Copyright & Cross Stitch

We’ve detailed how to set up an Etsy store, and how to make patterns, and you’re all ready to go with the money making adventure of a lifetime!
But wait. Where’s legal? You don’t have one? Bah! It’ll be fine!

I’ve been there. I know that the idea of legal aid is just plain scary. But you know whats worse? When you get a letter from Nintendo saying you’ve broken copyright law and you need to take down your pattern.
As it happens the Pokemon company were pretty cool about it. Not only did they understand that I just took an image off Google without realizing I was doing wrong (apparently a VERY large problem now-a-days), but they also sent over some details on how to avoid it in future.
Turns out that this little foray into the world of scary law firms is a regular occurrence for the Etsy community, and even more so for cross stitch pattern makers. But it still didn’t scare me into shutting my shop for 3 years…

But fear not! Copyright law is actually pretty simple. There’s even an acronym. FCCP. I didn’t say it was a good acronym.
In fact, I’m going to do this out of order…

Shared under Creative Commons License!
Shared under Creative Commons License!

Copyright

Whilst copyright has 4 distinct flavors, one of those in plain old vanilla copyright. When someone creates something they have copyright on that thing. However, not that many people say they own it. Instead, its implied. If its implied, then look to the other three options here.
But if you see that little copyright symbol, then stay away. The person who created it has full rights, and unless you ask (and they agree) to use it, you’re in breach of the law.

Public Domain

Public domain rarely applies in the world of the internet. The reason? You have to go through a rather teedious process to make it public domain. Like dying.
I’m serious. There are two ways something can be public domain:

  • The creater is dead AND no one owns the copyright
  • The creater willingly gave up permissions

You’re never really going to know if something is public domain or not unless it is very old (and even then its not guaranteed; the Happy Birthday song had a copyright until last year), and you have to bear in mind that someone might be using it under fair use or creative common licenses.

Fair Use

Fair use is the first part of copyright law that you can actually use to your advantage (So long as your in the USA, sorry the rest of the world). I’ll use an example:
My favorite artist came out with a new painting, and I use the image to create a cross stitch pattern and make a cross stitch – fine.
Then I try to sell the pattern – That’s not fair use.
You see, fair use allows you to use copyrighted material for education, research, or personal use (there is an exception here about benefiting public good, but unless your Edward Snowden you’re not going to be using that).

Creative Commons

This is where it gets really juicy. If you find an image, which is copyrighted, then you can ask to use it. Some people will say no; so be prepared for that. However others will say you can. There are often restrictions on this type of thing, so just be aware of those, but this is your only source of images (unless they are totally original).

The Exceptions

Yes, there is ALWAYS an exception. In this case its purchasing rights. Some websites out there use a creative commons license with their images. You can use them personally, or commercial websites/literature. However other offer royalty free images with no caps. This means that if you wanted to you could sell the image onto someone else straight away, no edits required. However it also allows you to make cross stitch patterns for sale.

So now you can set up your store in the safe knowledge you’re covered by copyright. Phew!

Selling Cross Stitch Online

shut up and take my money

Making cross stitch is an awesome way to spend your time, however there’s always that one thing in your mind, the question everyone always thinks about “Can I make money from this?”.
Luckily, the answer is yes. There are LOADS of people selling cross stitch and cross stitch patterns online. It’s super simple to do, and doesn’t cost a lot to set up at all (if anything).
I will add the caveat now though, that you aren’t going to suddenly be drowning in dollar bills. But its enough to cover most cross stitch expenses.

shut up and take my money
Sadly this isn’t how customers are… :/

Deciding what to sell

The first step along this journey is what you’re going to sell. There are two main areas:

  • Finished cross stitch
  • Cross stitch patterns

Now, both have their advantages. The first is that you can charge higher amounts per product, whilst making patterns you can shift a dime a dozen and have it all done automatically. If you’re looking from a purely economical point of view, then selling cross stitch patterns is definitely your best bet. If you don’t know how to do this I have a guide on making cross stitch patterns here.

Your brand

The next step is to make a brand. Now, there are loads of different ways to come at this, so I’m going to leave it in your faithful hands, however its important to note that you need a UNIQUE name. This will be the name of your store, and possibly what you put on products too. Depending on your target market, this might be very different. For example I tend to aim towards the younger market with crazy patterns and so a tounge in cheek design and a flash logo work, but if you sell to more traditional stitchers a friendly face might work better.

Setting up a store

So now you have a brand you can set up a store. There are two main online platforms but Etsy is the best. You can find an official guide here.
They take a small cut on each deal, but they set up an automatic sale for digital files (patterns), and have massive amounts of traffic.

Make your products

Well… Yeh. Make the stuff.

Product images

Once you have items to sell the next thing is to get some awesome photos. This is the biggest thing about Etsy sales. The picture is EVERYTHING. Make it professional, make it stand out. Make sure people want to select it. This can be the hardest bit though, so if in doubt copy the style of other people who sell on Etsy until you develop your own style.

