I've been following this situation for some time now, as a member of the sock club and a former designer with KNIT Magazine. There's a lot of information about it out there, but it's all scattered around the web in fragments. It's very difficult to get the full picture from just one source. So here is my attempt at collecting all the relevant information together.
If you're a non-knitter - note that many of the links below are from Ravelry, and will not be visible to non-members.
First, some acknowledgements. Alex Tinsley's post on Dull Roar was an ideal starting point for piecing together the big picture. I couldn't have put this together without the tireless efforts of the Ravelry Rubberneckers, either, nor Ruth Garcia-Alcatund (Rock and Purl) for being the first one to come forward in the blog community. Very little of this information is originally mine; I am just compiling it so others can read it all in one place.
If you think something should be added to this timeline or anything needs to be corrected, please let me know in the comments.
In researching this I found it went farther back than I ever expected. There is a long history...
August 2005 -
Kerrie Allman buys Hipknits yarns. It was originally founded by Dee of Posh Yarn, sold on to Kerrie, and is now run by Kerrie's father. (Added Mar 5 2012 - Dee weighs in)
Kerrie works on a book, Handpainted, commissioning designs and collecting samples from designers. The book was never published. Samples were not returned.
June 2007 -
Hipknits project club starts. Parcels go missing, poor communication.
April 2008 -
Reports spring up of Hipknits orders going missing. Prior to this mega-thread, Hipknits had been having post problems as early as 2006. Hipknits eBay feedback.
Around the same time, Magknits is closed, all the archived patterns being wiped. Kerrie's explanation. A new issue of the magazine had gone live only a week before.
(Magknits, for those who don't know, was a quite popular free online mag, akin to Knitty. Popular patterns that originate on Magknits include the Jaywalker Socks, Evangeline gloves, Hannah ponytail hat, and Odessa hat.)
Some Magknits designers report issues with the mag: Lack of payment and no communication (this designer didn't even know her design was accepted until she saw it on the front page!), more non-payment. A good run-down of the Hipknits/Magknits situation can be found here.
Feburary 2011 -
Yarn Forward magazine changes its name to KNIT Magazine due to a dispute with a Canadian yarn shop called Yarn Forward, who owns the UK trademark on the name.
The KNIT Mag Sock Club is announced, promising "gorgeous hand-selected yarn from our favourite indy dyers". The club sign-ups fill up and a waiting list is formed.
March 2011 -
Anniken Allis posts in the Ravelry Designers group about a magazine being late with payment. Other designers also chime in about problems with payments (not naming the mag). Kerrie responds, outing Yarn Forward as the source of non-payment.
May 2011 -
The KNIT Sock Club Ravelry group created by Kerrie.
KAL Media is liquidated and All Craft Media takes over the magazines. The director of ACM is Wayne Allman, Kerrie's husband.
Company information for KAL Media and All Craft Media.
June 30. In an email to sock club members, we are told the Feburary sock club shipment will be Easyknits. Much later, it is revealed that Easyknits was never informed of this.
October 2011 -
The 'extra' for the 3rd sock club parcel is a raffle ticket. The winners have trouble getting their prizes.
The unhappiness brewing in the sock club from lack of communication begins bleeding over to the official KNIT Ravelry group.
November 2011 -
Nov 1. An email is sent out to sock club members.
- the next shipment is due out end of December and will be posted out
during the gap between Christmas and New Year.
- the final shipment in the club will be posted out end of Feb
- The extra goodie with the December shipment will be sent out mid December
as a Christmas present all nicely wrapped for you to put under the tree.
No opening it until Christmas day, OK?
December 2011 -
Sock club members find two of their promised extras are missing in action - an extra pattern and a Christmas present. ACM staff does not respond in their own official sock club group; the first response comes via Facebook. The pattern then arrives via email, but the Christmas present never does despite ACM insisting it was posted on December 9.
A second year of the sock club is announced. On a Ravelry poll, of all respondents who were members of the sock club, not one will rejoin for year two.
January 2012 -
KNIT Magazine begins having issues with delivery. A sock club member is told there will be no replacement for the missing Christmas gift.
On the Crochet Designers group on Ravelry, it is revealed that Inside Crochet (another KAL/ACM magazine) has been relicensing designs on to another magazine, without the designers' knowledge, when their contracts stipulate they are to be paid 50% of their original free for this reprinting.
