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Welcome Friends! Please be patient while I add more info. I have SO much to share with you. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Yarn Substitutions

I ran across this website by accident and knew I had to share it. Maybe you already know about it and I am the one who's been in the dark about it! But this is fantastic and I'm so excited to find it!

Art Yarns
Beaded Silk
$64 -Hank
How many times have you had a pattern you are dying to make, but are so disappointed when you find out the yarn has been discontinued? Or maybe that yarn is too expensive for you, which is often the case, and you just need to find a less expensive yarn that you can afford. There are thousands of yarns out there and sometimes you don't know where to even begin looking for a yarn that is comparable.

Malabrigo Rasta
$22 - Hank
Since I am a designer and have been since 2005, of course
some of the yarns I've used or suggested yarns are discontinued and are no place to be found on this planet. People write and ask me once in a while if I know of a yarn they can substitute for one of my patterns. Most of the time I don't have a problem finding a good substitute for them, since it's part of my job to be familiar with yarns.  But if they ask if a particular yarn they want to use is a good substitute and it's a yarn I'm not familiar with, this can be difficult and very frustrating.

WIP Yarn-$26

 I found this website by accident and wanted to make sure I share it with you. I am amazed at all the work that was put into this. I was looking up a Yarn Bee yarn from Hobby Lobby that has gorgeous colors and since that particular yarn was discontinued, this website, called YarnSub (link below) came up in that search. I did not even know that yarn had been discontinued.

There were yarns that said 99% match, down to 90% match, but they suggested at least 20 different yarns! I am so impressed! What a great tool to have. Click on the link below. I hope this is helpful! Note: Scroll down below the website link for a little more info.

Yarn Substitution

My Cap Sleeve Top, which is my most popular design/pattern of all time from my book, Crochet That Fits, calls for a dk weight yarn and I suspected it may be discontinued, so I just now looked it up on that website.
Nashua Grand
The yarn I chose for that is gorgeous and I first saw it at TNNA in Columbus, when it was brand new. This yarn, Nashua Handknits Grand Opera, is just too beautiful, but the book doesn't show how truly beautiful it is, because there's a tiny metallic thread running through it. By the way, I give yarn substitutions in that book since I know everyone can't afford a high end yarn from a local yarn shop.
Indeed, I found out it is discontinued and several yarn substitutions came up, but it also says this:
"We're only showing yarns that contain metallic thread.  If you like, you can widen the search to include yarns without metallic thread."

So see, they've got you covered no matter what! I am so impressed!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Authentic Hot and Sour Soup

This may look like a long recipe to you and could seen a little overwhelming, but once you cut everything up, it only takes about 30 minutes to put the soup together and it's done! The recipe looks long, because I do a lot of explaining as I go.
Authentic  Hot and Sour Soup
If you're one of those people who have not tried Hot and Sour Soup, you should really give it a try. I've eaten Chinese food all my life but had never tried this soup until the 90's when friends of ours in Salem, Indiana took us to a special Chinese restaurant. I still think of it as the best Hot and Sour Soup I've ever tasted. Since then, I haven't found any of the soup that even compared to what I ate in Louisville.
Being disappointed, I set out to look for a good recipe. As most of my friends know, not only do I crochet, but I like to cook as well. In fact, I may have as many cookbooks as I do crochet books. Even though I still love sitting down to look at a cookbook, I'm a huge Pinterest fan too. I probably have as many recipe boards as I do crochet boards. I looked at many Hot and Sour Soup recipes, trying to find one that had the most authentic ingredients. I also looked at several recipes on YouTube. As usual, I didn't find any one recipe, but took ingredients from several different recipes and I'm happy with the results. I hope you enjoy it and if you try it, let me know!

Note: please read the entire recipe before purchasing your ingredients, because I give tips that are important. I've done all the research for you, which took me days or weeks of searching, to come up with what I think is the best soup.

