Tuesday, January 15, 2019

business as usual

What can I say? It's business as usual, or is it? The longer I have a blog, website and pattern business, the more I get frustrated with the whole deal. Please don't get me wrong. I love designing, writing patterns and teaching. I truly do. It is just the flip side that I don't like. Let me give you a little peak into the other world.

I have been publishing my patterns and free tutorials in the Internet since 2012. I originally wanted to share my knowledge and help others to learn and feel good about themselves and their patchwork achievements. When someone makes one of my designs or uses my patterns and shares a photo of what they have sewn, it gives me such a great pleasure in knowing that someone liked my design enough to try it out and more importantly, succeeded in doing so.

I am also there for you when it comes to trouble-shooting. When a customer is having a problem with a design, I answer questions freely and quickly, because I truly want them to achieve their design. With most of my designs and tutorials, they were provided without any financial compensation. That was okay with me. I only wanted a small thank you or a photo with a kind pingback to my website or blog. With my IKEA Cutting Table Hack post, I received many pingbacks, comments, questions and a few "thank you's." It is the all-time favorite post on the blog! It was even linked up in a book.

My husband's beautiful work, my idea, my photos!

Some of my most popular posts, original ideas and copied patterns are as follows:
It plays on my heart, when I see a pattern or design that copies one of my ideas without reference to my original design. Why should it, you ask? The fact is - designs are not copyrighted! So I shouldn't feel offended. Only the text on how something is made is copyrighted as well as the actual photo. That is true. (And sometimes, even I fall into the trap of seeing something, getting an idea and running with it to form my own design.) However, you should reference your ideas! When I submit patterns to magazines, I am required to reference my ideas no matter how trivial. 

What really bothers me here, is that more and more people, robots, websites are using my free ideas and tutorials to make profit for themselves! I check the statistics of my blog and Etsy shop sometimes to see where traffic is coming from. I was alerted once to see a website was referring readers to my shop. That sounded nice, new customers. How exciting! When I looked at the website in more detail, I realized the owner had downloaded and used my photos without my permission and posted them on her website (with a reference to my shop). That's fine and dandy, you say? No, because her website was set up with a great deal of advertising, tracking and was set up to make her a profit (Google Ads, etc.) with readers coming to her site. These are things I do not wish to associate with. I asked her to remove the post with my patterns. She kindly removed them in a prompt manner. I never would have known about this, if I hadn't checked the traffic to my sites. Please remember this too. All photos are copyright protected. You are not allowed to download and post other people's pictures without consent. They do not need the © sign to be copyrighted. The MONA LISA would look a little funny with © Leonardo DiVinci, now wouldn't it?

Another point in case is the Mini Pinwheel Pincushion. I love the look of fabric manipulation. I saw an idea of a fellow patchwork group member, Birgit M., a few years ago making 3-D pinwheels for a baby quilt. I loved the idea and wanted to try it out. A pincushion is the easiest was for me to try out a new technique with quick results. I made a pin cushion and quickly posted on Instagram with some general dimensions and explanation - no tutorial.

It was quickly written into a tutorial by another person and posted on their blog with reference to me. I WAS given credit for the idea. This same idea (mini pinwheel pincushion) was copied by one of the largest fabric and quilting supply retailers in the United States. When I saw their video demonstration on how it was made, my heart dropped. There was no reference to my idea nor to anyone. When I inquired about their idea, their response was, "we saw an idea on Pinterest." What is your take on this? 

Case 3: At Christmas this year, we didn't give a lot of presents, and I didn't receive anything quilty from my family. I spoiled myself with a new book about miniature quilts after the new year. I waited for the right moment when all of the chores were done and a free moment was earned to sit down and thumb through the book. I was dumbfounded when I came to a page showing the "Forgotten Five Mini Quilt" called something else of course. The cutting and assembly directions were written differently, but it was still the same design and effect. The setting was in a 4 x 4 grid rather than my 3 x 3 grid. I believe coincidences can happen, and that people can truly get the same idea when designing. (It has happened to me, too. I try to retract my idea when it does though.) However, this idea was given freely and posted without compensation for the Moda Bake Shop in 2014 written by me. So, did someone take one of my designs for their own profit? I earned recognition for the post but was not financially compensated. 

Moda Bake Shop Tutorials

When I design quilts and pincushions, I research for new ideas. I want to create something unique and that hasn't been done before. I write and publish (what I know as) original ideas. It can also be the case that the ideas are already out there, and I have overseen them myself when researching. I apologize if one of my designs has coincidentally copied an other's idea for profit. Please bring it to my attention if it has happened.

Case 4: With the help of one of my friends, Carmit E from Quilting Rainbows., I was alerted that a robot on Instagram had copied a photo of one of my creations and reposted it on their account. 

