Posts tagged [copyright infringement]

  • Q&A with the designer - Hilda Steyn (session 2 of 3)

    Have you read the first part of the interview?  Hilda allowed us a glimpse into her world living with Asperger's.  You can catch up here.

    Hilda Steyn needs no introduction - whether you came across her (now retired) Yarn in a Barn store or crossed swords over the sharing of patterns without crediting the designer!  In her Ravelry store her shawl designs are easy to master and her Ready, Steady, Ripple blanket design is still on my to-do list - all free of charge!

    In this part of the interview I ask Hilda more about her decision to republish her patterns without copyright.  Without copyright?!  Without copyright.

    Helène:  You have zero tolerance for copyright infringers.  You even went so far as to put it into writing on your blog (  Recently, you re-published all your patterns copyright free.  For me it was a sad day and somehow I felt that evil managed to overcome good.  Did you feel the same?  What motivated this decision and what are you hoping to achieve by this?

    Hilda:  Evil didn’t win. Good decided to make evil work for a change. When my patterns had copyright on, I got extremely angry whenever I saw an infringement of my copyright. I was policing various Facebook groups, notoriously known for their copyright infringement. To tell the truth, it stole my joy. Designing wasn’t fun anymore. I prayed about it and God said I received freely, and I should give freely. So I removed the copyright. Now, those who love to steal, can do my marketing for me, and take my name into all the groups I don’t want to belong to. 

    Helène:  Inspiration is all around us.  We spend countless hours on Facebook groups, Instagram and Pinterest and look at what other makers are doing and those images are filed in our memories.  Then one day you design and subsequently publish a pattern that for all intents and purposes are your original work but actually, unintentionally, originated from something you saw/read months or years ago.  How do you as a designer safeguard yourself from infringing copyright?

    Hilda:  What you described, actually happened to me. I designed a shawl, and I got a very angry email from another designer whom I didn’t know existed. Somebody saw my design, and saw that in a way, it was similar to hers. She insisted that I withdrew my design, which I did. I would rather forfeit a design than being accused of pattern theft. I used to go to Ravelry, to search and make sure there isn’t a similar item to the picture in my head, but lately, I don’t do it anymore. I design from a picture in my head. Knowing that, is enough for me. As long as my conscience is clean, I am happy. If the same thing happens again, I will just ditch the pattern again. No big deal really.

    Helène:  Up to a few months or so ago you owned a yarn store that only stocked natural fibres.  There exist very divided opinions on the use of acrylic yarn verses natural fibre yarn.  Apart from the negative environmental impact, acrylic yarn do have a number of plus points (cost effective, easy to launder, no lot number colour differences, moth resistant and widely available).  Can you remember the exact moment when you made up your mind to never again work with acrylic yarn?

    It wasn’t a moment. I think it was a process. The more I read and researched, the less I wanted to touch acrylic. The last straw was when I broke out in a rash all over my forearms while working with one of the local acrylic brands. I made my mind up to never touch it again. With the knowledge I have now, after four years in the yarn industry, I won’t ever go back on that decision either. I am so much in love with natural fibres. And I am a spoiled brat. I love fibres that isn’t readily available in South Africa. I have a special stash that contains mink, cashmere, possum, pure mulberry silk, camel and then some more. How can I ever go back to scratchy acrylic that causes cancer? Nope. Not me.  

    Helène:  Natural fibre yarn is expensive.  Not only is it human labour intensive, the source of it is finite.  The water crisis in South Africa has forced many of us to cut back on our water use and be creative in ways to reuse it.  As a casual dyer yourself, do you think this will impact the South African Indie dyers in the long run?

    I don’t see myself as a casual dyer. I did the colour workshops just for the fun of it. I hate getting my hands dirty. I can’t stand it. The dying drove me nuts! I ended up with ‘variegated hands’ after each one, regardless of how hard I tried to keep my hands clean! I hope our current water crisis will be resolved before it starts to seriously impact the yarn industry. That would really be a bummer. But I also think it is time that each crafter seriously considers how he/she is impacting the environment through craft. I became very mindful of my yarn waste. I no longer throw it away – birds get their feet tangled in it. I now mix it with a little bit of oil or paraffin in; we use it for fire lighters. I don’t have to buy Blitz anymore. Unfortunately, many yarn snobs like me, scream about the effect of acrylic on the environment, yet they don’t change their own ways to improve life on our planet. If you don’t want to crochet or knit with acrylic yarn due to it being plastic, you can’t keep buying plastic bottles and use plastic straws. If you want to stick your head out and say something, you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. It is in the best interest of the entire world, that ALL of us, should take inventory of our actions and decide on a better way forward.

