Becoming familiar with all of the crochet publications is necessary for a designer. Therefore, I picked up the July/August 2011 Crochet Today when I saw it at the supermarket.
Going through the magazine when I got home, I had to stop dead at page 13. Maya Mackowiak Elson had designed a "Drink Bottle Tote". This struck me because for years I had been making and selling what I called "Water Bottle Slings" of my own design. It's not as fancy as Maya's version, but otherwise the same, as it has the long shoulder strap attached to a bottle cozy. I made mine exclusively out of Peaches 'n Cream worsted weight cotton as it absorbed condensation and did a great job of keeping water cold.
I looked up the pattern in my personal pattern notebook. I don't know why, perhaps for just this type of occurrence, but I date every pattern I put in there. The date on the "Water Bottle Sling" was 5/2007. I made it for one of my kids who had to go on a hiking field trip where a water bottle was required, and she was notorious for losing things. She loved it so much it went to camp with her! From there it found it's way to the barn, so she had water while trail riding.
My reasons for making it were very practical. You can refill the water bottle without removing the sling. You can push it around to your back to keep it out of the way. The circumference of various water bottles does not vary much, so an 8 oz bottle fit as well as a 20 oz one.
I had been toying with the idea of sending this pattern in to the Pattern-A-Day calendar people, or perhaps posting it as a free pattern. It wasn't a very big seller at craft fairs in Vermont - I think I sold maybe a dozen of them in 3 years. Yet I don't want to start a reputation as a copycat designer, either.
It did serve as a wake up call. If you have a good idea that serves a practical purpose, get it out there!