Welcome to day 3 of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.
Today’s topic is Knitting & Crochet Heroes.
I’m going to start with crochet as there’s only one choice for me – Queenie Amanda Perkins of Natural Dye Studio. Amanda is one of very, very few people that has made me want to pick up a crochet hook and use it for anything other than finishing off ends in hexipuffs. Amanda designs things that I’d love to make and wear – and you can see her designs here
Amanda is also my heroine as she says what she thinks. She and Phil have been through some horrible times, but they’ve kept the Natural Dye Studio going from strength to strength.
Knitting heroes is tougher, but I’m going to pick someone who I get to work with – Rachel Coopey or CoopKnits. Rachel blogs about knitting and designing here
Rachel is my knitting heroine as she comes up with amazing designs, because she delivers what she says she will when she says she will and because spending time with her generates ideas for about a million new colourways that I want to dye.
Although not strictly a knitting or crochet heroine I do have a dyeing heroine – the lovely Sarah who is Babylonglegs. The blog is here. Sarah is my dye heroine as she puts together bold, bright colours which should make you run screaming for your sunglasses, but in her hands they are totally desirable. She also spins – and I own a skein of handspun so beautiful that I don’t think I’ll ever knit it up.
Apart from a ton of talent, what my heroines have in common is the ability to keep going when it gets tough, to keep delivering what they have promised and to not let people down. I’m proud to know all three of them.
And as contrast I’d like to nominate an antiheroine. Someone who has failed to deliver as a dyer, designer and publisher.
step forward and take a bow, Kerrie Allman.
I could spend a lot of time relating the Kerrie Allman saga – but it’s been very well documented on ravelry and I have permission to share that here. The poster has asked that I don’t name her – not because it isn’t obvious who she is but because she doesn’t feel it right to be named as author of words that other people have written.
You might want to pour yourself a drink.
This is a long story.
Magknits was an online knitting magazine started we believe in 2004, by Kerrie Allman. It was not part of the KAL company.
In April 2008, a designer started a thread in the Needlework on the Net group as she was concerned that a pattern submitted by her was on the cover of Magknit’s March 2008 issue and she had not received payment for it, had no response from them to her original submission and was not advised that they were publishing it. http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/needlework-on-the-net/152434/
A number of designers then wrote about their issues with this magazine which included
Non-payment for designs published
No acknowledgement of submissions received
Failure to reply to emails.
Kerrie’s reply to some of these accusations is no longer available but from the blockquotes included in others’ replies, it would appear to be that she was having dreadful difficulty with Royal Mail, she had major problems with her server and spam filter and that because of the sheer volume of submissions received, she was unable to contact everyone.
It was of course pointed out to her that it would appear strange that emails requesting money or some form of acknowledgement were re-directed to her spam filter but that those large number of pattern submissions apparently were received without problem into her inbox.
Kerrie then closed down Magnits without warning on or about 9th April 2008. See this thread:
KAL MEDIA LIMITED
KAL Media Ltd was incorporated in August 2008 and comprised two Directors, Kerrie Allman and Louise Butt, who had previously traded as a partnership since 2006. Louise Butt resigned from KAL Media in October 2009 and has no further connection with the business.
Since 2009 therefore the company has consisted of one Director, Kerrie Allman, who held all the shares.
On 17th June 2011 the company resolved that it be voluntarily wound up and liquidators, Carter Clark of North Chingford, were appointed. In the Director’s History of the Business included in the initial report, Kerrie states that her “plans for the company became frustrated due to a County Court Judgement being entered against it for approximately £4500 with a threat of enforcement action being taken”.
“Faced with a loss-making business now under threat from creditors” a liquidator was appointed. Initial accounts presented to the liquidators show a deficiency of some £201,000, with £189,000 of unsecured creditors.
The liquidators are currently finalising their report which will be available shortly.
It is believed that the unsecured creditors’ figure will be greatly increased in the final accounts as a number of creditors were not declared to the liquidators. Many creditors were not even aware that the company had gone into liquidation until they read about it on Ravelry.
If you believe you are owed money by KAL (not All Craft Media Ltd), you can contact the liquidator at Harrison.Smith@carterclark.co.uk (Tel: 0208 524 1447).
ALL CRAFT MEDIA LIMITED
All Craft Media Ltd was incorporated on 3rd May 2011. The sole Director is Wayne Allman (Kerrie’s husband) and Companies House shows that Kerrie Allman owns 100% of the shares. ACM paid KAL £3,000 for the goodwill of the company, which included all the magazine titles.
Because of the time lag between commissioning and publishing in this industry, a number of patterns and articles published by ACM were commissioned by KAL and not paid for. A number of designers commissioned by ACM are now also complaining about non-payment and the company has already acquired 4 County Court Judgements against it.
One of the CCJ’s was obtained by a designer who submitted her work and invoice to KAL but the patterns were subsequently published by ACM, after KAL’s liquidation. She therefore re-issued the invoice and sent it to ACM. They failed to pay her so she issued a summons and obtained a County Court Judgement against ACM, which they paid with interest and costs.