Mary Jane's Authentic Hot and Sour Soup

Authentic Hot and Sour Soup  (Mary Janes recipe)


2 cups pork loin or chicken, cut into small pieces (I prefer pork with the soup, but it's great with no meat at all!)
8 oz pkg shiitake mushrooms, sliced
Note: You can buy the fresh at Kroger -or- the dried shiitake mushrooms at an Asian grocery store. I have used both, but the last time I used the dried, they were tough to chew, so I probably didn't let them soak long enough. An advantage of the dried is that they will keep forever and the bag is enough for 3 big pots of the soup. I really like the fresh better, I think.
8 oz pkg white button mushrooms, sliced
8 cups chicken broth or stock
1- 2 cans water chestnuts, sliced and then cut ¼ - ⅓ " wide
1 - pkg dried Lily Buds (from the Asian grocery store or online) This is what they look like.
1 cup wood ear mushrooms, dried, also called black fungus (Asian grocery store or online) This is what they look like. You can buy them whole but I buy them already slicked.
1 can sliced bamboo shoots, cut into matchstick size
⅔ - ¾ cup grated or julienned carrots
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated (or ¼ - ½ tsp powdered ginger)
1 bunch green onions, chopped (used as a topping in each bowl right before serving)
1-2 tsps fresh garlic, chopped  (or you could use ½ tsp garlic powder)
1-2 cups firm tofu, cut into small squares
3 eggs + 1 egg yoke, whisked into a small bowl
which is Ground Fresh Chili Paste (you can find the small jar, with a gold label, at most grocery stores in the Asian section for about $2)
Chinese black vinegar, rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Chinese Shaohsing Wine (or more)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or more) I bought gluten free at the Asian grocery store
¼ - ½ tsp ground white pepper, added at end
1-2 tablespoons Toasted sesame oil (this is the most important ingredient to me and it has to say "toasted" on the front, or it won't be good. I use more than 2 tablespoons, but that's what gives it an authentic taste.
1 tsp sugar
Cornstarch or Arrowroot flour for thickening at the end

*Where to buy the Ingredients*
You can find most of these ingredients at your local grocery store, such as Kroger or Wal-Mart, but you'll need to buy the dried wood ear mushrooms and Lily buds, Shaohsing wine and black vinegar at an Asian grocery store or online. (The lily buds and wood ear mushrooms cost only about $2- $4 at an Asian grocery store, but cost more if you buy them online). Click on the links so you can see what each ingredient looks like if you're not familiar with it. I've read that the authentic Hot and Sour soup calls for the Chinese black vinegar, so that's why I bought it, but some people aren't crazy about the taste. If you just want to use Rice Vinegar or Rice Wine Vinegar and not buy the black vinegar, I think that would be fine. You wouldn't use it much anyway and this is the only Chinese recipe I have that calls for it.  Not all the recipes I found call for the black vinegar.

Give yourself plenty of time to cut up the ingredients, either the day before or 2-3 hours ahead of time. You'll need to marinate the meat for a little while and soak the dried Wood Ear mushrooms and Lily buds. After the Lily buds and wood ear mushrooms have been soaked, you will want to cut them up in smaller pieces because they are really long! If you wait to cut up ingredients as you go, you will get way too stressed. Once everything is cut up, the rest is easy and takes only about 30 minutes to get done.

Soak the Lily buds and wood ear mushrooms in water for at least an hour, saving the liquid when finished soaking, to add to the cornstarch for thickening later.

Cut up the meat first and place in bowl for marinating. You need to marinate the meat 30 minute - 2 hours. You can actually skip the marinating. I didn't marinate last time and it was fine.

Marinate Liquid: (these measurements are not listed above)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp Shaohsing wine
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
Whisk ingredients together and stir into the bowl with meat.

