Archive for February, 2012

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A Shonky Business Model

28 February 2012

Back to the strange goings-on at KAL Media.

The liquidator’s report into the voluntary liquidation of the company in June last year makes very interesting reading. 

The statement from the one and only Director says that her plans for the company became ‘frustrated’ when a creditor obtained a County Court Judgement for 4,500 pounds and the company had to pay it to avoid receiving a visit from the bailiffs. 

So it would appear the company’s business model and any expansion plans are based on its reluctance/refusal to pay its creditors.

I know how she feels – my plans for the future are frustrated by having to pay bills as well.  I could travel the world for half the year if I didn’t pay my mortgage for instance.  But life just isn’t fair, is it?

ETA:  Reading the liquidator’s report more thoroughly, I think I may have misunderstood this.  I think maybe the CCJ was the catalyst to KAL going into voluntary liquidation (so they WOULDN’T have to pay it), rather than that KAL actually paid it.

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My Wife Really Loves Me . . So Should You

27 February 2012

Today in Australia, the Labor members of Parliament voted for their leader (and therefore the Prime Minister).  If you live in Australia, try as you may you couldn’t have avoided the mayhem of the last few weeks.

I watched the dramas unfold after the vote and one question immediately sprung to mind.  Why does Kevin Rudd take his wife to work?  In fact he had his daughter and son-in-law with him too.  And it isn’t as though Therese has nothing to do all day – she has an international business of her own to run. Julia Gillard doesn’t feel the need to drag Tim with her everywhere, clutching him by the hand.  He just comes out of the Lodge for official functions where partners are included. 

Can you imagine Winston Churchill holding Clementine to his bosom as he walked through the corridors of Westminster?  Or Harold Wilson and Mary?  But Tony Blair did it a bit too as does David Cameron so it must be a “thing” of the younger generation.  But ONLY among the males. 

The female leaders of the world would like to be seen as having gained power through their skills NOT because they have a good-looking bloke in tow, or beautiful children.  They don’t want us to vote for them because they’re good mothers and devoted wives.  But the men appear to want us to judge them on their “family values”.  I’ve no idea what Angela Merkel’s husband looks like – in fact I had to look at Wikipedia to see if she had one (she has – Joachim Sauer). 

So Kevin, David, Barack – leave your wives at home or doing THEIR day jobs while you get on with yours.  That’s what the rest of the work force does.   

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Save Other Knitters

25 February 2012

I have no reason to start or continue a vendetta against Kerri Allman, Hipknits. Yarn Forward or its multitude of reincarnations.  I have lost no money to any of these companies and suffered only inconvenience at their hands.  But that was 4 or 5 years ago so have deliberately ensured that I don’t cross their paths again. Unfortunately there would appear to be loads of knitters out there who didn’t read the warnings or chose to ignore them. 

Ravelry is full of threads discussing the ‘shortcomings’, for want of a better word, of this organisation.  And it always saddens me to read the stories unfolding because they’re identical to ones I’ve read before. 

The discussion generally starts with someone saying how they’d placed an order for yarn perhaps and 6 months later, after assurances that the order had been sent, often more than once (as the first despatch had ‘disappeared’ somewhere in the Post Office) and then complete silence from one of these companies, no yarn had yet arrived.  Or the poster has sold a pattern to one of the magazines and, despite many assurances of the cheque being in the post, no money had been received.  And because of the long lead-time in publishing, the designer has often already submitted more designs and is therefore concerned that she won’t be paid for any of them. 

The poster asks if anyone else is having problems.  And the floodgates open.  Stories from all over the world of lost packages and unanswered correspondence or phone calls.  Because the buyers have believed the assurances often over many months (18 months was the longest I heard of), they’re too late to make claims on Paypal if that was their method of payment. 

This all eventually gets to the ears of Kerrie who pops up with apologies and excuses. She’s moved offices (many times), her staff have left (she probably holds the record for the largest staff turnover in the UK), her server has been down (but this hasn’t stopped her from posting on her personal blog).  If the complaints are in a Ravelry group that she moderates, she deletes them.  Then she starts to complain that she’s being persecuted.  And eventually, certainly in the current case, she claims to be receiving death threats.  Now even I would say that those sorts of threats are a tad over the top – IF THEY’RE TRUE.  But I remember stories of death threats a couple of years ago and the cynic in me thinks perhaps this is just a ploy to garner sympathy – and to a certain extent it works with some of her gullible groupies.   

I’ve now been able to read the liquidator’s report into her company, KAL Media, which went into voluntary liquidation in June 2011.  She’s currently trading through another company, All Craft Media, whose sole Director is Kerrie’s husband.  At the end of January 2010, KAL had liabilities of 126,000 pounds, about 6 times the size of its assets.  By the time of liquidation, the company’s losses stood at 201,000, even after inflating the assets by 15,200 for ‘goodwill’ (particularly laughed at that one – what goodwill?  And if there’s so much goodwill in her company’s name, why does she keep changing the name of the knitting magazine.  It’s about to have another name change).

