A Little Bit Of Crochet Drama With Some Patterns To Go

My friends,

Above all else today, I hope you are keeping safe and well during these scary times we have all found ourselves in. I feel like the rest of this page just totally pales in comparison to what's happening in the world right now.

  • If you want to skip this page and just get the bee pattern, the pattern is here.

If  you choose to read on, please  know that I am totally okay, I am not struggling from this drama at all,  in fact, it's not even drama anymore. I'm way over it all  but I do hope that it will save another designer from going through it in the future or even save some well meaning accuser from causing undeserved pain to someone else.

Sick Sock Monkey and Wheelchair pattern here 

I could have left this story alone and none of you would even know it happened. But I've seen this same thing happen to other designers too. I know it will happen again so I hope this story will make a difference. Maybe it can give some much needed insight.

If we can  look at some of these bad situations like learning opportunities then those situations weren't all for nothing. I really hope this makes a difference for someone out there today!

This post is rather long so keep it a bit more interesting I've sprinkled in a few of my older designs with pattern links along the way.

Before we begin, lots and lots of love to you all!

First, we need a back story, before we get to the drama, 
If you are new here, welcome to my crochet  blog, my name is Sharon Ojala. Here you will find over 200 free amigurumi patterns that I started designing  in 2011. I share my amigurumi designs for free because I was given the gift of crochet through a tutorial I found on youtube in 2010 and it changed my life!  I wanted to pay that gift forward and have been doing just that for close to 10 years now.

My Unnamed Monster pattern here

If  you have been around this online amigurumi world for a little while then you will all be aware that there are endless crochet  patterns out there for bears, monkeys, bees, frogs.. oh my goodness, I could go on and on, there's a huge database online for animals, plants, the human form doll, cars, mushrooms, cats. Where does it end? Nowhere. And there will be many more designs added to this database in the future. There's always room for more!

Let's talk about similarities you might find in amigurumi, 
There is bound to be similarities found in many basic designs. I'm not talking unique patterns, I'm talking about your basic bear, or bee, or frog, or any other basic character. They have basic features that make them recognizable.

For example, most crocheted frog designs have big googly eyes. How many different ways can you make big googly eyes before you find similar ones on other crocheted frogs?

See what makes these Frogs unique here

One day, let's say a month ago,  you saw a teddy bear pattern online. It has a that basic head, a body, 2 ears, 2 arms and 2 legs, that make it a bear. It's so cute, right? You take note of the designer's name, maybe you even made the bear using that pattern.

Then a month later you see another bear pattern and it looks kind of similar but that one is a year old but wait, there's another one and it's 10 years old. But, in reality, there's actually countless bear patterns online, dating back years and years, you just haven't seen them all.

And they  all  kind of look similar, don't they?  That basic look is  what draws us to them in the first place. A teddy bear is a lovely, familiar, thing we all fell in love with during childhood.

Mini Winnie here

Most  of us designers,  when we set out to make a teddy bear design of our own, we will be thinking of those wonderful stuffed teddies we loved as children, or what we see in stores today, or maybe a bear from a book. Because we know how to make basic shapes, we will make a head, a body, 2 ears, 2 arms and 2 legs and there's our teddy bear design. We'll write it down as we go along in case you want to make one too.

None of us have exclusive rights to that original bear body design we know and love  but we all DO have a right to make a bear design of our own.

I have a number of different bear designs, one includes heart shaped feet while the other patterns are more basic, but all have a that familiar teddy bear look. It's what makes them teddy bears.

Teddy Bear pattern with Heart Shaped Feet here

They will have a familiar  look to them because it's the common shape of the bear that we have been looking at and loving since forever. No, that does not mean it's okay to look at someone's crochet design online and try to replicate it for credit, or worse, actually take that pattern and reprint it on your own blog. That is outright theft.

Now think about that teddy bear you first spotted a month ago.  Is that first designer you saw now a thief because they used the most commonly recognized shapes to make a bear with? Is nobody allowed to design a bear just because someone else did one before?

How about if  a bear was designed originally over a 118 years ago. Did very single toy company or independent designer that produced fabric bear or crocheted a bear since use a stolen design? A bit ridiculous to think this way, isn't it. 

History tells us that the stuffed bear design should be credited to Morris Michtom.  He  came up with this design in 1902 with his wife. There's so much more to that story, I'll leave you to google it to find out more.

Polar Bear with Winter Hat pattern here 

The wonderful art of amigurumi,
What is this art? It's crocheting rounds, it's increasing and decreasing, to make common shapes that will be sewn together to make a toy. The Japanese term for this crocheted stuffed toy is called Amigurumi. Lucky us, we get to live in a world where amigurumi exists!

A true amigurumi  designer designs their own toys without looking at anyone else's pattern. We just know what legs are supposed to look like, what a head should look like,  ears and so on. We increase and decrease to make shapes then put those shapes together to make it a toy.

A true amigurumi designer does not set out to intentionally replicate another's pattern.

