New hooks!

February 11, 2014 in Designer's Studio

Dreamz symphonie interchangeable tunisian crochet hooks |

One of my goals for this year is to start designing clothing.  I love the look and feel of knitted fabric for clothing but I don’t want to design in knit, so I’m going to give tunisian crochet a shot.  To this end I decided to purchase the Dreamz Symfonie interchangeable tunisian crochet set.

The set include 8 hooks, each made of laminated birch which is supposed to be very sturdy.  It also comes with cables in four lengths, end caps and cable joiners that will let you join all three cables together so there should be virtually nothing I cannot crochet now.  I’m excited both because now I can get started with tunisian crochet and also because these are my first wooden hooks.  Up to now all of my hooks have been metal.

I practiced a little with my one afghan hook, but I have lots of tunisian crochet stitches to explore before I start designing.  I think I’m going to make a sampler blanket to start.  I can’t wait to get started, but I’ve got a pair of socks to finish first.

5 Gifts For Crochet Designers for Christmas

December 17, 2013 in Designer's Studio

My family and friends are very supportive of my yarn crafting (especially since they tend to be on the receiving end) for which I feel lucky.  That being said, none of them knit or crochet so I usually have to drop very large hints as to what I really want.  So to my family: HINT HINT!

#5 Wool Blend Felt

The “felt” that you can purchase in most crafts stores is usually 100% acrylic.  It’s not very strong and it tend to pill and look shabby very quickly.  Real wool felt is quite sturdy and has a nice smooth finish that will look nice for ages but can be expensive.  Wool blend felt is a nice balance between the two: You get more durability and better wear but at a moderate price.  I’ve been absolutely loving the Bright Lights/Big City collection at American Felt and Craft.  Can you imagine how stunning your amigurumi would be with a bit of bold felt for embellishment?

Bright Lights/Big City 8 Piece Felt Pack from American Felt & Craft

#4 Creating Crochet Fabric by Dora Ohrenstein

Next year I really want to branch out into creating patterns for wearables but I don’t have a lot of experience in designing the kind of fabric I like to wear or how to pick the right yarn for the job. Creating Crochet Fabric was recommended to me as a great resources for budding designers.  I checked it out from the library and it looks great, but it also seems like one of those things you want to keep around as a reference.

Creating Crochet Fabric: Experimenting with Hook, Yarns, & Stitches

#3 ASTM Standards for Body Measurements

In the same vein of wanting to make more clothing, I’ve never designed anything to fit a person, let alone lots of different people.  The Yarn Council standards are a wonderful resource but they’re not very comprehensive.  ASTM provides clothing manufacturer grade sizing charts with a slew of measurements for all ages and genders.  Normally the individual books run around $50 each, so a comprehensive book for $77 is quite a steal.  This is one of those things I don’t expect my family to be all that excited about buying for me since it’s the equivalent of giving someone a care repair manual, but one can hope, yes?

ASTM Standards for Body Measurements

#2 Creative Options Grab N’ Go Rack System

I’m not sure if I’m the only one who feels like it’s easier to design when all of your supplies are organized, but I think this thing is fabulous.  I have a huge Art Bin case for a lot of my notions, but frankly it’s overflowing and I could use more storage.  I love that this Grab N’ Go Rack System has several smaller cases so you can further organize things and so you don’t have to haul around a giant plastic case.

I can see just grabbing one of these and popping it in a project bag before heading out the door.  I also think this would be great for those of us who don’t have a dedicated crafting space because you can pack it all up and store it away neatly.  If you’re not particular on color you can get this suspiciously similar tackle box for a great price.

Grab & Go Storage System

#1 Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Interchangeable Tunisian Crochet Hook Set

This is the one thing I really want the most this year for two reasons.  First, I think that tunisian crochet is going to be the next big trend in crochet and I want to be one of the designers out there encouraging people to dive in.  The other reason is that tunisian crochet creates a different kind of fabric than normal crochet.  It can look and feel a lot more like knitted fabric which I find to be more versatile and wearable than most traditional crochet fabric.

