AI and Crochet

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Artificial intelligence and the ordinary crocheter.  Does it help?  What are the pitfalls? And how do we keep from being tricked and duped when all we really want to do is crochet.

Graphic of robot arm with the words Breaking News AI Technology and Crochet, what you need to know.

I’ve written to my newsletter subscribers a few times about AI in the crochet realm and every time my inbox gets flooded with emails.  The messages are a combination of appreciation for the information, concern about where this is headed and a desire for more information.

You specifically wanted this information in a more public place so you could share it.  And you also wanted to know better ways to identify AI generated crochet photos and patterns. You want to avoid the frustration and waste of time, energy and money crocheting things that will never look like an AI generated photo.

This post serves to answer all of that and I will do my best to revise and keep it up to date as things evolve.

We will start out talking about how AI has changed the search engines we rely on so much, how to sift through the fake from the truth and then how to best find crochet information and patterns in this new world.

Then we’ll move on to the whole realm of AI crochet images.  How to spot AI photos and what to look for to avoid auto-generated patterns that don’t match the image.

Let’s dive in.

Woman in yellow sweater and jeans crocheting with yellow yarn

The Discerning Crocheter

Do you ever feel tired of being vigilant? 

I feel like we’ve always had to be somewhat vigilant.  Like when you drive on a country road at dusk, you need to be extra careful not to hit a deer. Or how you need to be mindful of your surroundings when you’re in an unfamiliar area.

But in our modern era, I feel like we have to be vigilant on a whole new level and frankly.. it’s exhausting.

I have to be careful in my haste that I don’t get sucked into panic wording in an email and click on something detrimental.  I have to filter all the news in effort to ‘hear’ the truth.  And now AI and big, profit driven organizations, are trying to skew reality and change our trajectory, all to make a larger profit.

The reality is that the deceptive information filters into our crochet information too. Instead of a leisurely search and find crochet mission we have to pull out our detective magnifying glass and discern what’s real and what’s not.

Search Engines: Do We Trust Them Or Not?

I’m going to talk about Google today because it’s the biggest search engine out there and many of us use Google to search. 

We use Google so much, that the word “googling” has become a verb.  So many of us use Google that we don’t even remember a time when other search engines existed.

When a crochet designer, food blogger, anyone who creates content, writes a post on their blog and includes their own photos, those words and photos are automatically copyrighted to them in the United States under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which amended copyright law to establish protections on the internet.

Content creators, like crochet designers and bloggers, allow Google and other search engines to use a snippet of their content and a photo in search results along with a link to the content.  This is how search engines worked for most of their existence and it was mutually beneficial. 

Google benefits from this arrangement because it delivers the best results to its readers.  It sells advertising directly on the search page.  But Google also owns the entire ad delivery system that delivers ads that are served on blogs like mine. So they money from that too.

Side note: If this all sounds like a monopoly or something not quite right, you’re not the only one thinking this. There are several lawsuits against Google. This MSN article has a great graphic showing the ad delivery system and explains things in more detail if you want to take a peek.

Graphic of a bunch of US bills tossed in the air

Here is what recently changed and why you should be concerned and diligent.

Google wants to keep more of the advertising revenue for themselves.  First, they are using AI technology to provide you with answers when you search so you never have to leave their platform.  AI works by “reading” everything online and then telling you what it read.

They call this “training” the AI and they’ve used my site as well as most others to educate their AI.

This is essentially stealing creator’s content and providing it to the end user, without attributing it with a link.  Sometimes it is a verbatim copy and paste, other times it’s not as blatant.  But in all cases, the user never clicks over to the original content and the creator does not earn money.  Google keeps all the money for itself.

Image of real crochet pumpkins and candy corns made out of orange, green and brown yarn for pumpkins and white, orange and yellow yarn for candy corns

AI also makes things up and can’t be trusted.  For instance, as an experiment, the other day I asked AI for a crochet pumpkin pattern.  It started out with a magic ring and the first few rows were pretty legit.  But then it just told me in vague terms to increase and crochet a leaf and stem, without instructions on how to do that. 

Other times the pattern “sounds” more believable and when combined with an AI image, crocheters can be duped into buying a pattern that doesn’t really exist. 

Second, Google recently entered into a financial partnership agreement with Reddit to use Reddit’s API. This is why you are now frequently seeing Reddit results at the top of search results.

On Reddit, everyday people share their opinions and experiences with a variety of things.  Sometimes it is helpful to read reviews when you are considering a purchase, but other times it skews reality and you only “hear” popular or problematic things.

