Friday, November 28, 2014

So You Say They Must Have Stolen That Pattern?


Hello Friends!

I should start by saying nothing happened to me, nor did anyone call me a thief that I know of. But every once in a while I'll catch glimpses online of accusations being carelessly thrown around about other designers and it's so sad! It raises doubts about someone's ability to design without the aid of a cheat sheet. And I want to address that today with love and with good intentions so just hear me out for a few minutes.

We're talking about that designer who comes out with a cute but  maybe a common design. Being an amigurumi pattern promoter I say, "Wahoo, they contributed another pattern to our amigurumi world, yay! Now there's another amigurumi to be made and loved by someone." But no, just wait, there's another side, a dark side...
How dare they! How dare they make something similar to so and so. Clearly.. OH clearly they stole parts of that design. They cheated and took parts and changed parts and called it their own! It's despicable. How dare they.. thief.. liar!! I'll tell everyone I can, I'll facebook message everyone I know. And all my friends will agree how shameful that person is.. what a thief!
Sadly someone's reputation has just been tainted. Doubts raised about their designing ability. Simply put, it's slander. Ok. There it is. I said it so now let's look a
little deeper for I too have been guilty of this. Yes, I have sinned. I'm guilty of thinking someone stole something when in all actual fact they didn't.  This was a few years ago mind you and I never accused anyone in messages or groups but I'm guilty none the less. I received a fb message, "look at this! Veronica stole parts of Betty's pattern. What a thief.. LOOOK!" And I looked and with my limited knowledge of how amigurumis are designed I thought, oh ya there's some similar stitch counts and oh look they decreased the same way at the very same row!! They MUST of stolen it, how dare they. MY goodness, that's terrible! Poor Betty and what a thief Veronica is!

But really, what a foolish and horrible thing that was for me to assume someone is a thief just because there's similarities, actually.. "how dare I".  You see friends, I can not cast a stone when I too have been guilty. So I'm not casting stones, I'm not! I just want to share with you some things I've come to realize over the years. And hopefully it'll spread a little peace in our small world of amigurumi.

http://free.clipartof.com/details/57-Free-Cartoon-Gray-Field-Mouse-Clipart-Illustration
This image was found on google as free clipart, Please click picture for the original source.

Amigurumi, it's cute and fun and easy to design with a little experience in shaping of course!  And many of the designs out there are quite similar to each other. A mouse for example, what characteristics make that amigurumi recognizable as a mouse? Well, if I'm going to design a mouse the very first thing I do is google "mouse" and then search images and straight away the one I want is near the top. It's at the top because it's probably the most popular shape people will think of when they think mouse. So the photo above  will be used as the model. I'll use this as a model for my mouse and as a designer with a bit of experience in shaping this shape is very easy and in no time at all I'll have it hammered out and posted. So happy, I've just contributed a pattern to the amigurumi world. But wait.. there's other amigurumi mice out there that look just like this one? Really?! Well yes, there's bunches of them out there. I wasn't the first person to design a mouse. I wasn't  the first to google an image either, and I won't be the last.

And just how many ways can I get this shape? How many?! The formula that most of us will use is start with 6 and then use even numbered increases . Then how will I decrease that?? Well, I'm going to use decreases in the same even numbers,  whatever I used to increase I will use to decrease.. it's not rocket science once you know the basics of shaping. For me it's very simple. I'm not being smug when I say that, I'm just saying this shape is super simple to me as a designer.
I've designed a mouse just like this one and so have many other designers. We all got the same shape using the same basic formula. And how arrogant would I be if I thought I was the only one who could think up this formula to get this design.
And if I changed the basic formula would I still have this shape? Depends on how much I change it. I can make it bigger, smaller, longer or wider but the cutest shape to me is the one in the google image so I'll try to get it to look as close as I can to that. And I'm guessing many other designers out there came to the same conclusion because most are similar and they are all super cute. So we're not stealing from each other we just did our best to get the cutest, the most pleasing to look at shape. The shape of a mouse has a fat bottom then tapers off at the mouth. Easy. Add ears, and again easy basic shape. A chain tail will be the best since it will look more like the one in the photo. And so must of thought the other designers and again, not thieves they just came to the same conclusions using the same basic formula.


