Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some things probably don't deserve the thought I give them.

So I wrote a pattern. To be specific, I wrote a hat pattern.

I still have to wash, block, and take pictures of the finished product before I'll be ready to fully write it up, but I'm already liking it.

Although this isn't the first time I've knit something on my own, I've never written anything that I would call a pattern, the tongue-in-cheek Random Cowl notwithstanding. I've always been hesitant to do so for two reasons.

1. I'm pretty terrible about keeping track of my knitting. I might get as far as writing down how much I cast on and occasionally will mark the number of increases and such, but most of the time I forget at least one step or, even better, change my knitting but not my notes. I've found myself having to try and reverse-engineer a second sock or glove on more than one occasion because of my terrible note-taking.

2. I've been struggling with the concept of "original pattern." Don't get me wrong, after reading more than my share of long and painful discussions on Ravelry about copyright law, copyright ethics, general pattern wankery and why both designers and the people who knit others' designs are all wrong, I have a very firm grasp on the law. The problem I find comes from trying to concretely define for myself what constitutes an original pattern.

So much of my work takes bits and pieces from things I've knit before. Although none of it is exactly like anyone else's pattern, it just doesn't feel like MINE because I borrowed the gauge from another pattern or the stitch from a dictionary. Secondly, some of my knitting is simple enough that, although I didn't use a pattern, it seems silly to call it a pattern at all. Having said that, a quick look through a lot of the patterns on Ravelry --including the garter stitch scarves, the ribbed-brim beanies, and basic cable baby blankets-- tells me that I'm in the minority with this thinking. Although there's a need for these patterns-- beginners have to start somewhere-- trying to call that one individual's pattern feels like trying to copyright knitting itself. Some say it's the specific wording that makes Jane Q. Public's beanie an original work, different from every other beanie on the planet, but really? I honestly don't know how to feel or what to think on the subject.

Then again, here I am writing a hat pattern that most knitters could probably sort out for themselves, so who am I to judge?

Ultimately, though laws are relatively clear, I'm finding trying to define the concept of "original" is like trying to define "art" or "beauty", so while it's still something my brain is constantly muddling over, I've managed to push it into the background white noise of my thoughts.

....well, until I started writing about it anyway.

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