Issue #3
May 2010
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Kathy Barwick

"Sharing" Plastic Canvas Patterns, or Stealing?


Hey there, fellow plastic canvas crafter!


There's been quite a bit of controversy lately over the topic of "sharing" plastic canvas patterns with each other...


...particularly since one of the larger Facebook groups that routinely allows pattern "sharing" is now rumored to have been busted for doing so by a major plastic canvas crafts publisher. 


If the rumors are true, this group may even be forced to shut down completely.


So I thought I'd take a moment to throw in my two cents worth on the issue of pattern "sharing."  My view is very simple, direct and to the point:


"Sharing," or Stealing?


Many crafters believe that because they purchased a pattern from a commercial source, such as Annie's Attic or the Needlecraft Shop, it's okay to "share" the pattern publicly with others by scanning it and then posting it on the internet for others to use.


Not so.  You can share a pattern you've purchased with family members, friends and others by physically handing them the original copy you've purchased. 


But the moment you cross the line and start copying the pattern and distributing it - particularly by posting it to public forums where anyone can have access to it - you've committed an act of copyright theft.  


Sorry.  But that's the God's honest truth.  


You see, when you buy a pattern from one of the major plastic canvas crafts companies, you're not buying the rights to distribute that pattern.  You're only buying the right to work the pattern. 


Distribution rights cost many hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  If you didn't pay for these rights to a pattern that was created by someone other than yourself, then you have no right copying and distributing that pattern publicly. 


Again, you can share it with your family members, friends and others at home.  But once you "go public" with it - which is to say, copy it and post it for mass public distribution - you've crossed the line. 


And if you're caught, you could be taken to court and subject to stiff fines for copyright violation.


A Plea to Your Sense of Fairness


Please try to understand: 


Professional plastic canvas crafts designers work very hard to get their original patterns published. 


It may take dozens of hours to create a single pattern. 


And as general rule of thumb, for every 10 patterns a designer creates, perhaps only one gets chosen for publication by a major plastic canvas crafts publisher.


So every pattern you see for sale through the major plastic canvas crafts publishers like Annie's Attic or the Needlecraft Shop represents the fruit of literally hundreds of hours of work by a designer. 


That's what it takes to make these patterns available to you relatively inexpensively through the major plastic canvas crafts publishers.  


Generally, a designer is compensated for their hard work by being given a small upfront payment, and then a much smaller percentage of every sale of their pattern. 


A pattern costing, for example, $4.95, might net the designer of that pattern .30 or .40 cents on each sale.  So you can see that many hundreds of these patterns must be sold in order for the designer to make any real money at it.   


When you copy and "share" a pattern you did not create yourself by posting it on an internet forum, you are in all reality stealing from the designer who created it as well as the publisher who has purchased the rights to distribute it. 


You're stealing their rights to the product they own.  You're acting as if you're the owner of the rights to distribute that product, when in reality none of your labor or your creativity was involved in the creation or publication of the pattern.    


To simplify it so that anyone can understand it:


To "share" a pattern, it has to be yours to share.  That is, you must be the original creator of that pattern, which gives you the right to do with it as you please. 


If you're not the original creator of the pattern,   and you have not purchased the rights to distribute the pattern, then it's not yours to share. 


It's this simple:  When you're wondering whether or not it's okay to "share" a pattern, ask yourself the following question, "Did I create this pattern out of my own imagination? 


If the answer is yes, then you own the rights to distribute it any way you want.  But if the answer is no, then you have no business copying and distributing the pattern.


No Pattern "Sharing" on the Plastic Canvas Crafts Designer's Group on Facebook


You may be aware that I don't allow pattern "sharing" on my Plastic Canvas Crafts Designer's Group on Facebook (click here to join me and over 1,300 other enthusiastic plastic canvas crafts addicts). 


Group members readily agree to this policy, because they respect the hard work of their fellow plastic canvas crafters and designers. 


Yet thanks to the generosity of the group's members, this is one of the most dynamic plastic canvas crafts groups on the entire internet!


In fact, it's THE place on the internet to come if you want to get incredible ideas for your next plastic canvas project...display your finished projects for other crafters to see and comment on...share tips and ideas for super-charging your plastic canvas crafts skills...and much more!


In fact, you can even share patterns on the group - but ONLY if you're the original creator of the pattern, and therefore the owner of the rights to it. 