    As far as the price of natural fibres go – yes, it is expensive. But I would rather have one, classic, high quality, natural fibre cardigan in my closet, than 5 cheap acrylic cardigans. Slow living is also mindful living. I don’t have much clothes. Heck, you can only wear one set at a time! We tend to buy too much, and live as if life is infinite. It isn’t. All of us should slow down and think about our actions.

    During the third and final part of the interview Hilda and I talk about the successful Wacky Weave Interlocking Crochet-a-long that she hosted and that recently came to an end.  Hopefully I will be able to show you my completed Wacky Weave blanket!

    Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter (click here so that we can drop you a mail when the new posts are up on the blog.

    Until next time.

    x Helène

    Make sure to buy from me in the online store and follow me on Facebook and Instagram

    But wait!  There's more!

    We have a wonderful giveaway for the yarn obsessed!

    This giveaway is sponsored by Hilda SteynLJ Craft Creations and Brilliantmommy.

    The giveaway includes:

    *12 50g balls of 4ply 100% Merino Wool Superwash dk (4 Lemon, 4 Peach, 4 Dusky Pink),

    *1 LJ Craft Creations wooden hand crafted shawl pin,

    *1 Brilliantmommy tote bag, and

    *Free delivery to an ordinary address in South Africa

    Total value of this giveaway is R1 260!

    This giveaway are open for entries from the publication of this post and will close for entries on the 30th of June 2018.

    How to enter:  To be eligible for this giveaway you need to be subscribed to Brilliantmommy's newsletter.  If you are not already subscribed please click here:

    hilda steyn giveaway

    Terms and conditions:

    * Only valid email addresses will be eligible to win.

    * An email address will be randomly chosen from the entire Brilliantmommy email list that exists at the time that the giveaway closes.

    * A confirmation email will be sent to the randomly drawn email address to ascertain the validity.

    * If an email address is already on the Brilliantmommy email list that email address is already eligible to win.

    * An email address may only win once every 12 months.

    * Only 1 winner will be drawn, at random by the close of the giveaway.

    * Prize is not transferable.

    * This competition is in no way endorsed or run by Facebook or Instagram.

    * Judges decision is final.

    * Valid for delivery in SA only.

    * Valid for over 18's only.

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  • Q&A with the designer - Bren Grobler (session 2 of 3)

    Not only did I finish the crochet top in the Your Family Magazine of February 2018 in Nurturing Fibres Eco-Fusion Seashell, I have been wearing it!  The colour suits my skin tone and the cotton/bamboo mix is light and soft and such a pleasure to wear.

    Last time we spoke I was telling you about the great time Bren Grobler, the talented SA designer of this crochet top, and I had during the interview she so graciously granted me.  If you weren't here you better read it before reading the rest or you'll not know what I'm on about!  Now, where were we?  O, yes.

    Set the scene:  cue the instrumental music in the background, glasses are clinking against each other in the distance, Bren and I sitting at a table in a quaint restaurant overlooking the sea and the waiter brings our wine order...

    Me:  It is evident from many crochet- and knitting-related gatherings that most crafters are very jovial and welcoming.  It’s almost as if you are by default part of the club when you can crochet or knit.  Does that resonate with you too?

    Bren:  It certainly does. I don’t really do the social crochet gathering thing, but have made many friends in the design and yarn industry. What amazes me time and time again, is when we meet for the first time. It is almost as if we’ve know each other for a long time (in person). There is this common thread that binds us together.

    Me:  On crochet-related Facebook groups it is astounding to see how many crafters truly detest the copyright law on patterns.  It is very obvious that they dislike intensely the fact that a copyrighted pattern may not be shared freely.  Why do you think some crafters feel so entitled and regard themselves ‘above the law’?

    Bren:  Years ago, patterns were only available in print (magazines, books, leaflets). Crafters would photocopy and share these amongst each other. Now, with everything happening on social media, they (especially the older generation) want to continue doing it. They literally don’t understand the ramifications of a shared document on social media and how intensely fast it can spread. A lot of education still needs to happen. I also think, because most people crochet or knit for a hobby, they don’t grasp the concept that designers do it for income, so they literally don’t understand the damage they’re doing. It just breaks my heart that people are ok with buying expensive yarn, but aren’t prepared to pay a decent amount for a pattern. It is an ongoing struggle, but I have decided to not let it affect me anymore. If someone want to steal my work, they must have at it. I firmly believe in Karma. What you give out in the world, will come back to you. Steal from me today and tomorrow you too, might lose something dear to you.

