Tag Archives: knitting

CraftMagazineShop – not just a phoenix but a zombie company?

Readers by now should be familiar with the ongoing Kerrie Allman debacle.

First Magknits, then Hipknits. The first major publishing company Kerrie setup as KAL Media Ltd was liquidated in June 2011 with debts of £201,000. This was phoenixed into All Craft Media (ACM) which was forced into administration in May 2012 with debts of over £175,000.

More history can be read about here, here, and here.

So, getting back to the setting up of the company Handmade Living Magazine Limited by Kerrie’s father Richard Rycroft. On 25th July 2012 a name change was registered with Companies House changing it to Craft Magazine Limited.

You’ll remember that The Craft Magazine Shop was the company who bought the following titles:

  • Sew Hip (now known as Simply Sewing)
  • Handmade Fashion
  • Modern Quilting
  • Simply Beautiful

and who are additionally publishing

  • Handmade Wedding
  • Quilting Collection (a “bookazine”)

and the owner was named as “Derek Barnes”. The company who sold the titles to Derek Barnes advised that titles had not been sold to Kerrie or any of her family. A prominent blogger (PomPom) has been contacted with information that Derek Barnes is not only a relative of Kerrie Allman, but is also deceased.

It was already known that Kerrie’s mother (Shirley Rycroft) and sister (Jenna Rycroft) were working for Craft Magazine Shop. Kerrie herself had been commissioning articles, photographs, and offering people jobs with the new publisher. In addition, the editor of the magazines, a Jenna Smith-Clarke, has been identified (from the photograph in the magazines) as Kerrie’s cousin Nikki Bladon.

So, if you are considering engaging with Craft Magazine Shop in any capacity (printer, advertiser, contributor, subscriber) please familiarise yourself with the previous operations of Kerrie Allman and her family, because she is involved with these publications even if she has hidden behind family members.

US Olympic Committee apologises to knitters *Updated*

Following on from the release yesterday of a letter in which the US Olympic Committee stated that the Ravelympics

tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.

 

the USOC have issued the following statement:

“Thanks to all of you who have posted, tweeted, emailed and called regarding the letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics.

Like you, we are extremely passionate about what we do. And, as  you may know, the United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit entity, and our Olympic team receives no government funding. We are totally dependent on our sponsors, who pay for the right to associate with the Olympic Movement, as well as our generous donors to bring Team USA to the Games.

The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter that explained why we need to protect our trademarks in legal terms. Rest assured, as an organization that has many passionate knitters, we never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.

We apologize for any insult and appreciate your support. We embrace hand-crafted American goods as we currently have the Annin Flagmakers of New Jersey stitching a custom-made American flag to accompany our team to the Olympic Games in London. To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games.”

Although they make the classic error of assuming all fibre crafters are knitters (the ravelympics is multi-disciplinary), and American, I have to applaud them for their apology, though it remains to be seen whether they will continue to pursue their claim against “ravelympics” and individual’s projects.

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UPDATE

The US Olympic Committee has issued the following update to their earlier statement:

As a follow-up to our previous statement on this subject, we would again like to apologize to the members of the Ravelry community. While we stand by our obligation to protect the marks and terms associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States, we sincerely regret the use of insensitive terms in relation to the actions of a group that was clearly not intending to denigrate or disrespect the Olympic Movement. We hope you’ll accept this apology and continue to support the Olympic Games.

US Olympic Committee target fibre crafters

For the past three Olympic iterations (2008 – Summer, 2010 – Winter, 2012 – Summer) members of the knitting and crochet website Ravelry have got together to celebrate the Olympics and challenge themselves along with the athletes in a variety of fibre craft events, tied together as the Ravelympics.

