Aug 17, 2015

Loom FAQs: What is Copyright? Trademark?






There are a couple of topics in all yarn arts that people fail to understand, get confused, or just flat refuse to follow.  Copyright and trademark.  Some people avoid the topics altogether.  Or have misinformation.  Exactly what is copyright?  What is a trademark?  What are the differences?  How does either affect patterns that are being written?  How does either affect translating or converting needle knit patterns to loom knit?  How does either affect sharing patterns?  What can be shared or how?  Why are there so many questions regarding this topic??  Let’s start with the definitions of each.  Then discuss how each affect loom knitting.

Copyright as defined by

1.  the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.
2.  of or relating to copyrights.
3.   Also, copyrighted. protected by copyright.
verb (used with object)
4.  to secure a copyright on.
Trademark as defined by
1.   any name, symbol, figure, letter, word, or mark adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant in order to designate his or her goods and to distinguish them from those manufactured or sold by others. A trademark is a proprietary term that is usually registered with the Patent and Trademark Office to assure its exclusive use by its owner.
2.   a distinctive mark or feature particularly characteristic of or identified with a person or thing.
verb (used with object)
3.   to stamp or otherwise place a trademark designation upon.
What makes them different?
Copyright covers the written pattern, the design itself.  This doesn’t cover a basic design like the shape of a hat, sweater, scarf, etc.  It covers the design elements and the written pattern even if it’s in video form.  Everything that makes one pattern different from another.  The meaning is really in the compound word.  Copy and right.  There is no such thing as copywrite.  That is just a misspelled word.
Trademark covers names, images, logos, characters, etc.   Cartoon character hats and scarves fall under trademark for the image of the character, not copyright.

And neither copyright nor trademark is a patent.  A patent is a completely different critter altogether.  You cannot get a patent on a written pattern.

Can I share patterns?

When someone asks if they can share a pattern, my first thought is What is their definition of “share”?   Social media has made the world a much smaller place.  We are connected in ways our parents never dreamed could be possible.  We have groups on these sites that bring like-minded people together to discuss, share, ask for help, etc., on various topics.  As for loom knitting and other fiber related endeavors, we want to show off and share our creations.  And people will inevitably ask for a pattern.  Some quite rudely, unfortunately.

So can we share the pattern we used?  Depends on the method of sharing.  You can always share the link to the pattern if it is online.  Share the name of the book or magazine it came from.  You cannot share the written pattern itself.  Even if it’s free.  The other person must get that pattern in the same manner you did.

But the pattern is free so it’s ok to give and share the written copy, right?

No.  Free patterns are also covered by copyright in the same manner as paid.  Free patterns can always become paid patterns.  It is still the intellectual property of the designer or publisher that obtained the copyright.

Can I copy patterns?

You are allowed to make copies of a pattern from a book or magazine that you own or off the internet for your own personal use.  If copies are made to give away or sell, it is a violation of copyright unless you have permission from the designer/publisher.  Even when giving a class on loom knitting, you cannot give out printed patterns unless you have permission.  Or it’s your pattern.

You are not allowed to make copies from a book or magazine from the library.  These types of books and magazine are not considered resource materials.  Resource materials are the only thing you can make copies from in a library.  Resource materials include encyclopedias and other books that cannot be checked out that are located in the resource section.  If in doubt, ask the librarian.  I have seen several people on social media tell others to just go to the library and make copies out of the pattern books.  This is wrong and takes money out of the designers pockets.

Can I translate or convert patterns to loom knit and can I share them when I do?

Everyone is looking for new and more loom knitting patterns.  More and more are learning to convert needle knit patterns to loom knit.  And want to share the finished pattern with others.  But….  Unless you have permission from the designer of the original pattern, it is still a copyright violation.  Even if it’s free.  It doesn’t become your pattern just because you converted it.  But the pattern is changed more than 10% by changing every other row so it can be considered a new pattern, can’t it?   Yes it’s changed by 50 % BUT it’s still the same exact pattern.  Besides, if you are designing and writing loom knit patterns, would you want someone to convert it needles and claim it as their own?  Try putting yourself into their shoes.  It really comes down to common courtesy which actually isn’t all that common…

10% Change?

