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.

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