Cut up the following ingredients and place in separate small bowls. You can put the chestnuts and shoots in the same bowl. Slice shiitake and button mushrooms. Cut up carrots, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, green onions, tofu and set aside. If you want to, you can put all the liquids in one bowl, then put them in the pot when it's time, at once. I like to measure the liquids ahead of time, just to make it easy to pour everything into the pot, which makes it quick and easy.

*Note: read below before you start of how I add everything.  If you want to just add all the ingredients at once, without sauteing the meat and vegetables, that is just fine. It's a little quicker and still tastes great.

Hot and Sour Soup

After meat has marinated, saute it in a large pot with 2-3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil until partially cooked. Set meat aside to add to soup later. Add vegetables (carrots, ginger, garlic, mushrooms) to pan, adding more oil if needed. Stir fry for a few minutes, then add bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Add chicken broth and other ingredients (except green onions, white pepper, sesame oil and eggs) to the pot. Then add the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cooking wine, and Sambal Oelek (chili paste). Now add the tofu. I add it toward the end so it won't get torn apart while stirring and simmering.

Taste to see if you need more vinegar for sourness, and more chili paste if it's not hot enough. If it needs more soy sauce (for saltiness), you can add a little more of that or you might choose to add a little more chicken broth (or instant with water, like I do).  I keep a container of instant chicken bouillon in case I need more chicken broth for this and other dishes. Let it simmer for a few more minutes. Next, add the white pepper. The recipes I read said the white pepper gives it that authentic taste, but it is also part of what makes the soup hot, so just add a little at a time, tasting it. I like the soup hot, but you may not like it as hot as I do. If there's someone in your family, especially kids, who don't like hot foods, you can always add less Sambal Oelek (chili paste) and white pepper, but add more of those things to your own bowl of soup if you'd like. This is what I do if it's not hot enough or sour enough (adding more vinegar and chili paste).
If you want your soup to have a little thickness to it make a slurry of 3 tablespoons cornstarch + 1-2 tablespoons cold water or mushroom liquid that you saved. Stir into soup and simmer a few minutes til it thickens.
Now, the last thing you need to do is add the eggs. If you've made Egg Drop Soup, you would add the eggs in the same way. If not, drizzle slowly (around the top), wait about 10 seconds, then stir the soup around gently through the liquid with a knife or fork.
**If you're interested, my Loaded Egg Drop Soup recipe is here.

If the soup tastes like you want it to, serve up in bowls and add green onions to top. I usually put the Sambal Oelek (chili paste) and white pepper on the table for those who like it extra hot. Sometimes I go to a Chinese restaurant ahead of time, and buy some of the crispy noodles to serve with the soup.

A cool thing to do is have a Chinese dinner and serve the soup in Chinese bowls and spoons you can buy at the Asian grocery store. The name of the one I go to in Dayton, Ohio is  called Far East Center at 116 Woodman Dr in Airway Plaza, next to the China Garden Buffet.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Please contact me if you have any questions!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Classic Hamburger Stroganoff with Rice

This is one of my favorite meals. I got the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens classic cookbook & have been fixing this since the 1970's. Of course most people have it with noodles, like the recipe calls for but I put it over rice, since I'm wheat intolerant.  Also, my husband was Celiac.

Classic Hamburger Stroganoff

Hamburger Stroganoff

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons flour or gluten free flour (I leave the flour off completely)
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced (I use more garlic)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 8 oz container fresh mushrooms, sliced or 1 can (8 oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained (the more mushrooms, the better!)
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup dairy sour cream (or more)
Hot cooked rice or cooked noodles
Fresh parsley

In a large skillet, cook and stir ground beef and onion in butter until onion is tender. Stir in flour, salt, garlic or garlic salt, pepper and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Stir in soup; simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream; heat through. Serve over noodles. Sprinkle with snipped parsley.