Finally, Google has been doing major algorithm updates in what appears to be an effort to provide “helpful” content and to keep spammy AI content out of the top search results.  And yes.. it is very ironic that they are both using AI and trying to keep it out of the search.

To be fair, Google’s official stance is that AI is ok. But spammy content that tries to game the system is NOT ok and not helpful content.

On the surface this seems noble, but it’s actually not.  It’s favoring large corporations over real life actual experience.  For instance, if the New York Times wanted to write a post on how to crochet a pumpkin, they would 100% rank at the top of search even if they wrote a short post with no actual instructions.

This week an excellent post by Gisele Navarro at lays this all out with evidence. As one small example.. would you expect Forbes to be an expert on the field of dogs and pets? Most of us would not. Yet Google is rewarding Forbes with top ranking spots on Google which translates to dollars in Forbes’ and Google’s pockets.

The net result of this is twofold.  First, you’re not getting best results when you Google any more.  Most people I talk to have noticed this and are super frustrated by it.  They just aren’t finding good helpful content anymore when they search on Google. 

Second, the content creators.. the recipe bloggers, the travel bloggers and the DIY and crochet bloggers.. are losing traffic.  As in.. they aren’t getting ANY, in some instances.  Some travel and food bloggers have lost so much income over this that they are shutting down their blogs altogether.

Girl with suitcase sitting by water, lookup up at the sun with the words "travel blogger" on image.

If this continues, everyone loses.  You won’t be able to go online to find new recipes or get an insider’s tips on new travel destinations.  You won’t be able to find actual product reviews where someone has objectively tested out and reviewed all the features of similar products.  

You won’t be able to find innovative DIY projects.  You won’t, because all those innovators will have left the internet.

AI Generated Images and Patterns

For crocheters our journey gets even more complicated. In addition to misleading or unhelpful information served up on Google we also have to contend with AI generated images and AI generated patterns.

The rate at which this is evolving is staggering. The AI images of 6 months ago had more flaws and were more obvious. AI images today are sometimes very hard to spot as fake.

The technology is a master manipulator. It is like it takes real life beautiful things and puts a crochet coating on it. All those things that are impossible with real crochet is easy for AI. The problem, of course, is that we aren’t able to actually crochet it. Because it is not real.

How to Find The Crochet I’m Looking For

So what can the average crocheter do about it? In a bit we’ll look at some specific images and zero in on fake elements so you can spot AI quickly. But first let’s go over my simple rules to keep crochet honest and true:

  • Don’t trust AI generated patterns or techniques that are displayed in full on Google (or anywhere, for that matter). This also goes for sites that promise to write a pattern for you. At this point in time, AI cannot accurately write a crochet pattern
  • Recognize that the Google search results have changed and proceed with caution. The result shown might financially benefit Google or the result might not be the best result you are looking for.
  • Consider going further down the search result page or looking at images to find what inspires or resonates with you.
  • Think about going directly to a website like Crochet 365 Knit Too and start your search with trusted results. My free pattern page or tutorials are a great place to start
  • Search on Ravelry, Pinterest or Etsy for crochet patterns and ideas. AI has permeated all 3 to varying degrees, but not as much as Google. Of the 3, Ravelry has the least amount of AI content, in my opinion
  • Be extra careful to discern AI images and suspected AI written patterns to avoid being duped and disappointed in your crochet results (more on this below)
  • Look at the listing details carefully. Are there multiple photos? What do the reviews say?

Now, let’s take a closer look at crochet images to figure out what is real crochet and what is not.

Crochet Photos: Real or Fake?

Artificial intelligence is learning at an incredible pace. Remember a year ago when all those fantastical life size crochet animals were making the rounds?  If you’re online at all, you might have seen them.  Many of us were dupped at first, thinking there was some amazing, overachieving crochet designer out there putting that bit of goodness out in the world.

And then we learned the truth … the images were created by AI.  And when we looked close we could tell they weren’t real.  Some of the animals had more than 4 legs.  The backgrounds looked ‘off’ and when we zoomed in close we could tell that the stitches themselves weren’t REALLY crochet.

Oh sometimes how I miss the early days of AI crochet… because it’s gotten way more complicated and convoluted.

Now we have BOTH AI crochet images and AI written crochet patterns. The goal is always money. The bad players in this crochet game lure you in with a cute crochet pattern and then dupe you out of your money.

Let me be perfectly clear: AI can not write crochet patterns accurately. And it can’t write a pattern from an image either.

In fact, about the best thing that crochet has going for it in these confusing times, is that a machine cannot crochet. Any crochet item you see in a store was made by human hands.

So how can you spot a crochet AI image like a pro? A lot of you have reached out wanting to know this very thing. So I had AI generate a lot of crochet images for us to go over together. Hopefully this will help you spot AI crochet.