Ok, what about other designs like monkeys, bears and bunnies?!

Most of us use the same formula again! You know why???
                     
Because it works!!

We start with 6 and increase so the head of most amigurumi will be as follows:
row 1) 6
row 2) 12
row 3) 18
row 4) 24
row 5) 30
row 6) 36..  you can keep going and make it as wide a head as you want, then add about 7 or 8 rows of just sc then decrease using the same increments you used to increase. It's all done pretty much the same. Maybe some designers will start off with 7 and increase that way but 6 seems to be the magic number. I do change mine up at times to give the head fat cheeks but the basic head shape is what I just wrote out above

Last year I started making the  bodies and heads on my amis all one piece. I used to make them in 2 pieces but  I realized just  how simple it is to make them one piece, and how wonderful to have less sewing! That wasn't from looking at or using anyone's pattern I just have gained some experience over the last 5 years. Crochet experience, it happens, we get better with time and practice. And again using the formula that works I can design very easily. Bears, bunnies, monkeys.. and on and on.. most of them start and end the same way. And it is very possible to have the same row and stitch count as other designs because it's a formula that works and then you just add parts that make them recognizable as the parts you're going for... legs, arms, ears and so on.

Those of us that can design will use a basic formula to get a basic shape. How many ways can you change the formula to make it unique? Well that depends on what you're designing. I designed a wheelchair last year and as far as I know it's the only one that has been published. It is unique for sure and I would know if the design was ever copied but I also designed a sock monkey to sit in it. The sock monkey is not unique at all. It looks just like most all other sock monkeys out there. I didn't steal that pattern I just used shapes and colors that would give me a sock monkey. A similar one might be published one day but that doesn't mean they stole my pattern it just means they used the similar shapes and colors to design a sock monkey! I'm talking about basic shapes given to amigurumi animals, there's only so many ways to design the shapes.


Another example, bunnies will most likely be given long ears that are wide at the top and taper down closer to the head. How many ways can you get that shape? If Veronica's bunny has ears that look like the Betty's bunny ears does that make Veronica a thief? NO! Those 2 designers have the same basic knowledge of shaping and used the same formula.

I am aware there are pattern thieves out there. I have had many of my patterns stolen. A stolen pattern is one that has been copied and pasted onto someone else's site. A stolen pattern is one that has been copied and is being sold on etsy or somewhere similar. A stolen pattern is taken and is sold as a cross stitch pattern, or traded for other patterns or exchanged for gold coins. A stolen pattern is one that is bought then shared freely on pattern sharing sites. A stolen pattern is one that has been translated without the designer's permission. A stolen pattern is looking at someone's design and making a cloned copy for the purposes of publishing. These are all crystal clear examples of theft.

Not stolen is a pattern that increases and decreases in a similar manner to another pattern. Not stolen is a pattern that may have the same row and stitch count for parts or whole of parts.  Not stolen is designing something from a book or image and it turns out to be quite similar to someone else's pattern because they looked at the same book or image. Not stolen is a pattern that is similar to another just because of what it is like a bear, bunny, monkey and so on..

Never, ever make the assumption that somebody is a thief just because they used a formula that works. That is reckless and it is wrong. Just because you assume something does not make it true. You can easily get others to assume with you but it is still wrong.

Most of us designers are using the same basic formula for basic amigurumi animals. A formula that uses basic crochet stitches with increases and decreases to get the shapes that will make a bear look like a bear, a bunny look like a bunny, a mouse look like a mouse, a monkey look like a monkey. With a little creativity some will look a little more unique than others but the basic shapes that make up that amigurumi, the head, limbs, ears and tail will most likely be very similar to many other heads, limbs, ears and tails out there. It's just bound to happen.

