of yarn in the process

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/diamond-wristers-4

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/diamond-wristers-4

I then turned to my fibre stash, spinning up 98g of grey Jacob into 452 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/grey-jacob

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/grey-jacob

This was quickly followed by 100g of white Jacob being spun into 456 yards of fingering weight

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/white-jacob

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/white-jacob

Time after that to use up some yarn, so a total of 1,277 yards went into a sparkly fingering weight sweater (I am getting quite the collection of these this year)

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/toor-toor

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/toor-toor

Finally there was time to spin up another 208g of fibre into 954 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/swan

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/swan

Total monthly yarn out:  1,594 yards
Total monthly yarn in:  1,862 yards

Net monthly yarn increase: 268 yards

Monthly fibre stash reduction: 406g.


Total yarn out year-to-date: 9,702 yards
Total yarn in year-to-date: 6,548 yards

Net yarn reduction year-to-date: 3,154 yards

Fibre stash reduction year-to-date: 1,616g.

 

Using up scraps: pockets

A quick tip for using up those scraps of yarn that you might have leftover after a project: pockets.

Whilst there are a number of patterns specifically written for small amounts of leftover yarn, such as the beekeeper’s quilt, sometimes you don’t want to commit yourself to such a large project (my beekeeper’s quilt was a long-term stashbusting project).

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/the-beekeepers-quilt

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/the-beekeepers-quilt

Instead, those little scraps are perfect for pockets. Use the yarn from your project to pick up the initial stitches for any pocket, and work a few rounds with it, but after that you can switch to scraps and leftovers, safe in the knowledge that (unless you turn your pockets inside out) no-one will ever know that the pocket isn’t all the same colour. This also allows you to maximise the use of your main yarn without it being hidden away.

Now you see it

Now you see it

Now you don't

Now you don’t

Copyright: what it covers

I have recently been engaged in a battle with a blogger who has been taken my blog posts here and reproducing them on their own site, violating my copyright, so I thought it was time to take a look at copyright: what it covers and what it doesn’t.

The first thing to note is that the laws on copyright vary from country to country. Although the Berne Convention affords some protections across borders, it only grants the members of countries who have signed up to it the same protections in other countries as they would get in their own (and vice versa). It does, however, state the following basic rights for all nationals of signatories:

  • The right to authorise translations of the work.
  • The exclusive right to reproduce the work.
  • The right to authorise public performance or broadcast, and the communication of broadcasts and public performances.
  • The right to authorise arrangements or other types of adaptation to the work.
  • Recitation of the work, (or of a translation of the work).
  • The exclusive right to adapt or alter the work.
  • The author has the right to claim authorship
  • The right to object to any treatment of the work which would be ‘prejudicial to his honour or reputation’.

It also gives minimum term limits for these rights (under Article 7), though these can be extended by individual countries:

  • the life of the author and fifty years after his death
  • in the case of cinematographic works, the countries of the Union may provide that the term of protection shall expire fifty years after the work has been made available to the public with the consent of the author, or, failing such an event within fifty years from the making of such a work, fifty years after the making.
  • in the case of anonymous or pseudonymous works, the term of protection granted by this Convention shall expire fifty years after the work has been lawfully made available to the public.
  • for photographic works and that of works of applied art in so far as they are protected as artistic works;  this term shall last at least until the end of a period of twenty-five years from the making of such a work.

So, before you even start looking at individual local laws regarding copyright protection, these are the minimum rights and limits for a national of any country that has signed up to the Berne Convention (a full list of all 171 countries can be found here: http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?lang=en&treaty_id=15).

The key rights, or rather those that people seem to want to violate the most, are the exclusive right to reproduce the work and the right to authorise translations of the work. For some reason, a seemingly large number of people appear to think that it is perfectly OK to ask someone to make a copy of a knitting/crochet pattern for them or to translate a knitting/crochet pattern into another language for them (often with associated copying without the copyright owner’s consent).