If you wish to pursue a claim against ACM for non-payment, information is available on the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website at http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/your_rights/legal_s… or contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (or solicitor).
If you wish to make a consumer complaint against this company, ie for non-delivery of goods, you should contact Consumer Direct, Tel: 0845 4040506
Designers for Knit Magazine have long complained that they have problems getting paid and/or getting their samples returned to them. They also complain regularly about not automatically receiving contributor copies of the magazine.
See this thread started in March 2011 but which covers designers’ dissatisfaction with this company going back many years.
Designers for Inside Crochet have also had the same problems. In addition, a number of them have discovered that their designs have been sold onto an American crochet magazine publisher without notification or recompense. In some cases, KAL or ACM had not paid for the original designs.
See details about this in the Crochet Designers’ group at:
KNIT MAGAZINE’S SOCK CLUB
The Sock Club was launched by the magazine early in 2011 at a cost of £ 96 for 6 skeins of indie-dyed yarn to be delivered every 2 months from the end of April 2011, with a pattern. According to KAL, this was limited to 100 members and was over-subscribed, with a waiting list.
This date was before KAL went into liquidation but it would appear that some members of the club paid ACM (not KAL) via Paypal.
The deliveries made were as follows:
May – Skein Queen Entwist – 100g – fingering/4ply – 100% Merino – 366m/100g
July – Yarn Yard Crannog – 150g lace/2ply – 100% Merino – 500m/100g
Aug/Sep – HipKnits Organic Merino 4 ply – 100g – 100% Organic Merino – 338m/100g
Nov – Wollmeise 100% Merino Surperwash – 150g – fingering/4ply – 100% Merino – 350m/100g
Jan/Feb – Sparkleduck Jenny – 150g – 75% Superwash Wool 25% Nylon – 260m/100g
March – Rico Superba Poems – 100g – fingering/4ply – 75% Superwash wool 25% Polymide – 420m/100g
The patterns were NOT designed to match the yarn and were as follows:
Precious Little Diamonds 72sts 2mm
Amethyst Socks 68sts 2mm
PUUC 64sts 2.25mm
Sophie Socks 92/100/108/116sts 2mm
Brickwork Socks 60/72/84sts 2.25mm
The 5th shipment had been advertised as Easyknits and was late being sent to the members because they claim they were still awaiting delivery from the dyer and were “stalking the courier every day.” However, Easyknits confirmed that no order had been placed with them and they were totally unaware that Knit Sock Club members were waiting for their yarn. At the last minute, Sparkleduck stepped in and supplied the yarn for that installment.
The final installment was a skein of commercially dyed yarn (not an indy-dyed yarn) – Rico Poem, which retails at under £7 in the UK. The final pattern for the sock club, together with a printed booklet of all the patterns, was supposed to be sent to the sock club members by the end of March.
On 3rd April, the members were told this booklet was at the printers and would be arriving “today or tomorrow”. On 16th April, a member was told after a phone call to ACM that the PDF of the booklet would be sent out by email that day. It eventually arrived with sock club members at about 11.pm on Tuesday 17th. ACM claims that the printed version is still at the printers (after some 3-4 weeks). When it is received by members, this post will be updated.
Further, every sock club member was promised a Christmas present but none appears to have been received with ACM claiming that the entire shipment was lost in the post.
When members complained about the quality of their final shipment, the non-delivery of their Christmas presents and the late delivery of other installments, they were told that they were lucky to get anything as the sock club was set up by KAL which was now in liquidation so ACM didn’t have to honour this contract but that Kerrie Allman had personally funded the continuation of the Sock Club to the tune of £6000.
Sock club members though were NOT listed as Creditors in the accounts given to the liquidator in June 2011.
KNIT MAGAZINE’S LACE CLUB
The Lace Club was launched by the magazine at a cost of £70.50 including UK postage for 4 skeins of yarn each with a pattern.
The deliveries made were as follows:
The fourth and final shipment was to have been Wollmeise Lace to be delivered by the middle of March. ACM announced (on their Facebook page – now deleted) that they had ordered this on or before 1st November 2011. “And we ordered some Wollmeise lace yarn for our lace club members final package, now that is exciting and unexpected – we hadn’t planned to but thought everyone deserved a treat.” )
On 16th March ACM said, when requested by phone, that Wollmeise had inexplicably returned their payment.
Claudia from Wollmeise posted this here: “ Oh my god! I didn´t read all and what I understand is that many people paid for a club shipment, which should be delivered soon or now? In autumn we´ve got an order about laceweight and we said “yes”, but we only do prepaid orders for some people. In December or January we wrote if this order is still wanted, no sign no response. In January we deleted this order and I sold the collected yarn. In the beginning of March we´ve got payment from an unknown person and an unknown company for the laceweight (no comment, no explanation) and we sent money back. I´m so sorry for all of you, but it isn´t a good idea to do business with people with no moral sense (it would´nt be helpful to send her yarn and I´m not sure you´ll get it). It´s a hard wording to say “no moral sense”, because I know internet is an virtual world and very cruel, but everybody has the chance to jump in to explain what´s happened!!!!