Here’s a blog post about the original Ravelympics in 2008 and this year the events include:

  • afghan marathon afghans, blankets
  • baby dressage baby items: anything baby
  • bag-n-tote backstroke bags, totes, containers
  • balance beads beaded items
  • cable steeplechase cables of all kinds
  • cast-on trap shoot cast on mania
  • charity rowing items for charity
  • colourwork crosscountry colourwork, fair-isle
  • cowl jump cowls, infinity scarves; things for neck joined in loop
  • double-knit boxing double knit technique
  • felted freestyle all things made then felted
  • frogging trampoline frogging projects
  • hand-dye high dive hand dyeing of yarn or fiber
  • handspun heptathlon spinning event: fleece/fiber to spun yarn
  • hat dash hats, all things head wear 
  • holiday hurdles gift knitting for 2012; holiday themed items
  • home stuff hammerthrow home accessories
  • lace longjump laceweight or finer yarns (For thread, Size 10 thread or finer); and lace patterns
  • mitten medley mittens, gloves, any hand/arm covers
  • modular relay modular techniques; creating modular bits /items to use later
  • rhythmic machinastics machine knitters event
  • scarf hockey all things scarves
  • shawl sailing shawls, wraps, stoles, ponchos
  • single skein sprint one skein projects
  • sock put socks
  • swatching coxswain making proper 4×4 swatches
  • sweater triathlon all sweaters, vest, cardigans, pullovers, shrugs, boleros
  • synchronized stash busting using only stash that’s 1+yrs old
  • toy toss toys, amigurumi
  • weaving vault weavers event
  • wips wrestling wips only

Members compete by choosing an event, starting a project page for it (including the special tags), and cast on to compete. The event starts during the opening ceremonies and projects must be completed by the closing ceremony. Many members compete in Teams, supporting each other and urging each other on in their chosen events.

It’s all a nice, friendly, community event which runs parallel to the official Olympic Games and demonstrates the three values of excellence, friendship, and respect which are the core of Olympism.

Following on from the official 2012 Olympic project of Woolsack being sidelined, the US Olympic Committee have written to Ravelry making the following demands:

  • Changing the name of the event
  • Removal of Olympic symbols in patterns, projects, photos, etc

The reasons given for these demands were:

We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.

and

The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on Ravelry.com’s website are not licensed and therefore unauthorized.  The USOC respectfully asks that all such patterns and projects be removed from your site.

See the full letter here (requires log in).

Note that this isn’t the IOC or the London Olympic Games Organising Committee making these demands, but rather the US Olympic Committee, whose mission statement is

To support U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes in achieving sustained competitive excellence and to preserve the Olympic Ideals, thereby inspiring all Americans.

Clearly an event that has inspired thousands of individuals of many nationalities to compete against each other in line with the values of Olympism, and has brought many people back to the Olympics and generated support for their athletes, should be stopped, and all trace of it removed.

Let the USOC know how you feel:

http://twitter.com/USOlympic

http://www.facebook.com/#/USOlympicTeam?ref=ts

http://www.teamusa.org/Footer/Contact-Us.aspx

Ravelry are seeking legal advice as to the demands made by the USOC, but already many people have stated that they will no longer be supporting the Olympics or the US athletes as a result of the USOC’s actions.

 

Kerrie Allman – further news

Following on from the liquidation of All Craft Media and the sale of the ACM publications to Taylor Made Publishing the remaining titles:

  • Sew Hip
  • Handmade Fashion
  • Modern Quilting
  • Simply Beautiful

have been sold to Derek Barnes of The Craft Magazine Shop with queries about the titles to be sent to info@craftmagazineshop.co.uk

As can be seen from the blurb about “The Team”:

Some of the team are brand new to publishing, others worked for the company who used to own these magazines and most of us are called Jen! You will be able to see all our staff profiles and pics here on our shop blog when we all start work in the office next week.

 

These include Kerrie’s sister Jen (Jenn/Jenna) Rycroft and her mother Shirley Rycroft. Reports have already been coming in from companies and individuals who had advertised with the magazines when they were owned by ACM are being contacted and told that they have to continue their adverts (this is not true as their contracts were with the now defunct company), or offering them full-page ads for £100 (a loss-making figure). Subscribers who had finished their subscriptions prior to the fall of ACM have also been contacted (though they gave no permission for their details to be passed on to anyone else).

No-one can find anything about Derek Barnes and his connection to the Rycroft/Allmans but it is looking like back to the practices at KAL and ACM that sent them into liquidation owing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

 

 

Kerrie Allman – break up of an empire

All Craft Media Ltd (the company owned by Kerrie Allman with her husband as sole director) has been in administration for just over two weeks (read more about the history here).