Being prepared

With everything set up and ready there is one final thing I would note; be prepared. This can take loads of different forms, but making sure you have enough of what your trying to sell is a big one. If this is finished pieces or kits you need to have the product ready to start when the sale goes through.

Quick tips

– Make sure you can sell your stuff. This is SUPER important. You can read up on cross stitch and copyright over here.
– Ensure you have awesome drawing product descriptions. After all, its all about selling the product.
– Customer care is super important. Just be there to speak to customers, answer questions, help them out.
– Etsy ads are a great way to get some extra eyes on your items, but I would stay away from general terms like “cross stitch” instead be more specific, and you’ll get a better return.
– Make sure you make a profit. If the item costs $10, the sale price needs to be $15 for you to get a $1 profit. But this doesn’t work out as a great wage. Price your time accordingly.

Rise of the Twitch Cross Stitcher, Part 3

Cross Stitch Twitch is a unique concept that’s really starting to develop fast. We’ve gone into common misconceptions during the first post, and we’ve spoken to some of the most influential vbloggers in our second post on Twitch cross stitch. But now we get to speak to the mother of cross stitch Twitch; the first ever cross stitch streamer Sirithre, or Siri for short.

Unlike a lot of our other Twitch streamers, Siri couldn’t see other users, and instead has a totally different way into the Twitch space. Video games.

While adding my list of games to backloggery.com I realized just how horrible I am about actually finishing games. This is mainly due to spending too much time playing MMOs.
Thus, my new year’s resolution for 2014 was to quit playing MMOs, and to work on my backlog of games. So I started streaming so I’d still get the social interaction of MMOs to encourage me to stick to this plan.

And that’s where we start with the cross stitch.

I was actually quite literally the first cross stitch streamer on twitch. Creative wasn’t even announced yet, it had been quietly added to the directory without mention and only had a handful of digital artists at the time. Most still streamed their art under the game categories.
I started a project November 2014 to make (late) Christmas presents for some of my favorite Twitch broadcasters with the plan to give it to them as a gift in person at PAX South. Since I was stitching their channel emotes as gifts I decided to stream them. This brought them and their communities into my stream and sometimes I would get hundreds and thousands of viewers where my gaming would have only brought in 20-30 at the time.

sirithre
Sirithre on her non-cosplay days

Most were interested in what Cross stitch even was, how I knew where to stitch, etc. Stitchers came in excited they hadnt seen it before, wanted to know how I made my patterns, what plastic canvas was, how I made my patterns, etc. Soon I built up a following of stitchers who enjoyed ‘stitch and bitch’ type scenarios and wanted to work on their own projects while watching the stream.

A fairly surprising start, especially as there was no marketing involved at all to begin with, apparently cross stitchers just so happen to be a video gaming lot…
But this is where suddenly I got it. It’s not about watching others, about being part of something, it’s about having that one place for cross stitchers to call home. Sure there are forums, comment sections on websites, Twitter and other social media, but there’s nothing like speaking to people real time about the thing you enjoy.
Back in the 90s we had AIM chat rooms, now we have a modern twist where you can see something being made in front of you, pick up on the small tricks of others…
There are reading groups, knitting circles, and now there is Twitch cross stitch.

I’d once again love to say thank you to all the Twitch streamers I’ve spoken to and you can find all of them over at TwitchStitch, where there are over 80 streamers and counting. However if you’re unsure where to start, I’d suggest Sirithre, kwarning, MouzlyGamez, ArmoredHearts & EmzOLV.

Rise of the Twitch Cross Stitcher, Part 2

Was week I wrote a post about the rise of the Twitch cross stitcher, however its clear that vblogging cross stitch is a new thing, and the only way to get the inside scoop is from the streamers themselves. So, without further adue, we hear from the horses mouth!

In my initial post I spoke about the purpose of streaming. Its not clear from the outset what would make someone stream cross stitching, especially on a vblogging platform. So, what made you start streaming?

EmzOLV I originally started live streaming because I used to write for a games blog which I created. I found that alongside the articles I was doing for that, I could do playthroughs of indie and retro games and it would all fit together nicely. Unfortunately I haven’t had time for the blog and it’s very competitive and easy to get lost in the Twitch world with video games. I was intrigued by cross stitching streams because I knew of one person who did it (Sirithre) and I had been working in my personal time on a giant version of Yoshi Island SNES start screen. It all seemed to come together with me jumping in and giving it a go, getting really comfortable within Twitch Creative and then just continuing to do it.

twitch logo cross stitched

Why do you stream instead of make videos?

KWarning It’s all about the live chat for me. There is nothing that compares to the live interaction. I get feedback on patterns and I am able to help viewers with their project by having the ability to reply to them immediately. I have also opened up a discord room to be able to have the same interaction with my viewers while my channel is not live.

Cross stitch twitch is a bit of a new phenomenon, why do you think it’s become so popular when other social media has failed to unite the stitching community?

