Free Designs: Dragon Dreams

For those last-minute Christmas gifts and ornaments, you cannot go past the Dragonlet and Christmyth designs from Jennifer Aiken-Smith of Dragon Dreams.
12 Dragonlets of Christmas
2012 The 12 Dragonlets of Christmas

What is it?

To set the mood for a good weekend, we have Freebie Fridays; each week presenting a different designer.  All sites listed here design their own charts. These designs are copyright to the designers, please do not abuse their generosity.
19960Christmyth Dragon
1996 Christmyth Dragon

Why this designer?

Jennifer Aiken-Smith of Dragon Dreams has been generous over the years, providing many small free charts, including Christmas ornaments. Her Christmyth series included one new design annually and each was eagerly anticipated by her legion of fans. Jennifer stopped designing a few years back because people were pirating her saleable designs and abusing her generosity of free designs.  She has lately started offering the occasional free design via her Facebook page including the 2012 Dragonlets of Christmas series. Please, when sharing knowledge of a free design, link back to the designer's original page. Do not just copy and share the pattern. The designers offer these free from monetary payment; we "pay" for them by visiting the designer, seeing their other designs, commenting on their blogs and pages and showing them our stitching of their designs.  Please do not take and not give back.
Christmyth 2005 - Satyr
2005 Christmyth Satyr

Review

Jennifer's older free charts are only available via her website Dragon Dreams and her newer free charts via the Dragon Dreams Facebook page. If you are on Facebook, I really recommend liking the Dragon Dreams Facebook page as it is turning into a real little Dragon Dreams community. The older designs on the Dragon Dreams Sampler charts page are .jpg image links.  Click on the title of the design that interests you and it will open in a new tab or window as a .jpg image file.  Save this the way you would any other image. On a PC that is right-click "save as".  These older designs are quite small images, however they can be enlarged easily via tablet or when printing out. The newer designs on the Dragon Dreams Facebook page are also .jpg image files.  Scroll through the Facebook page or look through the photos until you see a design that you like. Click on that post and the image will show large on your screen, then save that image your normal way. Please note, the designs on the Dragon Dreams Facebook can only be Facebook shared. That means that if you have a Facebook account you can use the "share" button to share the links to the designs on your own timeline.  These charts are not allowed to be shared or hosted anywhere else on the web. If you want legitimate access to these charts, you must be a member of Facebook. All of Jennifer's free charts are black symbols on a white background. The floss key is included in the same page so there is only one image page per design.   The newer charts also include a colour chart. Like all similar ornament charts, you can easily swap out the DMC for hand dyed floss or add metallic floss or beads or change the background fabric; so many ways to personalise your project.
2006 Christmyth Wyvern
2006 Christmyth Wyvern

Places to Buy

Australia: Colours Down Under is a bricks and mortar store that stocks many different types of floss for you to stitch these designs. Colour Cascade Fabrics Tammy has a  wide range of hand dyed fabrics that would add a unique element to your stitching. She offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015. Europe: Casa Cenina in Spain stocks a range of floss and fabrics to stitch this design. United Kingdom: SewandSo bricks and mortar store that stocks a lot of floss for you to personalise these designs. Polstitches has some elegant Dragon floss and her own range of fabrics that could do justice to these designs. Sparklies has a  large range of hand dyed fabrics and floss that would add a such a sparkle to your project. Chromatic Alchemy has some beautiful fabrics to complement these mythic designs. United States: 123Stitch is your one stop shop for all types of floss and fabric combinations. Under the Sea Fabrics offers hand dyed fabrics that are all pieces of art for your needlework project.

Discussion

So have you stitched any Dragonlets?  Please share a link to your finishes and works in progress in the comments!

Feedback

Did you like this review? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from the reviews? Do you know of a particular chart or designer you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know. Last Updated: 19 December 2014  
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Cross Stitch Design Theft

To take part in cross stitch you need:
  • a design
  • floss
  • fabric
  • needle
  • scissors
There are rare thefts of floss or small embellishments from bricks and mortar stores, but nothing like the systematic and systemic theft of the designs.
TNNA copyright logo
TNNA copyright logo

What is Design Theft?

When you buy a design, either a paper chart or a digital download, you are paying for one copy of the chart.  Most designers allow you to make a working copy of the chart to enlarge and/or colour in. As you only bought one of the original design, you can only make one working  copy (designer permitting).  You cannot make copies for your friends. You cannot upload this design to a website or group where other people can make copies.  You have paid for only one design and there should only ever be one original and it's working copy. If, for any reason, you no longer have the original chart, you must destroy your working copy.  You cannot give away the original design and keep any copies.  Nor can you accept anything other than the original chart.

Why is this such a big deal?

