Friday 6 December 2019

Cross Stitch Patterns and Sourcing them Legitimately

There has been a spate of posts in face book groups talking about copyright and where you can find charts for free. Unfortunately, we are seeing too many comments from people in the groups recommending ways to get charts/kits cheap or free from aliexpress, wish or pinterest. I want to talk to you about the impact of these options and the REAL free options that are out there for you.

As most of you know I’m a designer. I draw and make cross stitch patterns from my drawings. Although I don’t make a living from my designs it helps to keep things happening and covers the costs of keeping the craft and designs coming out to you. But there are those that do make a living from their art. Whether it is the prints themselves or the patterns the money they get from you is money they need to function and keep producing. I’m not telling you this to say you must go and buy from people but to make it known that if you LOVE a design enough to follow the artist and to want to spend the time stitching it isn’t it better to know that the money you are spending is going back to the artist that designed the pattern and not to someone else that just took the design? If you want them to continue, then being aware of where the patterns and designs come from is important. 

So how do you tell? How do you know that you are supporting the designer and not someone who has just taken the pattern?

Where did you find the pattern/kit?

What website did you find the pattern on? If you have sourced the pattern or kit through ali express or wish there is a high chance that the original designer of that pattern is NOT the one that you have found the pattern through. Or if the design is of a piece of art there is a high chance that the art hasn’t been licensed to the person who has created the design. Aliexpress have it as a seller policy not to have branded items which will often mean that the designs are stolen.

If you found a chart on Pinterest? Who designed it? Does it link to the designer’s blog/group if so, it is likely to be a proper pattern that has been shared by the designer as a freebie. But if it doesn’t link anywhere or it links to one of those annoying image posts on a random website there is a high chance that the design is not theirs to share. You can often find a lot of cross stitch patterns shared from magazines. I can find full charts from many magazines and other places. Does this make pinterest bad? No it doesn’t! I use it constantly to search and find patterns and ideas on how to do techniques and finishes. I have a business pinterest page that I maintain. I go out of my way to make sure that I don’t share the random charts but I do share the pictures of patterns and links to charts that I am interested in. It’s about being a conscious consumer and not just blindly following because you can.

Is it a full coverage piece of art?

There are only a few designers that have the rights to reproduce a person’s artwork as a cross stitch. If you purchase any Heaven and Earth Designs pieces they always source the art from the artist and have the permission of the artist to turn it into cross stitch. This is the same for websites such as Charting Creations, Artecy and many others. They will have some information on the website as to whether they have the permission of the artist to reproduce the work as a cross stitch pattern. If you can’t find anywhere it says with the permission of the artist and you can’t find legitimate reviews about the site outside of the website be wary. Ask around and find out if they are actually legitimate.

How do you receive the pattern?

This one is one I’ve come in contact with before and one that I find is a big teller. You will rarely find a legitimate pattern (unless it is linking directly back to a designers blog) in the form of an image! You just won’t! So if you have found an image of a pattern on pinterest and it’s in jpg or png form … highly likely that it’s been photographed from a magazine or somewhere else and shouldn’t be shared in that form. The other way is does this designer even offer their patterns as PDFs? If it’s not available as a PDF normally but you find it somewhere that you can download it digitally … that is a big red flag. Designers like Inkcircles and Stoney Creek and Joan Elliott don’t sell their patterns as PDFs, you can buy their patterns from online sellers but you will get a physical copy of the pattern. So if you find these patterns out and about as PDFs they are definitely illegal.

 How do you know you're doing it right?

It’s about doing your research and knowing the designers that are out there and getting to know the people and the ways that they share their patterns. Any legitimate designer will be out there talking about their patterns they will answer questions if you ask them. They will talk about where they get their ideas or their patterns. They won’t hide. If the source doesn’t come from the designer the website should still be able to give you proof that they source their products legally. I’m not saying just because you like a design you must go and buy it from that designer now. All I’m saying is if you like a design enough to stitch it make sure you have sourced it from the people that matter because if you don’t they won’t be around later to keep making those designs that you love because people stealing from them will have put them out of business long before this! 

This is important that we support those who help us enjoy our craft because without them we don't have a craft! 

Happy Stitching, 

This has ended up longer than I was expecting I will do another post that I'm writing at the moment with the ways to source cheaper or free patterns in a way that doesn't hurt the designers.

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