Am I being selfish?

I have been thinking about this for a while now.  Still, as I write this, I am not sure if I should. 

One thing I know about tatters, ever since I join the tatting community, is that tatters are clever people.  Some can just look at a picture of a tatted piece and can figure out the stitch count and reproduce the design as per the picture.  This has happened to a few of my designs that I have posted pictures of in my blog or in my online albums.

While browsing through the many tatting blogs I sometimes come across  designs that look so familiar, and realised that they are very much like the designs that I have shown somewhere.  I read the post carefully to see of the designer of the tatting piece was mentioned anywhere.  I just want to be sure, in case I may have come up with a design that has been created by someone else before I did.  But I can't find it mentioned anywhere. Then I wonder, has the tatter reproduced it from my picture because I am very sure I have not published the pattern for it.

This is happening more frequently now.   Well, some may think that it is a compliment that someone had taken a liking to my design and took great effort to count the stitches and make one very like it.

Okay, so maybe you'll think I am being selfish, but I am cutting down on the sharing a bit from now on.  I will be tatting but I will not show the finished pictures of my designs.  I will only do that if I chose to share the pattern publicly.

I don't know how long this will go on, maybe for just as long as I need to finish the next design out, who knows.
But for now, I am sad and I am disappointed.


  1. hmm I think my comment got lost,


    Hi Jon, I am sorry to hear that someone has been tatting your patterns without crediting you as designer. I have always enjoyed looking at your work and while I haven't tatted many of your designs, I try to always give credit where credit is due.
    hope things look better soon.

  2. That's the problem with the internet, Jon - nothing that is shown is ever private, or safe. So I think you are taking the very sensible step of not showing the designs you don't want to publish or share. The Merriment Doily was a wonderful and generous gift to the tatting community this year, and you have always shared so freely with everyone.
    I am not someone who could ever copy a pattern from a picture! - but I know that many people are able to do this, and if the picture is there, you just can't prevent them from doing so.
    Your blog is interesting in so many other areas besides tatting - remember how much we all enjoyed your description of the bethrothal ceremonies in your family? - it is not exclusively about tatting!

  3. I am sad and disappointed also :( it is great that someone likes your patterns enough to want to make them, but people should say that it is your pattern they are making or copying etc. I have taken your patterns or someone elses and done just that, done the pattern similar from just seeing it, any good tatter can , and there are only so many twists, turns and rings for smaller motifs, but give credit where credit is due. if you use someone elses pattern, tell whose pattern and where they are. I always try to say this is so in so/s pattern, and I tried to do it the way they did or I altered it in such way etc. it is a real shame when people don't give credit, especially when great people such as yourself Jon take such great efforts in making such beautiful origionals. I will be very sorry to not be seing some of your beautiful works, I have learned a lot from you, and no, not copied your originals, as beautiful as they are :) but have taken some of your patterns provided and made them, and even altered them, and yes, given credit.

    I wish more people would give credit to the original artists. I have had this happen to me in other areas, and seen it happen to other friends of mine as well in yet other areas too. it is a shame.

  4. Here you are wanting to share your work and there's someone waiting too 'steal' it. Quite sickening really and I can understand your disappointment.

    But I wonder how do we go forward when there will always be unscrupulous people around?

  5. Jon! I dont think that you are being selfish, if these people had done the right thing in the first place this would not have happened! I know that I could never do that to someone who took the time to share a pattern!

  6. I don't think you are being selfish at all. The whole issue of what can or can't be copied is a difficult one, but if you have designed something and then someone takes that design and passes it off as their own, or doesn't give you credit then you are right to stop doing it. I totally sympathise.

  7. No, Jon, you are not being selfish. You are one of the most generous people in the tatting world. It's sad to read that there are people possibly taking advantage of your generosity. I say, save your designs for more books. I'll buy them!

  8. I am sorry, Jon, your patterns are the best! You are a very talented tatter, so I can only imagine how this must hurt you.

    Please know that I appreciate all that you do for me, not only the great patterns you have gifted me, but the patterns I have purchased. Also I can't thank you enough for your "how to" blog posts, which I am sure were alot of work. I refer back to them often and have shared them with my sister who is a new tatter.

    Thank you, Jon.

  9. I am sad people can't respect copy right laws and acknowledge the true designer of the work. I am truly sad you will not be sharing as much as you have. I enjoy your work and draw from your patterns regularly. But I understand why, you put the work into it and someone else takes credit for your work.That is just not fair.

  10. Hi Jon,

    So sorry to hear that! :-(

  11. I totally understand - it takes a lot of effort to get a pattern right and not to get credit (or payment) is insulting.

  12. I love seeing your finished pieces and I am sorry that people have disappointed you. Some ways to continue sharing and reduce copying would be to use a lower resolution pictures or share just a piece of the work and not the whole thing. Best Wishes! I would love for you to continue sharing, I am not a tatter but my grandmother was and I admire your talent.

  13. You have every right to be disappointed. Your designs are yours, and no one should be copying them without your permission. Some people seem to think that if there's not a copyright symbol on it, it's free for the taking. It might help to add the copyright symbol to your pictures. Of course, there will always be people who just don't care, but having the symbol there might at least make them think twice.

  14. You are not a selfish person, you have given the tatting world free patterns, tutorials and lovely books. I hope you will still be blogging.
    Best wishes

  15. That's just how some people are. I remember reading a review of Mary Konior's Visual Tatting book on a used book site and many people were complaining how they didn't like all the diagrams because they couldn't copy them easily to share with others. If you do share photos, make them fairly small. That way we can see what you're working on, but it may be difficult to count the stitches.

