“Vintage Revival” was first born when I saw a pin for a beautiful crochet vintage dress. It looked so graceful and delicate. Definitely not homemade. It looked couture. And I couldn’t get it out of my head.
I began to wonder about the origins of crochet. Turns out this craft is only about 200 years old. That is basically brand new when compared to how long other fiber arts have been practiced.
The makers that came before us were incredibly talented. Unfortunately, their patterns were printed in catalogs that were distributed by yarn manufacturers. Why is this unfortunate? Well, flimsy catalog paper doesn’t exactly hold up to the test of time. Yes, there are some books that were in print. But the vast majority of pattern booklets look like old magazines. And what do most people do with old magazines? Throw them out.
That means the onus is ours to ensure that the origins of our craft are not lost to the recycling plant.
None of the patterns in this series were originally written by me. I am researching vintage patterns, testing them and then updating those vintage patterns to be consistent with modern U.S. terminology. I will always cite my references.
I think that knowledge (especially for works in the public domain) should be free and available to all despite economic status.
When Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine he was faced with a choice. He could patent the vaccine, sell it to the pharmaceutical industry and make himself filthy rich OR he could save as many lives as possible by allowing anyone to produce it.
Now, those of us in the fiber community are not working on life saving research.
We are, however, enriching our own lives and those of our family’s. We hold the power to change the culture of design and production for the sake of creativity. I would rather work in a collaborative environment than one that blocks out those who can’t afford to pay.
It really upsets me to see PDFs of vintage patterns available for sale on sites like Etsy and eBay. I’m not including sewing patterns in this blanket statement because that’s a whole different story.
For crochet specifically, these sellers are adding no value to these works. That means that they are essentially holding the knowledge hostage even though it belongs to the public. I have seen folks selling patterns that are available for free elsewhere online. It’s crazy. And they’re legally allowed to do it in most cases.
So my response? Make these patterns appealing with fresh photos and publish them for free.
I will absolutely be buying patterns from these types of sellers and publishing them here for free. They belong to us anyway.
How the Public Domain works
Works that have entered into the public domain no longer have copyright restrictions. The content creators are long gone and their intellectual property becomes the property of the people.
Let’s take the Brother Grimm stories as an example. These works have been a part of the public domain for quite some time. On a site like Gutenberg you can find these stories free of charge. So how are Disney and book stores making money from these? At Barnes and Noble, you can buy them in a collection from a publisher. You’re paying for the work it took to collect the stories, print and bind them. Similarly, you’re paying Disney for the efforts they made to transform those stories into the classic films we love.
For more information on how Disney and their lobbyists single-handily changed the scope of how public domain works click here.
How I’m adding value
I’m on a constant treasure hunt to find great vintage patterns. Once I find one I love, I’m translating the patterns from outdated terminology to the standards we use today. I’m researching the best ( and most widely available) yarn and hook to use. Then I’m photographing the finished object from the updated pattern. Finally I’ll publish all this to my website.
I could legally sell these patterns to you. But again, this is crazy talk to me. I want these patterns to be free. I want everyone to have access to them.
I want to preserve the history of our craft and enrich its future.
Why aren’t these patterns on Ravelry?
This is a preservation project. I think I have made it abundantly clear that I am not the original author of these patterns. In fact, that’s the point. No one is making these beautiful patterns because they’re hard to find and the pictures are outdated. I’m taking historical patterns that are in the public domain and I’m modernizing the terminology.
Ravelry does not have a way for me to properly give myself credit for the time I’m taking to recreate these patterns. I am researching, testing the pattern, modernizing the pattern (and often times, correcting the pattern), taking new photos, and then publishing the material, for free, to my blog.
Unfortunately, their system only allows you to take credit as the original designer, as opposed to the transcriber — or something along those lines. They have deemed it to be too confusing and were trying to get me to publish them by giving credit only to the original designer.
In the same way that an author deserves credit for taking the time to retell a classic, I want to have my name attached to this project.
So, that’s why only my original designs are available on Ravelry.
About the copyright I use for this series of patterns
The “Vintage Revival” series by Yarndrasil will be assigned the “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)” license by Creative Commons. This means you’re free to distribute the work, but you can’t use it for commercial purposes, and you must give me credit for the value I’m adding. You’re also welcome to “Share-alike”. That means you’re free to make changes to the updated patterns in the “Vintage Revival” series by Yarndrasil series but you must license your work under the same license as the original. This will allow others to do the same.
The photographs used for these patterns remain my intellectual property. Why? So you can’t use my pictures to sell something that you handmade. It’s bound to have some differences and using my photos would be a dishonest representation to the person you’re marketing to.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.