Viral Knitting

You know how this goes – a picture of some knitted (or in some cases crocheted) item goes viral and the next thing you know 5-10 people have posted it to your Facebook/Pinterest/whatever page in case you have seen yet.  Some are actually cute and some are kind of weird.  You know the ones I’m talking about – Cabbage patch wigs for kids, the mermaid lapghan, the forest animal cowl/hoods, the monster baby pants.  I know some people get annoyed by this but I always graciously like the post and thank the person for sharing.  I’m genuinely touched that they saw a picture of an object made of yarn and thought of me.  I’m never exactly sure where these posts take off from and why it happens on one day but such in the magic of social media.

Some of these posts have even led to commissioned projects that I’ve done and here’s where my beef with these posts starts.  I’ve learned a lot by trying to replicate the Pinterest ready posts and here a few tips I can share.

  1. Always do a test knit of the pattern – it’s my experience that it doesn’t always turn out the way it did in the post.
  2. If the pattern is available on Ravelry do your research – people’s notes and posts on their pattern pages can be very useful.
  3. Warn whoever wants to it that the actual product may vary from the picture.
  4. If you plan on selling the finished item – check the copyright.  Many designers, especially of these “viral” projects forbid selling finished items.

Let’s look at some examples of these tips.

Test Knit the Pattern

I found these adorable Frozen dolls on top of the Ravelry hot projects awhile back.  I posted them to my Facebook page and was mobbed by moms of Frozen-crazy kids.  I ordered a bunch of Knit Picks Palette yarn in every color under the rainbow and started to knit.  I will say that they were an easy, fun knit but they turned out nothing like the one on the designer’s website and I mean, nothing!  I now have several almost full balls of many colors of Palette in my stash.  I will say that the dolls went to a good home with a lucky girl who is not overly particular about what her Frozen dolls look like 🙂

Ravelry Research

This was a painful one to learn.  I’m sure everyone has seen the animal cowl/hoods that swept the internet and were designed by Heidi May.  The picture that was shared to my Facebook wall showed 4 of the hoods on the some really cute kids and they looked adorable in them.  A friend contacted me and wanted one for her daughter.  Her daughter is a pretty cool girl and wanted to chose her colors for it – not going with exactly what was in the picture.  She chose pink, grey and cream and I set to work.  As I was finishing up the size did not look right to me even though I was pretty close to gauge and had followed all the directions.  Said cool girl lives several states away from me so I took it to a party where I knew small children would be present and tried it on a child of similar age and size.  It looked okay, but, still not quite like the picture.  I was doing some reading on Ravelry and saw several other people had run across the same issue.  The conclusion was that the model in the viral picture, while a small child, must be wearing a larger size hood.  I also attribute this to the photos that go viral.  I’m sure they were very much staged and perhaps even some photoshop was involved to make the objects look their absolute best.  As it turned out said cool girl is petite for her age and the hood was a bit oversized for her and she looks absolutely adorable in it!

Sometimes, the post does not list where the pattern came from and, again, Ravelry is your friend.  I had someone post a picture of an alien face hugger (disclaimer – I had no idea what it actually was…) and a quick search on Ravelry revealed the pattern for it.  Likewise, I got the mermaid lapghan a ton of times recently.  The picture going around was crocheted and I was able to find a knit version of it, and it actually used the exact stitch I was thinking of when I pictured a knit version!

Fair Warning!

Whenever someone sends me one of these and actually wants one I feel obliged to give a warning that objects in the picture may not be how they actually appear in real life.  This ties into the test knit and I will usually tell this person that I will knit one up and see how it comes out and if I like it we can talk further.  As we all do, I have high standards for my knitting so if I don’t like it I won’t knit it for you.

Check the copyright!

So the patterns for the Heidi May hoods are protected by copyright and she does not give you permission to sell finished items from her patterns.  Unfortunately, most of the time you won’t know the extent of a designer’s copyright until you purchase the pattern.  It always kind of bums me out when I buy a pattern that does not allow me to sell the finished item.  If I’m listing it on Etsy, I’m always happy to give credit to the pattern designer.  I have a great list of designers who give you permission to sell finished items and if I’m looking for something in particular I always start with their stores but when it’s a viral knit you don’t have much of a choice.  Due to the copyright restrictions on the animal hoods I did not list those in my Etsy shop or advertise them on my Facebook page.  I made them for my friend’s three kids and she did pay me for the yarn but I think that complies with the copyright.

So, for all my non-knitter friends that may have read through this – feel free to share whatever knit items you see with me, I love it!!  And to all the knitters who scorn such posts – take them for what they are worth, your friends were thinking of you and there are a lot worse things in the world 🙂

3 thoughts on “Viral Knitting

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