But, if a bear looks like a bear, or if a bee looks like a bee, or a tree looks like a tree, it's because we (most of us)  are either looking at a character from a book or tv show while designing, or just going by what our minds tells us a bear, or a bee, or a tree, should look like. If it looks like what it's supposed to then we did a good  job.

Tree with animal patterns here
All the animals here are  modified patterns from my tiny trouble teddy pattern.
You can fit up to 4 of them inside the tree.

Now let's get to that drama, 
In  March this year, 2020, I sat down with the  intention of coming up with a new bear design. I wanted to give its head a different shape than I normally do so started off doing just that. I think it was about 4 rows in my brain  clearly saw a bee butt.

For a designer this is a happy moment because it's a design by accident!  A little extra fun  that the universe handed over like a gift.

So  I changed my planned bear design and I went with a bee design instead. Before too long I had the cutest little bee staring up at me and, like I always want to do, I wanted to share it with you.

This is the photo I shared on my facebook page that day and said that I had accidentally made a bee butt so I made a bee and soon there will be a pattern on my blog.

One rotten apple in the bunch does truly spoil the bunch,
I woke up the next day to an overwhelming happy response to that accidental bee. Every comment was lovely until I unfortunately saw this...

Honestly, I could have handled that a lot better than I did. I got angry when I shouldn't have. It's accusing me of  being the opposite of everything I truly am and that hurt me deep so  I let that comment get to me and it ended up robbing me of an entire day. This back and forth went on for hours. At the end of the day I did find out from a member of my page that person was an online troll so I probably wasn't the first victim of theirs.

Oof.. well, that was all on me, I should have known better. I normally can spot trolls and stop them before  the drama gets other people stirred up. But, I let my pride step in and take over. Turns out I'm actually human and  I can get hurt even though I normally let words online slide right off and always advise others to do the same.

Even though this wasn't my first run in with a jerk online, this was was the very first time I ever had someone accuse me of  theft  and it threw me for a loop. Lesson learned! Next time, should there ever be one, I will handle it with a lot more grace.

Why did I block out their name?
I do not want to contribute to online bullying in any way, shape, or form. Even though they had no concern for me or my name, even though they are a troll and said some nasty things to me, I don't believe one bad turn deserves another. I don't want anyone to seek them out to tell them off.

Knight in Shining Armor pattern here

What pattern from Red Heart were they referring to?
I had no idea at first but a few of my fb page members went looking for it and put our bees in  a side by side photo so we could all see. As soon as I saw it I had a bit of a giggle. It's obviously, to anyone who has any crochet experience, a completely different pattern!

But, in all honesty, now looking at it with fresh eyes, I can see why someone with little to  no crochet experience might think this pattern is the same. I get it, it does look similar at first glance.

But when this person was told  over and over again, by many people who stepped in to help me, why the patterns are actually different, they came back with "So you made some changes." referring to me, I made some changes to make that pattern my own. lol ummm I would have had to change the entire pattern then!

Red Heart's adorable bee is on the right, pattern here

So if I could make that many changes, to change the entire pattern, every row, every part, just to make it my own, why would I need to steal the pattern in the first place? That makes no sense at all.

They have a  different shape, different legs, different antennae, different wings.

I did look over Red Heart's pattern and the 2 patterns even differ where they begin. Mine starts at the butt, Red Heart's starts at the head. It's a different pattern.

However, they are the exact same color, because we're both using Red Heart Yarn, and they do have a head and a body. So does that make me a thief because Red Heart put out a bee pattern in 2009. Does that make every single one of us who came out with a bee design after 2009 a thief?

Google "crochet bee" and have a look how many there are. They most all have heads and bodies aside from those adorable little one piece blobs that some of us also designed!

Bee Mine Teddy Bear here

Toys made in true amigurumi style will have big heads, that's what makes them so cute! Some crochet bees have pointier butts, some have rounded ones, some have stingers, some have none, some have many stripes, some have one!

If you think all of us, post 2009, are pattern thieves because Red heart put out a bee design then you'll have to say that Red Heart is a thief too then because a similar bee design was published by Sherri Bush in 2008. You can see it here 

I do not steal patterns. The majority of designers out there do not steal patterns. None of us hold exclusive rights to the shape of a bee, a bear, or whatever other character there is,  but we all DO have the right to design our own, granted we're not intentionally copying anyone else's work.

A designer should  know how to make basic shapes, and how to sew a thing together, and we're all using yarn so there is bound to be similar looking amis made now and then. it's going to happen, as it did here with this simple bee. It has a head and a body and wings.

Recognize this girl? I designed her in 2011.
Get her and other characters from Coraline  here

Please, if you are reading this and one day happen across a photo and you think it looks similar to another you've seen previously,  do not ever, so recklessly, accuse someone of being a thief  just based off that  photo, or worse, based on colors.

Do your research before assuming anything. Compare the written patterns at least! This person accused me before I even released the pattern. That's just straight up crazy.

Rosey looks like a lot of monkeys.
See what makes her different here.

I've worked super hard over 10 years to respectfully carve out my own space in this community and along the way I have  promoted other designers on my facebook page, including Red Heart, often times before my own work. 