When I first started designing I made a tiny blue bear from acrylic thread then I brushed it out and it was the cutest little fuzzy blue bear, I was SO so proud of him. I showed him off and promised to post the pattern but I caught a glimpse one day of another little fuzzy white bear that looked exactly like mine! It was published years before. Gasp! It was the first time I saw that white bear yet mine looked just like it. I couldn't possibly publish mine then, people will think I'm a thief so  I threw out my pattern and just promoted the pattern I found that looked similar to mine. How sad! My pattern might have helped someone else and I robbed those people of a perfectly good pattern just because of my limited knowledge of designing and being afraid of what other people might assume.

So before jumping to any conclusions and maybe even ruining somebody's reputation, think about it. Think what makes that amigurumi recognizable as the animal it's representing. What makes a mouse a mouse. Why did you recognize it as a mouse? Because of its shape.. a shape is just a shape but give it some ears and a tail and ta-da! you got a mouse, or a bear, a monkey or a bunny. Try it out. Make some shapes, put them together to make an animal then look online and see just how similar it looks to many, many others out there. You'll be surprised!

This turned out to be a little more long winded then I first intended, my apologies! But I do hope this helps shed a little light and give a little food for thought. Think before you utter the word thief. How sad it would be to ruin the reputation of an honest designer just because of an assumption, a jump to a very wrong and reckless conclusion.
We are all worth more than that.. we all deserve more than that. There's room for all of us and we all have something to offer this world. And remember, similar does not make a thief.

Love and peace!

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40 comments:

  1. Well said, and since crochet and knit goes so far back in history, one can always find something that looks like something that some one else makes/made.

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    1. exactly!
      It's a very old craft and one is bound to come across similarities for sure, it's impossible not to.

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    2. well said, I am new to making dolls (the simplest pattern I could think of to make and get the shape right) and as I see other dolls out there I learn new things, and add new things. I have no intention of copying anyone's design, but face it a doll is a doll. And - I often worry that maybe my pattern will be close to someone else's and they will think I am copying. Thank you for bringing this to the front, I do feel better now. Oh, and by the way, I love your patterns, and have made a few of them. When working with someone's pattern I always give credit to that person

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  2. What a great post! I love your work and have only recently found you and a love for amigurami. You've made a crystal clear explanation about design and how the world is big enough for everyone to write or enjoy using patterns. Sadly there will always be people who overstep the mark. It's not just in the design world but good prior far outweigh them. Thank you for all your hard work and fabulous designs.

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  3. I can totally understand that everyone that does a design wants to keep it but what I wish would happen is that everyone would just share without having to pay a fortune to get a pattern, I personally love making your creations and if I post them online try to remember to give you the credit, I love the fact that you give them free and even allow us to sell them on, which doesn't happen very often as people are not willing to pay enough for time taken on these projects or that my youngest thinks everything I crochet belongs to her ;) x

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    1. haha.. that's cute how your little one lays a claim <3

      I agree, people are not willing to pay for the time. That's why I don't sell, it's just not worth the time for what little we'd get!

      Thanks for the input, I appreciate it :)

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  4. What you have said makes perfect sense and, as a newcomer to crochet I find it very comforting to be able to look at patterns by different designers and see that they all use a similar technique for making shapes…if everyone was doing something different I no doubt would have become frustrated and dropped the new hobby that I am now loving so much.

    I have been a paper crafter for many years and I have seen such disputes on line over art work. I can only describe it as venomous and who are we to know who is telling the truth anyway? It is very sad and I am sure there is plenty of room out there in the artistic world for everyone to enjoy their success?

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    1. yes, I've seen it too in other areas.