Another confusion is the pervasive idea that free patterns are not covered by the rules of copyright. Not true, there is nothing in the Berne Convention that restricts these rights to items for which any form of consideration (or ‘boot’) changes hands. Free patterns have the exact same rights as paid-for patterns.

Many people also seem to confuse ‘out of print’ with ‘out of copyright’. Per the Berne Convention the minimum amount of time before a pattern is out of copyright is 50 years after the author’s death, and may be longer depending on the country (in the UK it is 70 years after the copyright holder’s death).

At this point someone often tries to justify copyright violations with ‘fair use’, but their understanding of the term and the legal definition often don’t tally. The Berne Convention covers this in Article 10 and covers:

  • quotations (so not the entire publication)
  • for teaching (with limits set by the local laws)
  • for editorial purposes (with limits set by the local laws)

Let’s look at an example of what those limits might be by looking at the UK’s laws on copyright, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

The UK laws list what are ‘Permitted Acts’ in relation to copyrighted works, and let’s see what they say about using copyrighted material for editorial purposes:

  • Fair dealing with a work for the purpose of criticism or review, of that or another work or of a performance of a work, does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement and provided that the work has been made available to the public.

Note the use of the phrase ‘fair dealing’ aka ‘fair use’, this is a tricksy little concept that the UK copyright service attempt to explain here, but the big takeaway should be that it refers only to parts of a work and not a work in its entirety. So, need help and post a couple of lines of a pattern that is confusing you, probable fair use/dealing. Post the entire pattern, copyright violation.

So this covers the minimum intellectual property protection that something like a knitting/crochet pattern or a blog post might have. Many countries have additional laws on top of this that may apply. These might include, but not be limited to: trademarks, patents, design rights, registered designs; as well as moral rights such as the right to identification and the right to object to derogatory treatment.

But what happens when a copyright violation takes place? Unfortunately, though it is often very clear that a copyright violation has taken place, it is not often clear (or easy) to deal with. On moderated websites such as ravelry, the volunteer moderators are often quick to remove violating content (when notified), but not all websites are as diligent at respecting copyright. In fact many seem to be set up purely for the purpose of hosting copyright violating content. Although laws such as the United States’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act allow copyright holders to request the removal of copyright violating content, their powers are limited to websites covered by the legislation, those hosted by US service providers. They can do nothing about foreign hosted sites.

An additional route I have taken in my own copyright battle (still waiting on AT&T to take the content down as the website hosting provider, 3 weeks later) is to have the content removed from Google searches, but this is not an easy or fast process requiring various registrations with Google as well as providing all of the evidence of the violations.

Another problem with copyright violations is that the copyright owner rarely gets to hear about them. With so many websites allowing copyright violations it is only by chance that you are going to spot a copy of your pattern or your picture somewhere you didn’t authorise it. I found out about the blog violations because the muppet who stole the content requested a pingback for their own site (which seems to purely contain the blog posts of other people, cut and pasted and occasionally run through a translation program). So while there are protections for copyright holders, legally enforcing them is not an easy process. It has led some designers to stop producing patterns at all, which hurts everybody.

This all covers what protections copyright law provides the authors of original works, there are some protections that they might claim are covered under copyright but are not. But that is for another time.

 

Cold Sheep 2016 – March progress

March saw more good progress on my cold sheep stashdown challenge.

It began with turning 1,212 yards of hanspun into a long-sleeved sweater with some interesting design features which the stripes showed up well.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/zebra-tee

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/zebra-tee

I then dug into my commercial yarn stash for the first time in the year to work on a new version of an old pattern, making a gauntlet version of my old diamond wristers pattern. This longer version used 231 yards of yarn.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/diamond-wristers

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/diamond-wristers

Whilst I got that into testing I spun up 200g of white Shetland fibre into 934 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn.

