5 Jan

I am a self-taught knitter.

Mind you, I come from a family of knitters. My mother outfitted five babies born too close together, by knitting most of our clothes. She was taught by my grandmother, who supplemented her income for years by knitting beautiful vests and shawls. And my grandmother learned from her mother, who learned from her mother, who learned from her mother…and so on and so forth.

But I happen to be left handed and stubborn, which translated in my refusal to knit right handed, and their despairing of ever figuring out how to teach me to knit at all (they didn’t care about knitting ‘right’ or backwards, they just wanted to share this amazing craft with me).

Fast forward a few decades. An aunt by marriage was visiting at my mother’s at the same time I was staying there. As luck would have it, the topic of knitting (and my inability to grasp it) came up. My aunt (who can’t craft to save her life; cooking is her thing) looked at the three of us and said, matter of fact, “You just have to mirror what they do.”

Forget light bulbs, this was a lightning bolt through my brain.

Three days later I had finished a sweet little sweater for my daughter (made out of leftover yarns, because neither my mother or grandmother thought I could pull it off, the doubting Tomasinas) which I still keep.

However, being self-taught means that I keep ‘discovering’ what is well-trod ground for other people. This fact is brought home often, as I knit more, but I think the clearest instance so far happened just this afternoon.

One of my favorite knitting bloggers, Dances with Wools, posted a link to the original Ninna Beret pattern. I couldn’t make the pdf. for the English translation work, so I finally gave in and used Google. It brought me to Morgana Knits’ Spanish translation.

Which is where it got strange.

While the pattern, as translated, it not what I do, the more I looked at the pictures on the three sites, the more I realize that I’ve been knitting berets that look very, very similar to this one from the top–for years. Of course the proportions are not exactly the same, and I tend to prefer double to single rib, and in most cases my berets are knit with heavier yarn…but still.

Looking through the pictures in my hard drive, this is, I think, the one that shows most clearly what I mean:

Of course, the stitch used hides the pattern of decreases somewhat. Perhaps you can see it better in this one:

Or maybe I’m just seeing a similarity that isn’t there.

But if it’s not just me, if the similarity is there for everyone to see, would other knitters think I’ve been using the Ninna Beret pattern to make things I then sell?

Which is basically piracy¹–and, being quite outspoken about the evils of piracy, it would kill me if people thought I’m guilty of it.

Mind you, I do rely a lot on free patterns, both from old magazines and online, but only as starting points. Being me–stubborn and left handed, even in my thinking–I end up changing things a lot, adapting them to my knitting style and my needs. Quite often, I’m the one most surprised with the finished product.

Such as with this sweet hoodie, which started with the vintage Miriam pattern and ended up…well, mine:

On the other hand…

Considering how many people all over the planet are creating things, all at the same time, it’s probably statistically impossible to be the only one person to think something up–whether you then share it with someone else or not. With due perspective, of course, something like Darwin and Wallace and the theory of evolution of the species.

Either way, thank you to all of you who craft and create, and then share the results with us. Your generosity often sparks our own creativity.

¹ Edited to add: live and learn. Not piracy and not copyright infringement–read this: Pondering copyright: an unpopular position.

2 Responses to “Coincidink?”


  1. Pondering copyright, an unpopular position « Her Hands, My Hands - 01/02/2012

    […] Then we move on to things we make. Remember this post? […]

  2. Pondering copyright: an unpopular position « Her Hands, My Hands - 03/02/2012

    […] Then we move on to things we make. Remember this post? […]

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