My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


The Winter of My Discontent

It was interesting reading everyone’s opinions of the Twilight books. I can see that I’m not alone in my opinion that they are more or less drech, but I also see that they also appeal to lot of people. No surprise there, I guess. Thanks to everyone who weighed in with an opinion.

It’s only Tuesday, right? Seems like it should be at least Thursday . . .

But hey, look what I finished.


Finally, my poor little Waterfall Sock, knit from Crystal Palace Mini Mochi yarn. That brown blur in the lower left corner of the pix is Lucy’s ear. She was helping.


Look for the free pattern tomorrow.

Speaking of free patterns . . .

This was brought to my attention yesterday by a reader. She went in a LYS and found that they had copies of one of my free patterns in plastic page protectors with a price tag for a kit – pattern plus yarn.

I sent a polite email to the shop, worded thusly:

I was notified by someone who had been to your shop that she saw my free pattern for the Noro Transitions Hat for sale – she said there were several copies in plastic page protectors with a price tag for a kit – pattern plus yarn.

If this is true, please stop selling it immediately. The copyright notice at the bottom of my pattern (posted online at: clearly states:

“Not to be reproduced in any form without written permission from Wendy D. Johnson, apart from copies for personal non-commercial use.”

If you are not distributing my free pattern and the customer was mistaken, please accept my apology.

Okay, I think that is pretty clear, don’t you? Not surprisingly, I’ve not heard back from the shop.

I’m not naive enough to think this is an isolated instance. I know this sort of thing goes on a lot.

Seriously, I don’t know what is wrong with people.

Lucy sez:


“Don’t mess with my momma!”


  1. For some reason, when I read about that incident on Twitter, I got all incensed on your behalf. I teach at a yarn shop, and we go to SO much effort to respect people’s copyright, and to see others blatantly disregarding it really gets me down. I will charitably hope it was an honest mistake and they correct it soon. People do make honest mistakes, uh huh.

    Sunas last blog post..Kreative Blogger Award, Thanks!

  2. OMG, that’s just wrong. I love your sock patterns (and other peeps too) but would never dream of making a kit for someone else’s pattern, w/o permission. And kick back going to said person. I mean really. That’s just wacked out. Makes me scarded to put my own patterns out there, even with the copyright notice on them

    Bettys last blog post..Phat Fiber Box

  3. You said it Lucy! The Wendyknits Force is not one to be reckoned with.

  4. On second thought – IS she a force to be reckoned with…. I don’t know.
    Just don’t mess with Wendy.

  5. I don’t know why some people feel it’s okay to steal someone’s ideas and designs, even though they would never steal a wallet or a car. This makes me so angry. You have always been so generous with your patterns and knitting advice that it makes me doubly mad it happened to you. Your sock is gorgeous – I have the same yarn. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Can’t wait for the new pattern….it looks great. I can’t believe a shop owner would do something like that. Maybe suggesting to a customer some of the different patterns you could use with a specific yarn but not just printing out copies and selling them in a kit. That’s just wrong!

    Trishs last blog post..It’s A Heat Wave

  7. What I’m wondering is whether they had printed out the pattern WITH the copyright notice and were distributing it that way! They’d be totally ticked off if they had some pattern they were teaching in a class, and somebody ripped it off. Since there are so many (totally) freebie patterns kicking around, you have to believe they were attempting to capitalize on your name. Or they know that most of their customers are totally clueless about copyright issues and designers.

  8. What are they thinking? If it’s on the internet, it must be free and I can do with it as I please, that’s what.
    I also appreciate your generosity with patterns, tips, etc. Lovely sock, lovely yarn, lovely Lucy.

  9. I teach middle school and the tweens love Twillight; enough said.
    Dorothy Allison wrote a National Book Award winner many years ago entitled Bastard Out of Carolina (should be underscored, but I don’t know how to do that); regardless one of my favorite quotes about personal responsibility is in the text. This is not verbatim, but you will get the drift: “You do the right thing in the world, not because you love God or fear him , but because it is the only way the world makes sense to you.” Wish more would try to either do the right thing… If you have a moment, read the book; don’t be put off by the title.

  10. I hope they weren’t really stupid enough to include YOUR pattern in a kit for THEIR profit, but if they were? May the fleas of a thousand camels infest them. Karma has a way of biting back.

    karen ws last blog post..

