Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cold Sheep 2016 – September progress

I got kittens in September and they were far too cute (and far too interested) to get much knitting done during the month. That said, I did manage to churn out a 4-ply handspun sweater which used up 1,220 yards of yarn.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/rock-the-lobster

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/rock-the-lobster

I also worked on a new hat design which used up 161 yards of Wollmeise and co-ordinates to Diamond Wristers

 

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/diamond-hat-2

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/diamond-hat-2

I haven’t tried the kittens out with my spinning wheel yet, I already had to switch from DPNs to magic loop for the hat because they found it so fascinating.

Total monthly yarn out: 1,381 yards
Total monthly yarn in: 0 yards

Net monthly yarn decrease: 1,381 yards

Monthly fibre stash reduction: 0g.


Total yarn out year-to-date: 18,036 yards
Total yarn in year-to-date: 14,884 yards

Net yarn decrease year-to-date: 3,152 yards

Fibre stash reduction year-to-date: 3,437g.

2014 – a review of the year – knitting

2014 has been another busy year on the knitting front. I have completed 42 projects using 23,456 yards of yarn (a very pleasing number). Some favourites include an Octopus Embrace sweater for me

IMG023 Octopus

and a mini one for my nephew

SONY DSCI’ve made three baby deathflake sweaters

IMG371 PicMonkey deathflake Collageall for other people, and the colourwork didn’t stop there. 2014 seemed to be a year of colourwork and steeking including Venezia at the beginning of the year

SONY DSCall the way through to its colour-twin Grellow in October

SONY DSC(it’s supposed to be that baggy, I plan on using it as a coat).There were also a couple of lightweight cardigans in the mix: Morning Breeze

SONY DSCand Water & StoneSONY DSCThere was also the usual mix of hats, cowls, mittens and baby clothes for new arrivals. I started spinning this year (that will get its own post) and had to start working with handspun. My early efforts became hats:

IMG035 Wurm and rainbowBrocade hat & cowland as I improved and began working on a spinning wheel instead of a spindle there were more matching pieces: hat

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and mittens.

SONY DSCLace pieces were only to be found in newly designed patterns such as Pentire Point.

Pentire - triangle shapeThere was also a lot of hexagons knit for a beekeeper blanket, but that is still an ongoing project that will run over into next year…

If it seems too good to be true…

…then it probably is.

A chance encounter online with someone claiming to be a customer of a yarn subscription service (that hasn’t even started running yet) when they were clearly linked to the ‘company’ involved (the shared e-mail address was the first clue) reminded me that it’s all too easy to get caught up in the pretty as a fibre artist. Remember to engage your critical thinking skills and do your research before handing over your hard-earned (or not so hard-earned) money.

If the only information you can find out about a ‘business’ is a facebook page that’s been active for about a week and asks for your paypal details with little to no information about what you’re going to get, then take a step back and have a think about it.

My facebook page for Doggrell Designs is linked to my personal profile (look, I’m a real person that actually exists, though my personal page is pretty locked down to only friends). My number of likes is modest (as I have been busy full-time studenting instead of designing and promoting myself), so you can be pretty sure I haven’t bought them as a way of seeming legitimate and/or popular. It’s also linked to my actual website where you can find out a bit more to decide for yourself whether I really exist or may disappear in a puff of your money (including my ravelry profile where I’ve been a member for over 6 years (which would be a long con).

Do the most basic of checks – run a google search for the business name, for any contact details or names listed. There’s no reason why you have to be the first to jump on a bandwagon (there is a not insignificant risk to doing so). Also check to see if there are any real names used, it can be good to put a face to a name, but failing that just a name is a start.

Remember that paypal only offers limited protection. Depending on what you sign up to, paypal may not be able to help you more than 45 days after you hand over your money (and details, which in the case of a yarn subscription includes your name and address), and even if they do find a dispute in your favour that money may take a long time coming back to you (and I should know as I’m currently going through the courts to reclaim money due to me from a company that fully checked out and is still trading).

Yarn and fibre is what many of us our passionate about, and we want to trust people who appear to have similar tastes to us, but if it involves handing over money and/or personal details, be aware of the risks and take that little extra time to do your homework.

