Monday, May 26, 2008


View from Enid A. Haupt Garden, Washington, DC

Wishing you a peaceful Memorial Day with your loved ones...

Potomac River, Harper's Ferry, WV

A bit of time to reflect, with gratitude...

And a few hours to enjoy your favorite quiet pursuits...

BTW: We now have some chairs in place of the high fashion ensemble pictured above ;-)


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Doctor Who Patterns: Update

Photo: Tardis, by KirinQueen

Those of you who read This Week in Ravelry #16 already know that there's been progress in the whole BBC vs. knitting/crochet pattern designers.

For non-Ravelry members -- and for anyone who would rather get a quick, encapsulated version -- here goes:

PenWiper, creator of the fabulous Extermiknit! pattern, wrote to me last week. She let me know that, while she had not been contacted by BBC about her knitted Daleks, she had decided to remove the pattern from the Web because of the legal hoopla surrounding other creators' Doctor Who patterns.

However, another designer, Mazzmatazz, who wrote a pattern for a knitted "Adipose" (a baby alien made of human fat cells), was contacted by BBC legal types. She posted the following note on the Ravelry page where the pattern was once available:
"Pattern has been removed due to me being contacted by the BBC - Please do not message me asking for it, I am not sending it out. If you want to see the pattern back up, I suggest you petition the BBC to relent."

Photo: Audreym

Within days, other Doctor Who patterns also disappeared*, causing a wave of confusion, speculation, and knitterly outrage.

Well, the fiber arts community (and others, I'm sure) launched a slew of letters and e-mails to BBC from around the world. And as a result (I like to imagine), there's some good news to report.

On Thursday, May 15, Mazz announced the following to Ravelry's "Who Knits?" group:
"I have been offered and am discussing several things, which may include making some Adipose for the BBC Worldwide Team and also some for Russell and the Doctor Who team, and licensing the pattern for use on the website and in a BBC magazine. I have been invited to go and talk to Philip directly at the BBC Worldwide offices in the near future regarding the BBC’s proposals."
So maybe, somewhere in the world, there's a little justice being served. Hopefully, Mazz will form a successful partnership with BBC and be able, once again, to put her knitting/designing talents to use for Doctor Who fans everywhere. And make some money out of the deal.

I can only hope that the same "generosity" will be shown to others who've designed Doctor Who-related patterns, like PenWiper, whose Dalek pattern is truly fantastic. After all, aren't we expressing our love of the network's show by knitting these objects? Isn't that a positive thing?

I am happy that communications between at least one designer and BBC have begun. But still, I can't help but feel somehow disappointed and let down by the blatant commercialism that would deny artists, knitters, crocheters, and others the right to create and share patterns -- for FREE, not for profit -- based on their mutual love of a long-running cult favorite.

I wonder if The Doctor wouldn't be a bit disappointed, too.

*By a strange stroke of fate, the Doctor Who Scarf Web site appeared to be shut down at the same time, sparking fears that it, too, fell prey to BBC's eagle-eyes. Fortunately, as it turned out, the site had merely experienced some technical issues, and is now back to normal. (Yay!)


Monday, May 12, 2008

BBC to Exterminate Knitted Daleks???

I am happy to admit to being a big Doctor Who fan, even though I never watched the show until about two years ago. It was Chris who got me interested, who then gave me a Doctor Who overview, courtesy of Netflix.

For his efforts, Chris was rewarded with an actual Doctor Who Scarf, despite the fact that it took me a few months to deal with 12 feet of garter stitch with DK-weight yarn on US# 5 or 6 rather uninspiring colors (I already did the 70s, and was a bit reluctant to "do" those colors again).

Fast forward to this year, when I came across someone on Ravelry whose avatar (I think, at the time) was a knitted Dalek* (dawn9163--go see her!). I immediately added the pattern to my queue and forwarded a link to Chris, who was satisfyingly enthusiastic. I planned to knit it for him soon.

But this weekend, Chris came across this. Apparently, the BBC, which owns the rights to these images and the concept of the show, are coming down on the knitting community for publishing Doctor Who patterns. I hope the Doctor Who Scarf Web site isn't next!

My immediate sympathies are with the individual, the person who designed this pattern, versus the Big Broadcasting Corporation.

But I wonder, is this like knitting "Barbie Dolls" and calling them Barbie? If the knitted Dalek and Tardis are in any way different from those on television, can they become the designer's intellectual property? Hmmm...Time -- and research -- will tell.

Meanwhile, who's losing out? Well...

The Doctor Who fans (and families of same) in the knitting community lose out, because they can't "legally" use the online patterns to make the lovable little exterminators.

The designers lose out, because they cannot share their creative genius with the rest of us, even if they're posting the patterns for free instead of selling them. After all, there is joy in sharing.

The BBC loses out, because they're alienating Doctor Who fans -- specifically those who knit and those who want knitted Doctor Who paraphernalia. I'd imagine there are a lot of us self-proclaimed knitting-and-Doctor-watching geeks out there.

That's a lose-lose-lose situation, if you ask me. And, in my opinion, the BBC is being outrageously petty. After all, no one's profiting, financially, from these patterns (so far).

Now, I'm not a lawyer, and need to do a little research on the topic of copyright and intellectual property. Which I will, so look out for another blog entry on this topic soon.

Meanwhile, why not join the revolution and cast on or crochet a Dalek of your own!

* Here's a crocheted version.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Lazy Days

You just can't argue with the wisdom of a hammock under an apple tree in spring. My neighbor/landlords are the greatest!

Meanwhile, all's going well on the Carolinas (a Socktopia pattern). Just the foot to go now, and then I'll be done. Have I mentioned that I really like knitting two socks on one circ! I think they'll be a Mother's Day gift for my lovely mum, who's arriving today from California :-)


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Counting My Blessings (Instead of Sheep & Wool...)

(Photo: SXC)

I'm so excited...My mother is coming from California for a 10-day visit!

My mom is a sculptor (one of her pieces will soon appear in Sacramento's Crocker Art Museum), a published poet, and a musician, to name just a few of her artistic accomplishments. She's not your typical mom, and I like her like that!

We always have fun together and have a lot to talk about. Living so far apart, though, we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like. So this will be a wonderful, rare treat. And we get to spend Mother's Day together :-)

Something else to look forward to: My sister is coming out to D.C. on a business trip (she lives in Washington state) and is planning to spend two or three nights with us. I am looking forward to that so much! We haven't had much sisterly time together since I moved to the East Coast in 1984. Which means having actual days together is a true luxury. Yay!

(I love lilacs.)

I had to make the sad decision to skip the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this year. With so much going on right now, we need to be careful with our money, and I can't afford to spend much on yarn and spinning fiber. So...I'm sure you understand why I'm opting out of the Festival altogether. I mean, honestly, can I expect to go there and not buy anything? That would be sheer (shear?) torture!

Sure, I'm feeling bummed about it -- that's only natural. I might even have to avoid Ravelry and many of my favorite blogs because of the glut of MDSW excitement/news/announcements/events/fun & games featured everywhere right now. But I feel confident that this is the responsible thing to do.

The silver lining: Chris has that day off, so instead of spending the day digging through the barns while he eats his way through 1,000 different lamb and mutton dishes, we'll get to spend that time together. And I can't think of anything I enjoy more than that!

So I consider myself among the luckiest of women: I actually rate my husband above acres of fibery, yarny goodness ;-)