Sunday, July 6, 2008

Freeform class and Belle Armoire

What fun teaching a freeform class at The Shepherdess in San Diego.  The students were delightful and we covered a lot of techniques and creative approaches to freeform knitting and crochet.  Of course, I found all kinds of glorious hand-dyed and handspun yarns and fibers.  Don't even talk about the beads!  I might as well just admit that I would work for fiber, yarn and beads.  There was quite a bit that just HAD to come home with me.  The colors were just glorious!  Additionally, the weather was in the 70s and with the lovely sea breeze, it was quite a relief from the 100+ degrees in Hemet. 

Over the past few days, I have been getting messages from people congratulating me on my article in Belle Armoire July/August issue saying that I had made the cover!  Imagine my surprise when I finally saw the magazine.  I do have an article in the issue on some of my knitted and crocheted flowers.  However, when I saw the cover, I was surprised.  It was a design which I had created in January 2005 and have been teaching over the years.  In looking at all the photos of the garment it became even more clear that this was my design.  The person who was credited with designing it was not me but I had taught at her shop and she had access to my patterns and samples during that time.  I have posted some photos of an old class sample from 2005 that has been packed away in my workroom.  Compare them and make up your own mind.  I apologize for the quality of these photos as I couldn't quite get the colors right.  The colorway is actually very subtle. 

Belle Armoire has submission guidelines which are very clear and this person obviously felt they did not apply to her.  It is sad as all the person had to do was say "...inspired by..." or words to that effect and it would have been a different story. I have substantial written, photographic and other documentation to support my copyright to this design. In addition, I have many students who have taken this class from me in many shops (including hers) and still have their written instructions for this pattern as well as the shrugs they created from it. One way to look at all this is that my work is good enough that people seem to want it no matter what they have to do to get it. However, the people who matter to me know the truth.

It is really coincidental that I have been transferring a lot of my old patterns to PDF formatting lately and this pattern happened to be one of them. The ORIGINAL pattern is available for sale at and also on Ravelry for $5.


Yarnartist said...

Janice, this is a huge bummer! You have taken the high road, which I admire. They can take your ideas, but they can't take the mind that came up with the ideas. Keep creating your own special style and beauty, and know that those who can, do, and those who can't plagiarize.

Kyle Kunnecke said...

Truth be told, noone can copy you, Janice! you have a certain way with color and it just can't be reproduced... you're an inspiration to me (and I have blatantly attempted to use your ideas and techniques to create freeform pieces) but I would never be able to live with myself if I wasn't honest and just spoke up - saying that you're the instructor who showed me the light...

I guess the patterned piece is a bit different than that of freeform - the whole plagirism thing is just annoying and upsetting - it makes our fun obsession hard to deal with when it gets turned into business. Unfortunately, there are people who will rob your ideas, steal your samples, or do whatever they can to undermine you for their own selfish gain - in the end, you're the creator and inventor, and the joy you get from your craft I hope will outweigh (by far) any grief you feel upon discovering dishonesty within our community.

give yourself a hug, darling... and next time someone says congrats for making it onto the cover, steal a little back... just smile and say "thank you!" - after all, it WAS your idea to start with! :)

TurquoizBlue said...

Wow! I am impressed at how well you are handling this. I bought that magazine based on the cover alone. I would rather give my compliments to you as the original creator.

Marie said...

The original design is stunning. I'm sorry it was used without proper credit given and/or request for permission. Such a shame.

Margaret said...

Hi Janice,

As a fellow designer I find this so awful. I wish there was something that you could do to bring this to wider public awareness. I only became aware of it through a google alert, which I have programmed to alert me when free form is mentioned.

Sincerely so sorry that this happened to you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Janice - I recently saw this magazine at the bookstore and my jaw dropped. I have heard of this same situation with this mag and another knitter designer over an equally very recognizable pattern. Your work will always noticed and admired because of your creativity and skills. If someone need to copy you for their 15 minutes of fame I am sad for them. Please do not let this experience change your philosophy of teaching and sharing your creativity and designs.

Lysa said...

Janice -

This is appalling! I admire your spirit, but nonetheless, I think you should contact the magazine and let them know.

You are so talented - you deserve every ounce of credit due to you plus much much more.

All best, Lysa