Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Testing, testing

I want to take a quick break from the rigorous topics of blog week to update on the status of the Infinite Cabled Hat. Encouraged by Natalie J, last Sunday I pulled the trigger on submitting a request to the Free Pattern Testers group in Ravelry. First of all, let me say that my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. I requested three testers, one each for sizes S, M, and L. I immediately got one tester, then service was a little slow but the next two came in a day or so. Oddly enough, two additional people volunteered after I posted this picture in the thread to show how the brim looked when someone was wearing it:

I know, right? For some reason me imitating the Fonz is a selling point. But it has been amazing to get so much feedback, and so quickly. The first tester who started was terrified when she first cast-on and her work looked like it was going to be a gigantor hat (the cables pull everything in a lot). She actually took what she had started apart thinking that it must be a typo. She recommended that I add a line to assure the pattern user that this was in fact expected and correct, something that I never would have thought of. I know how it's supposed to look, so why doesn't everyone else (because everyone is a mind reader, right)? So what I'm saying is that I love my testers and I want to marry them. Well, maybe that would be rushing things. Civil union?

But. It wasn't all chocolate and roses. I wasn't sure that I was going to even discuss this, because it was actually fairly upsetting to me. Since the rest of my experience has been so much fun, though, I think we're OK. After I'd confirmed my first tester, I got this message. I'm going to quote verbatim, so there's no chance of hyperbole:

"It’s really adorable. I’m wondering if there may be some copyright issues with Cully’s Cabled Hat. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional when you designed it, its just terribly similar."

My jaw dropped. I was ready for my testers to rebel, saying that my pattern sucked ass and was completely wrong, or not to get any testers at all, but this wasn't even on my radar. This penetrated deep into my stone cold heart. The post was edited about a half and hour later to add:

"Then again, culley’s is two color, and what do I know about copyrights. Just something for you to consider when you publish.
Good luck with the test!"

I'm assuming the addition was brought on when the poster realized how incredibly bitchy his/her first post sounded, so I do appreciate that. But the whole thing really threw me for a loop.

Now if you check out Cully's Cabled Hat, you'll see that it's actually the same concept as what I was referring to as the South Face Hat: the two color stranding that I didn't think turned out very well as a swatch. Even barring the difference of being one color, my design has a different brim and a much different decreasing scheme (which I prefer, naturally). Now this was from Vogue Knitting (the Winter '09/'10 edition), the supposedly high fashion knitting mag; apparently we are both so cutting edge that we knocked off a hat that I've been seeing on the ski slopes for at least two years now. Needless to say, I've decided not to pursue constructing the South Face Hat, unless I completely redesign. I think to actually get the effect that I'm going for, we're going to have to go entrelac (which definitely has already been done).

What I've taken away from this is that I need to be confident in my creations and stand behind them! Grrrrrrr! (That's my scary-stand-behind-my-creations growl).

Also! New stash came in. Behold:

First peek.

The skein at the bottom has the football, I think.

That's what we call a 'made my day' right there.


  1. I try to not read posts as bitchy - it's hard to tell tone online, so life is easier when I don't read negativity into it.

    I wouldn't worry about it--copyright covers the written/charted directions and the images. You can't copyright an IDEA, or everyone who wrote out how to knit a garter stitch scarf would be in trouble!

    I would have volunteered to test your hat, but I'm still on my testing hiatus :P

  2. I know exactly what you mean--I think the poster realized that it could come off badly so it was nice that they tried to clarify. I thought I had prepped myself for any eventuality, I've just gotta thicken my skin!

    I wouldn't want to disturb the hiatus, of course. :)

  3. Well I'm glad that you've had a generally positive experience with the testing thing! As for the copyright non-issue, it's just that. On the surface they may be 2 similar looking hats, but the construction and how the pattern is written is where the differences are. It's impossible to fully research whether or not somebody MAY have designed a hat that kind of looks like the one you've been doing at some time in the distant past. So, carry on and do your thing! :)

  4. A blog about knitting?...This seems pretty similar to some other blogs I've seen. Copyright lawsuit incomming...