There have been a lot of rumours about who the administrator was going to sell the existing titles to, with fears that it would be another shell company with Kerrie at the helm and another family member roped in as a director. Initially it was reported that this was the case, with titles being sold to Handmade Living Magazine Ltd. However, reports began to come out that the titles had, in fact, been sold to Taylor Made Publishing. This is a company that has no known connection to Kerrie Allman or members of her family (other than through distribution of titles), and is an existing publishing company.

Today a statement was made by Tim Harris (a director at TMP) and posted on Ravelry (you will need a login to read) confirming the purchase of all existing publications from ACM and that Taylor Made Publishing would be taking over the following titles (and fulfilling subscriptions for these titles):

  • Inside Crochet – taking over from issue 31
  • Yarnwise (formerly known as Knit Magazine and Yarn Forward) – taking over from issue 50
  • Handmade Living – taking over from issue 14

Zoe Clements has been announced as the editor of Yarnwise and Charlotte Brett has been announced as the editor of Handmade Living. The editor of Inside Crochet will be announced shortly. Both Zoe and Charlotte have a history with the respective magazines, Zoe was the editor of Yarnwise under its initial incarnation of Yarn Forward and Charlotte Brett was the editor of Handmade Living.

The remaining titles previously owned by ACM will be sold on. These are:

  • Sew Hip
  • Modern Quilting
  • Handmade Fashion
  • Simply Beautiful

Today has also seen the offices being opened for designers to retrieve samples held by ACM. Any queries about the administration of ACM (including claims and outstanding debts) should be directed to FRP Advisory.

Kerrie Allman – A Brief History of Slime

My twitter feed has been full of references to Kerrie Allman, KAL and ACM so I thought it was time for an explanation of what it’s all about. Apologies but many links point towards Ravelry which requires a login (logins are free).

Kerrie Allman (nee Rycroft) has long been known in the knitting community, and for all of that time has been dogged with “issues”, mostly of non-payment and non-delivery. Starting with:

Magknits

Magknits was an online knitting magazine started in 2004 but first “published” in August 2005. In 2008 concerns started to be aired on Ravelry by designers who had not been paid, not had pattern submissions acknowledged (it was common for designers to become aware of their pattern’s selection by seeing it appear online), and not been able to raise a response from Kerrie at the listed contact details.

In April 2008 the magazine was taken offline without warning.

Hipknits

Hipknits sells handpainted yarn to knitters and crocheters and was acquired by Kerrie Allman in August 2005 as a going concern.

It did not take long for complaints about the company to start rolling in (first on Yahoo groups, then on Ravelry). Complaints centred around yarn not being received (in some cases yarn was supposedly sent 3 times but never arrived), the quality of the yarn (silk turned out to be rayon, and the brand quickly became known as “Hipknots”), and lack of communication from Kerrie.

Kerrie also set up a yarn club in 2008 (where you pay in advance and get sent yarn at regular intervals along with patterns for the yarn). After the first shipment went out fine there were then more complaints about non-delivery and lack of communication.

In 2008 the business was handed over to her father, Richard Rycroft (remember the name, it will be coming up later).

KAL Media Limited

Following on from the “success” of Magknits, Kerrie Allman incorporated KAL Media Ltd with Louise Butt in August 2008. Louise resigned as a director in October 2009 and since then the sole director was Kerrie Allman.

KAL Media launched a number of craft magazines as well as publishing Yarn Forward (which had been running since October 2006). There were complaints from subscribers about late or non-delivery of their magazines and of lack of communication from the company.

These magazines ran yarn clubs of their own. Knit Magazine (previously sold as Yarn Forward until it was discovered that this name was already trademarked in the UK by a Canadian company) had sock yarn and lace yarn clubs, and Inside Crochet had an amigurumi club. These will all have their own sections as things start to get a bit murky with timings.

Complaints also started to be noted online about designers not being paid for their submissions, not having their samples returned, having to chase for their copies of the magazines.