4 to 6 servings.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Important Info on Errors in Pattern Books and Magazines

As a designer and author, the thrill of having a book released cannot be described in words, especially when people love it and the book is getting 5 star reviews. But one of the worst things we experience is finding out about an error in a pattern. The only consolation we have is that now we have the Internet so anyone in the world can look up the pattern on the author/designer's website, blog or on Ravelry.

I want you all to understand how the errors can happen and how it can't always be helped. No matter how perfect you think your manuscript is when sending it off to the publishder to be seen by the tech editor, something is going to end up being changed. I want everyone to know that as professional designers, we have every single project tested by a pattern tester, and when they report back to us that they made the project with no problems or if they have pointed out something they didn't understand and it has been corrected by us, the designer, we feel 100% confident there are no errors.
But at the same time, I have to face reality. Even though I know my patterns have been tested and cleared for errors, worded the way I know can be understood and know the tech editor will probably condense the pattern, some for the sake of making more room in the book, it still makes me very nervous. When the process happens, you just have to trust the tech editor and trust the publisher for hiring the best tech editors in the business. That's the only way I can sleep at night!

Knowing all this and having told you what the process is, there are bound to be mistakes because of human error. The patterns not only go through me, the editor, and the tech editor, but it goes through proof readers as well. Sometimes when the tech editor is correcting any math (grading the sizes), condensing the pattern, or rearranging the wording, things get left off or rearranged because of copying and pasting. Then the patterns are all sent back to us as the designer to check for any errors the tech editor may have made. Seems simple enough, right?
But it's not that simple. I try to read every single word of the patterns again to check for errors, but it is humanly impossible to catch every single error or thing that was changed. Actually, the only way I could be sure to catch any errors would be to start the project over, and make it again myself, or have a pattern tester make it again! There's no time to do this, because of deadlines, just hoping and praying we have caught everything. 

When the book is released and as people are making patterns, you may get comments about things that are minor, such as a comma missing, a stitch count missing, or occasionally the number of sts that weren't added for a larger size, but when someone finds a major error that would cause someone to give up on the pattern, or that could give the designer a bad reputation, this is devestating! I'm thankful that most publishers now include a stitch pattern diagram making it easier to understand, and as happy as it makes me that inexperienced crocheters are trying the patterns, sometimes they just don't understand because of inexperience. I try to be patient and help them understand when they contact me.

But like I said, thank goodness for the Internet and my blog! Thanks for allowing me to explain this because readers automatically think the errors are the fault of the designer and that's not always the case. We are meticulous about writing our patterns correctly and hiring pattern testers. I'm not saying we don't make mistakes. As humans we all do.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Purse Lover's Scarf

Purse Lover's Scarf by
Marry Jane Hall
I don't think I've met many women or girls who aren't crazy about purses. Call them whatever you want - purse, bag, tote, carry-all, hand bag, market bag, fanny pack, back pack, clutch purse or pocketbook, as my father in law used to say. There are 1,000's of different designs out there for all kinds of bags and new ones cropping up everyday. One thing for sure is that I don't think purses will ever go out of style. How would we carry all our personal items? Purses are just as much for style or a fashion statement as they are as a necessity.

Since purses are so popular with females of all ages, I had the idea to showcase some small applique purses to apply to a scarf. The true purse collector really loves this scarf! You could add the appliques to many other projects as well.

The appliques are not difficult to mak

The scarf itself is a nice crochet stitch pattern used a # 4, medium worsted weight yarn, accented with a # 3 cotton thread. I've always loved to mix and match yarns, which makes a project interesting. I used an even smaller crochet thread for the purse appliques. If you've never made a crochet thread project, please don't let this scare you! I went over 40 years of my life without ever attempting to make something out of thread. But with my special Opti light, it's so much easier than I thought to see the small stitches. If you have trouble seeing your stitches, then one of these lights can be life changing and well worth the investment. I think my floor lamp was around $100 a few years ago, and places like JoAnn Fabrics have sales on them once in a while.