I hear a lot about the 10% or more change makes it a different pattern.  As far as I can find, that clarification is not in the actual copyright laws.  It’s just a general guideline to go by.  Usually if it’s a 10% change, it’s not close enough to be considered a copyright violation.

But this opens the door for people to take a new technique by another designer, change the stitch pattern from stockinette to rib, change the cast on and bind off, then claim it as a new design.  In my mind, it’s still WRONG.  But what’s a girl/guy to do?  Not much.  Always makes it worse when yours is a paid pattern and theirs is free.

But different countries have different laws?

Some will try to justify that they live in a different country and/or speak a different language so the copyright in another country doesn’t apply to them.  Well that isn’t true either.  Most countries honor other countries copyright laws.  And the internet in global so it isn’t like the original designer cannot find it.  If your country has copyright laws, then most likely your country honor the copyright laws of other countries, and therefore you should honor them too.

Can I make a video or ask someone else to a make a video on another person’s pattern?

I see on social media A LOT people who are asking for a video or for another person to make a video on a pattern that isn’t theirs.  I realize that a lot of people consider themselves “visual learners”.  Well here’s something to think on….  Almost ALL people are visual learners.  Very few people can just learn a new thing by reading words.  Almost all need to see how it’s done first.  Which is why there are so many pictures in how-to books…  Once the techniques are learned, that is when a person is able to read the written patterns to make items.

But what about making videos?  Same as writing out the pattern.  It cannot be done without violating copyright if the designer/publisher’s permission has not been given.  A video is just a different medium of sharing a pattern.

There are several designers that allow another person to make videos.  These people will and should acknowledge the permission given that allows them to make these videos.

What is the difference between a pattern and a stitch pattern?

A stitch pattern is the actual stitch itself, like garter, seed, and rib, just to name some common ones.  A stitch pattern does not include instructions for a finished item.  These are not protected by copyright and may be used in any pattern written.  If it’s a new stitch pattern that someone has created, it is common courtesy to acknowledge them in your pattern.  If they have made a pattern with the stitch pattern, then you cannot write a pattern that is exactly like theirs since that would fall under copyright.

A pattern is the instructions that include the stitch pattern, cast on, bind off, and all other information to actually make an item like a hat, scarf, shawl, etc.

A person is allowed to convert and share a stitch pattern without violating copyright.

But really isn’t it true nothing new is created?

I hear that a lot.  Nothing new.  Ever.  Well in a sense that is correct.  The shape of a hat.  The fact that a sweater has a neck opening and arms.  That all blankets are either a square, rectangle, or round.

But we are not limited in our imagination that prevents us from mixing different combinations of stitch patterns or techniques to create a hat, scarf, etc. that is completely different from anything that has been seen before.  New stitch patterns and techniques are thought up all the time.  This is why we keep moving forward in the creative world.

Other patterns inspire us to create something new.  Nothing wrong with taking inspiration from someone else’s pattern as long as you are not stealing their exact ideas.

And nothing keeps 2 people from independently creating the exactly same item.  The invention of the radio is a prime example.  But before you publish, make sure someone hasn’t beaten you to it by a few days or weeks.  And if you have created something but haven’t published it then someone else does the same type of item/idea, please don’t talk about how you did it first but never released it.  That just sounds petty and like sour grapes.  If you want your pattern out there before someone else does, then just do it.  Don’t use an excuse for your lack of doing something.

Can I write patterns for trademarked characters?

There are a lot of character items that are being made and sold due to the popularity of the character due to a movie or show.  While any pattern that is written would be yours, you do not have the right to use the image of a trademarked character unless you have permission from the trademark owner.  Most times they will not grant permission because it would be money they are losing on merchandising.  Large companies have been known to go after people for selling items that they make using trademarked images.  This is why a lot of people who do write patterns so not sell the patterns and claim the items made are for personal use and not be sold.  They also use the word “inspired” a lot as well so they can claim it isn’t that character.  Or just use a name that is completely unrelated to the character.