Generally we choose what cross stitch project we are going to work based on the design.  We fall in love with the design and then choose fabric and floss to complement it and we pick up a needle. A lot of work goes into each design you see. Most of the designs that I have reviewed here, and those in your collection are the results of weeks of artwork design; first the idea, then the sketch, choosing floss, charting the design, deciding whether to add embellishments, then it is stitched, then amendments made and it is stitched some more and eventually, weeks later, correcting the final design, writing the instructions and sending it to the printer (or starting the process of printing and compiling it themselves). If you put weeks of effort into a project at work, you would expect to be paid. Cross Stitch Design Theft takes money away from our designers and affects their livelihoods. A mon ami Pierre, Dragon Dreams, and many others have stopped creating new designs because of Design Theft. The Gift of Stitching online magazine closed down because of Design Theft. Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams wrote about how Design Theft affected her and her family.

Is this really an issue?

Here's an infographic on the flow-on effects of one design being placed on a website for anyone to copy: Copyright - Snowball effect And to put that into perspective, here's the monthly site visits and downloads for one illegal Cross Stitch sharing website based in China: Statistics Chinese Site That's 120,000 visitors in the last six months. So you multiply the numbers in the top picture by 120,000 and you can see that this is as huge issue and that's only one site. Design Theft occurs via email, websites, Pinterest, Facebook groups, Yahoo groups, and photocopies being passed around.

Why does Design Theft happen?

It's easy.  Most people wouldn't go into a store and smuggle floss or fabric out under their coat, but running a chart through a photocopier or scanner takes a couple of minutes and can be done in private. It feels good. Whoever first makes copies of a design available can feel smug and happy that they're "helping" their community and/or beating the system. Many are competitive about how fast and how many designs they can distribute. It becomes a hobby. Design Theft usually occurs in groups, so participating in Design Theft enhances your feeling of belonging to a group. As I've shown in many of my reviews, the design is usually the cheapest part of a cross stitch project. If they can't afford the design, then how can they afford to stitch it? For many design thieves it can be more about collecting the designs than it is about stitching them.

Erm, I may have some illegal charts ...

OK, now you know what Cross Stitch Design Theft is, where it takes place, and how attractive it can seem,  you might find that you have accidentally participated.  I would suggest that you destroy all copies of cross stitch designs that you do not own.. If you are a member of any group that shares copies, I suggest you leave them. Many designers are monitoring sharing sites and tracking participants so it is in your best interest to leave any such sites or groups,

Is there anything else I can do?

You can contact the designers and let them know about any groups and where their designs are being shared. Many designers can be contacted directly through their blogs or Facebook pages or, you can email needleworkdesigners@gmail.com with the same information. Some sites, such as Pinterest, have a report button and you can report the person for the pin as Cross Stitch Design Theft. pinterest reporting Also remember to contact the designer or email needleworkdesigners@gmail.com so they can investigate. Companies often pay more attention to reports from the designer.

You haven't mentioned Copyright?

Although there are international standards, every country has their own copyright laws, and these differ, something that is illegal in the United States may not be in Australia.  Educational organisations such as libraries have slightly different copyright requirements in some countries. The legal definition for  "Fair Use" also differs from country to country. Regardless of the whys and wherefores of national and international law, we should now all understand that when we buy a design, we have paid for one of that design.  Most designers allow us to make a working copy so we have one original and one working copy. Anything other than this hurts our designers financially and harms the future of the cross stitching community as we won't have those great designs to catch our eye and make us pick up our needle.

Links for Further Reading

Discussion

What else can we do to help our designers and reduce Cross Stitch Design Theft?

Feedback

Did you like this article? Did it contain useful information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from the article? Please head over to the Suggestions page and let me know. Last Updated: 6 December 2014  
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Dragon of the Winter Moon by Dragon Dreams

For today's Throwback Thursday, I thought I would revisit another of my favourite designers, Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams. Dragon Dream - Dragon of the Winter Moon

From the Designer

When Herrschners first asked me to design this piece for their 100th Anniversary Calendar project in 1999, I leapt at the chance to create a winter dragon for the January page.  As I wrote for the designer's thoughts page "Winter here in our part of Atlantic Canada arrives before Christmas and often lingers until the first few weeks of April. January is often a cold, dark month, which inspired me to come up with a magical, sparkling design that would make such an icy kingdom more bearable".  This is the sister piece to "Dragon of the Summer Sky" which was created as the counter point, since everything in life requires balance. Regardless of which dragon or which season you prefer ... may imagination and wonder keep you company on Life's journey.

Why this chart?