If I´m wrong I´ll beg pardon”
Colourmart stepped in to supply the yarn (a 47% merino, 30% viscose 15% polyamide and 8% cashmere base, compared with Wollmeise’s 100% wool), which was to be dyed by an unknown (but ‘professional’) dyer in Hertfordshire. ACM also promised an additional skein of Sparkleduck yarn in the same shipment.
ACM claims that all packages were posted on 11th April 2012. The members of this club have already received the pattern which is for a cobweb yarn, and therefore not designed for either the Wollmeise nor its replacement.
At 22nd April 2012, we know of no member of the Lace Club who has received this final shipment. However, ACM is adamant that three members have contacted them direct to say they’ve received it.
This post will be updated as further information comes to light.
INSIDE CROCHET’S AMIGURUMI CLUB
This Club was launched in Issue 17 of Inside Crochet in April/May 2011 at a cost of £80 within the UK for 6 kits designed by Irene Strange.
The original advert stated: “You’ll receive 6 different parcels throughout the year, each one containing a brand-new original pattern from Irene, together with all the yarn and others bits that you need to make the project. The kits will be beautifully wrapped in re-useable packaging and will include extra goodies each month. The first parcel will be sent out at the beginning of May, then further parcels will follow every two months until March 2012. Extra kits will be available for purchase by club members each month in case you want to give one as a gift…”
The kits when they arrived were not exactly as described:
1) There was no “re-useable packaging” apart from a small tote bag with first kit, and were packaged in plastic mailers with no enclosed letter.
2) There was no option given to purchase extra kits.
3) There were no additional goodies except for a free ball of wool with the first installment which the members were told was as an apology for the delay in shipment, so was not part of the kit, and there was an extra pattern and some yarn with the third installment. The first installment was supposed to contain an extra pattern but this wasn’t the case.
4) Members did not receive “all other bits you need” – some kits came with no safety eyes, and the third installment came with an insufficient amount of yarn to complete the hedgehog kit (which required 2 shades, only 1 included).
Kit 1: Archie the Monkey.- members were advised that this kit was being sent on 16th May. They received it on or about 10th June. On 28th May, from Inside Crochet’s Facebook page: “Hi there – they were due to go out the week before last but were held up a little due to some messing about with our Royal Mail account. Hopefully they’ll be landing on doorsteps next week. Sorry for the delay!”
Kit 2: Marty the Sea Turtle.- received on time at the end of July but with no extra ‘goodies’ and no printed pattern. Ravelry post from ACM on 29th July: “I’m not going to promise printed patterns with the next kit though, unless we can get Irina to design something a lot shorter – the cost of printing 100 x 8 page patterns every month would have pushed the cost of the club up. We should have specified that they would be downloads of the pattern when we advertised the club though and I’m sorry that we didn’t.”
(Interestingly on 11th June Kerrie had said that there were 50 members of this club not 100 as stated here) (Also interestingly, the club wouldn’t appear to have been costed before launch)
Kit 3: Cinnamon the Squirrel, (plus additional Helen Hedgehog pattern and one ball of yarn). – Email from Kerrie on 29th July stated: “The next parcel is due to be sent out at the end of September and this one will include 2 kits, your usual amigurimi kit plus a bonus gift so keep your eyes peeled for that.” On 27th September, ACM stated on Ravelry: “Just to let you all know – the next instalment of the Amigurumi Club is to be sent out next week, with another fabulous, original design by Irene Strange and a fantastic little freebie!” On 17th October, when no member had received their package, ACM posted on Ravelry and their Inside Crochet Facebook page that the kits had been sent and should be with the members in the next few days.
Kit 3 was eventually received sometime between 2nd and 10th November 2011. The extra kit that was promised in Kerrie’s email of 29th July consisted of a pattern plus only ONE of the yarns required for completing it (two different colours were needed). The response to that on the IC Facebook page was that “The Hedgehog pattern was the surprise free gift this month and it was only decided at the last minute to include some yarn for it as well.” (It could not therefore be described as a ‘kit’)
Kit 4: Theodore the Bear. – Pattern received by email at the beginning of January. On 4th January, email from ACM said “We have unfortunately experienced a delay with the yarn and are still waiting for it to arrive with us, but the kits will be sent out the day after we receive it.” The members received this yarn at the beginning of March.
Kits 5 & 6: The club was due to finish in March 2012. However the 4th kit of the 6 paid for wasn’t received until March. If any members of this club know whether Kits 5 and 6 have yet been received or what their status is, please PM a Mod. here with that information.
ETA: The proceeds of this club should have gone to KAL Media as payments were made before the company went into liquidation in June 2011 and the club was started by Inside Crochet, which still belonged to KAL. However, as with the Sock Club, the members of the Amigurumi club were not listed as Creditors in the initial liquidator’s report.
And the best – or worst bit?
All of this happened after the disaster that was HipKnits.
Sad. Very sad. Just as well I have my heroines to inspire me.