      A crafty world is a better world. We should be encouraging one another not tearing one another apart!

      thanks for the input, I appreciate it :)

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  5. I agree with what you've conscientiously written on this hugh subject. And if you don't mind I'd like to share it with a very small group I'm in. It clarifies not only arigurumi but all hand crafts. Thx for sharing your thoughts.

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  6. I love your patterns/designs and have thought it might be nice to come up with something on my own. Thanks for explaining this. It eases my mind somewhat about copy-cat worries. After all, totally original and new is almost impossible.

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    1. you're welcome and have lots fun coming up with some designs of your own. It's so enjoyable to watch your own characters come to life :))

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  7. Very well written, Sharon, and so true.

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  8. I'm sharing this on twitter and facebook! I think the same as you. People is so obsessed with what belongs to who and I have to say, it's kind of selfish (especially with free patterns). We share free patterns to help other people and to show them how to do something. I think people sometimes forget that. They forget why we make patterns and share them for free.
    I have learned how to shape and design by following lots of others patterns; they all had that very same way to make the basic shapes. It is inevitable that patterns with similar shapes are going to be similar.

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    1. I'm so glad you will share this. I hope it helps those conflicted with doubts. I know some will be bound and determined to accuse others no matter what but if it helps some I will be so pleased!
      And you're totally right, we are here to help each other so why be so quick to cast someone down?
      Thanks so much, I appreciate your comments and shares too :)

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  9. WOW! AWESOME! I don't have I blog but I love to design. Been designing my own amigurumi for about 5 years only for my family and friends. Never have published any because I don't want to be call out about it. But we all use the same concept. It's so sad. Thanks you very much for does wise words. Hope we could all learn by them. The world would be a better place if we all help to lift our spirit instead of stepping on it. Thank you thank you.

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    1. thank you very much, I appreciate your thoughts.
      And I totally agree, we should be lifting each other up not tearing each other down.

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  10. Well said Sharon I completely agree and I hope more people take time to read this.
    Your work is super fun thank you so much.
    best wishes
    Julie.C

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    1. thank you so much, I appreciate your kind words :))

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  11. Thank you Sharon for making this post.
    I think there are no shapes in amigurumi world that are not done by now, and that doesn't mean we are coping someone's work. We are simply using these shapes that are invented for amigurumis, in order to create new designs. I don't get is Sharon, why are some people so mean and so rude to accuse other(s) in such manner?
    If they could only understand how many hours of hard work and love one puts in creating new design, to be called a thief once finished and with pattern published, they would never say such thing.
    I would put all of those rotten apples into one room loaded with yarns and hooks and would not let them out until they come up with their "unique" design!!! ;)
    Thank you for speaking out for all of us who design amigurumis and care about amigurumi community worldwide.

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    1. Thank you Vanja, I appreciate your thoughts.
      It's so sad because when I first started out I got mislead by other people into thinking there are people stealing parts of patterns!! Then it started happening to me, I started making parts with a formula that made sense to me and it just so happened that others had done the same before me and after me. It wasn't stealing at all. I didn't look at other people's patterns and copy them, I just could make shapes.. shapes that got better with time and experience. I know I'm not a thief it's just experience. So people need to realize that we are all using the same basic formula and sometimes the rows and stitch counts can be the same due to coincidence and not theft. I make amis between 8 and 10 inches tall. Many of my patterns use the same parts over and over. Most amis out there are about the same size so it's just bound to happen. I'm so glad I decided to write the post even though it was a bit scary because people can be so cruel but so far the post has made many people feel some relief and that is worth all the criticism I may get :)
      Again, thank you!
      And thank you for your great contributions to our amigurumi world.

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  12. Ohhh I love little blue bear...great article you put a lot of thought and so helpful to those thst do design. That us not me lol I will use your patterns tyvm. Do you make tiny animals such as blue bear? Love that size also.