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/white-shetland

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/white-shetland

 

I also made the shorter version of the revised pattern, using up another 131 yards.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/diamond-wristers-3

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/diamond-wristers-3

Then it was back to the handspun, knitting up this tunic/dress and using up 1,334 yards of yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/laneway-2

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/laneway-2

A brief pause in the knitting to spin up 338 yards of chain-plied fingering weight Manx Loaghtan fibre (a rare breed)

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/manx-loaghtan

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/manx-loaghtan

And also some black Jacob, 464 yards of fingering weight 2-ply

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/black-jacob

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/black-jacob

I also finished off another Shetland gradient jumper/tunic which used up 1,094 yards of yarn.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/elfe-2

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/elfe-2

Total monthly yarn out: 4,002 yards
Total monthly yarn in:  1,736 yards

Net monthly yarn reduction: 2,266 yards

Monthly fibre stash reduction: 400g.


Total yarn out year-to-date: 8,108 yards
Total yarn in year-to-date: 4,686 yards

Net yarn reduction year-to-date: 3,422 yards

Fibre stash reduction year-to-date: 1,210g.

Diamond Wristers

A reworking of an old pattern, now available in an additional longer length, with a better flow of cables and ribbing. Click on either photo for more images.

The cable pattern is fully charted and the wristers are fully adaptable for longer or shorter hands, narrower or wider thumbs. Written instructions accompany the cable chart, explaining how to work the cuff, top and thumb gusset.

The pattern is sized for average adult hands (circumference 6.5”/16cm, length 7”/18cm) but it can be adjusted by altering your gauge.

Yarn requirements:

  • 220-230 yards fingering weight/4-ply/sock yarn for the longer, gauntlet length
  • 120-160 yards fingering weight/4-ply/sock yarn for the shorter, wrister length

Available on ravelry for £2.50 (for customers within the EU – VAT added at checkout).

So, how does designing work?

I hang out a lot at ravelry and a question that often comes up is ‘How do I get into pattern designing/writing?’. I can only answer for myself, but this is a little about how the designing process works for me.

I got into pattern designing because there were things that I wanted to make, but there was no published pattern for me to work from. At this stage I had been knitting for a few years and was comfortable with a variety of different techniques, construction types and had worked from a range of different pattern styles.

As I worked out what I needed to do in order to make the item, I took notes (particularly helpful if you are making a pair of something such as socks or gloves and want them to look the same). This including sketching, and swatching, and ripping out and starting again over and over. After all of the work of checking gauges and trawling through stitch dictionaries it seemed a shame for that work to be lost with the completion of my project, so I typed it all up into a pattern style that I was comfortable with and so my first pattern was available for publication.

My first few patterns were all self-published for free, and no testing was undertaken prior to release. These days I utilise the various groups on ravelry in order to test patterns for accuracy and also for yardage and fit information. It’s a great way to get feedback and work out the kinks, without having to spend a lot of money on testers or tech editors. It also helps to see how other people interpret instructions which seem clear to you.

There are a range of different pattern styles, from the extreme hand-holding where every stitch and every step is described in detail (often with photos and videos as well), which can be great for beginners, right through to charts which show all of the necessary shaping with coloured borders or ‘no stitch’ squares, leaving interpretation up to the knitter.

My patterns fall somewhere in-between. They won’t tell you exactly which cast on or bind off to use (except that it might need to be stretchy), and if I don’t think it’s going to be particularly visible I might leave it up to the knitter to decide whether to mirror increases and decreases or not. But they do include a key of stitches used in the pattern (though not full instructions as to how to make each one, there are plenty of tutorials for that out there already).

I like to include two versions of the pattern instructions, so once a pattern has completed testing (which usually takes at least a month depending on the amount of knitting time required for the item) and the instructions are locked down, I make a printer-friendly version without the high-resolution images and coloured text. In this version I try to fit the instructions most economically onto the pages so that people can print the absolute minimum, saving both ink and paper. The high-res version is great for those working from computers and tablets, allowing them to really zoom into the images for any clarification.

I am still designing primarily based on things that I want to make, taking inspiration from commercial items, other knitting patterns, fabric, yarn, fibre, etc. I may look to move from self-publishing (on ravelry) to selling to magazines, but that will require working to a brief, a more rigid format both time-wise and style-wise, so we’ll see.