March 26, 2010

Mother Swan,

My Mum's birthday always falls pretty close to Mother's Day (here in the UK), and this year due to unforeseen circumstances (involving lack of money!), I made something...,

she has a Mother Swan and three Cygnets.

The Cygnets represent myself and my two brothers.

Can I just say a huge thank you for all the feedback on my previous post.  This is a vast subject to cover, and despite my initial reservations about bringing it up here, the post will stay.  If you haven't already, please do read through the comments, there are lots of different views expressed about the subject of copying, they make interesting reading.  I have heard back from the craft forum involved, and whilst I'm not convinced they fully understand where I'm coming from on this, they have offered a couple of suggestions.

March 22, 2010

Copying, where do you draw the line?

I have thought about whether or not to post this over the last couple of weeks, and have decided in the end to go ahead.  This may be a controversial post, I may end up deleting it, but for now, I would like to ask for your views on this subject, and that subject is essentially ...copying.

There have been quite a few small instances of my patterns and tutorials being used commercially (something I do ask not to be done), most of these I query with the maker and do, eventually, get removed (although you'd be amazed how many people try and deny what is glaringly obvious!).  Recently, this has been compounded by an incident on a craft forum when someone posted a copy of my Peacock.  I'm not going to link, and instead use this opportunity to talk about events from my point of view.

The Peacock was seen and admired in my photostream on Flickr.  The person involved decided she would like to make one as a gift as part of an organised swap.  Instead of being inspired by my Peacock, and coming up with her own, she proceeded (without asking if I minded) to work out a pattern, copying mine exactly, for herself.  The finished Peacock was then posted online to great exclamations of praise.  However, instantly, another crafter recognised the Peacock as a copy and emailed me a link.  I messaged the lady in question regarding her motives and also the initial lack of credit as to where the design originated (she has, as a result, now added my name).  

There are a number of reasons why this bothers me, the lapping up of the compliments over design and choice of materials (and I know there is a danger of sounding like a toddler having a tantrum, but hey, it's my design, and I was the one who spent the time working out the shape, how to put it all together, which parts should be fabric, which parts should be felted wool!), the encouragement of others to also 'work out the pattern', and the continued praise by other forum members (and indeed the forum itself as it was selected as a featured project), for what is essentially a rip off!

The Peacock pattern is indeed about to be published and can I make it clear there would be no problem in the slightest if this had been made using the pattern once it's available.  It is the fact that my design, something I had worked very hard on, and something I am attempting to make a living doing, has been deconstructed like it's free for all to use that I take exception to.  If everyone did this, the whole craft pattern market would pretty soon become defunct.

I have been concerned I'm being petty, making a mountain out of a molehill, and if you do think I'm overreacting, please say so, my reasons for posting this is to gain other views and help me get some perspective.  In the meantime, I have contacted the forum direct and expressed my feelings on the matter, although at this point they are yet to reply.

For me, it is about where to draw the line on what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to copies.  When does it move from being flattering, to just downright cheeky?

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edited to add - there is a fantastically written post by Erika Firm over on Decor8 covering this subject too, well worth reading.

March 18, 2010


There is a television series currently on here in the UK called Mastercrafts.  Each episode centers on a traditional craft with 3 volunteers undertaking training in this craft.  So far, they have covered Green Wood Craft, Thatching, Blacksmithing, Stained Glass and last week was all about Weaving.

Weaving is the subject I studied at University, so I simply had to watch, it's been such a long time since I did any.  Now, I wasn't the best of students, preferring to spend my time at Uni drinking (alcohol, actually it was cider back then!) and watching bands play, any studying came a poor second.  But nonetheless, I do still have a fair amount of woven samples to show for it...,

looking back, it's really hard to believe that I actually wove these,

everything was done from scratch, including dyeing all the thread,

although some was used in it's natural state.

The looms we had were huge floor standing Dobby Looms.  Each design was pegged out using tiny wooden dowels or 'pegs', hammered into holes to create a 'peg plan' which told the loom which shafts to lift each time the foot peddle was pressed down.

 There were 12 on the course and we were a mean bunch.  The running joke would be to scatter a handful of pegs on the floor under the loom, making you think some had fallen out of your peg plan overnight.  One part I don't miss is threading loom, anyone who has done this before will know it is a very fiddly, time consuming job, and so easy to make a mistake.  But without doing all that, there wouldn't be the satisfaction of cutting a freshly woven piece of cloth from a loom for the first time once it's finished.  A piece of cloth that you know inside out, every single length of thread is there because you placed it there, and together it really does weave something beautiful!

March 11, 2010

Winner & sneak peaks,

Can't believe it's heading towards Easter already,

...and while I'm eating the chocolate, the Easter Bunny gnaws on a carrot!

The random number generator has been doing it's thing again, and the giveaway winner is...,

number 9 - Kazzells 
Looks like the Peacock was almost the unanimous choice!

Just a quick mention about something else, I had an email a couple of weeks ago about a new online platform available for viewing Etsy.  It's by PicClick, works for searches of items, for example Owl Softies, the same way Etsy does, and is handy because it brings all the images together on the same page, makes it so much easier for quick viewing rather than trawling through page after page.  Handy for keeping tabs on any design copies out there!

March 8, 2010

Pooh sticks,

Lucy had a confused look on her face yesterday, 

'Mum, what are those on your desk?'


Me, 'They are going to be Bullrushes'

Lucy, 'Oh'

Me, 'Why?'

Lucy, 'They look like poo's'


Me, 'Well, they're not poo's, they are Bullrushes and are waiting for their stalks'

Lucy, 'Cool, then they'll be poo on a stick!'

Me, 'They are NOT poo's'

Lucy, 'But they look like poo's'


Lucy, 'But...'

Me, 'Oh, I give up!'

Back to making pooh sticks then...,

ps, don't forget about the GIVEAWAY.

March 3, 2010

Big news, big giveaway!

I have been holding off posting for a number of reasons..., firstly as the 9th March it will be my 3rd Blogiversary, I wanted to wait till closer to the date, secondly because this is my 200th post, so it makes sense to tie the two events together, and thirdly I have been waiting on the go ahead to announce this!

Say Hello to 'Little Birds'...,

I am very pleased to say that I am part of the C&T Publishing Design Collective which is evolving and will be known by the name of 'Stash', 'Little Birds' is one of the first publications under this Imprint.  As you may have guessed, it is full of projects involving birds as the common theme, and includes a talented bunch of designers including Melly & me, Abigail Brown, MummySam, Bari J  and Resurrection Fern.  The book is a real selection box full of delights to quilt, embroider and sew, all complied by C&T's Susanne Woods, and now available for pre-order.

My contributions, for there are indeed two, are...,

 the pattern for a Peacock softie, 

and a Stork mobile.

The Stork's heart even has a space to embroider a name and birthday!

Ok, now all the formalities are done, lets go back to the fact that it is almost 3 years since I began blogging, and 200 warblings posts.  There have been good times (designs published, kits made, softie's sold), and bad times (broken teeth and falling asleep while sewing and headbutting my sewing machine to name just two).  I pride myself on being human, there's no perfect house or perfect life here.  I am the Calamity Jane of sewing.

So, to say thank you for stopping by, thank you for leaving a comment, and thank you to anyone who has ever linked to me and/or written about me, I'm going to offer a giveaway.  

A commission, from me to you.  In celebration of 'Little Birds' inaugural outing from the C&T nest, I will make one of the patterns for you.  You choose, Peacock or Stork mobile.

Leave a comment, making sure I have some way of reaching you, between now and midnight (GMT) on Tuesday 9th March, and after then, the trusty random number generator will do it's magic and pick a winner.