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    1. thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the post even if you don't design :)

      And yes I have a couple tiny amis. I can't link to them here but scroll up a ways, look to the right and you''ll see a long label list. Look for the word "miniature" and click on that. All my posts about miniatures will pop up and you'll need to click on the titles of each one to see the full post.

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  13. There's only so many ways to make the same shape in Amigurumi and sooner or later we are all going to do something that looks similar if not identical to someone else's work. As long as you're not directly copying someone else's work and trying to pass it off as you're own, you've done nothing wrong. We should all be positive and acknowledge other crafters work and if someone has taken a pattern and improved on it, more power to them.

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    1. good words, thank you. I see the debate so much on facebook it's getting quite boring and exhausting. People are to quick to assume. I have never been accused of it but I get messages sometimes accusing others so I thought if I had a post I could link them to that would be great and I don't need to keep repeating myself. We need more encouraging and less accusing :)

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  14. Hello Sharon,

    Thank you so much for the post. I am guilty of stealing your patterns and I love them, I have trying to make the teddy bear and its taking me 2 months to do it since I do not have enough time to crocket and I love it, this is the first time I have try to make something with a pattern and I love your videos, and thank you for your patient and publish them for "free". I have try to "repay" you by donating but it doesn't give me the option of my state "COLORADO" so I guess I have to do it thru "paypal". Once again thank you and please do not let "drama and negativity" intrude in your life, you will never fully please people and that is the way they are, so when they are feeling "ugly" they try to make "others" feel the same way to excuse their actions. God bless you from a brand new "fan" of your work. P.S: "Ojala" in Spanish means "Hopefully" :) gratefully, Littlewolf

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  15. Hi Sharon, thats a great article, I find myself being so proud of a design I have done just to find I then worry that it maybe like someone elses - Your post wil hopefully ease my mind for my next pattern to write up

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  16. SHARon, (No wonder your name starts with "SHARing") You are so generous to share your talent and joy with the world.

    Brilliant essay (with which you started this thread) and I would LOVE to see it as a "NOTICE" of required reading before any can even get into your site, or ANY artistic sites, pages, or even social media (which; as you pointed out, have become so disappointingly littered with ads one has to kick them out of the way before you can enjoy that clip of Fluffy & Fido playing happily together then falling asleep entwined in each other paws— oblivious to the fact that society thinks of dogs and cats as enemies. ... and Thanks for the wheelchair in the medium of crochet! Mine is bright red, hope your daughter has healed completely by now!
    It had me snickering out loud to see your frog with nothing but eyes! In the next update try a foot-log tongue he can hide in his mouth and sprong out to velcro to a tiny fly that he puts in his cheek... Cheek? ... You'll have to figure the details on that one...
    Just got a notice I should "join Google" or sign off, so I'll sign off for now... There should be a lot more like you on the planet, it would be a happier place! Keep on creating (and showing us how to make them) I would rave on with the accolades but I might get the Google Bouncers after me... Thanks again!

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    1. thank you so much for all your kind words, you made me smile BIG!

      I'm so happy the frog made you laugh too. Mission accomplished!

      All the best to you. And yes, stay away from those google bouncers, lol :)

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  17. You talked about sewing the body and head in one piece. I purchased a set of Winnie the Pooh patterns several years ago. Looked like the design was of Asian origin, translated to English. The patterns were all done in one piece. The head, body, ears, arms, legs and tail. Also, it called for keeping all the colors of yarn attached, until they were no longer needed, and crocheting over the yarn not being used at the time. I was amazed at how easy it was, as I had never crocheted anything except blankets before. I only did the Pooh and Tigger, but they looked exactly like the cartoons. I was very pleased with the patterns and the results. I lost those patterns, I bought in digital form, years ago when my old computer crashed. I sure wish I could find more patterns all in one piece like that. Do you ever think of testing one piece patterns like that? I would definitely use them.

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    1. I haven't tried that yet.. I do have a couple patterns coming up that will be on piece head, body and legs but that's as far as I've gotten. I'm usually always catching up to projects so don't have much time to play around with designs like the ones you've spoken of but maybe one day!