  11. The sock is GORGEOUS and works perfectly with the yarn! Glad to see you’re on the mend and your knitting muse has returned.

  12. The Waterfall Socks are beautiful. I love the way the colors of the yarn “waterfall” down the socks. ๐Ÿ˜‰ On the other subject—–how could someone sell your free pattern (kit or not) and be able to live with herself. After sending her the email, what else can you do to make her stop? By the way, is it time for your book to be released?

    Elizabeths last blog post..Who doesn’t like a carousel……

  13. I would probably fall over dead from shock if I woke up one day and everyone just started doing what they are supposed to.

  14. That’s just terrible. What is wrong with people? Love the sock. The lace pattern is very subtle like the spray of water from a waterfall. Hence the name obviously. Lovely colors too.

    Judy Bs last blog post..February Lady

  15. The sock is beautiful, I love the pattern in it. Now what is wrong with people? Is it just greed from bottom to top, what has happened to this country? It seems like people just do what they want to, without regards to anything or anyone. What ever happened to respect and trust? So sad.

  16. Yep your letter was VERY clear. If I ever need to set someone straight can I come to you for advice?

    Aunt Kathys last blog post..Monday- Contest Day #9- It’s Maddness I Tell Ya, Maddness

  17. People never ceaze to amaze me.

    Love the Waterfall sock! I’m working on my first-ever socks (little ones, for my niece) at the moment, and despite some confusion, I’m enjoying them. Hopefully I’ll be ready to try these ones sooner rather than later. ๐Ÿ™‚

    yarnpiggys last blog post..Pretty Squooshyness

  18. Sadly I have seen this too! I have also seen people try to sell knitted items that are very famous knits claim that they are their design and try to sell them. It is sad.

    Pretty Sock!!

    Qutecowgirls last blog post..I am back

  19. Sadly, you are right: “This sort of thing goes on a lot.” Your email to the shop was very reserved and polite. Perhaps the person who let you know about it will check back to see if the shop has stopped selling your pattern.

    A couple of years ago, a LYS owner said to a customer, in my hearing, “Well, if they’re not printing the book anymore, we can make copies of the patterns, right?” I had to bite my tongue so I wouldn’t make a scene.

    CatBookMoms last blog post..Time to Give

  20. Wow, that shop is just RUDE!!! People BLOW sometimes ๐Ÿ™ I am sorry that happened to you.

    On a much brighter note, your sock is absolutely gorgeous! I too, LOVE the pattern with that yarn. Outstanding, as usual!!

    Thank you so much for doing what you do for us, and I am sorry that some people are hell bent on destroying it for all of us!!!!

    Anastasias last blog post..I am such a loser!

  21. We discuss copyrites all the time at our knitting group..seems a way they can get away with this is by selling the yarn with the pattern included for free…but we were wondering then if it could be called a kit????

  22. I’m not a pattern designer and I’ve never had anything personally for sale, but I’m outraged with you. It’s one thing to say “hey have you seen that really neat pattern online?” it’s a whole other to make a profit and distribute someone else’s work. Good luck with them!

    Lauras last blog post..25 Things

  23. love the sock, glad you’re feeling better, bad yarn shop for doing that with your pattern, can’t wait for the new pattern…be well…hi to Lucy

  24. As to Twilight – decent story, but definately not quality literature or quality writing. A nice bit of fluff to read though. Kind of like “The Cat Who….” books – cute but definately not something to write home about.

    Love the socks

  25. Glad your on the mend.
    How could anyone sell one of your free patterns for their own profit, what is this world coming too! Don’t mess with Wendy!!!

  26. Lovely socks Wendy. How was it working with the mini mochi? I think I may get some when I do my next Loopy Ewe order (which might be tonight…). Also, good on ya with the letter! Blatant copyright infringement like that pisses me off.

    Knitguys last blog post..Fleece!!

  27. Sorry to read of your indisposition. Glad you are feeling better. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. I felt like there was a “secret stash” of free patterns to be used for my own enjoyment, and you would have to be a faithful reader/lurker to get your hands on ’em. Alas, my bubble has been burst! Those cheaters! But I thank you for sharing all your experience and advice with us and hope ‘certain people’ don’t discourage you from delighting your little fans out here waiting with anticipation to drool over every project and yarn you choose. Stay well!