On 17th June 2011 the company resolved to liquidate due to County Court Judgements against them. The initial accounts submitted to the liquidator showed a deficit of £201,000 (the printers who were unpaid are no longer trading). The liquidators are still finalising their report, so if you have a claim against KAL Media, address it to Harrison.Smith@carterclark.co.uk

All Craft Media Limited

All Craft Media Ltd was incorporated on 3rd May 2011. 100% of the shares are owned by Kerrie Allman, but the sole director is Wayne Allman (Kerrie’s husband). The goodwill in KAL was sold to ACM for £3,000 (hence Kerrie Allman not being a director of ACM, being a director of the company that sells and buys the assets looks very dodgy) and included use of the titles currently in production. The change in name was announced as an administrative exercise, no comment was made about the previous company entering liquidation, and it was considered that it was business as usual (meaning Kerrie Allman was still in charge, this time as a shadow director).

ACM’s full list of publications:

Knit Magazine (Formerly Yarn Forward, to be re-named Yarnwise from Issue 50)
Sew Hip
Handmade Living
Inside Crochet
Simply Beautiful
Modern Quilting
Handmade Fashion

A factoring company was brought in to chase unpaid advertising invoices and a charge was registered against ACM with Companies House over all of the assets of ACM on 23rd May 2011.

It did not take long for the complaints from designers about not receiving payment, not having samples returned, not being able to contact anyone, to start rolling in. This was not limited to the knitting and crochet magazines, but also the new sewing titles. ACM managed to amass 4 CCJs against them by November 2011.

Designs commissioned by KAL were now being published by ACM, and being sold on to other companies, but the designers did not receive their money (or notification of the resale). There were instances of advertising payments being chased for ads that were not placed (advertising at ACM was dealt with by Shirley Rycroft, Kerrie Allman’s mother).

In April 2012 the editor of Sew Hip resigned due to unpaid invoices (the tech editor was also awaiting payments).

The printers of Knit Magazine issue 49 and Inside Crochet issue 30 (and other ACM titles) confirmed that they had not released the distributor copies on 3rd May 2012. These titles were due in the shops 30th April 2012 and to the subscribers prior to that. Although the printers did not confirm, non-payment is the most likely reason for this. Subscribers had been emailed with links to online versions of Knit and Inside Crochet, but the links soon stopped working after it was pointed out that anyone could access them. Subscribers were then told to contact Unique Magazines regarding their subscriptions, but Unique Magazines very quickly confirmed that they were not handling subscriptions for ACM having been unable to agree terms.

On 4th May 2012 (one year and one day after incorporation), All Craft Media Ltd went into administration with all staff being made unemployed. The administrator is FRP Advisory (http://www.frpadvisory.com/).

Handmade Living Magazine Limited

Handmade Living Magazine Ltd was incorporated on 30th April 2012. The sole director is listed as being Richard Rycroft (Kerrie Allman’s father).

Knit Magazine Sock Club

Early 2011 Knit Magazine launched a sock club for its readers. The cost was £96 and the club was to consist of 6 skeins of indie-dyed yarn, delivered every two months with the first delivery scheduled for April 2011. The number of members was limited to 100 and it was advised that the club was over-subscribed with a waiting list. Patterns were to be provided with the yarn (and were due to be specially commissioned to work with the yarn) as well as surprise treats. The patterns were all due to be published as a special booklet once the club ended.

Deliveries were made as follow:

May 2011 – Skein Queen Entwist – 100g – fingering/4ply – 100% Merino – 366m/100g
July 2011 – Yarn Yard Crannog – 150g lace/2ply – 100% Merino – 500m/100g
August/September 2011 – HipKnits Organic Merino 4 ply – 100g – 100% Organic Merino – 338m/100g
November 2011 – Wollmeise 100% Merino Surperwash – 150g – fingering/4ply – 100% Merino – 350m/100g
January/February 2012 – Sparkleduck Jenny – 150g – 75% Superwash Wool 25% Nylon – 260m/100g
March 2012 – Rico Superba Poems – 100g – fingering/4ply – 75% Superwash wool 25% Polymide – 420m/100g

There were a number of complaints from the sock club members. These were regarding the late delivery of shipments, the quality of the final yarn (it is a cheap commercial yarn, not an indie dyed yarn), the fact that the patterns didn’t match the yarns. They had also been told that the fifth shipment was to be a specific dyer who confirmed that he had no order of yarn from Kerrie. Complaints were dismissed with comments that the club members should be happy they got anything as their contracts were with the liquidated KAL and not ACM, however many members have records indicating that their payments went to ACM and not KAL.

