Thursday, January 19, 2012

May I Have Your Permission?

I've had quite a few people asking me lately if they could have my permission to sell items they have made from my patterns. Here's what I'm thinking (and is my policy):

I don't have a problem with people selling items they make from my patterns as long as they don't try and tell people that they are the designer. I give my permission to sell items made from my patterns at local craft fairs and local boutiques, etc. The only exception I take to this is that I have an Etsy store and being that these are my original creations, I ask that you not sell items you make from my patterns online in any fashion or on any platform. That puts you in direct competition with me and my store and I don't want to have to compete with you for sales on MY designs. Does that make sense?

I am all for the entrepreneurial spirit of America to rise up and be successful. I am all for helping to provide for your families needs. Heck, that's what I'm doing. I feel like it would be remiss of me to tell you that you cannot charge someone for the time you put into something and the material it took you to make it. Ok, so the 'idea' or the 'pattern' didn't come from you.....whoopety doo! Not everyone can write down a pattern. Those of us that are blessed enough to be able to or have the time to do it...should. And if you have to sell it to feel like you are getting something out of it...then do that too.

I know that I've been outspoken about sharing patterns before. I know that I may have ruffled some feathers concerning the fact that I am proud of the fact that I give my patterns away for free. It's not because I somehow feel like I'm better than someone else because I do. Everyone has their own personal reasons for doing what they do. What I find irritating, both as a free pattern user and a free pattern creator, is when someone puts the stipulation that this item is for your personal use only and that you cannot sell any product made from that pattern. Here's why I don't like that. With that stipulation you are telling people that they cannot recuperate any of the costs that it took them to make it. I am all for donating. I am all for giving gifts away. Believe me, that's how all of my patterns came about. But, for me to tell you that in your private life when someone wants to purchase an item that you have the ability to create and they don't; and they want to bless you by purchasing it from you instead of just expecting you to do all that work for nothing.....and you CAN'T?? To me, that is wrong. There should be intellectual rights for a pattern, you bet. No one should be able to claim a pattern that is not theirs. And no one should be able to take a pattern and mass produce an item to create an empire out of it. But, there is no harm in someone having the ability to work a craft fair or two. Or sell to a local boutique or two. If the designer asks you not to sell in a certain place, then by all means respect that, but to say that NOTHING you make from that pattern is saleable.....yeah, well, you know what I think.

And when I come across patterns I like that cost money or they tell me I can't sell what I make from it.....I respect their intellectual rights and/or free pattern and I don't even copy it off or look at their instructions. I look at the picture and make it up for myself. Then it is mine and I can sell it if I want to.

So, tell me what you think. I'm not looking for people to necessarily agree with me, I want to know what you really think. Be advised, all of your posts get reviewed by me before they show up so if you get nasty, your comment won't be posted. I know intellectual rights, copyrights, etc can be a hot button topic for designers. Let's have a talk about this!


  1. I totally agree with your position. I am an avid crocheter and usually make my projects from the free patterns I find online. To fund my crochet habit, I sell alot of what I make locally. Like you I can usually look at a photo and come up with my own design. As we all know there is really not much "new" out there, just our ability to take known stitches and create one's own design. The few things I have designed I am happy to give away free.

  2. Thank you for sharing your opinion on this. I am new (ish) to the crocheting world and while I feel I was blessed with a talent for it, I do NOT have the skill set to create my own patterns (yet, hopefully). I am no heiress and therefore depend on free patterns and am so so thankful for people like you who are so generous to share your talent. And I appreciate your insights on if I were to ever attempt selling my projects. So far I have only gifted them, but I have considered selling. It's comforting to know there are pattern creators out there who can support the efforts of those like me.

