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Saturday, September 2, 2017

When personal communications go wrong (and a link party)

I planned today's post to be different... but then a weird thing happened and I want to share...

I planned to title this post "zip, zippity, zippity" because I was planning to share all my zipper pouches projects that I have been making in this past month.


I will share the weird experience I had with the designer of one of those zipper pouches I made. I won't name the pattern or the person... so I will call it "the-pattern-which-must-not-be-named" from here on :)

Ok, before going down the rabbit hole of the story, let me share one zipper pouch that I made without a pattern...

I just added a 2.5'' strip to a zipper and stitched it on a thick plastic bag (one that you get when you buy curtains or something similar). Now I have a nice and sturdy clear pouch to carry around my beautiful planner :) 

Ok, story time!!

First of all, a little context: I found the free tutorial for the-pattern-which-must-not-be-named on line. It was a downloadable pdf with instructions and a step by step tutorial on her website.

Fantastic! I made the first pouch... I really enjoyed the design because it's very unique, the instructions were great, but I saw an opportunity to change something and I decided to get in touch with the designer.

I sent her a long email where I thank her for the wonderful pattern, I told her how much I enjoyed making it, I told her that I will be making many many more of those as they will be my handmade Xmas present for all the people on my list.
Then I told her that I thought that the pattern could benefit from slightly changing the measurements with more precut friendly measurements, so that one could use all those leftover precuts pieces that we all have from making quilts!!
I also proposed that I could write up a little companion cutting guide that would list those different measurements and then provide this on my website with links to her actual tutorial for all the instructions.
I finished the email by saying again how thankful I was for her sharing this pattern online for free, and that I was waiting for her input on my proposal.

One month went by and I didn't get any reply...

Ok.. summer, life, things, of course, people are busy, let's try to reach out again (I told myself).

I sent out another email, with more thankful and positive comments (because in the meantime I made 3 more of those pouches) and I asked her again about the proposal of a companion cutting chart, more precut friendly.

Her response was short, cold and quite surprising.

She said

"if you think your pattern is better than mine, go ahead and publish it"
"you cannot mention my pattern name, you cannot copy my words or images or schematic, that is copyright, everything on my site is copyright"

That's it.

Sorry, what??

1.  I never said that my pattern is "better" than hers. I didn't even mention that I have a pattern... I don't have a pattern, I just have different cutting measures!

2. I never mentioned that I would copy words, or use pictures, again I just said that I would provide different cutting measures, and link back to her blog

3. thanks for not even acknowledging that I am one of your followers, that used your pattern, appreciate your creativity and support you...

4. thanks for not even acknowledging that I reached out to you to ask permission of something that doesn't need permission (see next point). And that I asked TWICE.... most people just download free patterns and never contact the designers... I wanted to reach out to her and build a personal connection but apparently throwing unfounded "copyright" threats is a much better way to interact

5. you cannot mandate that people don't use your pattern name as a link back to your site: this is shared for free on a free accessible website. Sure, one cannot use the pictures or the exact words, but putting together a different document and linking to her site is not a copyright infringement of any kind. To make claims on the name of the pattern, that would need to be trademark, which is different than copyright and I don't think that she trademarked the very simple name of  the-pattern-which-must-not-be-named (oh, should I trademark that? :) :) sarcasm :) )

6. thanks for not having an open mind and a open heart. She will never know what kind of collaborations or links or business opportunities would have come from answering positive to me on such a small thing... I was planning to share each of the completed bags in all the future events I am participating in (bonnie hunter qal, sewhooked qal, bag it at elmstreet, blogger quilt festival, enter if u dare, art with fabric blog hop, and many more). All these events drive new people to all blogs... maybe people would have loved my zipper pouch project and downloaded her pattern and she could have more traffic and new opportunities that she cannot even imagine. Now I will never link to her blog, I already unfollowed her on all social platforms and I won't even mention her name

7. thanks for actually getting ME a wonderful unexpected inspiration... as a great quote by Charlamagne Tha God that I heard on a recent podcast "Sh*t is the best fertilizer". She mentioned a "better pattern"... well I don't have a better pattern YET... however I believe that my idea has merit, so I am now designing a complete series of small objects patterns (zipper pouches and other kind of bags) that will be easy, cute, and precut friendly. More on this in the next few months, but this is the point: when you treat people badly, you never know what you awake in them :)

So what do you think about this experience?

