Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sheep Talk

Knitting Sheep/Design by PJ Rankin-Hults and hooked by Kris Miller

I recently finished hooking my Knitting Sheep! 

When we first enlarged Pam's drawing, it came out to a whopping 30" x 43.5" size!  "Yikes!" I said, "that's a bit too big!"  So we tried it again with a 22" x 30.25" size and this proved to be much better.  However, I decided I was going to hook the larger size anyway.  I did hand-torn strips in a 1/2" size for the sheep, the background, and the floor.  Some of the outlining was done in a #8 cut.  The bench and slippers are a combo of #8, #8.5, and #9 cuts and I used a wool with a slightly fuzzy nap for the slippers. (get it?  fuzzy slippers!)  The "yarn" is hooked roving from my animals, a combination of mohair and wool.  
Both sizes are available for sale on my website.  Look under the PJ Rankin-Hults tab.

And more sheep news!  Last Friday, we traveled to the west side of Michigan to pick out a new Finn lamb.  My intention was just to get a ewe but when we got there, we had a cuteness overload.  Little lambs were running all over the barn, hopping and skipping about.  One little ram lamb kept coming up to us for scratches on the neck and pats on the head.  How could we pass him up? It seemed he was begging to come home with me!  So the next thing you know, I'm paying for a ewe AND a ram lamb!

 Sister and Brother

Ram lamb

He has such a sweet face!

Little ewe lamb

The ewe will be named Suvi, which is Finnish for "summer".   We are still trying to think of a Finnish name for the ram lamb and we are narrowing it down to just a few choices.  The lambs will come home later in May so we still have time!

I am so joyful...the promise of Spring!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

All The Trimmings Show This Saturday!

Just a little reminder that the All The Trimmings show is this Saturday. I love this cozy little gift show and so will you!  Ken and I always buy our fresh holiday greens here.  We do a little Christmas shopping too!  To thank you for "shopping small" with us, we are offering $5.00 off your purchase of $25.00 or more. This special discount is only good on December 2nd at the All The Trimmings Show in Chelsea, MI. Please print out this post or show it to us on your cell phone and you will receive your discount. Happy Holidays from Spruce Ridge Studios! ⛄⛄🎄🎄
(we usually mail out discount postcards but we could not do that this year, 
so we are offering this post instead)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Spruce Ridge Studios Tent Sale and Open House 2017

Hello blog friends! 

(Willie is waiting to see you)

I thought I'd pop in to tell you that the Spruce Ridge Studios 2017 Tent Sale and Open House is this Saturday, September 30th from 10 am to 2 pm.  The sale starts at 10 am sharp ~ no early sales please, because we are always scurrying around until the very last minute, trying to get all the goodies out on the tables! 

All the sale items will be outside under the tents/canopies in our back yard.
There will be lots of clearance priced wool and rug hooking patterns (some are marked down as much as 50% and if you like to hook on monks cloth, you will have a large selection to choose from!)  There are also craft related products at reduced prices.  Look for our vintage, one of a kind, and antique treasures.  We will feature a "free box" this year...anything in the box is yours for the taking!

Enjoy complimentary cider and donuts while you visit.

My studio will also be open for regular shopping.  Due to a hectic travel schedule, I am not usually available to open my home to shoppers ... so this is a rare opportunity to come and shop my regular stock of wool and patterns! (We are working on a dedicated shopping area for next year - hopefully - keeping my fingers crossed!)

We accept all major credit cards for your purchases.

I look forward to seeing you this Saturday.  The weather will be much cooler and the weatherman is predicting a pleasant day!
PS:  Look under the "schedule" tab above for my address...just scroll down until you see the info for the SRS tent sale.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Rug Hooking Etiquette-What exactly is it that you do?

I am in my final preparations for rug hooking camp next week.  Do you know what a rug hooking teacher does to get ready?  Every teacher has their own way of preparing for their students. I'm going to give you a peek behind the scenes and I'll tell you what I do!

(my fabulous class in Santa Fe!)

When I get my list of students from the camp director, I will send out a welcome letter and a student questionnaire.  It may take me a week or two to get this out but I always do it.  If you haven't heard from your teacher and it is getting close to rug camp, let the camp director know.  Sometimes e-mails don't get delivered or get dumped into your spam file.  The teacher won't know this unless she is contacted.