If you are interested in this pattern, it is in my book, Positively Crochet, still available on Amazon and other online stores.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Big Mac Casserole

Delicious Big Mac Casserole

I looked at several different recipes on Pinterest for this casserole. One I saw didn't have biscuits on top. So if you're trying to eat low carb, that's good, but since I was making it for growing boys, I wasn't worried about the biscuits. They absolutely loved it and are already asking me to make it again sometime. I took ingredients from 2 different recipes, so thought I'd better write it down in case I can't remember next time which ingredients I used tonight.

Big Mac Casserole

Big Mac Casserole
serves 6

Note: Before you start anything, make the special sauce (recipe below) because you'll need to put 1-2 Tbsp of it in the meat mixture.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Meat Mixture
1½-2 lbs lean ground beef
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp or mild)
½-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp dried onion flakes (Or fresh chopped sweet onion)
1 tsp dried garlic 
1Tbsp of the Special sauce below
See other ingredients below. I listed them in sections.

Cook the ground beef & drain the grease. Add dried onion, dried garlic, ½ cup cheddar cheese, 1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce & 1 Tbsp of the Special sauce. Save the other 1½ cups of cheddar cheese & the mozzarella to put on top of the meat mixture after its in the casserole dish.

Other ingredients not in the meat or the sauce
Sliced hamburger dill pickles (to go under the biscuits before it is cooked)
1 can biscuits (I bought the flaky biscuits at Aldi, about the size of Grands. I bought flaky in case I needed to take some apart to put on all the top of the casserole. I ended up doing that, because there weren't enough to go over the entire top.
 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Shredded lettuce
Chopped sweet Vidalia onion

Special Sauce
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
1 tsp mustard
2 tsps sweet pickle relish
1 tsp  Worcestershire sauce

Mix up the sauce & add 1 tablespoon to the meat mixture, reserving the rest to put on top of the lettuce after the casserole is done.

After cooking the ground beef and adding ingredients stated above (minus 1½ cheddar cheese and mozzarella), put the beef mixture in a casserole dish that is larger than 9"x9", but maybe not as large as a  9"x13". I used a Corning ware oval white casserole dish. If you don't have a dish smaller than a 13x9, then go ahead and use that one. The meat mixture and cheese will just be more spread out. If you use only 1 lb of ground beef and have less people than 6 to feed, go ahead and use a 9"x9" pan.
After you have put the meat mixture in the casserole dish, put the rest of the cheese (1½ cup cheddar and mozzarella) on top of that  and spread out. 
Place sliced dill pickles all over top of the cheese. Now put biscuits all over the top of the pickles, pulling some of the biscuits apart to make sure all the pickles are covered. 
Place sesame seeds on top of biscuits.

Cook at 350º for 20-25 minutes. The biscuits weren't quite done after 20 minutes, so I cooked it longer. If you need to cook it longer than 25 minutes to make sure the center biscuits aren't gummy inside, make sure the top doesn't get too brown. I actually think I had the oven  at 360º instead of 350.

When ready to serve, place some chopped lettuce and chopped sweet onion on a plate. Drizzle some special sauce on top of that. Then with a big spatula, put some of the casserole on top of the lettuce. 
We also drizzled special sauce over the top of the biscuit. 
This is so good!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

What Is Considered Copying A Design? A Conversation

Dolce and Gabbana crochet design shown in In Style magazine

I've known Natalia of Outstanding Crochet for a few years and I was her mentor (at her request) to help her get published. She has gorgeous designs and someone you wouldn't think needed a mentor. By all means, she did not need a mentor but just someone to help guide her in the process of getting a pattern published. I gave her contacts and info on getting published. Not long after that, she sent a design to the Crochet A Day Calender and not only was her design accepted, but she won the grand prize of $1,000 as the overall best design that year! I wasn't surprised. Then she had a skirt design accepted for a new Vintage Crochet magazine. Of course she was excited they choose her design but afterwards she said she'd never submit again because she put way too much work into that skirt (with thread) to be paid such a little amount.  That's another conversation on whether it is worth it or not. One reason is that it helps you get known quicker, but that subject is for another blog post.