These figures would lead me to believe that the company was trading while insolvent – ie its liabilities exceeded its assets and it was entering into contracts with suppliers and designers in the full knowledge that there were no funds to pay them.  This is illegal and I believe removes the ‘cloak’ of limited liability from the directors.  I do hope someone takes this up with Companies House in the UK.

If you’re a member of Ravelry and would like to access all the threads that have been started about this woman since Ravelry started, you can go here.  There’s a list at the top of the page.  And if you’re owed money, however little, DO submit a claim to the liquidator.  You’re unlikely to get any money back but this will show the full extent of the debts and, anyway, why make things easy for this company?  If you haven’t got the claim form, feel free to leave me a message and I’ll send it to you.  Similarly, if you’d like to read the liquidator’s report, I’ll happily email it to you.  If you’re a member of the current sock club and aren’t getting what you were promised, and you’re in the UK, go to the local Trading Standards Office.  And tell them that you’re aware of many complaints being lodged with them around the country. 

And if you have a blog, write about this.  Please let’s make sure that we never read another Ravelry thread starting:  “Does anyone know anything about Knit Magazine?  I had a design published in their ? issue and haven’t yet been paid”

 

 

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Hipknits/Magknits/YarnForward/Knit Magazine – It’s All The Same Mess.

24 February 2012

It started with Hipknits and Magknits, long before the days of Ravelry.  The way knitters around the world communicated in those days was mainly through Yahoo groups, and these were full of stories of the problems dealing with Kerrie Allman and any venture she started.  The “lost in the post” stories, the “my email hasn’t been working” explanations, the “why is everyone picking on me when I’m just trying to do my best” excuses.

Then along came Yarn Forward Magazine and in a very short space of time, all the complaints started again. Non-delivery of subscription copies, non-payment of designers.  And all the same excuses were handed out, if you could get any sort of communication from the company at all.

Then Yarn Forward Magazine changed its name to Knit.  And we went through the same cycle.

The company that owned Knit, was KAL Media (owned by Kerrie) which has now gone into liquidation.  Knit is now owned by All Craft Media (owned by Kerrie’s husband).  Knit Magazine started a Sock Club and the usual happened – a lot of very unhappy customers filling Ravelry with their stories. But KAL is in liquidation and ACM doesn’t appear to be honouring the debts.

And still it goes on.  It would appear that the new company isn’t paying its designers either.

So a word of warning – don’t sell designs to Knit Magazine; you may as well just give them away.

And PLEASE don’t buy the magazine.  You’re just encouraging her.

There’s a wonderful blog about all this here.

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Reverting To Knitting . . . No. 2

23 February 2012

And another piece of knitting off the needles, blocked and photographed.

I bought this yarn which is 100% silk in 2009 from my friend Ailsa, who has a wonderful hand-dyeing company called Knitabulous.  It was the first purchase I made from her and I’ve been looking at it ever since.

So I eventually made a shawl by increasing stocking stitch until I was fed up with it, then doing feather and fan until I ran out of yarn.  I tried my best to improve on the colour in the photograph, which should be a much more beautiful green than that – Sorry Ailsa, I didn’t do your fantastic yarn justice.  But I love it.

Ailsa Shawl 3

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Reverting to Knitting

21 February 2012

I think it’s about time to get away from the problems of the world (problems like electric kettles and who pays for bridesmaids’ dresses) and revert to KNITTING.

I’m still working on my Easter Show sweater, which I can’t show you until after the Show starts (unlikely any judges read my blog but you can’t be too careful!). 

But I’ve finished a couple of fairly mindless knits and even photographed them (badly, of course).

The first is a baby shrug for a little girl.  Pretty much made it up as I went along but it seems to have worked. 

 Baby Pompom Shrug

 

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The Westminster System . . As Not Practised in Canberra.

19 February 2012

Australia may have the Westminster parliamentary system but there’s a mjaor difference in one respect.  And if Australia would just adopt the procedure, as in Westminster, we’d all have more interesting programmes to watch on television and the media would have nothing to write about.

In the UK, the leader of a political party is chosen by the MEMBERS of that party – ALL the members, not just the parliamentary ones.  So to elect a new leader, an election has to be called, time given for nominations to be received, literature sent out to thousands of members all over the country, and then the election held.  When Gordon Brown resigned, I think it took about 4 months.

In Australia, someone challenges a leader in the middle of the afternoon, the parliamentary party meets the next morning.  Et voila, there is a new leader by lunchtime.

The Liberal Party is on its third leader since the Rudd election in 2007.  And we all know what happened to Rudd – challenged in the evening, out by morning coffee break. 

And now there are loads of rumours of a challenge to Julia Gillard.  The media love it; the general public is pretty sick of it.  The media stirs it up, in a slack news week, the opposition parties plants a seed of a rumour, a secret meeting etc, and everything else takes a back seat while we’re all wondering who is going to be leading the country tomorrow.  I have no way of knowing whether the current rumours are just that, or are based on any hard evidence or insider knowledge.   

But I really wish we could concentrate on something else.