Sunday, February 22, 2009


As some of you are aware, I dabble a bit in designing knits. At first, it was out of necessity-I like to dress a particular way, but many of those designs (say, fifteen years ago) were out of reach for those with (ahem) a more Rubinesque figure. So, in order to get what I wanted, I learned a whole lot about fit and drape and design (lots of failures along the way, too).
Occasionally, one of my designs gets published (which is really a big thrill- it is like a big gold star on that English essay- a confirmation, one might say). And I do realize that there are times when designers think alike. I remember a few fiascos when it was hard to determine who created first. But I do have a question-but first, a few details. A few years ago, I came up with "Big Blue". I had some Fleece Artist Silk Stream (which is still my all time favourite yarn to design with), and not a clue as to what to do with it. Soooo- I started playing, and came up with this-
This is the picture I have in Ravelry-not the greatest pic, but I didn't want to give away all my secrets, since this is a design I might try to flog.
Although this particular picture doesn't show it as clearly, the jacket is a tunic length modular knit, with a contrasting pink diamond on the back, and the same pink diamonds all around the bottom (you can see just the tip of one near the bottom edge of the photo).
So, this morning, I was looking around, and found this picture, from a well known company. True, it is a full length coat, as opposed to a tunic length. I can't see the sleeves- I used a chevron stitch all the way down each sleeve. I felt the diamonds would look too heavy. But it is possible this designer figured out a way to make it work. i just can't see the sleeves to make out that detail.
Anyhow, whoever thought about it first is not going to be answered here. But the question is- just how much does one share on Ravelry? You want people to notice your designs. And it is a point of fact- there are only so many things you can put into a design, so some features might repeat themselves over and over again (for example- high waisted sweaters are everywhere these days-I wouldn't be able to come up with who thought of them first). It wouldn't surprise me to hear that designers use Ravelry as a "source book" of designs and trends. The question then is- has the line been crossed? Does such a line even exist (the "line" being that point at which a design is distinctive and unique). I don't know. And I also don't know if the commercial design is the first or if "Big Blue" is the first. Ravelry can certainly show what is perceived to be your intellectual property (based, I guess, on how long one has a posted design).
There are differences between my coat and this one. It looks like there might be two blue colourways and two pink colourways in the commercial design, for example.
What do you think?


Ruth said...

I've had a couple of very unique design concepts of my own show up rather suspiciously under other designers months after I blogged them - one was even an IK design that showed up about 9 months after my blog post. The other was my "camera mittens" - a virtually identical version was published online a year later, titled "photographer mittens" Neither were designs I had great financial plans for, so I haven't made an issue of it, but it was a bit of a wake-up call to keep my best ideas to myself. On the other hand, I love my blog, and don't want to evolve into one of those designers with nothing to post.

Carrie Penny said...

That is a hard one... This is concidered a fashion industry. Think about what is out on the runway in April and on the rack by 2,000 different designers by May... It is pissy, but a true fact about how people in fashion are, there are knock offs of every idea out there.

Bea said...

This may be too much for my brain to handle today, but I think you do take a serious risk at putting something unpublished out on Ravelry. I'm not really sure what you can do about it besides make sure you've got a pattern page for everything before you publish it to ravelry so its clear its your design, but even that might not truly help. I'm looking at the published one and I'm really seeing your design and that doesn't make me very happy. Ok. Brain is not working because my thoughts just totally went out the door.

DianeS said...

It sure does sound like a can of worms to me. I guess that if I were thinking that a design might be publishable, it would be best to keep it under wraps (at least as far as the internet) until published under your name. As far as sharing on the internet, which we all like to do, maybe just showing a detail of a small section? I've seen posts about design "acquisition" that request that that copyright infringer cease & desist, but I'm not sure if a polite request has worked out.