My student letter briefly explains a little bit about my teaching method and how I conduct my class.  The student questionnaire is important to me.  Please fill it out and send it back!  It gives me information about what pattern you are hooking, what colors you like, and a little info about your rug hooking style. I usually follow up a couple weeks before camp if I don't hear from you.
When I get your questionnaire, I read it over carefully and then I look on line to see what the pattern looks like (if I'm not familiar with it).  I will often print out a color picture to attach to your questionnaire.  This is just a reference for me, it helps me in my planning.
If  you have any questions, please contact me.  Give me time to answer...I may be traveling and can't get back to you right away.  If you sent me your questionnaire and you don't have any questions, we are good to go.  You won't hear from me until we see each other at camp.

I begin washing/dyeing wool and drawing up student patterns if necessary.  It can take me several weeks to do all the washing and dyeing and drawing!  Don't hesitate to bring wool from your own stash.  Often times, a student will have a wonderful texture that is perfect for their rug!

Oh yes, textures.  I love textures.  Plaids, stripes, herringbones, windowpanes.  Don't ask me to do shading.  Don't ask me to do dip dyes, spot dyes, graduated swatches!  There are other teachers who teach that.  I do not.  And that's what I love about rug hooking....there is something for everyone, and a teacher for everyone.  Just as I have stated in one of my other Etiquette posts, please research a teacher and stick to her style. Please do not ask her to teach outside of her specialty.

Behind the scenes, I make lists!  Lists for what to bring to camp.  Stapler, pens, notebook, etc.  Wool, patterns, possible alternative materials, special request patterns. I try not to forget a thing! If I am flying to teach at a rug camp, it limits what I can bring.  I ship most of my wool (more on this later) but I won't ship my rugs.  So I am limited to a few rugs in my suitcase.  Likewise with bringing books or extra patterns.  BUT if I am driving, it is a whole different story.  I can fill up my van with all kinds of wonderful things!  Have you seen Big Mama?  Well, here she is and she can carry a lot!

Teachers make the big bucks, right?  
Um, no.  Usually a rug camp will pay the teacher a set amount for the whole week or however long the camp lasts.  At most camps, we get a lump sum, regardless of how many students are in a class.  This covers a typical day of teaching and sometimes a walk-through in the evening. It doesn't cover any time before or after class officially starts and ends, or spending hours in the evening in the class room.    Now please, don't get me wrong....I love, love, love to teach (really! it's not always about the money!) but after a good 6 to 8 hours in the classroom, my brain needs a reboot.  My color choices are not always good when I am tired.   Remember to let your teacher wind down and rest!  Tomorrow is another day!
Teachers usually get a stipend for travel.  Sometimes we get reimbursed for the actual travel cost but most of the time it's a flat amount to travel.  This has to cover my gas and meals on the road, plus possibly a hotel bill along the way.  Or it has to cover a plane ticket and baggage fees (if I am not traveling on Southwest).  If I go over the stipend amount, it is on my dime.  Same with shipping wool.  It is always on my dime.  And I usually ship 6 or 7 really LARGE boxes of wool.  I want to make sure I've brought a nice variety of textures.  In my case, I ship via UPS and to ship those 6 boxes costs me about $200.00 one way.  Yes, that's right.  I have to sell $200 worth of wool to break even for shipping one way.  Hey, I'm not complaining!  I just don't think it is something rug hookers think about.  Please consider buying wool from your is really and truly the way we can make a living.  And just know we are not making the "big bucks."

To tip or not to tip, that is the question....
This has been a burning question on some rug hooking discussions/forums, do you tip your teacher?  First off, let me tell you that I never expect a tip.  It is always a very, very lovely surprise when I get a card and a monetary tip but I do not expect it.  Sometimes I get a card signed by all my students.  One class purchased a massage for me while I was at camp.  Sometimes I get little gifts that are handmade.  They are all very lovely thoughts and very much appreciated. I know rug camp can be an expensive proposition with your hotel bill, camp tuition, pattern and wool purchases, and food bill.  Do what your heart tells you to do.  
What do teachers do before camp?  Correspondence and research, washing and dyeing wool, designing and drawing patterns, packing up everything, traveling by plane or by car.  Many, many hours go into your workshop before you ever get there!  So now you know!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Another Copyright Discussion (Part 4)

This is another post about that is based on a conversation I had with a couple of attorneys several years ago.  Remember, I am not a legal expert so if you have legal questions, please contact a copyright attorney.