 

Copyright and crafting

Copyright is a big issue in the crafting community (and if you don’t think it is then you should). For designers it is the main way that they can protect the intellectual property contained in their written patterns and in the images that they use to promote their work (whether these are provided free or for a fee, copyright applies regardless of a price).

As a resident of the UK all of my work (the words of the patterns and the images of them, my webpages, etc) are covered by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (you can see a copy here: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/copy/c-about.htm). This grants the copyright holder rights noted in the Act within the UK such as (under section 16(1)):

the exclusive right to do the following acts in the United Kingdom

(a) to copy the work (see section 17);

(b) to issue copies of the work to the public (see section 18);

(ba) to rent or lend the work to the public (see section 18A);

(c) to perform, show or play the work in public (see section 19);

(d) to communicate the work to the public (see section 20);

(e) to make an adaptation of the work or do any of the above in relation to an adaptation (see section 21);

and those acts are referred to in this Part as the “acts restricted by the copyright”.

As the UK is a contracting party of the Berne Convention I am also covered in other countries up to the limit of their law. So for example in the US I get the following cover under Title 17 (available here http://www.copyright.gov/title17/) section 106:

the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;

(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and

(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

Yay for the law, it protects my intellectual property and the income I generate from it. Of course there are exceptions to these exclusive rights, but they are pretty limited such as the making of temporary copies (s.28A CDPA 1988) or for the purposes of private study (s.29(1c) CPDA 1988) or for research purposes for non-commercial use (s.29(1) CDPA 1988).

For anyone in the UK you can find a list of the permitted exceptions to copyright protection in plain English rather than legalese at the Intellectual Property Office website http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/copy/c-other/c-exception.htm

For those in the US the US Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov) has a guide to the basics of copyright in this handy dandy pdf http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

I am the copyright holder of a number of knitting patterns (free and paid) as well as thousands of images hosted on my own websites as well as on third party sites such as Flickr, ravelry, Etsy, Twitter, Facebook, etc., as well as the author of numerous blog posts, tweets and the like. I have the rights granted to me by UK law (under CDPA 1988) and worldwide under the Berne Convention over all of these copyrighted items unless I explicitly grant them to a third party. This means that I, as the copyright holder, get to choose where copies of my photographs (for example) are posted. If I don’t want them on Pinterest (and I don’t) then I can add a code to my websites disallowing pinning (and I have). If I find copyright violations on a website I can apply to have that content removed (and I do), often under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act since a lot of websites are based in the US where this legislation applies.

As a copyright holder it is important to read the terms of use of a site before uploading content there, or enabling the uploading of content, to ensure I am not inadvertently giving away any rights (though in reality rights have to be explicitly given through licenses and the like). This is why I have deliberately disabled Pinterest from pinning any of my images and have deliberately not added the code for Pinning to any of my webpage – I don’t like what is in their terms of use. Unlike Google who use small, low-res images, Pinterest saves large, high-res images on their servers, and I don’t really want to have to spend my time filing copyright notices against them for violations (though I do have alerts set up by http://www.pinalerts.com to notify me of new offences). So, I don’t upload my own images to Pinterest, have attempted to disallow others from taking them from my websites, and don’t add the Pin It button to my pages. Pinterest consider the Pin It button to be permission to post content from a page per their response to a Wall Street Journal article in 2012

Many publishers have also added “Pin It” buttons to their site, making it easier to identify content that is okay to add to Pinterest.

When a website I use recently added Pin It buttons (as well as links to share on Twitter and Facebook) to certain pages on which my copyrighted photos were displayed I was naturally concerned – I don’t want my images on Pinterest and only gave a limited license for use of these images on that specific website. With no opt out available for the button I was forced to remove all of my images and re-upload them via Flickr (who have an option to turn off the ability to share images). When the Pin It button on that page is now hit, none of my pictures are available for sharing, my copyright is protected. The Twitter link does not include an image, just a link to the page and the Facebook link gives the option to use no image and only includes a very small thumbnail which I am not concerned about as it is in line with Google’s image use.

