Magknits is Gone: Tempers, Tongues & Sweaters

Further updates on the situation are here and here. I also fixed a broken link, thanks to a helpful comment!

Magknits is officially dead. All the patterns have been taken down, and the only thing that is left is a farewell letter.

 I’m trying hard to provide an objective view of what has happened here, because I am knitting a pattern from Magknits, so all my links to Magknits are broken, and because I’m not quite sure that I have all the pages to my pattern. I have been informed that the designer for my pattern is going to post it on her blog, thank goodness, and other patterns will likely be uploaded to Ravelry.

 I think Ravelry officially provided the push to kill Magknits, and here’s my reasons why. Note: Magknits has been coming to a graceful end for some time now, I am discussing what I think was the catalyst for this. I heart Ravelry!

The Timeline: What Killed Magknits

  • Pissed at HipKnits

 On Ravelry, someone started a thread asking Anyone Else Have Problems with Hipknits? Apparently, quite a few people had dealt with missing packages, no refunds and other problems with Kerrie’s service, the woman who runs HipKnits and is also involved with Magknits. Kerrie had even deleted a thread in her own Ravelry Hipknits group that was asking about problems. Kerrie has apparently been juggling a heavy workload and a child with health issues this year.

  • Where’s the Dough, Joe?

 Apparently inspired by this thread, a designer told about her experience  with Magknits. She submitted her pattern, heard nothing back from them, and her pattern, Miss Muffet, appeared on the front page of Magknits! The important part is that she received no payment. Kerrie posted on the thread, saying

            The normal process for MagKnits is that designers send in an idea (sketch, swatch etc), I reply liking it and we provisionally agree on a month for it to be published. Then when the full submission comes in with the signed copyright bit attached it is filed in the “ready to be published” folder and goes into the queue for tech editing and publication.

           Until I get to the PC in the office on Monday with my archived emails on I’m not sure what happened with the Miss Muffet pattern. I know that I have a copy of the full submission packet with the signed declarations though, which is why it was published. I’ll wait to hear from Marjorie to determine how I ended up with that without her being aware that we were going to publish it.

          BTW – its not a nosey questions at all, this is a really strange circumstance. I need to look at our processes to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

             I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt here, and assuming that this was probably an oversight. Nonetheless, this thread, on top of the HipKnits thread, continued for quite some time.

  • Too Much?

 I think that, with the complaints, the anger, the tears, the wagging tongues and tempers must have just pushed Kerrie straight over the edge. OK, I understand that she needs more space and time. That’s fine. But abruptly taking down the site, with little to no warning at all seems like a very impulsive, over the top decision—like the kid who grabs all her toys and says, “I’m never going to play with you AGAIN!”

 It certainly isn’t a good business decision. With grace, tact and some swift action, Kerrie could have preserved both her reputation and her business. She might have been able to transfer Magknits to someone else–for heaven’s sake, with the traffic that the site gets, someone must want it! But with this thoughtless, retalitory ‘punishment’ for people who finally had a place to vent, where she could not censor them….well, I think it’s safe to say that this is going to hurt her for a long, long time to come.

 Further discussion is continuing on these threads

The End of Magknits

Magknits Designers, Please Link Your Patterns Here!

 

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April 8, 2008. Tags: , , . ravelry, Snark Editorial.

31 Comments

  1. Jillie replied:

    Good summary for those of us who are too lazy and stupid to keep up with the whole thing. Good luck finding your pattern!

  2. Michelle replied:

    I’ve been reading some of the Magknits/Hipknits wrath as well, and was really surprised today to see Magknits GONE! I was able to find a cached pattern I wanted on Google. So sad…there were some nice patterns there. Would have been nice to leave it up a little longer!

  3. The Knitting Pirate » In Which the Pirate Makes Progress. replied:

    […] I had a copy of the Jaywalkers pattern saved on my computer! The basic story has been blogged at The Lumpy Sweater, so I don’t have to repeat it […]

  4. phoenix replied:

    I think it’s a brief summary of what happened this week, but it’s worth pointing out that this week’s drama is just the tip of the iceberg. This particular pattern of testy complaints and testy replies have been a regular occurrence since at least last fall when I start to be aware of them. I stopped even reading the regular “Hey the new Magknits is up” threads because of the clear undercurrent of bad vibes months ago. Actually I stopped reading Magknits too, but that’s a different issue.

    This week was just the straw that broke the camel’s back for all involved and watching from the sidelines. Also while people may be tempted to lay blame at Ravelry’s door, I’d point out that the number of participants in those threads was relatively small compared to Magknits readership and the customer base of the other related enterprises. In the end only about 100 people responded to that thread, and the bulk of those were responses after the fact. Kerrie and Co. have been complaining for ages about the drain of Magknits on their time and resources. The writing has been on the wall about this for a very long time. I really can’t say I’m surprised at all.

  5. Becky replied:

    I am sorry, and surprised, about MagKnits, too, for whatever the reason. Loved the patterns and have used several. Good summary, and personally, I don’t think it was Ravelry.