At time of writing the booklet of all of the patterns has not been received. It was reportedly due from the printers at the beginning of April 2012. Christmas presents of mini-skeins were also not received by any of the club members. It is not known whether a claim has been made to Royal Mail for these missing parcels.

Knit Magazine Lace Club

The Knit Magazine lace club cost £70.50 and was due to contain 4 skeins of lace yarn, each with a dedicated pattern. Membership of the lace club was confirmed as being only 25 people.

Deliveries made to date:

50g Hipknits
50g Malabrigo
100g Filigran

The final shipment was announced as being Wollmeise (a very sought after yarn), however the dyer was never paid, so sold on the stock she had originally put aside for the club (after no response to communications) and returned a payment that was supposed to be for the yarn but was made by someone unknown to her.

A replacement was made of Sparkleduck and Colourmart yarn (which was due to be overdyed by someone in Hertfordshire). Both Sparkleduck and Colourmart have confirmed that the yarns were received by the ACM office. Kerrie Allman stated that packages were sent on 11th April 2012 but none have been received and no supporting evidence for their postage has been provided.

Inside Crochet Amigurumi Club

This club was announced in April/May 2011 at a cost of £80 for 6 kits designed by Irene Strange. It was advertised that it would be possible to purchase additional kits and the kits were to be packaged in re-usable packaging and would contain extra goodies each shipment. Each kit would contain all supplies necessary to complete the item.

Complaints from the club members included late delivery, no ability to purchase additional kits, kits being incomplete, the packaging wasn’t re-usable (except for the first kit), missing printed copies of patterns, missing extra goodies. Kits 5 and 6 are currently outstanding.

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This is just a brief summary of the “business” dealings of Kerrie Allman, she has also been involved with missing blankets (where she has volunteered to sew together squares knitted/crocheted by others into blankets for good causes – blankets and squares have vanished) and is currently reported to be shortly off on a jaunt to NY (as her former employees come to terms with their unemployment). If you come across her in any professional capacity, well you can make your own mind up but be aware that she has a history of late or no payment, phoenixing companies using family members, radio silence, and running companies into the ground. In addition to not paying contributors there are rumours that PAYE and NI obligations of employees have also not been met.

Day 1 of new life of leisure/semi-retirement

Yesterday didn’t count as I was running around re-stocking the freezer, cleaning the house and driving up to Heathrow and back so today counts as the first day of my semi-retirement.
Got up late (but before midday – I really needed to catch up after a weekend of running around at Knit Nation and Bristol Harbour fest) and started work on a new knitting design. I am going to try and create and publish a new design each month as part of my taking-knitting-seriously thing. Some of the patterns will be free, some will try and earn me a bit of money for toys.
A good couple of hours looking through stitch dictionaries and some maths in my head. After a bit of swatching I took myself off to get some squared paper, charted everything out and had another swatch. I think it will all work out, I just have to find some time to actually make the whole thing in between all of my other knitting.

Frog day

I’m working on a couple of knitting projects at the moment. Both gifts. Both lace. I’m alternating working on each day by day. I got a good amount done today over about 6 hours. A real shame that I dropped a stitch just before I was going to stop for the day. An hour trying to recover it, but no dice so the whole thing (about 9 hours’ work) had to be frogged and started again.

Timing

I started messing around with one of my cowl designs yesterday, to turn it into a stole/lap blanket. It has been ripped out 3 times so far and as I was fiddling with it started to have feelings of grandeur that it could be worthy of submission to Knitty (clearly it is not, and uses a stitch motif I have previously used).

This got the old creative juices flowing and now I have the urge to properly design something and submit it for publication by someone other than me (Knitty, Knittingonthenet, etc). Alas, all of my stitch dictionaries are sealed in boxes and will shortly be going into storage for a while. The Knitty submission deadline for their Fall issue is 1 June, which is a bit tight, so I may have to aim for Spring which would give me plenty of time to get my books back, design, tinker, test knit, write up and photograph.

Or I might get distracted with something else…

Cats do the darnedest things

Cats are sulky little creatures. They also have an inbuilt attraction to lace. So when Phoebe didn’t like the fact that the kitchen floor was wet, she decided to position herself on the latest piece of lace which was being blocked on the spare bed. This made it a little tricky to take photos to go on the pattern.

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