If I have ever modified a pattern to make it my own, I, first, ask the original designer if they mind, and, second, make it super clear at the beginning where the original came from because that's the proper way to do things. It helps us both out doing it this way, it's actually a great and wonderful thing!

My sock monkey with a working zipper is a modified pattern, with permission, that  I designed in 2013. See who gets the credit and get the pattern here 

I made the bear below in 2011, using someone else's pattern. However it looks nothing like the original pattern I used because I used special yarn to make it fuzzy. I first shared it in 2011 on my fb page and then on my blog in 2014 here.

Since it looks so different from the original I could have claimed I did it freehand but I'm not that kind of person, I firmly believe in giving credit where it's due, always.  If you followed my work, or researched me, you would know that I always give credit where it's due. I certainly do not deserve to be slandered for conducting myself online this way!

If you feel as though someone has stolen a pattern, alert the designer themselves. Don't take upon yourself  to accuse people publicly online because you could be so very wrong.

 Designers know their own patterns best so let them know what you found and then let the designer decide  how to handle the situation.  Speaking as a designer, I would much rather you tell me that you think someone stole a pattern from me instead of accusing someone publicly online and possibly tarnishing an innocent person's good reputation, which is really terrible when you think about it.

Little Bigfoot Elephants!
Pattern here

I hope this story today has made even a small difference in the future of our community.  I hope people will think things through and make  sure, beyond any doubt, that they know what they are saying is true. It's a super sick thing to recklessly throw around words like "thief" and label someone that without even doing simple research first. Don't mess with people's lives by thoughtlessly using your keyboard.

Yes, there are pattern thieves out there, yes, there are people who take credit that doesn't belong to them, yes, some people just suck at being human, but there's also good, honest, people out there too.

The best way to scroll is, don't troll, assume the best in people, do your proper research if you fear the worse,  ask questions, and always, always bee kind online.

Totoro pattern including the Catbus here.

My fellow designers,
If you are on the other side of it and being accused of something you didn't do, let me first say, I am so so sorry you are going through that. It's undeserved, I know, and it's completely maddening, I know, but if they refuse to listen to facts or see reason, don't keep engaging with it.

Some people you meet  online also have mental health issues  that makes it impossible for them to be reasoned with anyway. If I could go back to that day in March I wouldn't have let my valuable time be taken away from me. It wasn't worth it in the end.

A Dragon story with patterns here

Nobody will suffer more than you if you engage with trolls online. I fell into that trap that day and I only wish now I didn't.

If I can turn this negative moment in time into something positive and this story keeps you from engaging with  drama seekers or trolls, or makes a person think and do research before pointing a finger,  then ... well.. I'm kind of happy it happened... lol Okay, that was hard to say!!

What's that saying again??  Oh yea, "Don't feed the trolls!"

Unless, of course, they're yarny Trolls like Elbus, Willie, and Bubba.  You can feed those guys pancakes. Read their annoying story and get their pattern here.

Wow! Thank you for reading all the way to the end, you are amazing!


  1. Hi Sharon. Wow what a story. Im sorry you even had to deal with that. I also am a designer on youtube, but not for crochet/amigurumi. It's for Rainbow Loom bracelets. But I just wanted to say how much i admire your work. You were the first channel I watched when starting crochet. You have tought me so much. I love your designs so much that im always coming back and remake the same things haha. Your followers know that you have a great talent and would not need to ever take from someone else designs! Im glad that mess is over for you and appreciate all you do! Thanks and stay safe!!

  2. Wow I'm sorry you had to go threw that I so enjoy you and your videos just move on karma will always find a way to the evil one

  3. Hi
    I have just found your site. Your work is amazing! Can I sell what I make using your pattern?

    1. thank you so much. Yes, you can sell anything you make using my patterns. Good luck in your sales :)

  4. I have just read this with mounting sadness and disbelief that anyone could have behaved like that towards you - or indeed towards anyone! What a sad way to live! If one visits Ravelry, for instance, and types "Bee" into the search bar, you get presented with scores of patterns that all, amazingly enough, look like bees. In that they are all strikingly similar, because bees are bees. None of them look like YOUR bee though. One of the thing that has always impressed me most about your designs is that they are so utterly unlike any of the others I have seen. You have a uniqueness that is 100% your own. Please know how much you are appreciated by 99.9% of us. The other .01% would simply never be happy in any case, so they are not worth worrying about. P.S. Give my love to the Gnomes!

    1. wow, I so so appreciate what you've written me. Thank you! You made my day and helped heal my heart too.. that was very kind of you to take the time to respond and to give me the joy of feeling the kindness in your words. This has meant more to me than I can say. Lots of love to you!

      I will tell the Gnomes you send your love, they will be so happy, lol

    2. Oh Sharon, bless your heart - thank you so much. I am so happy to know that I have helped. It was my pleasure, believe me. I couldn't bear to think about the utter injustice of what was done to you, of all people, when you have given so much of your creativity freely to others. You really are the best!


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