AI Amigurumi Images

I think the fake amigurumi images bother me the most. I love to crochet amigurumi. And I love to look at amigurumi patterns. It stirs that creative part in my soul and makes me want to crochet.

And now.. it’s complicated. Because instead of just enjoying the talent of someone amazing, I need to first determine if the image is actually real.

Let’s look at some AI crochet amigurumi images…

Isn’t this highland cow adorable? Well.. it’s not real. I know this because I told AI to create it. Here are the telltale clues:

Graphic of AI crochet highland cow with text describing fake elements

Are you looking for a kitten to love? Look no further than this bit of nonsense. I think what gets me on this one is how at first glance, it looks so cute.. and then.. you notice the things…

Graphic of AI crochet cat with text describing fake elements

How about a cute little puppy to fit in your hand? Things go wrong quickly with this one. And really… if we think AI might heal all diseases someday, it’s going to have to get a lot better with the human hand, I think.

Graphic of AI crochet puppy with text describing fake elements

Dragons are a fun for an adventurous crocheter and often they look pretty complicated. This one, however, is entirely fake.

Graphic of AI crochet dragon with text describing fake elements

Sadly I’m kind of drawn to this little dragon even though he’s got a whole lot of anomalies too. I want to like him… but he’s not real.

Graphic of AI crochet dragon with text describing fake elements

AI Hats and Sweaters

I find the plethora of fake crochet wearables eerie and yet fascinating. It’s so interesting to me how our brains are wired to look right past all the imperfections. It is only when you take a closer look that you see all the flags of falsehoods in these computer generated images.

This one looks almost believable. I know it’s not, because I used prompts to generate it. But by looking at the details a few things emerge…

Graphic of AI crochet hat with text describing fake elements

This one is actually another option given by the same prompt at the above. It’s almost eerie, isn’t it? How real it appears. But a closer look reveals the details.

Graphic of AI crochet hat with text describing fake elements

There’s a part of me that admires the model like representation that the artificial intelligence image generators come up with. Though I never specified body type or weight, notice that every “perfect” AI image features an almost abnormally thin woman. That could be an entire commentary on it’s own…

Graphic of AI crochet sweater with text describing fake elements

Here’s another AI crochet sweater image that initially fools the eye. But then you see the errors in the fingers and suddenly… disturbing.

Graphic of AI crochet sweater with text describing fake elements

When AI figures out how to correctly do fingers and facial features we are really going to be fooled. If I wasn’t a long time crocheter, I might be be fooled by those fake crochet stitches on this next cardigan. How about you?

Graphic of AI crochet sweater with text describing fake elements

More AI Crochet Images

I wanted to check into a few other crochet design categories that I personally love to make. Just to check out my “competition” so to speak.

As a sort of all things fall and crochet pumpkin expert, I simply HAD to generate a crochet pumpkin image. Thankfully, I don’t think this will fool any real crocheters out there.

Graphic of AI crochet pumpkins with text describing fake elements

I don’t think I have much to worry about on the crochet bag front either. This one might fool a beginner, but by now you are developing the critical eye of a crochet detective and can spot all the weirdness.

Graphic of AI crochet handbag with text describing fake elements

Rounding out our collection of AI generated crochet images is this mushroom cottage. It is adorable. And also.. completely fake.

Graphic of AI crochet stuffed mushroom with text describing fake elements

There’s a part of me that wants to use this mushroom as a launching off point to design my own crochet mushroom work of art.

But then it sort of brings me full circle back to where we started.. did the technology learn about crochet mushrooms from someone else’s pattern? Is it a direct copy of something else? Or is it taking elements from other things.. such as a ceramic lawn ornament, for instance and applying ‘crochet to it’?

The reality is.. we don’t know. And so we remain.. diligent.

Tell me what you think in the comments.

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  1. Thank you so much for pointing out so many inconsistencies in these pictures.
    You are a great crocheter.
    I love your patterns.
    I appreciate your information.

  2. Thank you Cheryl, I am a decent crocheter. I have made many blankets and also a giant shark for my grandson to crawl into. And I would have been fooled by each and every one of these images until I saw what you pointed out. Thanks for keeping us on our toes. I love your blog and patterns.

    1. I haven’t found one I’m in love with yet. For now, for my personal searching, I’ve been paying more attention to the source and scrolling down the page more instead of just “going” with the first couple of results.

  3. Thank you for a thorough and well documented examples of AI lack of intelligence. I teach our computer students that AI is plagerism on steroids. I loved the mushroom house and might have bought it. You helped to save me from being fooled. Have a great day.