I already have some Kintter’s Pride Dreamz knitting needles so I thinks their Dreamz Interchangeable Tunisian Crochet Hook set would be just the thing.  I love interchangeables because you get more options on things like cable length without having to buy 5 different hooks of the same size.  I also like that it’s easier to store since you can store the cables seperately from the hooks.  Plus, who wouldn’t love the bright, fun colors?


If I got even one of these I’d be over the moon.  There is only a couple of weeks left until Christmas so we’ll have to see what happens.  Regardless, I’m so grateful to my family for supporting me as a designer and a crafter.

So, what about you? What are you  hoping to get this Christmas?

Pattern Piracy: 7 Things Designers Can Do to Fight It

September 19, 2013 in Designer's Studio


In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day I’d like to talk about an issue that plagues both independent and published designers: pattern piracy on the internet.  Pattern piracy is frustrating because there is no clear channel for handling such issues.  Even people with lots of money (i.e. Microsoft and the RIAA) are plagued with this problem. Here are six things you can do to fight piracy on your own.

#1 Contact the website owner

While this may seem like a waste of time, I always like to assume the best about people first. Many people are simply unaware of copyright laws, or if those don’t apply, general ethics surrounding the posting of patterns to their website.  When you email them, be polite but firm.  Tell them exactly what they need to do and give them a time frame for when you expect it to be done by.

If the pattern is available elsewhere, such as a Ravelry download or your own website, let them know it’s okay to link to that location instead.It is important to play nice, because word of mouth is still the best form of advertising for most designers. Additionally, if you can convert their page to a link back to your own website or pattern it increases the page ranking so this is a good thing.

What if there is no contact information?

Every now and then you’ll come across a site that has no clear way to contact the owners. In that case what you can do is a WHOIS search.  Simply type in the URL to the website and it should provide contact information.  In some cases, you will see that it is registered to the registration company on behalf of a “private registrant”, but if they give an actual name and address you can send them a DMCA take down notice. I recommend using a certified letter with receipt confirmation when sending snail mail.

#2 Contact their hosting provider

Thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act , U.S.  Hosting providers are required to comply with notice of copyright infringement claims.  To find the hosting provider, use the same WHOIS search.  Toward the bottom of the search you’ll see a list of nameservers.  For example, if you search you’ll see the following nameservers listed:

This means that my hosting provider is  If you contact them and report a copyright infringement they would be legally obligated to remove access to those web pages even without their customer’s permission.  Proof that no infringement has occurred must be supplied before access can be reinstated.  You should include all of the details from your WHOIS search as well as proof of copyright infringement.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as international copyright laws so it will depend on the laws of the country in which the hosting provider is located how they are required to deal with copyright infringement.

#3 Contact their Internet Service Provider

The first two options are your best bet, but if that gets you no traction and you want to go all the way, the next thing to do would be to contact their internet service provider, who is also required by the DMCA to restrict access by those who commit copyright infringement.  Finding their ISP is a little more tricky because currently the only way to do this (easily) is with an email from the person.

If you have an email from them, find the “show all headers” option, sometimes called “view source”.  In most cases, emails pass through a series of servers (including your own email servers) before landing in your inbox.  In order to find their provider, look at the “received by” listings of servers for the one with the earliest date and time stamp.  That should be the originating server.  Then you would follow the same steps as above to contact them and report the infringement.  You will want to send them the full header of the email, the WHOIS information for the website, and any other supporting documentation you have about the copyright infringement.

This won’t always work for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is that they may be using a third party provider for their email service, which is what makes this option a long shot.  Again, this may only work with ISPs located in the United States.  It will depend on the laws of other countries whether they are required to respond.

#4 Contact their sponsors

In many cases, piracy websites give away your copyright material in exchange for ad revenue from sponsors.  Most sponsors don’t know where these ads appear much of the time, especially when they are served through a service like Google’s Ad Sense.  However, they do not want their good reputation to be smeared by pirates anymore than you want pirates stealing your hard work.