New Pattern in the Works
Yes, there was a pingback or reference to my account just like in Case One about the patterns. Don't expect robots to ask for permission to repost. The purpose of robots is to find, harvest and repost good, clear photos without identifiable watermarks or copyrights to gain followers. These are not real people! They have no interest in you. This account will, in turn, be sold for a profit. You might gain a couple of followers by the action, but the bots profit much more. This is happening on a more regular basis and that is why I am trying to watermark all of my photos with a copyright sign. Interesting fact: Press ALT + 0169 at the same time on your keyboard. There's your copyright symbol.

I was able to report the repost on Instagram (with a long, lengthy process) and it was removed within a couple of days. I think it was removed quickly, because the photo was copyrighted with a rather pale print which was missed by the robot.

I am also more careful about my followers on Instagram. I do check to see who is following me and if it could possibly be a fake account. Fake accounts are usually the robots who are harvesting beautiful, clear, high-resolution photos for their own profit. They also redirect followers from your account to their account. Beware of 10K+ accounts following you without even liking one of your photos. It is purely for the redirection of your followers to their account.

With all of my frustration, I still am designing. In fact, I created a new pincushion - the Prairie House Pinnie featuring a log cabin design and prairie points. I made this as a special thank you to my #tobeabee German patchwork girls. I wanted to make them something nice. I am terrible at remembering birthdays too. So this is my present to them! I patterned the pincushion as less of a profit for myself and more of a security so others will not copy and profit from my design. I now know, that when I show something on Instagram or here, it will be copied. I'd better get the pattern out first, before someone else does.

Patterns on Etsy

So, it is back to business in a more secretive and sensitive way. I cannot show little glimpses of what I am working on no matter how exciting it is, because the fear of theft is just too great.

I would really like to know your opinion on this. Maybe I see this all wrong? Maybe everything posted on the Internet should be free for use by everyone? 

Monday, December 10, 2018

holiday spirited elves

Hi everyone,

Here is a quick note to say, yes. I am still here, alive and kicking. I have been totally in my design element designing all kinds of foundation paper piecing dolls. After I made the Paper Dolls -  Mini Collection and Winnie the Witch, I just couldn't stop and designed the Spirited Elves. This is probably the biggest collection I have designed so far too with sew many possibilities. Why? These are interchangeable, mix and match dolls just like the originals!!

This was the first time I designed a boy for the group as well. There are two outfits to choose from for each boy and girl. You can also choose to have elf ears or regular/no ears on the dolls. Check out those cute pig tails too! (eek!)

There are different pompoms options for the elf boots and Santa hats. You can change the direction on the hats as well. And of course, there are two hands included - holding hands and a single hand. How cool is that?!

There is a bonus tree block and table runner included in this digital pattern.

Or you can omit the trees and just have some happy, dancing elves.

After designing the spirited elves, Santa Baby jumped on board as well!

Don't you just want to give him a big hug?? I do! After staring at Santa a couple of days, a couple of things stood out and were improved. His elbow and the size of his hands just didn't seem right.

You can download the new version on Etsy. The great thing about these patterns is that they are both digital for instant download so you can make them for the holidays.

What can you do with Santa and his trusty elves? Here are a few more ideas. 

Make a table runner.

Make an entire throw size quilt 52" x 68" for your sofa.

You may be thinking it is too late to make something for the holidays. Well, it is never too early to start for Christmas 2019, now is it. ; ) 

Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season! 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Happy Halloween Sewing

Hello Everyone,

Halloween is right around the corner! I am starting to slowly get in the Halloween mood with the fall weather, misty mornings and soups of the season. A new block jumped into my head on Friday and Winnie the Witch was created. She measures 6" x 11". This block is a stand alone foundation paper pieced block (FPP) or can be mixed and matched with the Paper Dolls Mini Collection for added diversity. If you want to add a hat to any of the other paper dolls, trim the seam allowance of the head segment back 1/4" then add the hat segment.

This is a PDF instant download, so if you already have the original pattern, it is a quick download you can sew up today without the added hassle of postal shipping and waiting time.

You can even add it to the Fall Freebie from last year. Did you download it last year? You can now download directly from my website without being tracked!

Look what I whipped up this morning in EQ8! I used the freebie pumpkin block from last year, added one of the bats from the Bad Kitty pattern as well as two witches (one reversed hairdo) to make this cute table runner. Wouldn't this be sew much fun to make??

17 1/2" x 32 1/2" Halloween Table Runner

You could even combine it with the original Bad Kitty Pattern and rename it - "Little Witch in the Pumpkin Patch."

If you don't like the witch and simply must have a very naughty kitty cat, there are still patterns available on Etsy. This is a combination of foundation piecing, regular piecing and appliqué.

You can even draw up your own very special Halloween table topper and have some spooky witches peeking out of the pumpkins.

Have a great week everyone! Happy Halloween Sewing!
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