Small business owners need to be savvy as to how they use social media. I recently capitulated and set up a Facebook page for Doggrell Designs as it was just too big an audience to be missing out on (like it here if you want: Doggrell Designs). But they also need to remember to check the terms of the sites they are using and make sure they agree to them before they participate, and keep an eye out for any changes to those terms as time goes by. Social media is a tool to be used by the business, but you need to keep control (and laws such as CDPA 1988 allow you to).

I’m personally choosing to move more parts of my business back to my own website where I can maintain maximum control. My free knitting patterns are now only available from my website, and I will shortly be adding some Google ads to that page to help generate a little revenue to pay for the running of the site. I am also looking into ways of delivering my paid-for electronic patterns direct from my website too.

It’s not just as a copyright holder that I am affected by copyright laws, though. As a commission knitter they are part of my day-to-day work. As the Intellectual Property Office notes, in the UK knitting patterns can be covered by more than just the copyright on the words. They can also be covered by design rights and the IPO recommends checking before selling knitted items made from patterns if you are in the UK (see the IPO’s faqs on other people’s copyrighted works). This is why the only finished objects I sell are made from my own designs (I’ll be posting some cowls up to Etsy soon). People who undertake me on a commission basis are paying for my services as a knitter rather than for the finished object, which is why my prices are calculated on a time spent basis and vary depending on the complexity of the work.

 

 

Long time, no post

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Oops, it’s been a while since I updated this blog and also a while since I published a pattern. I started an Open University degree in October and with the arrival of my nephew in August it’s all been a bit busy over the last 12 months or so.

I do currently have a new design that’s in testing (spolier above), if anyone wants to test it out the details can be found here: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-testing-pool/2530311/1-25.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain why I no longer participate in the ravelry in-store LYS program. This is a scheme whereby customers in participating stores can buy patterns available as ravelry downloads without using paypal and can have their pattern printed off there and then or emailed and/or stored in their ravelry library if they are a member.

In the last couple of weeks I have seen a number of incidences of LYSes not respecting designer copyright (for example by making additional copies beyond the customer copy, making copies from books, or printing and distributing free patterns) or the terms of the agreement (for example by selling to people not physically in the store). In all cases it has been the LYS that has been reporting this behaviour as if it were normal and acceptable and little or nothing has been said to the contrary.
Add on top of that the debacle of Trendsetter Yarns out and out stealing a designer’s pattern (read more here http://wingspans.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/wingspan-and-trendsetter-yarns.html) which had apparently been distributed by LYSes, again without designer permission and in violation of their copyright, and I’m afraid that I have lost confidence in LYSes to honour and protect my copyright.
As such I have therefore taken the decision to no longer grant stores access to my patterns. Some may claim this is cutting off my nose to spite my face, but I believe in protecting my copyright and without being able to visit each LYS to see their practices, or without the large order numbers to justify the substantial LYS cut, it isn’t worth it to me. All patterns will continue to be available on ravelry (no log-in is required to purchase) and if it means losing out on in-store purchases from non-ravelry members then so be it. I am but a little fish in a very large sea so unlikely to be noticed anyway.

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.

Knitting is serious business

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My first proper day of no longer working (yesterday was a lot of running around), and it was up late and a good few hours spent working on a new shawlette design. A couple of hours of searching through stitch dictionaries, then swatching and charting (with more swatching thrown in for good measure).
I’m hoping to create and publish a new pattern each month (some free, some for sale) and this will be the first for August.

Knit Nation 2010

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I went along to Knit Nation at Imperial College yesterday. I had found out about the event too late in the day to take time off work and book classes, so just went along for the shopping and Ravelry party.
There was a good range of vendors in the marketplace which was somewhat dominated by Wollmeise and I took the opportunity to grab a few skeins (it is notoriously hard to get hold of but I only got 8 skeins of sock and one of lace).
I also bumped into Velvet (finally), it’s rather odd meeting people off the interweb.
The Ravelry party was in the evening and I managed to catch up with Jess and Casey beforehand to hand over some goodies that I had promised them (beer) and have a quick chat (they are too sweet).
The party was good fun, but I had to leave before the raffle to get my train back to Bristol.
I was very inspired to take my new-found time to properly get into designing and some dyeing, so expect this website to go through a few incarnations. Click the photo for a link to my album of the day.