When I taught myself rug hooking about 18 or 19 years ago, I purchased the book Basic Rug Hooking by Alice Beatty and Mary Sargent.  One of the things that really appealed to me was the rug on the cover of the book.  I thought the colors were gorgeous and I wanted to hook that rug some day! I made a few phone calls and eventually found a rug hooking store that sold this pattern, New Hampshire Antique, so I bought it.  The description in the book said it was "too intricate for a beginner's first," so I saved it for when I would be a better hooker, but I never did anything with it.  Lately, I've been thinking about digging the pattern out of my closet and finally hooking this rug.  I still love everything about it!  But way back when, it was only available on burlap.  It's not even the really nice premium burlap, more of a flat, slubby angus burlap.  So I worry about the age of the burlap (probably more than 20 years old) and the weight of the rug when it is finished.  You see, it's a very large 42" x 81" size.  It is too big to be hung on a wall so it will have to be used on the floor.  I do not think the burlap can take the weight of the wool nor the wear and tear of walking on it.

So what can I do?

My best option is to retrace the pattern again on a piece of linen and hook it for my floor.
Wait! you can't do that!  What about copyright laws?

Actually, yes, I can redraw this again on a different backing and then hook it.  Or I could use the original pattern for a template for a bed-size wool appliqué piece, if that is what I desire. Remember, I purchased the pattern and the obligation to the designer ended when I paid for it
I can only use it for one time/one use only,  regardless of how I use it (remember in one of my previous posts, I mentioned that patterns drawn on backing are for one-time use only).
Here's the catch:  if I decide to redraw it on a piece of linen (or use it for wool appliqué or any other medium), I am obligated to destroy the original pattern.
Why?  Because I paid for one pattern and I can only use it once.  In essence, to keep the original  and the copy would mean that I have created two patterns.  I only paid for one.  I cannot resell the original, I cannot donate the original, I cannot hook the original for personal use as a second rug, I can't gift it to my guild, I can't use it as a door prize.   That is where the copyright violation would be.  You can't create two patterns from a single pattern and use both. Period. Amen.

I know this could be confusing and I have tried to explain it as best I can.   Just remember:  one pattern = one use.

I've been thinking about advice for rug camp again and I think I'll go back to that for my next post.  Cheers!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Copyright-Personal Use vs. Commercial Use

Just when I thought I could move on, that pesky copyright monster has been hanging around my door's post is about personal use vs. commercial use.

What is Personal Use?
Property that an individual owns or uses for personal enjoyment.  It may not be used in any way in which money is charged
What is Commercial Use?
Using property in or for a business for financial gain.  Income generated using any kind of property.

Now let's talk about free patterns and personal use vs. commercial use.
I am going to be specific and talk about the free patterns you see/use in magazines.  However, this is also applicable to books and other publications that offer free patterns.
As a new rug hooker way back when, I didn't have a computer or internet or social media to be able to find any rug hooking information.  I had to depend on books and magazines, particularly Rug Hooking Magazine.  Believe me, I practically wore those pages out!  And I loved the free patterns because it gave me an option for something to hook.  All I needed was a piece of backing and a sharpie and I was ready to go!  
Fast forward to 2017...I have designed and written my fair share of free patterns and articles for many magazines.  It's fun but a lot of work too.  I have to design the pattern, hook the project, write the article, figure out prices for a kit (if one is offered), photograph the rug and the samples of wool that I used.  All working under a deadline.   But there is great satisfaction to see your free pattern being enjoyed by other rug hookers. I love to see the different colors and variations that people choose for their personal project.
Take a close look at those free patterns.  In Rug Hooking Magazine, they are a separate piece of paper inserted next to the article.  Unfold the pattern and take a look at the little box in the you see what it says? 
"You may make up to ten copies of this pattern, without the express written permission of Rug Hooking Magazine, for any purchaser who states that copies are for personal use. Not for resale." (my bold letters, not theirs.  I want you to take notice of that).
In the newly published Wool Works magazine, there is a disclaimer next to every project/line drawing/free pattern
"Templates Provided for One-Time, Personal Use Only"
(again, my bold letters)

So!  If you are going to use these patterns for your home, a gift for your sister or mother or uncle, you're good to go!  You are using it for personal use.

BUT!  If you are a small business (or any kind of business) and you are making them for your customers...oops!  You can't do that...copyright violation. That is my intellectual property and you are making money on it!!!

Honestly, I would think this is a no brainer but recently, I have discovered two different businesses that are duplicating my free patterns and offering them for sale to their customers/students.  Some of the patterns were from a few years back but that is certainly no excuse.  One of the patterns was changed a little, removing some (very small) details and adding a few tabs to the side of the mat.  Refer to my last post about "significantly similar."  You can't change a few things and call it your own.  And believe me, this piece was really significantly similar!  You could pick it out while riding on a galloping horse from a mile away.