  28. It really is unbelievable how some people have the nerve to try to profit from something that is freely given by someone else and belongs to someone else. A while ago (probably still) someone was selling patterns that she found for free on people’s blogs and even used their pictures! There was a whole discussion on Ravelry (the designer who had her work stolen was a Raveler).

  29. really? shops actually do that? i just think that everyone who owns a yarn shop (or a book shop for that matter) must be honest! i guess that shows me…

  30. I had someone this week in my office suggest that I knit for money……never mind that it was someone else’s pattern (so what, who would know…….they could give you a bit of cash on the side)…….a) it is WRONG b) this was a woman – so let’s just flat out disrespect other women?……..c) hello it’s me: play by the rules – silly me!……and this person’s husband just wrote a book with research that he wouldn’t divulge over 15 years, because someone would / might take his “ideas”…….don’t think there is a crayon big enough to connect the dots!!………and yep, these people have doctorates……….yikes!…..I was disgusted to say the least…………..

  31. Thanks in advance for the free pattern for the socks. I have the perfect yarn for it. Glad to hear you are feeling better and certainly better to defend your copywrite.

    PS: I actually had the same opinion about the Harry Potter series (is that tantamount to sacrilege?) I am skipping the Twilight series as well.

    Lizs last blog post..Bye-Bye to late nights and later mornings.

  32. People who sell free patterns all have cooties! Bad, bad, bad.
    Glad to hear you are better. I have the never ending cold myself, iti s starting to get very depressing.

  33. I just came home from knitting group, and we had a long discussion there on copyright issues! Someone asked how much you have to alter a design before it becomes different enought to be considered a copyrightable new design, then went from there into academics and what copyrighted material you’re allowed to use in slides in lectures, etc. – fascinating!

    I hope your reader who reported the LYS will go back and check for you. If they haven’t stopped, tell them your next step will be to publish the name of the shop on your blog for all to see, and the wrath of many, many knitters will be upon them!

  34. People should realize you carry sharp needles in your purse. Geesh – some thing is in the air – asshatitis must be catchy.

    Lovely lovely sock as always, madam!

    Megan S.s last blog post..Let the Sun Shine In!!

  35. I am shocked that anyone would try to sell a free pattern. The nerve! Just because it is put in a kit with yarn doesn’t make it okay. Obviously the customer would be buying it to make the pattern or they would just pick up yarn not a kit.
    You would think they would send an apology immediately (with free yarn) but then if they were nice they wouldn’t have been trying to sell your pattern illegally in the first place. This really ticks me off.
    Lucy looks quite fierce, was she ‘hunting’ in the photo? Our kitty gets the meanest look on her face before she pounces on a toy.

  36. I can’t believe they just didn’t contact you and ask about using it….perhaps seeing if they could sell your book or other patterns……yikes!

  37. I’m sorry that my anger at that yarn shop distracted me from complimenting your sock. It is another winner. The name fits perfectly.
    I like Marcia’s idea that you let us know if the shop doesn’t stop selling the kit. A few dozen complaining phone calls should jog their sense of fair play back into place. (I have unlimited long distance on my plan.)

  38. Oh that’s nothing. I recently was in a shop with a “reference” library wall which they stated (with a framed printed sign) they would be happy to copy any pattern from provided you buy the yarn there for that. You can be sure I informed the owner of copyright (as best I could without being a lawyer) and informed Interweave Knits about it as well as XRX. Some people are just clueless.

    turtlegirl76s last blog post..Rivalry

  39. I am so sorry to hear about this piracy. I hope very much it is not one of our LYS in east central Illinois!

  40. I am SO glad you talked about the pattern/kit issue!

    Years ago, before I was more “knitting savvy”, I purchased a kit – yarn coupled with a pattern . . . that I later discovered was FREE on!

    I always thought they were allowed to do that since they could say *technically* that I’d bought the yarn.

    Thank you! Now I won’t assume they’re automatically allowed to do that.

    ajdurys last blog post..OMG, I SO Want Kids!:

  41. Sheesh, some people’s [grown-up] kids. Go gettem, Wendy. If they continue, I like the idea of your giving us the name of the shop and we all call them to scold.

    kmkats last blog post..Tissues: the real story.

  42. How can it be a “kit” if the pattern should be free??? Maybe print them out and hang them next to the yarn as a FREE pattern, but not sell it as a “kit”. That is just wrong! The sock is so pretty.