    Me:  On some Facebook groups the penalty for not adhering to pattern copyright law is to ban that individual from the group.  It almost feels as if the banning of the individual just makes some more determined to continue the infringement practice by joining secret Facebook groups where patterns are shared illegally.  Do you believe there is a another way to ‘rehabilitate’ these ‘offenders’?

    Bren:  Banning people won’t change a thing. These offenders simply join other illegal pattern sharing groups. We need to continuously educate, educate, educate. And it doesn’t help when the admin of a group leaves a rude, obnoxious message. As painful as it is to continuously having to repeat yourself, rather educate. You might convert someone from a pattern thief to a copyright protector.

    I stop the recorder here. Bren and I feel like a decadent and gooey dark chocolate baked dessert with thick whipped cream and a splash of strong hot coffee over it.  We call the waiter over.  Surprisingly he hasn't bothered us once during our conversation.  Even more surprisingly they have exactly what we want on the menu.  While he scurried off to prepare our order I switch the recorder back on...  

    Make sure to subscribe to get the third and final installment straight to your inbox where Bren shares her tips for the Mompreneur / Solopreneur who crochet for an income.  


    x Helène

    Make sure to buy from me in the online store and follow me on Facebook and Instagram.  


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  • Q&A with the designer - Bren Grobler (session 1 of 3)

    Done, done and done!  I'm elated with the outcome of the crochet top that I made over the last few weeks!  And I'm not just saying that because the designer and I spent a lovely morning in a beautiful coffee shop at the seaside with the waves crashing to shore and laughing at my incredibly funny and witty conversation with our own handmade shawls cascading from our shoulders...  Insert a bucket-load of eye-rolling GIFs here and read on.

     Brilliantmommy Bren Grobler crochet top Your Family Mag

    Maybe Bren Grobler sat at the beach while she answered my questions on email but I certainly was not!  The gifted and accomplished designer of the cover crochet top from the Your Family Magazine of February 2018 (that I'm showing off in the pic above) took the time to answer a lot of my questions that I had about the crochet industry.  In this first session of three she shares what characteristic your handmade garment lacks that makes it look old-fashioned rather than on-trend.

    In sessions two and three Bren shares her view on pattern copyright infringement and her tips for Mompreneurs / Solopreneurs who crochet for income.   Don't miss it and get it straight to your inbox every Wednesday by clicking here: Brilliantmommy email.

    Set the scene:  Bren and I (wearing the top I made from her pattern with full smokey eye makeup and hair sprayed to a stiff yet modern style) are sitting at the seaside coffee shop, cue the waves crashing sound in the background, Bren laughs at my funny joke...  and go:

    Me:  Recently you’ve been appointed as the Brand Ambassador and Head Designer at Nurturing Fibres – a natural fibre yarn brand.  During your pattern designing career, was it ever a title that you aspired to or worked towards?

    Bren:  To be quite honest, that wasn’t even something I ever gave a thought to. I always thought I’d end up as a rep for a yarn company!

    Me:  Now that you hold the title, has it in any way influenced your designing process?  Do you perhaps now feel obligated to design patterns where in the past you may have designed something new when a pattern developed in your thoughts?

    Bren: It hasn’t influenced my designing process at all. Carlé is a terrific boss and I’m very fortunate to work for her. She gives me tons of leeway to do my own thing, in the yarn I like and my preferred colours. So yes, the yarns continue to talk to me and tell me what they want to become. As with any job, though, there will always be the ‘must-do’s’ so from time to time she would ask me to design a specific item. I don’t mind at all though, because our aesthetic in terms of colour and design is very much aligned.

    Me:  Most of the designs in your Ravelry store are for ladies clothing.  In your opinion, what design characteristic in a handmade garment – specifically such a historic craft as crochet – transforms it from old-fashioned to on-trend.

    Bren: Simplicity. Older garment patterns were very bright (lots of colours) and had either intricate patterns with severe set-in sleeves or were very boxy in design. Using classic, softer colours and softening the lines transforms clothing garments from a 1970’s vibe to something modern women (and teenagers!) want to wear.

    I switch off the recorder, Bren shares something off the record with me whereby I nod appreciatively and say something like "I understand, I can so relate...", we signal the waiter to bring our wine order and I switch the recorder back on... and go.

    Make sure to subscribe to hear what Bren said next about that dreaded words gauge swatch.  O no!  Sorry!  The other dreaded words!  Copyright infringement.  Insert Law and Order dun-dun sound here.


    x Helène

    Make sure to buy from me in the online store and follow me on Facebook and Instagram.  

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