Storytime with a smart cross-stitch dragon, a clever upcycle and a theft

Like all good stories, this story has three elements. A book-loving dragon, a bookmark made with creativity and theft of something valuable, by the author even! And as all good fairytales, there might be redemption at the end when the bad person shows remorse. If she doesn’t there will be a bloody ending.  Come, open this book with me, and listen to my story.

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Materials used for the cross stitch bookmark

This bookmark is made from two rose cross stitch kits I got at the second-hand store. They are the packages on the left in the picture below. The pattern was confusing to me and somehow the kits included a whole variety of colours which were not in the pattern, so I decided to do my own thing. I buy a lot of cross stitch kits at second-hand stores because even if you don’t like the pattern, they are a great cheap way to get materials for. I wrote a whole post with tips on how to find cheap materials for quilting and embroidery:

 

The cross stitch pattern and a confession

It is time for my confession of the theft.

I found the pattern of the reading dragon on Pinterest for free. And when I say free, I mean that somebody put it there who had no rights over the pattern. At that time I was young and inexperienced and I saw it as a great opportunity to have a free dragon pattern. I should have known better of course. There are after all sites such as Tineye and Google Reverse Image Search which allow you to search for the source of images,  but I did not. When I started with my fabric art I wasn’t conscious yet about the importance of supporting artists and designers. Only when I started to pursue a creative career myself I realized how vital it is to pay for patterns with either money, recognition or both.

The designer of the pattern spends hours on it and a big chunk of her or his creativity. Not even all artists ask for money for their patterns, but it is still important to name them and link back to their respective pages when you use a pattern. It is incredibly discouraging when your work is stolen by someone else to flaunt. Pinterest is a good place to find inspiration for your artwork. Especially their function to search for particular words or key phrases has helped me out many times. However, Pinterest is a particularly bad place to find patterns, because often the images don’t link back to the source.  Instead, the images come from websites displaying large quantities of stolen patterns and artwork. Each time it turned out I had used a stolen pattern I got them from Pinterest. To not discourage you completely I’ll share some great places to find patterns at the bottom of this post.

I hope by sharing my story,  and how I prevented further mistakes, I’ll encourage you to be more conscious about the patterns you use and where you get them. It does not take a lot of time to find the original artist and compensate them for the work they’ve done. Especially if you compare it to the time spent in making the item. At any rate, most patterns these days are not expensive at all anyhow. Also, buying and sewing a pattern from a small designer often means you made a new friend because they will follow your updates with much enthusiasm and encouragement. And who doesn’t want a new friend?!

Sadly, in the case of the pattern of the reading dragon, I haven’t found the original yet. Therefore, I also can’t share the pattern. Once I do I will pay for it retroactively (please tell me if you know where it is!). However, I have found the artist and I encourage you all to go to her website and facebook and admire her talent in designing cute dragons:

To end this unhappy tale I will share my interpretation of the reading dragon called Alfonse. I hope Alfonso brings you some cheer with his aura of highbrow intellectualism.

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From cross-stitch to bookmark

In this section, I’ll tell you how to turn the cross-stitch into a bookmark.

In the pictures above you can see, I added colourfull lines on both sides of Alfonse. Those side-pieces form the back by stitching them together. To do that you fold the piece in half with the right sides inside as seen on the picture.  After that, you stitch the outer edge marked with the pins.

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Next, you turn the cross stitch inside out, and voilá, it is almost done. Press the piece to give it a nice, flat look. This can either be done by an iron or a stack of heavy books, whatever is available. But since you are reading a post about a bookmark, the stack of books is most likely.

To finish the bookmark you have to fold the seams of the top and bottom inside. After that, close the top and bottom with a tiny whip-stitch or blanket stitch. Press again to make the bookmark look neat by pushing the fabric in the right shape, and done!

This technique is only one way to make a cross-stitch bookmark. Other options are using specific pre-finished bookmark fabric, sewing the stitch of fabric or glueing it on cardboard. The technique used depends on the look you want and the kind of cross stitch fabric you used. The technique in this article works best with stiff cross stitch fabric.

The end of the story

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The confession of my theft and how I mended my ways are too important to clutter the conclusion of this post with other things. Don’t make the beginner mistakes I made now you know better. This post was my redemption, more posts about this topic will follow later. Some questions for you to end this post:

  • How do you make sure you get your patterns legally?
  • Where do you get an awesome cross-stitch, embroidery or quilting patterns?
  • Have you ever used a stolen pattern by accident? If so, what did you do once you found out?

Where can you go for patterns?

The most obvious and well-known place is Etsy. Etsy has a HUGE collection of artists from all over the world selling their particular creativity. However, Etsy is overwhelming when you don’t know where to look. You can join facebook groups with your particular craft or creative groups on other social media such as DeviantArt. You can join general groups or more specific ones with for example only snarky cross-stitch or only patterns by a specific designer. By seeing the work of other people you can find patterns you want to make for yourself or get to know new pattern designers to be a fan of. Most of the pattern designers have an Etsy shop or a personal website which you can look up once you are ready to buy a pattern.

If you already know which kind of pattern you are looking for Instagram is the place to go. With Instagram, you can search using specific keywords. Those keywords can be as broad as #crossstitch and as specific as #rainbowcrossstitch. Also in themes, styles and disposition, there is something for everyone.  It ranges from #kinkycrossstitch to #religiouscrossstitch. From angry stabby embroidery to heal a broken heart to the soppiest eternal love cross stitch full of flowers and baskets with kittens and rainbows. I am sure that once you start looking you will have an evening of entertainment and tons of new ideas for patterns to make!

Would you like to know more?

 


See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blog post every Sunday or Monday.

3 comments

  1. I always worry about “stealing” other quilters’ patterns. If you’ve quilted (or cross stitched) for a while, you know how to look at a pattern and reproduce it. However good for an artist this can be (because we figured it out and didn’t spend anything), it’s always bad for the designer who has to put bread on their table. I do searches and then I ask my quilting friends on social media do they know who designed it. Usually I can at least come up with the designer’s name and then search from there. It’s frustrating and time consuming, but like you I like to give credit where credit is due — as well as pay for what I use.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I understand that. I can make pretty much any pattern I see with graph paper and some time, but that doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. It is also not legal to copy your own Mondriaan and sell it. I am happy you also make an effort to find out who the designer is.

      And also this: I love finding new inspirational quilters or embroiderers to admire and follow. If I trace back patterns to the makers I like enough to make it is a sure thing it will lead to an awesome artist, so both people win: the designer with the purchase and the buyer by finding a new inspirational person!

      Like

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