    Tonias last blog post..Hand Dyed Yarn/Roving Sale – Birthday Blow Out

  43. Love the sock! I can’t wait to cast it on probably in Amy’s Double Play.

  44. Your sock looks great. ๐Ÿ™‚

    LittleWits last blog post..Yoga and Windows XP update

  45. Margie from Maryland says:

    Loverly sock.
    Ridiculous that a ahop would do that.

  46. Oooh, I’m loving this pattern already. Who am I kidding I love all your patterns! You’re what got me into socks. really. If not for your toe-up on two circulars patterns I would still be ignoring all the yummy sock yarns out there.

    I think your email is good, a little light actually considering they totally ignored your note at the bottom of the pattern. You should sue them and ask for royalties!

    Btw, when does your book come out again?

    Jocelyns last blog post..Sniffles and head cold

  47. Looking forward to the Waterfall pattern and I just bought the Sign of Spring pattern!

  48. Wendy in Cambridge says:

    A plague on that LYS! They surely must know what they’re doing is wrong.

    The socks are beautiful. I ordered some Mini Mochi from The Loopy Ewe, because I want to make those socks, too. I love your patterns!

    Glad you’re feeling better, and love to Lucy.

  49. this stuff makes me so annoyed. i work in a LYS and daily we have to explain to people why they have to print their own copy of patterns from and other generous outlets, why we will not photocopy from a book, etc…

    i feel somewhat fortunate that i can say “our owner left a career in the law to open this shop. she frowns upon looking the other way when it comes to copyright.” it shuts most people up right away.

    kittythings last blog post..because i never meme

  50. Theresa in Italy says:

    Amazing how many people—intelligent, educated, with doctorates (as someone commented earlier)—think they can pick and choose which laws to respect and which to blatantly flout. Especially amazing that in this age of cell phones, the Internet, and virtually instant communication, they think they can fly under the radar with this. You go get ’em, Wendy!

    On a happier note, love your new sock and am looking forward to the pattern (yarn already ordered from The Loopy Ewe)! I’m another fan who probably wouldn’t be knitting socks at all if it weren’t for you and your original toe-up pattern. I’m sorry about other people taking advantage of your generosity, but most of us appreciate it and would never abuse it.

  51. Dera Wendy, hier ist something that has nothing to do with your today’s post, but that could wake your interest and that of your readers. Do you know this site? This ist tne cat shelter in Rome, Italy. Paying 15โ‚ฌ per month you can adopt a cat at distance. Please note that the cats there are in a much worse condition than in our (also in Germany) pet shelters… Maybe some of your readers are interested in helping and /or adopting a cat? Thank you!

  52. What is wrong with some people? They are lazy opportunistic vultures.

    Sorry for the brief and snarly comment, but that really pisses me off.

    BTW, I hope whatever it was that pissed you off the other day and took so much time for you to deal with, is taken care of completely!

  53. Hi Wendy, I’m glad that you are feeling better. Your sock is beautiful. I just wanted to let you know that Coraline is playing in the theaters now. I went to go see it yesterday, was the only one there so sat in the middle and had a great view. The movie is a kid movie, it is kind of scary in an old victorian house with weird characters and a mangy cat. Coraline had her sweater on and there were a nice pair of striped gloves that were knitted in the movie too. It was entertaining. I thought that you might like to know since you received the special knit pattern package in the mail from the producers.

  54. Lovely sock pattern!

    If I woke up one morning and found folks doing what’s right, I’d think I slept through the Second Coming. When being bad so often has no consequences (and sometimes quite the contrary), many people will not be good.

    As for Twilight…no desire to even crack it open. Hyped-up vampire(etc, etc, etc) books are not worth the investment of a single brain cell, imo. I simply have no time for ‘fluff’ reading.

    “I read as if time were running out, because technically it is. As I grow older I find I’m increasingly impatient with mediocre entertainments: I want books that will take my breath away and realign my vision. ” ~Barbara Kingsolver

  55. A lovely sock! This is the first time I have thought, “I must knit THAT sock!” I’ll have to save my pennies and get some mini mocha as soon as possible. Those color changes are breathtaking.
    I thought you handled the copyright infringement very well. Sadly, many people are just clueless, but that is better than deliberate illwill. They probably thought, “this is a free pattern and it makes such a pretty project with this yarn, I want people to have it available.” No deeper thinking required! Your letter is hopefully helping other designers as well, at least in that shop. A good deed shedding light in the world.
    Glad you are feeling better.