Do you think that some people today are just so afraid of sharing that the first reaction to any request is just a door slapped on someone's face? 
Have you ever had a similar experience? Or did you have a wonderful experience that lead to something amazing and unexpected?

Share your stories in the comments below, I would love to read them (and if you want me to reply, please leave your email if you are a no-reply blogger :) )

How about you? What are YOU up to?
Link it here and share it with me!!


  1. Sorry to hear about your bad experience. So many people copy patterns without giving credit to the creator, you would think that this person would be grateful for what you were planning to do. It almost sounds like she did not even read your request and just sent off a standard response. Some people are naturally trusting and some people are not...they always look for the bad, the negative and the "ulterior" motives behind things. Its sounds like this person is the latter. Perhaps she was burned in the past but I don't think that is a good enough excuse to treat others poorly. The only consolation I can offer is that what goes around comes around. She can only attract negativity with that sort of attitude.

  2. Some people are just jerks, other got there from a bad experience that stop them from having a good experience. It is sad but it is life. I had a bad experience with one of the artist I contacted on one of last year blog hop......too bad for that person because it would have brought her visibility from another group of person.

  3. I've had the same kind of experience. A fruit block that was for free, though I devised an easier and more attractive element of the block. After making several, I designed a pattern using four of the blocks, that then I wanted to write up. Contacted the 'designer', she said fine to the improved portion, but not the rest (the fruit), as it's "distinctly hers". Now how exactly does she have a) a copyright on the shape of said fruit, and b) the squares that make up said fruit?? Does not take a genius to 'design' said fruit.
    So, those blocks have sat, and I have little interest in them. On the upside, I designed my own fruit block, but haven't had a chance to sew one up. Waiting for the sour taste of the whole experience to clear.

  4. Wow. She really slammed the door shut in her own face by reacting that way. She loses out in the long run. I designed a block in a scrap block challenge earlier this year. The designers shared the patterns between the designers for testing before the event. One of the ladies came back with a small addition to my block. I had no problems thanking her and adding her addition to my block post and giving her credit though she said she didn't want any credit. I don't know why some people feel so threatened by this interaction. I look forward to see what you create.

  5. We are fortunate that the quilting community is made up of mostly very friendly, very generous people. Don't let her bring you down to her level--she's not worth the effort you are exerting. Leave her behind and keep your head up. You were right.

    1. Thanks for your support! I appreciate the kind words and while I don't know if there is a "right" or wrong way to approach these situations, I just usually go for the more open and kind... sometimes that's not reciprocated, but oh well! :)

  6. Thanks for sharing your unfortunate experience. Marsha is right...leave her behind and keep your head up - you were right!

  7. Sorry you encountered a defensive, and darn right rude person. You can never account for others' behavior, you can only account for yours which seems to be thoughtful, considerate and generous. I'd focus on those qualities rather than the shortcomings of someone else who exemplifies the worst in humans. Looking forward to seeing your upcoming posts on the building of a much better mousetrap made by a much better person. ❤︎

  8. I have both experience with a block and a magazine that forgot add the pattern.
    So I am thankful to so generous people out there and forgot bad experiences.
    Go and do the pouch the best way.for you.

  9. Hi Alida, just chalk it up to an insecure person. Thank goodness most people aren't like that!

  10. Oh! Wow!! Sorry you had to be on the receiving end of that!! Unfortunately, some people don't understand copyright very well and/or want to believe it gives them far more rights than it really does. Anyway, you probably dodged a bullet there, not getting tangled up collaborating with such an injured person. On the flip side, my hubby's income is derived from working in the open source technology community, and I can assure you that there are lots of generous, intelligent, ethical, amazing people out there in all fields looking to collaborate to maximise everyone's potential and benefit. That's what I try to remember everytime I come across something like that. Don't let this experience stop you reaching out to people. Anytime you'd like to collaborate with my quilting blog ( I'll be all ears.

  11. I appreciate all quilters willing to take the time to share their expertise. My last blog post was based completely on another quilters work. I shared my pictures and told visitors to check out her site. I'm sorry for your experience. I think the originator of the pattern was confused about what you were asking of him/her. Best, Marty

    1. THanks for your support! Yes, we never know what goes on on other people's mind when they read our requests, so sometime no matter how clear and direct I think I am, maybe this doesn't translate to clarity in the other person's mind. Oh, well, I moved on and I am happy that so many people reached out with supportive words of kindness!


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