If the ads on the pirates’ website are being served through an ad service, you can contact the ad service which will then block and ban that site.

If not, you might consider contacting the sponsors directly but beware of clicking on anything on these websites as often they’re used to infect the unwary with spyware or spamware.  Don’t download or install anything from these sites.  Before you click a link, hover over it an look at the URL in the bottom of your browser window to make sure it jives with what the link says it is.

#5 Contact their payment gateway providers

The worst and ugliest case is that not only has someone stolen your work, but that they are now selling it for their own profit.  If the site indicates who they are using as a payment gateway, you can contact those companies to have them suspend service to the pirate website.  A few companies have already begun to address this issue, but contact them even if they do not have a clear cut way to report infringement.

#6 Report them to search engines

Sadly, many people who find these websites may not even realize that they too are infringing on your copyright.  If the website says something is free they assume that it is true.  If you can do nothing else, you can at the very least report them to the big name search engine providers to reduce their visibility to random users.  Unfortunately, for many companies outside the U.S. this might be your only option.

#7 Taking further action

First and foremost, document everything. Take screen caps of the website, save all emails, request return receipts on letters and faxes, and save copies of everything you send to anyone you contact.  If after sending a cease and desist letter to the perpetrator and DMCA notifcations to all the parties involved your copyright is still being infringed you are within your rights to bring suit against them under U.S. law (or the laws of their country if you so choose).  This is a drastic step, and likely not a cheap one but you do have the legal right to do so.  In the U.S. it is best to register a copyright before bringing a lawsuit.

If someone is selling your work illegally within the U.S., you can also report them for fraud to, who works with the Federal Trade Commission.  If the fraud is occurring outside the U.S. I encourage you to seek similar resources.  Since we designers don’t have the collective resources of Microsoft or Warner Brothers, our only hope is banding together.

Copyright in other countries

I noted in my previous post on copyright, trademark, and licensing, there is currently no international copyright laws.  However, a number of countries have signed the Berne Convention. This is an agreement between these countries to treat anything published in that country by that country’s copyright laws regardless of the country of origin.  The important thing to note is that the Berne Convention protects works that are (a) published in a country that is also a member of the Berne Union, and (b) protects them using the copyright laws of the country in which the work is being published.

One of the biggest areas of concern are Chinese websites.  Rest assured, what they are doing is illegal even in their own country.  Unfortunately, China is decades behind other countries in creating infrastructure and education for intellectual property rights in order to curb the rampant theft of intellectual property.  For this reason, China and eleven other countries are on a World Trade Organization watch list.  The good news is that Chinese citizens are becoming more aware of their copyrights and have begun suing Chinese corporations for copyright infringement so change is coming, if slowly.

How do I know if this is happening to me?

If you’ve gotten this far and now you’re wondering if  you might be the victim of pattern piracy here are a few things you can do to see where you patterns might have gotten to.

#1 Search Google

This is probably the easiest way to see what might be going on with your patterns. I would also recommend using Bing and Yahoo to search as each gives slightly different results. Search by both your name and the names of your patterns and see where they turn up.  Even better, do an image search using images from your pattern:

  1. On Google, go to the image link at the top left
  2. Click the camera icon in the search bar
  3. Upload an image from your pattern

#2 Google Webmaster Tools

If you run your own website, sign up for Google Webmaster Tools.  They’re free and ridiculously useful.  In this case, you can see who is linking to your content on your website.  This might lead you to those who are unintentionally infringing by reposting your content to their website.  The process to sign up is simple: They give you a file and you upload it to your website and then go to the URL for the file.  Easy peasy.

 #3 Sign up for Alerts

We designers are busy people so obsessively Googling your patterns may not be an option.  However, you can use services like or Google Alerts.  They send you an email roll up of everything they find related to your query so you can quickly review it rather than slogging through endless websites.  This has the added benefit of getting to see the buzz about you and your patterns as well.