  56. Kate Hesser says:

    The socks are beautiful and it is so generous of you to post the free pattern. BTW… I just ordered your Twisted Logic pattern from the Loopy Ewe and can’t wait to get started. You have made me a Loope Ewe devotee for LIFE.

  57. Hell no Lucy! You tell ’em.

    I wonder that quite often actually – what is wrong with some people? Anything for a buck, even if it’s at someone else’s expense.

    Brigittes last blog post..Life Experiences

  58. Unbelievable! Yet I know this happens really to often! I am very happy that you took the time to let them know this is not acceptable. Go Wendy!
    I just love this new pattern and am already planning when I will cast on for this one!

  59. Looking forward to this lovely pattern.
    I’m at a loss for words over the selling of your free pattern in kit form. You’re right – what IS wrong with people? Didn’t their mommas teach them any better than that?

    Knitnanas last blog post..Day of Rest? Weekend of Peace?

  60. Grrrrr…..let it slip what city the LYS is in and we will descend upon them like the plague.

    You are such a generous person! Makes me really mad that someone would take advantage.

    I have been rereading your book for the umpteenth million time because it inspires me to be a better knitter. I am about to jump in on my first toe up sock using your pattern. It is time for me to get out of my top down box!

    Your blog is the first one I check in the morning. I learn so much from you and just hate it that someone would violate your trust by distributing your patterns for their commercial gain.

  61. Our LYS website has links to your blog and others that offer free patterns – I think it’s nice to try to draw attention to your site and get you more viewers (maybe customers too!) Of course they’ll be happy to suggest yarn that they carry to make the socks, but they don’t print the patterns and they don’t allow people to use the computer in the shop to print things up. We live in a small town with limited knitting/entertainment resources – so yourblog is a big hit.

  62. Why do people feel free to violate copyrights for things they find online? They wouldn’t do that in most other contexts. Gah. As for my knitting, everything I do is either for me or a gift for a friend or family member, or else it’s a charitable donation. I’ve sold some of my knitting at a couple of craft shows, but it was always things I designed myself. I can’t imagine making a profit off someone else’s work like that!

    And thanks for the Mini Mochi pattern — I’ve been trying to decide what to do with my new soft squishy Mini Mochi yarn, so your pattern comes at the perfect time! Also a thanks for the links yesterday to and — I’ve been clicking there and daily since I saw a story about the darling girl who dreamed it up several months ago. It’s kids like her who give us all hope for the future of the world, isn’t it?

  63. Thank you for the free sock pattern, Wendy! I love the socks you design!

  64. Wendy I think the Waterfall sock is beautiful. Great design. Thank you for the free pattern.

  65. Love the sock! Been nice to follow its ‘growth’-glad you had a friend to tell you about the pattern sale-we all need to look out for each other!

    Cindys last blog post..Happy Birthday, Brother!

  66. The nerve of that place! But it doesn’t surprise me one bit, people being what they are.
    I can’t wait for the new sock pattern, and I promise not to sell it.

  67. I agree with Lucy! Very restrained and professional email, esp. under the circumstances.

  68. I attended a wonderful Laurel Birch event years ago and she said she spent $60K a year fighting copyright infringement. That was in the late 80’s. Walk into any local craft fair and you see many, many infringements. People think nothing of making things to sell using images of famous people and the like. I think only someone like Disney who accepts absolutely no infringement whatsoever and pursues all transgressors with flaming daggers wielded by overpriced lawyers who settle for nothing but blood, real blood and lots of it please makes an impression. I mean, like, creativity is so hard, you know?

    The LYS selling your free work is beyond tacky. Go get ’em Wendy and take no prisoners.

    PS. I amend “desperate” with “desperately ill”.

    Earins last blog post..

  69. The book looks gorgeous, off to add it to my wish list.

    Thank you for the sock pattern

    Karolines last blog post..More Maria

  70. I know I certainly wouldn’t want to go up against Lucy — I’ve heard the ones that don’t look it are the ones to watch out for and she’s so cuddly she must be hiding something ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck getting this taken care of. At first I was inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, but since they didn’t respond, they’re no longer getting that benefit.

    Marys last blog post..Imitating Greys

  71. The sock is sooooo pretty. I just love those colors with that pattern. So sweet of Lucy to help you with the photo shoot.

    Andreas last blog post..Dear Universe,