I frequently share original patterns I've designed with the rest of the group members.  (Usually, I post the FREE patterns on my KraftyKatsBlog, and then post a link to the page on the Plastic Canvas Crafts Designer's Group, so everyone can have access to it.) 


And some of our more talented and creative members also share their original patterns from time to time.  


Doing so is perfectly fine, because they designed the patterns and therefore own the rights to them.  But you'll never see us taking patterns we don't own the rights to, and "sharing" them on the group.  That's theft, pure and simple. 


We have more respect for the hard work of professional plastic canvas crafts designers than to steal from them or their publishers.


Are You Truly Creative?


If you're truly a creative plastic canvas crafter, there's simply no reason for "sharing" (i.e., stealing) other people's patterns.  After all, patterns are so easy to come up with on your own, out of your own imagination. 


In fact, this is one of the main reasons I started my KraftyKatsBlog and the Plastic Canvas Crafts Designer's Group on Facebook...


...i.e., to help plastic canvas crafters see that pattern ideas are all around you, and that with even just a little bit of creativity and imagination, you'll simply never run out of ideas for new plastic canvas projects!


In fact, ideas for new projects abound.  They're all around you! 


And as you hone your plastic canvas crafts skills by being around other avid plastic canvas crafters and seeing the unique projects they're working on...


...i.e., watching what stitches they're using...what unique color combinations they're using...what embellishments they're using...what sizes of canvas they're using...and much more!...


...you'll find that ideas for your own original plastic canvas designs will simply start flowing into your mind like a rushing river.  In fact, you'll be flooded with ideas for new designs! 


First, you'll start adding your own unique touches to projects you're working on, rather than merely following someone else's pattern blindly...


You find yourself beginning to think like a designer, rather than a mere crafter working patterns of someone else's making...


Then you'll start coming up with your own ideas for patterns altogether...


And finally, you might even want to learn how to start selling your original patterns to the major plastic canvas crafts publishers like I do!


The Plastic Canvas Crafts Designer's Group is designed to help you reach that level, if you're willing to put in the time and effort!


Join With Me and Over 1,300 Other Avid Plastic Canvas Crafters!


If this appeals to you, please come join me and over 1,300 other avid plastic canvas crafters today, on the Plastic Canvas Crafts Designers Group on Facebook!


In terms of skill levels, group members run from beginners to highly experienced plastic canvas crafters, including some who already design their own original patterns on a regular basis!


Indeed, there are some very talented people in the group!  Come join us and you can see for yourself.


This is truly geared to be a fun group, where everybody learns from each other. 


You can ask and answer questions...participate in group discussions....offer advice and ideas...and show off the plastic canvas crafts projects you're currently working on. 


Ultimately, you'll get hundreds of ideas for new projects, simply from looking through the photos of current projects being posted regularly by group members!


Again, you can even share your patterns with others, as long as they're your own original patterns.


This is a group for crafters who want to come together and share their ideas and creativity.  A group that helps one another and that gives advice to less skilled crafters, bringing them up to a higher level of workmanship.


If this sounds like it's just what you've been looking for, then please join me and be a part of a group of plastic canvas crafters unlike any other.


Make tons of new friends. Start sharing your own projects, hints, tips and ideas with us. We'd love to have you onboard!


Fun Games for Group Members Only!


We also play fun games for group members only, where you can win prizes like free patterns!


We're currently playing Bingo and the great news is it's FREE!


The first game has already started. 


But if you'd like to play the second game which will start sometime in May or June, all you need to do is join the group, and then send an email to kathybarwick@att.net with the word "bingo" in the subject line. 


In the email, be sure to include your first and last name along with your email address. In return, I'll make you a PDF Bingo card, and I'll email it to you before we start the second game.


The winner receives a free original pattern of mine. Rules are posted at:



Also Coming Up...Making Wishes Come True


In the near future, we'll also be playing a numbers guessing game.


I'll post the date and the game rules soon, on the Wall of the Plastic Canvas Crafts Designer's Group. 


The winner of this game will get to pick any pattern they wish from my Etsy store located at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/kathybarwick   


I've added some new patterns at the store, so if you want to go take a look, just click the link above. 


Meanwhile, stay tuned for much more...it's going to be a fun and rewarding summer for plastic canvas crafters!

Regards, and Happy stichin'!
Kathy Barwick
Your Plastic Canvas Crafts Coach