ArmoredHearts Cross Stitch on Twitch is immediate, it’s a community that is building out of the love of the art. Whether in the making or the appreciating and collecting. Posting photos of works in progress or finished items is fun. Watching someone create and chatting about experiences, methods and tools of the craft is what builds a kind of camaraderie among Creative streamers. We relate and learn from others and that makes our experiences have more value and grow.

MotoRuxin Cross stitch is one of those things that lots of people do, but it’s hard to actually meet this people as we are so spread out and diverse. With the Creative section on Twitch, they have essentially created for us an online sewing circle with resources for new or longtime stitcher as well as those with no cross stitch experience. Some people just appreciate the art, and it absolutely fills me with pride when I have viewers praise my work and hope so badly to win one of my giveaways.

If I was a betting man I would think that we’ll see a lot more streamers on Twitch soon, cross stitching away.

I’d just like to say thanks to kwarning, MouzlyGamez, ArmoredHearts, MotoRuxin & EmzOLV from TwitchStitch for being part of the post!
Next week: the mother of Twitch cross stitch

Free Pokemon Baubles Cross Stitch Pattern

With Christmas on the horizon its not too surprising that people have been asking me for my Pokemon baubles. These are actually designed by ristvak over at SpriteStitch but I was the first to stitch them, so I still get asked about them all the time!

xmas pokemon baubles cross stitch pattern

You can download the patterns over on Sprite Stitch.

I’ve seen a few versions of these, including some swell ones with neon bulbs on pikachu, so go nuts and experiment!

Christmas Pokemon Bauble Cross Stitches
Christmas Pokemon Bauble Cross Stitches

Pikachu Notebook Cross Stitch

Scroll
Title: Pikachu Notebook
Date Completed: September 2016
Design: Lord Libidan
Count: 14
Video Game: Pokemon
Despite the years of cross stitch I’ve never used waste canvas. This idea was originally planned to use it, but quite quickly I realised I couldn’t get the journal wet. After a lot of foundering I came across Severija, and worked out the way she cross stitched onto solid objects. I’ll make a guide soon, however for now, this is the completed Pikachu notebook, which will be up on my Etsy store, so catch it while you can!

Rise of the Twitch Cross Stitcher

A few weeks ago I posted a blog entitled “is cross stitch dead?”, and summarized that it had instead changed. One way it’s changed is the vblogging phenomenon known as Twitch.

Twitch is a video website that streams live videos, and was set up primarily for video games. Video games have long been seen on YouTube, and the competitive gaming of Asia is coming over to the USA and Europe, however its quickly become something more, with videos popping up on all types of content. However cross stitch isn’t a competitive sport, and there are a frankly astoundingly small amount of videos on YouTube, so why has this change happened, and why is it getting a backing?

Twitch is a unique site. At first glance you could mistake it for some type of voyeuristic site where pretty women talk to the camera, however in reality its a 50/50 split in gender, and most don’t even show their faces. Instead you just see the screen on the person you’re watching, complete with their audio feed. That’s it. So when cross stitch started to get streamed you have to ask, why bother? There’s no screen sharing, as a streamer you can’t see them, you can’t hear them, they can’t pick the music, they can’t change anything. It’s just a window into the world of one person.

kwarning twitch cross stitcher
KWarning on Twitch cross stitching Eevees

In reality, Twitch has pretty much everything on it. Most notably they accepted streams of people eating (I don’t get it either). However most of these sub-genres have a key element. Almost all of them are solo activities. The games streamed are all single player, the eating never happens in groups. You aren’t so much getting a snapshot into the life of someone, but they are having a one on one conversation with you, personally, whilst also having them with 200 other people. And yes, its really that popular. And that’s the draw.

Cross stitch is very insular, its the type of thing you can watch the TV at the same time, listen to music, chat with friends on instant messenger. So why not add someone else into the picture, doing the same thing you are. You can ask questions about their projects, yours, or go off topic totally. Its a friend you have the other side of the world.

I’ve watched a few streams, I often find my way onto streams of prop making, and I have indeed spent time with cross stitchers, however not once have I felt it was a waste of time. I was able to be part of a group, enjoying my hobby, whilst in the comfort of my own home, stitching away on my project. So I’m all for cross stitchers hanging out together, even if its online.

But there is one thing that makes all this slightly weirder; it wasn’t Twitch’s decision. Sure, they’ve gone with it, even making a group just for stitchers, however one day someone decided to stream themselves stitching, and it went from there. This happened months ago, but despite that the popularity of these videos exceeds most youtube videos on any topic, let alone cross stitch. Evidently there is a need here that cross stitchers themselves have identified.

Next week I ask three prominent twitch cross stitchers, kwarning, MouzlyGamez, ArmoredHearts & EmzOLV (LINKS) from TwitchStitch why they do it, what they get from it, and why they think it’s become so popular. And after that we speak to the mother of Twitch cross stitch; Sirithre.

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