Natalia (Natasha on Facebook) of Outstanding Crochet  is from the Ukraine, but is currently living in Pennsylvania (USA) with her husband and son. We have learned from each other so I consider her to be my mentor too! She's one of the sweetest, most talented designers I know.
She and I were talking about a crochet dress and jacket that a major fashion designer (Dolce and Gabbana) showed on the runway. I sent her the picture of it from my latest issue of "In Style" magazine and commented on how they are showing more and more crochet in magazines. (like the 60's and 70's). That particular magazine had 3 separate pages of crochet items. She told me another crochet designer she knows said they copied her design, which started this conversation. Here's what I told her.

Mary Jane:
When I was in a 4 hour class at Chain Link years ago with a lawyer, (Ms Brown) one of the things they said is that you can't copyright a stitch pattern, but you can copyright a garment or anything else made with that stitch pattern. (Like the stitches in stitch pattern books, for example the shell st, bobble st, or triple crochet st). In 2006, I searched everywhere for months for a crochet houndstooth stitch pattern. I looked all over the internet and every crochet book I could find. I have over 600 crochet books and magazines (many vintage) and a houndstooth stitch could not be found anywhere. I did find one called that in a vintage book, but it was not the same and did not look like the knitted houndstooth stitch. I even asked older known crochet designers in their 70's and 80's and they said that stitch did not exist. So I worked really hard and came up with the crochet Houndstooth stitch. Then I made a barrel bag with it that was published in a Crochet Today! Magazine. I also designed a scarf with the stitch for my book, Crochet That Fits. I'd never seen it before. After that I started seeing designers designing projects with it everywhere. It would have been nice for me to get credit, but I've never seen or heard anyone mention my name. Even though that bothered me a little, I remember from that class with the lawyer we can't copyright a stitch or stitch pattern. If that major runway designer who's design was in the magazine just used the granny square she came up with, it's ok even though it might bother her. But if they made a whole outfit or garment with the unique granny squares, that looks exactly like hers, that's illegal. Was it the granny square they copied or was the outfit identical?

Yes, it looked the same.
So, if you design a garment and a stitch for it, it’s copyrighted. If another designer use this stitch, but make a different garment, it’s legal?

Mary Jane:
Yes, if I understand you correctly.
For example, if you created the very first ever shell stitch, star stitch, popcorn stitch or any other stitch and you design a garment with it, you're garment design is copyrighted. But not the stitch. Just the way you put the garment together (your written patten).
But anyone else can use one of those stitches to make a different garment and that's ok and their garment is copyrighted too. Is this what you understood me to say?
That's why you can buy those stitch pattern books, because anyone can do what they want to with them, no matter who came up with the stitches.

Yes, that's what I meant. Thank you!

Mary Jane:
Something else we learned is that you can look at a design and love the way it's shaped or put together and if you come up with a totally different stitch, you can call it yours. People don't have a copyright on a shape either. An example would be your doily bag that I loved and wanted to do something similar. (The one you tested and stitched up for the book when I thought I wasn't going to meet my deadline).
Every stitch is different bc it's a different doily, and I didn't put those ties with the balls on the ends (which I love!) I did put one rose on the front of mine and a couple of leaves but I made up my own pattern for those. Your purse has several roses (different sizes) and several leaves. Some people may look at mine and say I copied yours, and yes, I copied the idea (because I loved it) but every stitch is different. Usually if I get an idea from another design I do it so you can't tell it inspired me and they're so different. I don't want people to think I copied, but I know what's legal.