    Some might think it is sticking my head in the sand, but I prefer the threads there with more positive waves. My universe responds better to the positive, plus there are real negatives IRL to save my energy for.

    PS Thanks for your comment on my blog.

  6. ajrox92 replied:

    Wow! That’s intense. I don’t think that taking down the site so quickly was a very good business decision, because like you said, someone could have wanted it!

  7. jinniver replied:

    This is coming from a complete outsider who never even heard of Magknits until now, so take it for little it may be worth…

    That said, I did read the Ravelry thread you linked to, out of curiosity. The responses could mostly be put into three groups: the largest were people upset about the fact that they’d been given no warning that site was coming down; the second largest (of almost equal size) was split between cries for help and assistance with finding patterns; and the third and smallest were those defending the decision as it was made. What I found highly ironic was that most of the vitriol that I saw was to be found in that LAST group–beautifully captured by the “poke yourself in the eye with a double pointed needle” comment. Many of the Ravelers upset with the decision pointed out that it was a bad business move and said that the felt it could have been spiteful (as a non-user and late-comer, I agree). Some members of that third group then threw hissy fits (um, no pun intended) about the bashing and made nasty comments. Definitely need to stomp out dissent and free discussion, don’t we?

    I haven’t read any of the other threads, so I don’t know anything about the alleged problems with shipments and designer payments. But I have to say that the handling of the demise of Magknits alone is enough to ensure I won’t be dealing with either company. As many people on both sides of the argument pointed out, the creator of Magknits didn’t owe knitters anything. However, they violated the trust of those knitters, and they’re going to find that to be very hard to earn back.

    Fortunately, you got the sweater pattern, so at least some good came out of it!

  8. SweetP replied:

    OMG. I *just* finished a pattern from there. I missed all the dramas on R so thank you for your summary. l’m kind of not surprised reading the comments about cost and time, but a bit shocked that there was no warning, which like someone above said, feels like some sort of violation of trust. But at the end of the day, it’s their site and they can do as they wish. THis also happened with a photo hoster I used to use and is a sad fact of life on the internet that there is no guarantee of access forever. I’m quite shocked actually

  9. Casey replied:

    What phoenix said 🙂 I don’t think that the disappearance was because of Ravelry users – I was very surprised that MagKnits put out a new issue at all because I thought that the end was near.

    Of course, the sudden disappearance may not have been a coincidence. Perhaps it was always planned for this week, perhaps it is a statement or an emotional reaction, we may never know…

  10. Whirlygirl replied:

    I think you should be able to get some patterns through the wayback machine. Not all of them are archived, though.

  11. Gail R replied:

    It seems silly to blame an object or site for the actions of individuals.

    That said, it is also of importance to know that for every 100 satisfied customers, there are a few (usually less than 5) who are unhappy and VOCAL about it. Those 100 happy folks are usually quiet about their happiness but those who are not happy are usually very willing to tell everyone that they are unhappy. It’s human nature – good and bad.

    Most business owners know this and work to solve problems quickly. The problem happens when the unhappy person posts their problems before the business owner/operator has the opportunity to fix the problem.

    In this time of instant everything, it is hard for some to wait any time for gratification. Shame on us all.

  12. MLE replied:

    Not Ravelry. Designers were not treated well, not paid as promised, poor communication from the Magknits crew, never responding to emails, etc. Perhaps she was just over extended, but word of that kind of treatment gets out.

  13. Sharon replied:

    As someone who only worked with magknits once – starting about 3 years ago until my design was published a little over 2 years ago- I have to say that they were prompt with everything back then. I got regular email and prompt payment. I suspect that Kerrie’s life got more and more complicated and she couldn’t keep up anymore. I know what it’s like to get so overwhelmed that you mess up your work horribly and it really can sneak up on you, especially if you’re dealing with something very emotional in your life. You sometimes just don’t notice until too late and it can be a terrible feeling to know you’ve let people down like that. She has my sympathy. Hopefully this will give her the time she needs to sort her business out and take care of her family.

    I’m not really annoyed at magknits going away either. They had some nice patterns, but the site was kind of wonky. I actually like that the rights have reverted to me now and I can rework and re-release the pattern. It’s nice to be able to make changes to things that I didn’t see as a brand new designer but do now.

    What I do find odd is that there was a whole new site design for the last issue. I certainly wouldn’t have bothered if I had been planning to take the site down in a few days…

  14. geenamayy replied:

    wow interesting =]

  15. Kerrie Says It: Confirms What I’ve Thought « The Lumpy Sweater replied:

    […] Magknits: Tempers, Tongue & Sweaters […]

  16. yarnmaniac replied:

    Thanks for the summary. I hope people just get over it now….

  17. fillyjonk replied:

    Wow.

    I am going to keep this whole kerfuffle in mind when I get into my periodic moods of, “No one appreciates me as a college professor; I should start a pattern-writing or craft business and then everyone would LOVE me and it would be all flowers and wonderfulness all the time.”