  3. I agree with most of what you are saying. My biggest pet peeve is when i see someone stealing anothers pattern. I crocheted a purse from a free pattern, posted it in a group room, and the next week a gal was selling the pattern for $8 on her Etsy site. I can write my own too. when i see a $ pattern, i can replicate it. i do this with only a photo, on screen or in my mind. i do post a pic of what inspired me and usually explain I have NO extra $ to buy patterns. sometimes i am close. i think its the biggest compliment you can receive. i dont considered it stealing since i give credit to the original designer. it opens up a new crowd of people to enjoy crochet. You do very awesome work! i have had my eye on Noah's Ark for quite awhile. i was too afraid it was above my level, but i have gotten better at reading patterns.

  4. I agree with your thinking. i think you have made me change what is on my patterns.

  5. I agree that the rights to a design or pattern remain with the designer. I also have a big problem when somebody tells me I can't sell my hardwork.
    I also respect the designers right to ask people to not sell items in "competion" with them say on Etsy or Artfire.
    Thank you for sharing your pattern writing gift with us

  6. I am retired and love to crochet. I sell my finished items occasionally. I get my patterns from lots of sources and some I tweak to suit myself. I do not feel bad for seling them, I am certainly not making a living from my sales. I cannot afford to make items for nothing for my friends and their friends. I'm just enjoying my retirement. Debbie

  7. It seems as though I'm not totally off base in my thinking.

    Liberty- that is a peeve of mine too. Its not right that people take another's work and claim it as their own. It truly speaks to the integrity of the individual.

  8. I completely agree with you! I have been crocheting for years, and while I can follow a pattern with the best of them, I am not blessed with the talent to make things up as I go, or figure out a pattern from a picture. So I truly appreciate people like you who are willing to share your patterns for free (otherwise I'd make a lot of single and double crochet scarves and blankets). 99% of what I make, I give away as gifts, and I am happy to give credit to the designer for the pattern used to create the items. I'll definitely be back to your site. Thanks again!

  9. I totally agree with you Elizabeth on your not wanting someone to take your design and pattern and then make out it was their own design. That is unscrupulous and downright fraud. I do thank you for given these darling patterns to us who love to make clothes for dolls or items for ourselves. I get patterns from a lot of sources, some online, some in stores some from friends, and some from the library in books. When I take the time to create an item I feel that I have the right at that point to sell the item as it was my choice of yarn, color and any trim or embellishments I put on the item. I always credit the designer if I sell the item online. I don't have the creativity to write patterns, but can read them fairly well. Thank you again for all your hard work and the God given talent you have shared with us.

  10. Anonymous9:44 PM

    I totally agree with you--you expressed it well! May I link to this in my blog, when I write about how I want my patterns used?

  11. Hi Biz, I just want you to know I agree with you and the way you have worded it, it kinda takes the sting out of wanting to do something I love, crocheting, and also selling some homemade items to also fund my habit :), but alas I have yet to sell! I end up giving most away as gifts to my grandkids or those who have less than I do. Someday what I picture in my head, might make it to hand! While I am here, may I have your permission to sell if I get a chance?

  12. I'm looking into opening an Etsy shop for knit things and am coming across this whole issue of selling items from other people's patterns (bought or free). So you think it's okay for me to look at a picture for inspiration and come up with my own pattern and then sell products I make from it? That seems questionable to me, but an option I would like if the pattern seller doesn't want items made for sale. I would rather buy the pattern and link to where to buy the pattern where I sell so that the designer gets credit and maybe other people buying the pattern. It seems like if there's not direct competition the designer would benefit from that as well. So why do people say no selling? I'm a mom with three little kids - it's not like I have time to mass produce items I make from a pattern I buy. I also don't have the money for supplies (including patterns) unless I can sell some items.

    1. Hi A. Quite honestly I can't tell you why people give a blanket 'no selling' on their patterns. I think they want everything associated with it to be free since they gave it away for free. It can be hard for some to think of others making money off of something they worked so hard on. I have personally changed my policy on using my patterns. People can sell whatever they make online or wherever they are. I no longer have an Etsy store, and have no intention on opening one again anytime soon. As for looking at something for inspiration and selling what you make? It happens every day. If you have a conviction about not doing it, then that's something you need to heed.


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