When I did my first ever designs (Leisure Arts books with Kooler Designs), I wanted to make a crochet scarf that I had seen in knit at Old Navy. That was back in November, 2004. I had already made it and wanted to include it in one of those books. The editor contacted their lawyer about it and they said it was perfectly legal because every stitch was different. (crochet instead of knit). I even did it in the same colors! It looks exactly like the knit version, but I would never do that again, even though I copied the idea and not the stitches. I was inexperienced, but the publisher and lawyer was ok with it.

I've had people copy one of my designs before and it looked identical. They even used the exact same stitch, but changed the number of stitches on a row and thought they could call it theirs. Now that's not right!
Another girl made several of my Little Black dresses in different colors and sold them on etsy as her own design. That infuriated me. I tried contacting her several times but she never wrote back. I asked her if she would state in her listing my name as the designer, but she never did and she kept ignoring me. The only thing she did different is that she did the dresses in different colors (not black) and she put a strip of an edging (bought at a fabric store) across the front of the high waist. You can't do a design in a different color and call it your own. You'd be surprised at how many people do that and think it's ok.

Mary Jane's Halls dress design in Crochet That Fits, that an etsy seller was selling as her own design, without mentioning my name

This is that dress I was talking about (Little Black Dress design with my Graduated Stitch Method of doing shaped crochet garments without increases or decreases). Now that method is copyrighted as my ideas that I created it, but it doesn't mean other people can't use the method to come up with other things, but this dress is my exact design. I even came up with new stitches, such as the half triple crochet and half double treble crochet to work as a "bridge" between the dc and tr, just like the hdc is a bridge between the sc and dc. Even though I came up with those sts (it made sense to me), those stitches aren't copyrighted, but it would be nice if people gave me credit, just like with the Houndstooth check st. Back when I was doing that book, I contracted Margaret Hubert who's been writing crochet and knit books since 1979 and Rita Weis, (a publisher and designer in her 80's), and they both said they'd never seen those stitches anywhere or even heard of them. But of course, anyone can use those stitches.

Yes, that’s disturbing! I am not surprised though, it happens a lot. In cases like that one should never contact another person directly. If she responded, you could have later used it in a law case against her. So when you see things like that, you should send cease or desist letter.
On  the other hand, when you are successful, people will copy you. It’s a part of it, and you should be like an elephant, moving forward, not paying attention to small dogs, barking at you. It’s all very energy consuming, so let them be. It’s my Moto, not an advice 🤣😉.

Mary Jane:
That is good advice Natalia. (Elephant and barking dogs) It used to bother me, but not as much now. Remember that lady on Instagram who had your design and I told you about it? I found some of my designs she posted too (without my name) and I didn't even say anything to her. She couldn't really add my name as the designer because she had several designs on 1 page. Or several designs in one post that you scroll to see them. But one thing is that she has a top of mine from the newest book with the WHOLE written pattern posted too! (a picture of the pattern pages).
I did find out  when one lady from a crochet blog did an interview with me on a Podcast, the publisher allowed her to post that as a free pattern, so I'm sure that's where the lady on Instagram got it.
On the cease and desist letter, I've never done that yet, but other designers have talked about it. My publisher has done things like that and I bet the person who copied takes it more seriously when a publisher gets involved. In the past sometimes I reported it and sometimes I didn't.

Well, when I see a picture of my design, I usually do nothing if it has my watermark. When I see my picture without a watermark, or with some charts they think that match my pattern, I don’t engaged with the person, but I report the post and they take it down. In a case like this she didn’t have a right to post the pattern of course. I would just report it to Instagram.

Mary Jane:
(Note to Readers) I told another designer last year about Natalia telling me I should add a watermark and that designer said she doesn't do watermarks because people are going to copy anyway, even with a watermark.
But now, after talking to Natalia again and being more active on Instagram, I've decided I am going to start putting my watermark (logo) so people still know it's my design if they decide to post my pictures without my name as the designer.

For more information on what is involved in copying a pattern, go to this website. They have much more info.

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, but sharing what I know about copyright laws concerning crochet patterns. If you need to know more, please get advice from someone who is certified.