On Credit for “Original” Designs

I wanted to follow up on a conversation that happened in a Facebook group earlier today about giving credit to the “original” creator of a design.

For the record, Piglet and I didn’t invent the pattern discussed in that case, and we don’t own it. If you weave potholders that look like that, you aren’t obligated to mention us or give us any credit.

People have been weaving things out of string for thousands of years, and they have been weaving potholders out of stretchy loops for nearly a hundred years. Given that history, I think it’s very likely that every technique we’ve explored has been tried before, and I am confident that if you could somehow go through all of the millions of potholders that have been woven over the last century, you would be able to find earlier examples that look a lot like nearly every design we’ve posted.

And even in the few cases where I’m confident a particular design was never woven by anyone before us, those creations couldn’t exist without all of the earlier work that came before them — we stand on the shoulders of giants.

Our charts are the result of mashing together lots of ideas from multiple sources — including everything from thousand-year-old textile fragments, to nineteenth-century pattern books, to pictures that were just posted to the web a few days ago — and working through variations to find combinations that seem to go well together, then putting the results online so that other people can elaborate on them further.

We explicitly urge people to treat these techniques — weaving structures, threading patterns, color schemes, and all the rest — as part of a shared human culture that is open for use by everyone.

That said, we do love seeing pictures of all the lovely work that we’ve had some small part in helping people to create, and shout-outs are always welcome, so please do continue to post photos of your potholders and everything else you make, and feel free to tag Piglet and I any time you’d like — but that’s always completely optional, and you don’t owe us anything.

5 thoughts on “On Credit for “Original” Designs”

  1. Hi, I mistakenly attributed my finding this site to Rug Hooking Magazine, but it was actually Handwoven. So very very happy to have come upon this archive of patterns, I printed everthing out in a big binder, have made potholders since I was a child and at 68 and now hand dying my own loops.

    Question: in the glossary at the beginning of each section some of the patterns are listed with on a grey background. What does this signify?

    1. Hello Madeline — I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying our chart collection!

      The items highlighted in the table of contents in the big PDFs (“2023 edition”) are charts that were added since the the last PDF edition (“December 2022”) was assembled, marked for the convenience of folks who might have printed the previous version and want to find the new pages.

      Conversely, on the front page of our website, the items highlighted with yellow “New!” markers are the ones that were added since the “2023 edition” PDF was assembled — these are pages that aren’t in the big book version, but will be added to it in the next big update.

        1. If you’ve printed the big PDFs — marked variously “2023 Edition” or “December 2023 Edition” — you’ve got the 528 charts that were available at the end of last year… but not the 35 charts that are currently shown on the home page with the “New!” marker, so if you want to be a completist, you could print those as well.

          However, note that we keep posting new charts — four more today — so keeping track of exactly which ones you’ve printed already can be a challenge.

          Alternatively, you could just stick with the 2023 edition for now, and wait until later this year when I put together another big roundup, which will include a separate PDF including just the new charts since this one.

          I hope that helps!

          1. captain, I think I need a bigger notebook….. I will wait, have enough to digest already. And again I am so happy you are doing this. Say hi to piglet. Thanks for answering so quickly.

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