  16. Jon,

    I agree with you and everyone else who has posted above.

    You are not the selfish one.. those who make tatting from your designs and do not acknowledge or give credit to the designer are the selfish one!

    Hopefully, someday we will all see your beautiful designs and creations in a book of patterns! I would get it myself for I like your patterns. They have been stress free for me who is still trying to expand my abilities in tatting.

    Thank you!!!!

  17. the only suggestion I might make is for some of your images you want kept special, you can put on a diff blog and make it approved viewers only, friends you accept only, then you can kick out anyone using patterns without permission? that might be a way to show your beautiful work to friends without sharing with unwanted eyes...

  18. At my age, nothing people do or say surprises me any longer. Don't confuse "selfish" with "common sense". Since there are copy-thieves out there; don't give them something to copy. Makes sense to me; I have enough trouble following intricate patterns ~ tatting from a photo is totally beyond my talent.
    This happens in photography, fiber arts (like Solaan's work), just about anything creative.
    In a Graphic Design class I came up with a design for a project that had a Caption "Catch the Spirit" ( 1981) with the typography depicting the 'catching'…..sure enough, some one from the class who was a working professional grabbed it and made a bundle using the phrase (which I see all over now!). Kind of like the Smiley face!
    I admire your work and your creative, sharing spirit. You are so good to give tutorials that we can use and understand.
    I think the 'honest' among the tatting community will support you 100 percent. xxxx bev

  19. Hello Jon,

    What a sad thing to happen to you. You are not being selfish.

    My parents are lecturers, and they've told many stories about the underhanded things their students and colleagues do. However, they've always told me that teaching is 'ibadah', something with spiritual value.

    I hope it is the same for you. Your teaching is of great value. Thank you for your years of sharing.

  20. I just wrote a similarly minded post and Jane linked me to yours. I understand your feelings & I hope this is just a passing trend and we can all share freely again soon.

  21. Jon,

    I understand exactly how you feel, even though I am not a designer. However, I have to say that sometimes it is when I look at an item is when I get an idea of what I could have done with a design. Since I don't design or sell anything, if at all I try something from another person's design, I never publish it as my own. Talented folks like you are the ones that inspire the "creativity deficient" minds!!!

  22. Jon, this is one of the things that upsets me the most in the tatting community. While I do not think that published patterns have the severe copyright restrictions some people like to claim they do, UNPUBLISHED designs absolutely have every copyright protection because they are an original work of art and should not be copied or made unless and until the designer makes the pattern available. No one should be counting stitches and tatting something they see only in a picture without making reasonable effort to find out if there is a commercial pattern available. If there isn't - it's not yours to tat!

    I have no problem with people doing whatever they want with their tatting when they've made something from a pattern I published (including selling the finished piece). I know you are equally as unselfish in that regard because I own your books and have seen your copyright statement. But some of my designs I'd like to keep exclusive to my own line of jewelry and have not published the patterns. I have run in to the same problem where I've posted a picture and later seen the item remade by someone else, copied down to the very beads and thread. Since I had not published the pattern, I knew the had just copied it from the picture. I've stopped sharing those kinds of pictures as well.

    I hope you'll keep publishing patterns and sharing those, but I understand completely not showing pictures of your original designs (that don't have patterns published yet).

  23. It's not at all selfish, but it is a massive shame. As someone who's bought two of your pattern books, I can see just how much work you put into your designs. To be made to feel like this is frustrating, and very wrong.

    I took your tatted snowflakes book on holiday with me recently, and I absolutely loved the patterns. The range of techniques, and the clever designs - of course they all look lovely, but more than that, they're so interesting to tatt.

    Please remember that they're the selfish ones for stealing - but there are a lot of people who think your work is fantastic, and appreciate you for it.

  24. Thank you for all the responses to this post. I appreciate each one. I don't think that I can reply to each one of them. Thank you for understanding

    I guess I am still not wise to the world of the internet, but I agree that there are risks. I always try to be a bit open to the tatting community because this is my way of making sure tatting keeps going, on and on forever.

    I don't want thus turn of event to be a put-off for my creativity. Yes, there are a lot of 'ifs' in this world, aren't there. I don't want the 'ifs' to be a hurdle for me to be creative.

    I will not stop designing and publishing patterns. And I will continue to blog about my tatting. But, I just need to be more selective, I suppose, on what I share on my blog. I assure you, whatever that I do share will be showing the best of my effort.

    There needs to be a high standard in tatting so that it can be a category on its own and not be found under 'crochet and knitting' whenever you make a search on it.
    Ooops .. I don't have anything against crochet or knitting. I crochet in between my tatting and knit once in a while.

  25. Once your design is copied and credit was not given to you is what that hurt ones most. I had learned my lesson too. Nowadays, I resize my pictures before posting it in my blog. At times, I just don't post them up at all but only share among my close friends and family. I read your blog too and you are very talented. To keep your own designs is not an act of selfishness but is your privilege.

  26. No you're not selfish at all, you are very, very generous making those patterns available for the community. I have done a few of your designs lately and of course you'll be credited as the designer.
    It is a sad thing that have happened to you, I hope someday there will be patterns available again but so far I will say a big thank you for those you've shared with the rest of us.

  27. I agree. i myself browse through patterns for ideas and although i can copy a pattern from a picture i still make enough changes to make it a new pattern. posting pics should give people inspiration to make their own. just like playing guitar. playing a song like it was written is boring change it make it yours. but don't take someone else's hard work for granted. i love your patterns they've taught me more than my teacher but when i come across a pattern i like even if i love them I'm finding there's always changes i make to make it more me


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