I suppose this one of those old chestnuts that comes up every so often. I’ve been madly crocheting away, every spare moment I can get, to make Christmas presents for the Children in my family. Often, I start from a pattern written by someone else and wander off on my own doing what I think will work better, or making it into the thing I want to make. Sometimes, I’ve seen a photo online and tried to make something that looks like the photo. But when do these designs become my own?
I suppose, of course, there’s no simple answer. It all comes down to when an item becomes substantially different from the original design, and the crossover isn’t clear.
For example, say I want to make an amigurumi doll. I already have books with patterns for several which I will look at before I decide exactly what I want to do. The end doll that I make may have elements from several designs from my books, none of which include all the features I want in my doll, and there will also be elements that I’ve thought up from scratch. There may be a significant amount of trial and error involved in putting all this together. The overall doll may be my own ‘vision’, but individual components may be copied from elsewhere. When does it become my own design?
And what if something’s copied from a photo? Cedric is the perfect example here – he is based on this photo, but I have no idea what the pattern for it is like, although I suspect I have one ‘significant’ difference.
I would like to start writing up and selling patterns but I’m just struggling a bit with this cut-off point. To date, I’ve been thinking more of publishing the patterns here on my blog with reference to my sources of inspiration, but if my pattern is based on someone else’s what right do I have to publish the directions for the bits I’ve copied?
And anyway, how many different ways are there of making amigurumi heads, arms, legs or bodies? If you want something roughly the same size, you’re likely to end up with a very similar pattern.
And where does Petal fit into all this? Her pattern is a translation with one or two tweaks.
I have a doll I’m making for Iona (and I’ll have to make one for Niamh sometime too), it’s based on a pattern by someone else, but I’ve done some of the basic body parts slightly differently. However, I’ve gone completely off at a tangent, influenced by someone completely different, in embellishing the doll and in the techniques I’ve used to do so. I’m really excited about her (Iona will LOVE her) and I’d love to write it up as a pattern, but I don’t know that it’s sufficiently different to count as my own design.
Anyone know any answers or advice?
Spot the cute monkey! Too busy crocheting to get decent photos these days!