Although an older chart, Dragon of the Winter Moon is a timeless fantasy design. Add a hand dyed fabric for the background and you wouldn't be able to tell when this was designed. This is an intermediate or passionate beginner level chart.  There no fractional stitches, but this design does use metallic floss, rayon floss, silk floss, back stitch and beads. Once you become familiar with these different floss types. the swathes of single colour makes this an easy design to stitch. Dragon of the Winter Moon was first available in late 1998 as part of the Herrschners 100th Anniversary Calendar. It was then released as a stand alone chart on the green/grey cardstock in 2000. A few years later all Dragon Dreams charts were moved to black on white printing.  A couple of years ago, Jennifer stopped designing cross stitch charts altogether and concentrated on her teaching and artistry. She now produces the occasional small free design and releases it through her Dragon Dreams facebook page.
Dragon of the Winter Moon
Dragon of the Winter Moon

Review

You can tell from the green/grey cardstock that my copy is one of the first printings of this design. I highly recommend passing over the green/grey charts and obtaining a new black & white paper chart instead. The older charts are printed double-sided on US-Ledger heavy grey/green cardstock, folded in half to US Letter size. The cardstock is stiff enough to stand on a display shelf and does not need a plastic bag as there are no separate pages to hold together. The newer style of chart is printed in black on a white US Letter (9" x 11") with a glossy cardstock colour front cover. Formatting aside, each option provides the same chart; your project will be the same regardless which source you stitch from. The chart symbols are more difficult to see on the grey/green cardstock.  This was used at the time to deter illegal photocopying of the chart, as the black and white copiers could not discern between the printing and background. Unfortunately for stitchers, neither can our eyes under anything but a bright light. The grey/green cardstock also has the chart printed across the fold. These symbols are not only more difficult to see, they will wear off with repeated use of the chart.

 Materials Required

To stitch the chart exactly as designed, you will need: DMC 932 - Light Antique Blue   1 skein - DMC 932 Antique Light Blue   DMC 939 - Very Dark Navy Blue   1 skein - DMC 939 - Very Dark Navy Blue   DMC 3753 Ultra Very Light Antique Blue   1 skein - DMC 3753 Ultra Very Light Antique Blue   DMC Satin S5200 - Snow White   1 skein - DMC Satin S5200 - Snow White (Formerly known as DMC Rayon 35200 - Snow White)   025 Grey   1 spool - Kreinik 4 Very Fine Braid 025 Grey   032 Pearl   1 spool - Kreinik 4 Very Fine Braid 032 Pearl   060 Midnight   1 spool - Kreinik 4 Very Fine Braid 060 Midnight   102 Vatican Gold   1 spool - Kreinik 4 Very Fine Braid 102 Vatican Gold   194 Pale Blue   1 spool - Kreinik 4 Very Fine Braid 194 Pale Blue   Waterlilies 017 - Blue Lavender   1 skein - Caron Waterlilies 017 Blue Lavender   Waterlilies 038 - Morning Mist   1 skein - Caron Waterlilies 038 Morning Mist   00161 Crystal   1 packet - Mill Hill Glass Beads - 00161 Crystal   02017 Crystal Aqua   1 packet - Mill Hill Glass Beads - 02017 Crystal Aqua   Zweigart - 28 count Colonial Blue Lugana (stitch count 190 x 90). This design can be stitched over 1 or over 2. For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3" border allowance) fabric size is: 20" x 13"  or  50x 32cm  or  a fat quarter (18 x 27"). Zweigart - cOLONIAL bLUE

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch Dragon of the Winter Moon using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage): Chart: $10.00 Floss:  $ 33.00 Fabric: $12.00 Total: $55.00   ($82.10 AUD or £54.60)

Places to Buy

This chart can be ordered from Dragon Dreams via your nearest friendly Local Needlework Store or Online Needlework Store. Australia: Colours Down Under has all the floss and beads in stock and would be happy to order in the chart. Jo offers a 10% discount on the package (chart + floss). Mention this review when ordering. Colour Cascade Fabrics stocks threads and beads and recommends Moonshadow or Riders on the Storm. For readers of this site she offers a 10% discount for this fabric. Use code PeaceOut during checkout. This code is valid for the month of October 2014. United Kingdom: Country Designs is the official UK Distributor for Dragon Dreams designs. They can also kit up this project for you. SewandSo stocks all floss and beads and some fabrics. Sparklies recommends Midnight or Moonlighting from her range of fabrics. Kate has an example of Dragon of the Winter Moon on Moonlighting in her customer gallery. United States: 123Stitch stocks all floss and beads and a range of fabrics.

Discussion

What is your favourite Dragon Dreams design?

Feedback

Did you like this review? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from the reviews? Do you know of a particular chart or designer you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know. Was this read worth a cup of coffee?