To answer this question?  No.  Technically you are not allowed to write patterns for trademarked characters or logos.  It happens a lot though….

But I have yet to see you actually site your references…

For those of you who like references, you can and should always double check what I have said or what anyone else says by going to the following websites for the official information from the government.



Any questions?  While I sit here giggling like a loon at myself over that last question, I wish you all creative thoughts and the proper knowledge of sharing your new ideas and creations.  Happy loom knitting!!


  • Is there wing nut covers for the all in one loom?
    Thank You, Judy

  • Great article and thank you for writing it. I was wondering how “fan art” fits into this, I have done a few articles of clothing with trademark characters as gifts and always received the “you should sell these” comment. An example that many would recognize would be the “Jayne” style ear flap hat. I have tried to research the “fan art” for sale concept and have found very little on it other than it is a hit and miss on who does and does not allow their trademark to be sold as “fan art” or “inspired”. An example of this is this website

    Any further thoughts on this?

    H. R

  • Heather, that is a great question. Fan art does fall under trademark. If an image is trademarked, it cannot be sold in any form by an unlicensed individual. Licenses can be obtained but I am unfamiliar with the process.

    I know that Fox owns the trademark for the Jayne Hat and gets very defensive about it. Which is ironic considering how Fox felt about the Firefly show to begin with and that hat was only in 1 episode. But Fox cannot keep someone from making and selling ugly orange and yellow ear flap hats. It really is the name in that example. There is nothing “special” about the style or color of the hat. This is why so many people use the word “inspired”. But even that can get the attention of the trademark owner because they are using the trademarked name as well along with “inspired”.

    Another interesting thing is all the trademarks that are owned by the BBC that are Doctor Who related. All but the blue phone box… While the name of the TARDIS is under trademark, the BBC cannot trademark the police phone box image since it’s not their original idea. It’s free game as far as fan art goes since it is not under trademark.

    Therefore you would need to check and see if an image is trademarked. Not all of them are that would seem obvious.

    I hope this helps a bit.


  • Hi Judy,
    They are for all the knitting looms that have the little wing nuts at the end, so yes.

  • Beautiful. Can’t wait to make this project. Please continue your monthly blog I enjoy it so much.

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Aug 14, 2015

Willow Lace Shawl

Wrap yourself in softness with this delicate shawl. Worked in a silk blend yarn for a luxurious, silky feel. The pattern is provided in a chart form as well as written with a breakdown of the lace stitch section.

Drop_shawlKnitting loom: All-n-One Loom, 103 pegs used.

Yarn: Approx 900 yards of silk blend yarn in DK weight. Knit Picks Diadem in Argent Solid (5 skeins)

Notions: Knitting tool, tapestry needle, blocking wires and blocking pins

Size: 60 x 17 inches

Gauge: 20 x 24=4 inches in stockinette, blocked

k=knit stitch
p=purl stitch
CO=Cast on
BO=Bind off
k2tog=knit two stitches together
ssk=slip, slip knit
YO=yarn over

Notes: Recommend to place a stitch marker on peg 7 and peg 97. Chart is worked on the peg starting with the first stitch marker (peg 7) to last stitch marker (peg 97).


Cast on 103 sts, prepare to work a flat panel.

Row 1-10: k to end.

Row 11: k6, work row 1 of chart to last 6 sts, k6.

Row 12: k6, work row 2 of chart to last 6 sts, k6.

Row 13: k6, work row 3 of chart to last 6 sts, k6.

Row 14: k6, work row 4 of chart to last 6 sts, k6.

Row 15: k6, work row 5 of chart to last 6 sts, k6.

Row 16: k6, work row 6 of chart to last 6 sts, k6.

Row 17: k6, work row 7 of chart to last 6 sts, k6.

Row 18: k6: work row 8 of chart to last 6 sts, k6.

Rep Rows 11-18: 47 more times.

Next 10 rows. Repeat Rows 1-10.

