Oh ... Really?

Stitchin’ and Bitchin’

I have already learned, and the point is really being rammed home right now (different topic that I cannot write about yet) that there is nothing human or humane about business. It is cold, calculating and mindful only of the bottom-line. Smart businesses keep in mind that the pretense of caring about the little person enhances their image, while dumbasses run rough-shod all over everyone. Case in point - Sew Fast, Sew Easy of New York. It is mind blowing how awful they are behaving in their attacks on peaceful knitting communities. Now they are getting all indignant and stuff, childish even, when the knitters respond defensively. Imagine ...

Sew Fast, Sew Easy is a sewing supply shop in NYC. They also have sewing classes and social get-togethers. They claim that in 1997, the called their get-togethers "Stitch and Bitch" and that they were the first to use this phrase. They then opened an online forum with the name "Stitch and Bitch Cafe" in 2002. Never mind that there is ample evidence of that phrase being used decades ago ... my own grandmother spoke of having Stitch and Bitch gatherings when she was a young woman, and that would have been in the 1930s or so.

In 2003, Debbie Stoller published a book called "Stitch and Bitch" ... the book appealed to a younger, hipper generation of knitters, and also encouraged the formation of social groups, Stitch and Bitch gatherings. There are many such groups all around the world. Many of these groups use Yahoo Groups as a communication center for their members, to plan and schedule meetings and other activities. Some have opened Cafe Press stores to sell t-shirts and other items with their local group logo on them, the proceeds of which support group activities and purchase supplies for charity knitting. All should be good, right?

Noooo ... Sew Fast, Sew Easy got their panties all in a wad and decided that no one can use the Stitch and Bitch phrase. They sent cease and desist letters to Yahoo and Cafe Press demanding that the groups and shops remove the SnB phrase. Yahoo and Cafe Press don't have a dog in the fight other than they don't want to be part of a lawsuit, so they take the stance that they do not judge the merits of the claim, they just pass along the demand, and if it is not obeyed, they delete the group or shop in question. This is what has happened to a couple dozen SnB groups and shops in the last couple of weeks.

Obviously, the people involved with these groups got quite upset. They went to the SFSE forums and demanded answers. Some were more vitriolic than others, but they all shared one thing in common ... all those posts got deleted. Mine did ... but I have a screen shot of the original. I guess they take us for complete dumbasses.

Today, however, they have crossed the line. Greg Garvin, their marketing manager and director (whom one would think would have a clue about this kind of thing) posted a letter in response to all of this. The letter is here, but if it disappears (likely on orders of their attorneys) you can see a screen shot of it here, Part 1, and Part 2. Go ahead and read it all. Isn't that something special? I am amazed.

(UPDATE: They have removed the letter from their site, see the screen shots posted)
(Oops! They took down the HTML document, but the Flash file is still there!)

At this point, the question of who "owns" the phrase Stitch and Bitch has become moot. In my lay-person estimation, the letter that Garvin published is slander and defamation against Debbie Stoller. It also appears that Mr Garvin does not have a good grasp of how pattern book publishing works. He could also use a good spell-checker or editor.

More on this can be found at The Girl from Auntie. There is a protest/boycott site also, Free to Stitch, Free to Bitch, that has updates and a discussion forum as well.

This will be interesting to watch ...


More thoughts ...
From Deety: A Rant: Bitchiness Reaches New Heights

Posted by LissaKay on 01/29/06 at 05:26 PM in Knitting
• (1) Comments Pop UpPermalink
Such controversy in the world of knitting and crocheting.

I checke U.S. Patents and Trademarks office.

It appears Stoller owns the trademark to "Stitch 'N Bitch" and the bad guys own the trademark to "Stitch And Bitch" as well as "Stitch & Bitch Cafe" A fine line, I suppose but I hope the guy's lawyer straightened him out.

Now, about those vicious attaches.

Posted by bornavol on 01/31 at 06:18 PM
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