Friday, July 17, 2009

Hatter up!

No, not a typo, you silly wabbits. A pun for a little knitting content today.

Last month Gary offered me some more of Witt's yarn - mostly bits and pieces, odd balls (NOT a pun) that are unidentified. I put some that I knew I wouldn't use aside because Gary also intended to donate some yarn to a local guild of which Witt was a member.

So what to do with the bits? Witt used to make a lot of baby hats for charity and I thought of all the friends and relatives that have recently announced that they were expecting. Now, I have an issue, because I don't know what most of these yarns ARE. For sure they were not easy-care acrylic. Most serious knitters don't stash that. First, you can find it anywhere, but mostly because we're yarn snobs. We don't even have the grace to be ashamed of it. Even superwash wool is considered suspect by some. Now, I'll knit with the stuff if I am making a baby gift for a young mother, or someone else I know simply will not - or cannot - take the time to hand wash a garment. My preferences don't matter in a gift, those of the recipient do. So whomever receives a hat knit with some of Witt's yarn will not only have to be very special, but be willing to take that bit of extra care.

Since we were heading to the Outer Banks for the long weekend of the Fourth, courtesy of my brother-in-law's generosity in sharing the house he rents, I needed some quick car knits. Guess what I took? :-} One very bright striped wool, one muted that I think is or has in it some alpaca. (read: Goddess Crack). I knit one hat on the way down.

Then I knit this one down there. Pretty much have to be a girl's hat, but so bright! Babies love bright colors.

And the bottom one is knit with some yarn I picked up while I was down there, in the great "Knitting Addiction" shop. It is easy-care yarn, and it has what my friend Elaine calls "scrunch." You don't want scrunch. Knitting with it has the effect of biting into styrofoam. Never done that? Try it, tell me what you think. BUT...the hat is freakin' adorable! I call it Cherry Baby (any Four Seasons fans?), but you could duplicate stitch or knit in a few seeds and make it a strawberry or call it a tomato - I don't much care. I did the leaves spontaneously and just love the effect. I think I have enough to do a second. Maybe pick up some yellow and do a lemon. Or a pumpkin with rust. Or a blueberry!
I think Witt would have liked it, anyway. He loved people using patterns as springboards. I know he made me a braver knitter.
Now if I can just be a braver person, too. Things are at a bit of a crossroads in my life. Prayers and happy thoughts for a good outcome are very deeply appreciated.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bright Spot

As you know if you've read this for awhile, I moderate and/or own (there is a distinction which is not my own) several Yahoo groups. Most are knitting-related.

There are a LOT of knitting patterns out there. Some are free, in the public domain. Most are not. They are instead copyrighted works, the product of some creator's hard work and often, at least part of what puts food on their table. As you might expect, there are a lot of people who work to subvert that, sharing patterns illegally, even going so far as to sell reproductions of work still under copyright law on sites like eBay, which is just too large an organization to catch them all.

Sometimes, I understand people's frustration. There are patterns by designers whose names are legendary that simply are not currently available in print. Strenuous efforts to get them re-released, or the copyright re-assigned for publication are often fruitless. Buying originals is often far too expensive for the average one is more average than I! But there is no pattern out there so marvelous that breaking the law to obtain it is okay.

As you also might expect, as someone who earns a living under copyright law, I'm pretty stringent about protecting the rights of others. I am not a lawyer, but I'm also not an idiot, whatever you may have heard. I've read the copyright law and it's mostly common sense. If you didn't create it, it's not yours to sell or otherwise disseminate. Pretty simple, one would think. But at least three or four times a year, mostly on one particular list, I have to rein in someone from feeling they are above the law. Oh, I know they don't think of it that way, but it's what it boils down to.

The most recent was someone wanting help with translating a stitch legend. She chose to try to do it by posting a photo of the legend on the list. That's reproducing a copyrighted work, and I didn't permit the photo to go through. Another list member got on her high-horse, stating that was not a copyright violation, because you cannot copyright an idea or process. True. But this isn't an idea or process, it's a portion of a printed pattern. She countered that she was a designer (I've never seen anything by her) and that she had studied copyright law for a year. Feeling a bit snippy - I know you're astonished - I reminded her that that that didn't make a copyright lawyer of her, and that as long as I was moderating the list, I would err on the side of caution and designers. I added that the conversation was over, and to her credit, she stopped. Most of them don't!

Now, I have to say this gets old. But today, someone who is extremely well-known in the area of lace design in the U.S. wrote to me. She is one of several prominent designers on this list. Since I haven't asked her permission, I won't use her name, but this is what she wrote:

"Hi Diana, Thank you for taking care of the laceknitters list so well.
Just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate it. Cheers! "
To quote Ruth Gordon when she won the Academy Award, "I can't tell you how encouraging a thing like this is." It reminds me again of something I try to practice, and sometimes fail...if you have a pleasant thought or compliment you're thinking about someone, voice it! You never know when that small word of encouragement will be the best thing that happens to them all day.
It sure made mine!