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  18. Ojala, You are a wonderful person!
    Very generous and a brilliant ,a good teacher. I loved your comment on December 11, 2014 !
    You make many of us to encourage ourselves and do our crochet work without fear .
    About similarities, well, my mother used to make dolls, little animals and flowers among other pieces of crochet art,for me and for my brother, so, I confess that I feel surprised when some crocheters ask "do not sell my tutorials"since we purchase the pattern; one example is, my mother used to make similar pieces I see around the Web, and most of the time I am not content with the appropriation of the past just because that old crocheters ladies do not had Internet that time to prove that I am quite write... Yes ! We can sell our products without problems,they are now our property.The pattern were purchase,and belongs to the creator of the pattern; the products created with the pattern belongs to anyone only.
    Yes, we have a lot of copies, renovations and "creations", because "In life nothing is "creating,is renewed - Lavoisiere" .
    Okay, I don't sell, but try hard do not copy exactly or make exactly what I see or what is in the pattern ... I try do almost exactly what my mother did for me seventy years ago ! And I appreciate very much what I see through the Web because I observe the gorgeous innovations from brilliants teachers !
    Yes, I am seventy-five!
    And I remember my crocheted dolls, my little pony and my cat and dogs made by my mother.Seventy years ago!

    Thank you .

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    1. thank you very much, I appreciate all your kind words and your thoughts too.

      And yes, you are quite right, your finished product is legally yours and you can do with what you want with any item you make, you can sell it, give it away or throw it away, it's up to you after you make it. Nobody can place a claim on the item you make with your own hands.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write, I really appreciate it! I'm so happy you have all those good memories of what your mother made you all those years ago :)

      Much love and blessings to you,
      Sharon Ojala


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  19. Hallo
    Danke für alles was Du machst ist aus voller Liebe aus dem Herzen das spürt man . Meine Frage darf ich meinen Teddy auch verkaufen?Liebe Grüße Manu

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    1. yes, you can sell finished items.

      Thanks for asking!

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  20. I am so excited that I came across this while searching information regarding amigurumis! My granny taught me the granny square when I was 11; it was the only way she could keep me from under her feet when she was cooking. I did not get interested in crocheting until 2008. I only knew the granny square, so first it was the sample Afghan; which was wonderful for me. I was able to learn different stitches, terminology, yarns, hooks and how to read patterns. I didn't have anyone to ask regarding question so I Googled information and learned so much more. Here recently I have become more passionate about crocheting and fell completely in love with amigurumi. I am addicted to Pinterest and all the adorable ami's patterns and tutorials I have came across. I have bought patterns and I have also downloaded free patterens. The creativity that individuals have is amazing. I agree instead of knocking someone down, we should lift each up, providing assistance to enhance each other creativity. No one is perfect and no matter how excellent you are at something, you can always learn something from another that will elevate you to the next level.

    I did not mean to go on a tangent. I do have a concern and feel this is the best place to ask. As I stated earlier I have purchased patterns and downloaded patterns. There is a particular ami that I would love to make and have not come across a pattern for that ami. How would it be interpreted if I made a pattern based on a particular ami?

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  21. Hi all. I have a question and I hope someone can answer. I ran across a wonderful website a few days ago. It is of vintage patterns that were created by a woman back in the 40s and 50s. There are numerous patterns, all with pictures and written patterns. Yesterday while thumbing through the internet, I found a baby sweater that looked familiar on a "pay for pattern" site. I referred back to the website where I found all those wonderful baby sweater/bootie/hat patterns and there was the same sweater and booties. My question is, the person claiming to have designed several of those patterns have published and selling the patterns that are clearly not hers. Basically, the woman found the site, crocheted some of the patterns, copied them, got them published and now selling those patterns. Please note, all those patterns are free online. I hope this makes sense. Thank you in advance.

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