Dear Designers,

It has come to my attention (because of a few conversations recently) that some designers are tempted to use my stitch patterns in their designs, but feel shy about doing so.

At first, I was startled. I put the designs out there because I wanted people to use them! For anything — including published designs, as if my blog were a stitch dictionary. The free ones to be freely available, as if they were traditional stitch patterns.

I was secretly feeling a little sad that nobody was using them for publication, nor were many people using my “secret code” methods (that I knew of: after all, maybe they were keeping it secret). Maybe they weren’t any good? Oh, self-doubt.

Further conversations and a little thinking about role-reversal shed some light on the situation.

First, the secret code stitch patterns — including my methods for making them — and the études can feel as if they’re personal to me. They have my stamp on them. Some designers are shy about using them because they feel so particularly meaningful.

Second, compensation. Many independent designers feel strongly about wanting to support each other, either financially or by swapping tasks. Things being free makes them feel uncomfortable.

When I thought about it like that, it made sense.

So, here are some things to think about:

First, all stitch patterns were designed by someone once upon a time. Some are more obvious, and might have been invented more than once. But as just one counterexample, many of the stitch patterns, especially the later ones, in Barbara Walker’s collections were designed by her. I see designs using some of those very stitch patterns quite regularly. They are just as personal and have just as much of her individual stamp as my stitch patterns do of mine.

Think of my stitch patterns, as, oh, like printed fabric. There are people who put a lot of themselves into fabric print design and sell the fabric as independent designers on Spoonflower, and then other people buy the fabric, cut it up, and make gorgeous quilts or clothing. It doesn’t make the original design any less personal to the person who designed the print.

There are some stitch patterns I’ve designed for personal use that I didn’t want to share. The solution to that: I haven’t published them, nor will I do so in the future. If someone else designs the same stitch pattern from scratch, that’s fine. But that’s a different question.

Also, I’m not ever going to have enough time to design complete items with all my stitch patterns. There’s too many, and more coming. I’d like to see them used!

Secondly, I am trying to make part of my living doing this. I’m putting the stitch patterns out there for free because it’s hard to know what to charge for just one stitch pattern, because I want people to know what they’re like before they pay for my in-progress stitch dictionary, because there are friends of mine who don’t have much money that I’d like to be able to use them, because I like to share. (Because it’s awesome to see 22 unique visitors to a lace pattern blog post coming from Estonia in one day in my web statistics. Estonia! Famous for their knitting!)

So, how can I earn a little money from it if I’m putting them out there for free? If you do have a little money to spare, you can donate money to me through Patreon. At the moment, I only have a monthly subscription account set up there – but maybe you can spare a dollar a month, as if my blog were a monthly magazine?

Sometime soon I’ll be setting up a second Patreon account. That one will be for one-time donations (unfortunately there’s currently no way to do both for one Patreon account). A tip jar for if you want to donate a dollar for using a single stitch pattern without subscribing? Sure. (And also helping me fund some design projects I’ve got going that I’m going to need some help with. More on that later.)

Does that help any? Are there any questions you have that I can answer?

Love,
Naomi

2 thoughts on “Dear Designers,

  1. I love your designs! I had messed around a bit with encoding words with lace patterns by assigning different letters different combinations of increases and decreases, but it never turned out something that I liked looking at. I love your method of having the meaning in the yarn overs, and having the location of the decreases dependent only on how it looks! Here’s my first design: http://stitch-maps.com/patterns/display/prayer/ though I admit that I haven’t actually swatched it yet….

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