Bind off with open basic method. Weave ends in. Wet block to measurements.


Stitch Breakdownwillowlace_graph

Row 1 (RS <): *p1, k5; rep from * to last st, p1

  • *Purl peg 1, Knit peg 2 to 6; repeat from the * until the last peg, purl last peg.

Row 2 (RS >): p1, *k5, p1; rep from *

Row 3: *k1, yo, ssk, p1, k2tog, yo; rep from * to last peg, k1

Step 1: Remove loop from peg 3 and hold it (or place on stitch holder).

Step 2: Move loop from peg 2 and place it on peg 3.

Step 3: Place loop from Step 1 back on peg 3.

Peg 2 is empty.

Step 4: Remove loop from peg 5 and hold it (or on stitch holder).

Step 5: Move loop from peg 6 to peg 5.

Step 6: Place stitch from Step 4 back on peg 5.

Peg 6 is empty.

  • Knit peg 1, ewrap peg 2, knit peg 3 (treat both loops as one loop), purl peg 4, knit peg 5 (treat both loops as one loop), ewrap peg 6; rep from * to last peg, knit the last peg.

Row 4: k1, *k2,  p1, k3;  rep from *.

Untwist the ewraps and place this strand of yarn in front of the peg. Work the row as instructed.

Row 5: *k3, p1, k2; rep from * to last st, k1.

Row 6: k1. *k2, p1, k3, rep from *.

Row 7: *p1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk; rep from * to last st, p1

Step 1: Remove loop from peg 2 and hold it.

Step 2: Move loop from peg 3 to peg 2.

Peg 3 is empty.

Step 3: Place stitch from Step 1 back on peg 2.

Step 4: Remove loop from peg 6 and hold it.

Step 5: Move loop from peg 5 to peg 6.

Step 6: Place loop from Step 4 back on peg 6.

Peg 5 is empty.

  • *Purl peg 1, knit peg 2 (treat both loops on the peg as one loop), ewrap peg 3, knit peg 4, ewrap peg 5, knit peg 6 (treat both loops on the peg as one loop); rep from * to the end of row; purl the last peg.

Row 8:  p1, *k5, p1; rep from *



  • So pretty! Excellent job! :)

  • Thank you :)

  • I love it! It’s so, pretty! I can’t wait to make this. What is the “open removal method?” I’ve never heard of it before.

  • This is simply beautiful. What a gorgeous piece – thank you for sharing your pattern!

  • Just beautiful! As someone who doesn’t like charts your row to row breakdown is greatly appreciated.

  • Lovely shawl!

  • I really like this shawl pattern very pretty. Thank you. Do you have a video for this pattern I am more of a visual knitter or learner?????

  • Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • That is beautiful. Would you consider this a project for intermediate or advanced loomers? I’m a beginner and it looks difficult.

  • Thank you so much for the stitch breakdown for this beautiful pattern. I’m still enough of a novice that ssk and k2tog confuse me, but your stitch break downs are always perfectly clear and allow me to knit beyond my vocabulary :)

  • Very pretty! Thank you for breaking down the stitch pattern. I will try to make this this winter.

  • Thank you!

  • Thank you!

  • Hi Angie, there are no videos, but we did provide a breakdown of the stitch pattern.

  • Thank you!

  • Thank you Lorri. I am glad it is useful.

  • Thank you!

  • Hi Raelyn, it is the Basic removal method.

  • Thank you, Isela.

  • Hi Isela,

    Absolutely beautiful! If I can make socks on the AIO Loom,

    I can do this or I will dye trying! LOL Thank you for breaking

    down the pattern. I will be back with one / two questions about the stitches, maybe.

    Thank you KB for sharing these beautiful shawls.

  • It is a beautiful pattern and I am going to try it out. Can I use it for a baby blanket and if so what are the amount of stitches, etc. thanks.

  • that is very pretty. I would definitely want to make this sometime.

  • What does RS mean ? I am new to looming

  • It is a right side row, it will go from Right to Left.

  • Thank you

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