Well, it has been longer than I wished since I last posted...simply because I needed time. Time to deal with the changes in the wind and figuring out the path of my own Journey. While finding that my images were used as some one's work at a show was disheartening to say the least, the next bump in the road was potentially career altering.....for many more than just I. Let me explain a bit. Some have heard and others have not....and this NEEDS to be heard and passed along. This is nothing that one gets over... this is something that will be passed forward for a long time while we educate ourselves and all of you.
As a pattern maker, I realize that patterns are often shared with a friend...traced out perhaps between two friends or mother and daughter.. yeah, you get the drift. Note that I said ..."traced out". We expect that and this isn't what we are talking about. In much of the pattern world, Epatterns have been offered. Instant gratification! You can print the paid pattern off and start right away! ....I refused to go that route. I know how easy it is to forward to our friends, like e-chain mail, one can forward it to several, who will forward it and so on. While many think it is innocent enough (someone paid for it once, right?), it's not. We make our living one pattern sale to a time. I thought that by not offering E patterns, it would help. Um...no. There are people that will convert your patterns without permission (this is illegal) and the pass along game is on. Like all serious pattern makers, we depend on the money to make a living. Yes, we feed and cloth our children, put gas in the car, and shop in our local town for needfuls. Pattern sharing has effected many of us as we keep records of our sales. The more that we get together and talk, the more we are seeing the effects in our records. Enter this pattern sharing on a bigger scale, where one may receive not one or two...but hundreds over a few years. While a few have come forward (and we appreciate that) we as pattern makers have had lots to deal with on how to best move forward. Trying to duck under the mudslinging and get down to the matter at hand, has been slow. All emotional dynamics beside, as small business women, we know that if is happening to us, it is happening to ALL. Yes, ALL patterns, epatterns or not. Painting patterns, cross stitching...anything that you may pay for directions and make is most likely out there and shared.
The best way for us to move forward is by trying to make changes in the patterns, so you will know that you haven't bought a copy. In doing this and giving you information, we will try to slow the sharing. We need to let YOU know what you can do to help us. This is something that will take all of us working together...the end result will be more pattern makers putting out new patterns for you. We need your support and your good faith.
What can you do?
* Buy directly from the designer or reputable Brick and Mortar/ Online Shops. If you aren't sure, ask the designer. We get questions every day from our customers and we love it! If you want to see our patterns in your favorite shop, let them know also.
* Be careful with online purchases! Many times, you will see patterns for sale on Ebay or Etsy. Make sure they are coming from the designer themselves. A big clue to a dishonest seller is their cover up of the designers name or no mention of it in the description. Others that do name the designer, may say that it is out of print. Contact the designer, most of the time it's NOT out of print...it's a scam to get you to put in higher bids and take your money. Many of these sellers are copying our patterns and you are receiving a copy not to mention putting money into their dishonest pockets. Some of you have smacked your heads after receiving the pattern that you paid 30.00 for and found it at the designer's site for 9.00. If you suspect that you have received a copy of a pattern, let us know. We are working to get these people off of these selling sites, but we do need your help.
* Finally, if you are receiving patterns from people or are encouraged to send someone your pattern from someone that is group sharing ~ let us know. Yes, it is illegal.
Many of us Pattern Makers are now forming groups, this way we can look into better technology or ways that we can make our patterns better for you. Some have and will stop offering E patterns, and although I know there are some frowns over this, please do understand why we feel that we cannot. We ask for your support and sharing of this information and many of us will continue to get the word out....you will probably see many posts in the months ahead and some posts that seem to be rehashing...but this is important and will need to be addressed on occasion.
I speak for many pattern makers in thanking our customers and for their support over the years. I know that many have been asking for new patterns and I hope that with every one's support, pattern sales will once again raise up to keep us in business. Remember, it is your purchases that are keeping our small business alive and running in the US.
I personally will be offering new pattern releases. I am working on making them less likely to be shared in groups or copied for someone else's financial gain. As they roll out I will give you a peek, so that you know what to look for.
**** On a side note, many of you ask what is the best way to let go of patterns that you no longer want or need. My best advice is to pass it along the most positive way you can. I always ask that you not do it online...I sell my patterns online, and also it helps me to find those that are dishonest. My feelings are; if you feel you need to resell it, sell it at a garage sale. To pass it along the best way...pass it to the Church Bazaar, the Library book sale, Senior Center, 4H or even Girl Scouts. Pay it forward :0) You may inspire someone's creativity and helping sales of supplies needed in your community.