So let me talk to all the sellers out there.  The small business in your home, the person who packs up their car and vends at shows, the person who sells patterns to their students, the person who is paying rent in a store are commercial.  You can not resell the free patterns offered in books or magazines without permission!  Don't compromise your business image, your integrity, your customer's trust, everything you have worked to accomplish.  Do not be labeled a copier.  And don't think it will go unnoticed.  In this day and age of electronic information, things seem to pop up everywhere.  And don't think that I don't notice.
I want to give first time offenders the benefit of the doubt. Hey, I've made some mistakes early on.  Maybe you just didn't know.  But now you do, so stop it.  Like right now.
I'm here to tell you that we all need to give each other a little respect.  I love to design patterns but I'm not going to submit them for publication anymore if they are going to be misused.  And then everyone loses. Let's do the right thing!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Few More Words About Copyright...

Just a few more words about copyright that I think are worth talking about...
(Remember, I am not a legal expert.  I am only speaking and writing from what I understand.  If you have any legal questions, it is wise to consult with a copyright attorney).

Significantly Similar
There is no magic bullet or formula for how you can change someone else's design to make it your own.  If a work is "significantly similar" to the original work, it is a copyright violation.  You cannot change a design 10% or 20%.  You cannot simply reverse the direction.  You cannot change a design "seven times" to make it yours.  If a "Regular Joe" can see that the new design is significantly similar to the original, it violates copyright law.
I know you will say that there is nothing new under the sun.  But that's still not an excuse to copy, OK?  You have lots of options.
There are things called "common design elements."  Stars, snowmen, geometric shapes, etc.  You cannot copyright these things.  But the more detail you use, the more specific you make the design, then it becomes copyrightable.  Everyone can use a basic snowman design.  But when you draw the snowman, put a golf club in his stick hand, draw a rabbit for his caddy, and the golf bag is full of carrots, then that's when it's your own copyrightable design!

I need to correct myself.  I think I was misunderstood or misspoke in my last post about copyright vs. antique rug patterns.  Remember that anything prior to 1923 is in the public domain.  That means you can adapt vintage/antique rug patterns prior to that date.  I also mentioned that designers often sell these antique adaptions.  But what I meant to say was that if you are going to adapt an old rug design, go directly to the original rug design.  Use your photo of the antique rug and do not copy the adaptation from the designer!  Yes, the design is in the public domain but if the designer added extra "stuff" to the pattern, you are also copying that newer stuff. It's public domain vs. a few new things someone else added.  I think it's a sticky wicket that I would want to avoid. 
I read an amusing story once where old map makers would design a map but purposely put one small error into an inconspicuous spot on the map.  Then they could often identify someone who was copying the map because the offender would also unknowingly copy the mistake.  Pretty clever, wouldn't you say?

OK, I don't know if I'm using the right word by saying "intent" but this is really what I mean:
Patterns drawn out on backing or foundation cloth are intended for one-time use only.  I mean that you cannot buy one pattern on the backing of your choice and trace it or redraw it for all your friends.  It doesn't matter if it is for personal use, you still are violating copyright laws. If you know someone who is doing this, DO NOT take part in this activity.  I know it goes on because I have had people call me and tell me that it has happened with my patterns.  My best advice to you is to not take part in this type of sharing and kindly purchase your own pattern.   I had a friend who once showed me the cutest little goat pattern.  It was an older pattern but certainly not pre-1923.  She said "oh, I know you like it so go ahead and retrace it.  I won't tell anyone."  Nope!  I would not do it.  It would have been so easy because who would have known if I traced it or not? After all, it was for my personal use.  But I could not compromise my core belief and to this day, I'm happy I stuck to my guns.
One other of my conversations with an attorney was about one-time use patterns.  Once you purchase the pattern, you may hook the rug and if you choose to sell the finished rug, you may do so.  The obligation to the designer was satisfied when you purchased the pattern.  The designer cannot prohibit you from selling the rug.

When you purchase my book, Introduction To Rug Hooking,  there are 8 patterns included that you are free to use for your own personal use.  You can use them as many times as you want and enlarge them, add to them, etc.  I own the copyright to the patterns but the intent of the book was for the reader to copy and use the patterns for personal use. There are lots of other books you can buy that offer free patterns too.  But be careful...not all line drawings that appear in magazines and books are for free use.  Sometimes they appear for educational purposes or for reference.  You need to do your homework and make sure that they are for public use before you copy them.  
I believe that most patterns you buy on paper or PDF have the same may copy and use them for your own personal use as many times as you wish.  However, please check for any disclaimers that come with the paper pattern.  They may limit you to a certain number of copies.

I hope this extra information adds to your copyright knowledge.  I appreciate your comments and input!