May 17, 2007

Hello - My dream sweater

Hello everyone, I just joined! I love knitting, and I love finding beautiful patterns. I have often felt there isn't enough variety in the modern and fitted knit sweater patterns. I adore Scoop Neck sweaters. They look good with my neck line but I don't often see knitting patterns for them. One requirement I have is it must cover up the bra straps! I would love to design a form fitting scoop neck sweater, probably with a little ribbed neckband and maybe some sort of cable up the side, that's still undecided. I tend to like a lot of stockinette but I know a little pattern helps speed up knitting or atleast adds more interest.

As for my experience designing knitting patterns, well I have none. I am one of those people who prefers to have a pattern written out and doesn't like to have to deviate from it. All my knitting friends hear me complain about the styles available in patterns and have encouraged me to make up my own

I havn't been brave enough yet but I really would love to! I am hoping I can get the help and support I need here! I am assuming the first thing I need to do is get some graph paper and draw some variations and decide what I want to do, and swatch all of the stitches used. Does that sound like a good start?

Also another possible project I have wanted to do for a while is a really easy one, it might be better to start with, I'm scared by the whole part of writing other sizes in the pattern etc. So this one is super easy, it would be based on a pattern that exists already so it would be a nice template for me to start from.

Here is a photo of the one I knit. It was a very simple design, you knit two squares and the front one is actually 2" wider then the back which I liked, and then on the front square you do leave a few stitches on a holder for a very cute garter stitch strap which lies perfectly.

I could basically pick my own pattern and remake this; it's so nice and simple. It was the perfect length and a perfect fit, but if I wanted to create this new pattern am I basically copying the other one? Where is the line of being "inspired" and copying? It's so simple because it's just two squares so it's hard to make it terribly unique. I could totally re-write the pattern in a way I feel is clearer, and of course change the stitch pattern.

Okay I'm looking for all your wonderful advice now, thanks everyone!! I'm excited to be a part of this. My only sadness is I wouldn't be able to wear anything for a while because I'm pregnant! So maybe I should start with the sweater because I could wear it this fall... but the tank looks so easy! Also for the tank i really wanted to use Hempathy which I know isn't a part of this CAL, so that might be a reason to hold off on that one.


Iris G said...

Hey Pixie Purls, I'm also new here.
As far as I know, the line is not very clear. The bottom line is: as far as you write up (not copy) the instruction from the beginning to the end, it's yours.
I started with a tank when I first designed for myself, because that was easy ;-)

Marnie said...

Welcome aboard! That tank top is super cute. Let me try to address a couple of your questions.

I don't like to give any advice that's overly definitive when it comes to copyright because it's a very gray area, but here are my thoughts.

Firstly, it sounds like the "unique" portion of this pattern is the fact that the front and back are not identical in width. I'd be reluctant to take those exact same dimensions, add a new stitch pattern and call it my own,especially since you also wish to keep the same strap treatment. But, if you are knitting for yourself, this is not a problem. Knitting a variant on a them, no matter how similar or different, for your own use is totally fine.

If you wanted to take a similar concept (even the different widths, front and back), maybe work a different neckline and/or straps and a new stitch pattern and then give credit to the original design, you are probably in better territory. I'm not sure who the original design is by, but you may want to contact that person personally and discuss your ideas.

I think it's always good to err on the side of caution, but don't let that stop you from beginning your design process with pieces that are just for you. You have no obligation to design and size your patterns. It's perfectly acceptable to say that your first few designs are pieces knit and written only for your own use and size.

As for the first steps, graph paper is great, but not necessary. You might, instead, consider taking your own measurements or those of garments you love and that fit you well, and begin drafting out the dimensions of your new piece. Graph paper will allow you to produced a scale mock up but before you can do that, you have to know what measurements you want to work with.

Keep in mind that many store bought garments are knit at a substantially finer gauge. If you are measuring a store bought garment that is light weight, plan to add more ease to your project garment. Also look for fiber content in the piece you measure. If it has a lot of lycra or other stretchy material, again, you'll probably need more ease in your hand knit piece.

I think I've rambled enough. But either piece you pick will be super cute. I'm looking forward to seeing the next steps.

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

I second most of what Marnie said. Much of design involves re-inventing the wheel and taking elements from things you've seen and liked in ready-to-wear and on the runway.

I don't personally see a problem with using the same front and back dimensions of the tank. Although that may seem unique to knitters, it's used pretty often in the fashion industry, and not really what I would consider a copyright-protected technique. At the very least, I can assure you that whomever designed that top did not invent the "square-with-a-front-wider-than-the-back" concept.

What you really want to watch with copyright is taking a combination of elements from someone else's work that make it distinctive. In this case, I wouldn't borrow the chevron plus the "square-with-a-front-wider-than-the-back" concept, or the edging plus the "square-with-a-front-wider-than-the-back" concept, or the edging plus the chevron with slightly different shaping. Those combinations create the look together, so it's best to steer clear.

I would only contact the designer if you planned to use a combo of those elements for personal use and wanted to let him/her know that it is for personal use and that their piece was the inspiration. I would also clearly label it as a "variation" then. I think if you contact a designer about something that isn't really a copy you are just lending credence to the thought that the individual elements of the design are copyright-able when in fact they are not. I've seen many people (cough::Alice St**rmore::cough) get their panties in a bunch over phantom copyright issues, and it's annoying. Copyright in knitwear protects blatant rip-offs and that's about it. Of course, this is all just my perspective, and copyright law is murky, so it is best to read around and educate yourself. I am a lawyer, but NOT an intellectual property lawyer, so I am by no means a final authority.

My suggestion would be to use the shape and measurements, which are very standard and which fit you, and change everything else. It's a square, so the world is your oyster. Go a little crazy and don't worry so much about your designing skills. You probably have talents that you had no idea existed!

P.S. Marnie - I knew I could out-wind you! And to think I was going to take a pass on the copyright issue, since I felt you had covered it nicely. I just cannot shut up!

Liz K. said...

I am very new to designing in knitting, but in the last year, I have dabbled a bit, and if there is one thing I can tell you is that you do not have to do everything from scratch right away. Look at an knitting magazine. Realize most of the things in there are twists on something basic. Maybe it is a detail on a simple raglan sweater. Maybe it is a combination of stitch patterns in a cardigan. Maybe it is a unique neckline or an assymetrical hem.

What I would suggest, as a place to begin, is maybe some radical modifying of patterns, rather than starting with the graph paper. Like your tank you mentioned. A different stitch pattern, maybe different shaping -- maybe even making it somehow adjustable for a pregnant belly -- a maternity tank!

You don't have to jump into the deep end with sized garments or even worry so much about whether your design is totally ORIGINAL from the start if your first design is something just for you.

JMH said...

_Domiknitrix_ has a great sweater with that scoopneck shape--if you're looking to design one for yourself that pattern would probably provide some inspiration for you.

The book is also, I think, worth it for the design instructions--another thing that could help you if you're looking to design a sweater for yourself.

Good luck!