I'm often asked when my shawl patterns will be available in a downloadable format. Today I read something that solidified my answer...
When I design a lace shawl, I put hundreds of hours into the design, the math, setting up charts in the computer, testing those charts, making adjustments, etc. After all the preliminary work is done I then work hard to format everything into a useable booklet style pattern printed on high quality paper that will last for years (decades?). The process is extensive and I invest not only time and money but a little bit of me goes into each shawl I design. I've never made my shawl patterns available as downloadable patterns because I felt that something was lost in that format.
Today I read about a designer that had 36 of her patterns loaded into a forum for free download. Yep, that's right, I did type thirty-six! Imagine the time, effort and expense that went into those 36 patterns and what an impact having those designs stolen and then given away to the public must have. I took the time to browse through the designers patterns and they were adorable, all knitted toys, some extremely complex and all very original. Toys aren't my passion but it was very clear that they are hers and she does a wonderful job with her designs. I know I put my heart into my lace designs and I'm sure that this woman does the same with her toys.
Sharing patterns is a copyright infringement. Oh, I know this will happen between friends and family (its hard to refuse your mother-in-law when she asks for a copy) and the reality is that its OK to lend a pattern, the same way a library can lend a knitting book and the borrower has the right to knit a pattern from it. What is NOT OK is making patterns available to strangers and the general public for free. This is not only copyright infringement but also theft of goods. If you participate in this type of file sharing you are stealing from that designer.
All four of my lace shawl patterns pictured above are now available in my online shop http://www.bitsyknits.etsy.com/. If you don't see them there, drop me a note and I'll create a listing just for you. More of my lace shawls will be listed in the future but they will always be listed only as a printed pattern. You'll never find my lace shawls, the products of my heart, listed as a PDF download. Technology is a wonderful thing and out lives are streamlined and efficient because of it but sometimes it can hurt and I'll avoid that possibilitiy as best I can. I'm off my soapbox now and headed back to my fiber. It's a cold and rainy day here but I'm fortunate to have lots of wool to keep me warm :)
Knit On, Bitsy