Jan 15. In the first sock club email since before Christmas, Sparkleduck is announced as the next sock club yarn shipment, which was meant to be posted between Christmas and the new year.
After only a year with the KNIT name, KNIT Magazine takes suggestions for a new name, which will change beginning with issue 48.
Feburary 2012 -
The Sparkleduck yarn begins to arrive, a month late. As emotions run high over the sock club, the lace club and IC Amigurumi club aren't doing much better.
Feb 15. Kerrie emails the sock club, announcing that the final shipment of the sock club will not be a indie-dyed yarn at all: instead it will be Rico Superba Poems, a commercial yarn with a RRP of £7. With the delays, the disappearance of the Christmas present, and the questionable yarn and pattern pairings in the past, for many club members this is the last straw. The announcement of the yarn leads to the Twitter hashtag #ricogate.
Feb 16. Kerrie emails the sock club, telling us that payments were made to KAL Media, not ACM, and thus refunds are not possible, and that the cost of running the sock club has come out of her own pocket. On the Ravelry group, she tells everyone not to discuss this email. Some sock club members find that it was ACM they paid, not KAL. (Added Mar 15 - Perhaps not.)
Feb 17. Rock and Purl publishes a blog post about All Craft Media, though not referring to them directly. This opens the floodgates for others to speak up about their experiences - including Anniken Allis, Alex Tinsley, and Yours Truly.
Feb 20. A mass email is sent out to all sock club members with an attachment: a ransom-style note Kerrie says was sent to her house, reading "you shoud [sic] be dead for what you did to sock club".
A Ravelry poll is set up, and out of 100 sock club members, 51 report in that they never received the Christmas gift.
The 'Friends of the group once known as...' group is created, for chatting about the sock club and related topics without fear of deletion or thread-locking.
Kerrie replies to several sock club members' emails with a response that appears to be cut-and-pasted, referring to members' wives, what is know as the "wife" email.
The final sock club shipment begins to arrive, and it is indeed Rico Superba Poems.
Feb 24. Kerrie Allman steps down as 'Craft Publisher' at All Craft Media, with Emmeline Farrell taking her place. Kerrie is to be transitioned into an unknown 'new role'.
Feb 25. The story breaks outside of the knitting world, over at Making Light.
March 2012 -
Mail problems continue for magazine subscribers.
ACM's County Court Judgements.
Added Mar 16 - ACM's response to the problems, tackling the topics of late subscription copies, late and non-payment to designers, and the sock club.
All Craft Media is committed to paying all of our designers and everyone with a contract with ACM will be paid for their work. We rely on our incoming cash-flow to be able to meet our obligations and when advertisers are late paying us we can, occasionally, be late paying designers. We are aware that this is not a good situation to be in and are resolving to improve our payment times and as mentioned above, anyone with a contract with ACM will be paid.
Regretfully there have been a small percentage of designers who have not been paid for their work under KAL Media. ACM are in the middle of reviewing our goodwill budget to see if we can make any more these payments but we are not able to confirm either way at this time.
The sock club was set up by KAL Media and payments were received into KAL Media’s bank account. All 6 shipments of the sock club were purchased by, and posted out by All Craft Media. This was something that was funded out of our goodwill budget and has cost ACM over £6,000.
We were unable to source the final yarn in the club from the original supplier and the yarn that was chosen as a replacement was not deemed suitable by a number of club members. We are sorry that we couldn’t supply the original yarn as stated but there was no budget left to source an alternative or make refunds.
Being so close to the issue, I can't be completely impartial, but I have tried to lay out these events in a neutral way. I hope someone will find it helpful.
It is also worth knowing that throughout the YF/KNIT non-payment and sock club issues there have also been a stream of Twitter hashtags and comments; unfortunately due to the nature of Twitter it's very difficult to hunt down old tweets. If you care to do some searching on your own, some relevant tags and keywords are @KnitMagazine, #ricogate, #newnameforknitmagazine, #knitmagazine, and #allcraftmedia. @rockandpurl has retweeted many relevant tweets as have @yarnaddictanni and @alex_tinsley.
Major Update 4 May: All Craft Media goes into liquidation.