    That’s not to say I think the decision to take the site down – without even notifying the DESIGNERS so they could grab good copies of their patterns – wasn’t a bridge-burning moment.

    I feel for everyone involved. There are no winners here.

  18. Emily replied:

    Thanks for the summary, I only heard of the shut down today and well, though it’s sad for the designers and the patterns, I’m not surprised.

    I dealt with Kerrie twice, once for yarn I bought (several orders in a short period of time) and once for a test knit. As for the yarn, one package never arrived and though I was refunded in the end I never got any personal communication from her and experienced it as rather rude. The test knit was even worse.

    Though I can understand family issues and all, I do think there’s a better way to go about this and if you can’t handle it you shouldn’t do it all. And from what I hear now there were plenty of bad experience, now matter how friendly she might be in person!

    Again, thank you for the summary, cleared it up a bit!

  19. Kristina replied:

    Hi there: although interested in the Magknits discussion I have no real opinion.

    I’m posting here because I couldn’t find an Email address to Email you directly. I don’t know if you’re aware that the second link in this post (meant to link to a Ravelry board) actually links to your blog feed – I think that’s what it is, anyway. All I know is that I ended up on my Yahoo! page being given the option of subscribing to your blog in my reader. This was hard to backtrack out of… I then reopened your page in another browser and tried again, but the same thing happened. A tad annoying.

    I imagine you didn’t know about this misfiring link. If not, I would suggest you change it as soon as possible… it could give people the impression that you are trying to get people signed on as subscribers through what (for Ravellers anyway) might just be the hottest link on your blog right now! 🙂

    Cheers,

    Kristina

  20. Kristina replied:

    Oh – great blog, by the way? And you’re just in your teens? Man, I feel old. LOL

  21. Pen replied:

    RE: Too Much?

    A business is not required to underwrite your enjoyment merely because you feel entitled to access. If you are generating content for the site’s profit, I feel very differently. I am a big believer in “free” online in those cases. However, Magknits is an online magazine. Website users only supply ad hits in this case, and may not generate the income needed to even cover the cost of bandwidth. Ending your access isn’t emotional or immature, in this case it appears to be very astute business decision.

    Commercial sites that use a great deal of bandwidth do not run like a hobby site. (Others in the various threads on ravelry have explained this better.) They may pay per hit, or pay overages, and a run on the site may cost them thousands of dollars. It’s not something that is free for the owner. Given the nature and consequence of the threads I’m not sure why she should underwrite anyone’s access. The online world spoke: she runs her site poorly. If people believe that, then they got what most people want when something is so poorly run: something to change. (And the thing with change is, you may not always like the change you get.) Certainly, she’s in a much better financial position to pay outstanding bills if she’s not trying to cover the cost of a final run on Magknits.

    I disagree that ravelry plays no part. For all the complaints that have a basis in truly poor business acumen, ravelry ultimately provided a platform that allowed it to be deeply and irreparably damaged to a much wider audience. Her business is going to have a very bad time recovering from this, if it ever does. I personally know I wouldn’t purchase from her, and many more people who will only read you posts and others, will simply know that there’s something wrong with this company, and will be less likely to purchase. Even if she does managed to fix her problems, it may be too little, far too late.

    Ravelry’s role in this concerns me a great deal. Knitting/Crochet are considered niche markets. Niche markets are small by definition. They are filled with 1 and 2 person operations that can be easily overwhelmed by the attention of a site like ravelry. If ravelry users now use the site to publicly shame everyone who has a problem with orders, good small business may be prematurely closed. No one wins in that scenario except larger companies that can afford to ride out bad press, or pay PR people to help them change their image. Would you like a yarn world without your favorite small label?

  22. Stef replied:

    Just wanted to send along my gratitude for this summary– what a lot to catch up on! (I designed for Magknits, was never paid, and didn’t hear about this drama until a few people emailed me asking for a copy of my pattern.) Thanks!

  23. Dave Daniels replied:

    Well, this is the first I’d heard of the whole thing. BUT, your pattern may still be in the Archives here: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://magknits.com

  24. fairgirl replied:

    Thanks so much for the summary!

  25. laceyknitter replied:

    Yes, your summary was good, mainly I agree that the first couple of posts on Ravelry about the Hipknits situation and then the Magknits non payment to designers, opened a floodgate of people who had received very BAD service from Hipknits but who had assumed it was only them. This has proved to be the opposite and as somebody else said, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Whilst Magknits was a free service, income was generated by advertising in the same way as places like Google are. Kerrie had very little to do, the designers did the hard work, and it was a good advertising tool for Hipknits and Yarnforward. Taking it down in the manner in which she did it proves how unprofessional Kerrie is.

    Personally, I would not be at all surprised to see those businesses follow Magknits into oblivion.

  26. Tangelled Angel » Blog Archive » AArgh- 6 weeks folks!! replied:

    […] nothing if a little late in mentioning this, its been off for a while now. See a very good post here about it) I’m just hoping that I saved a copy of Jaywalkers […]

  27. Heather replied:

    Wow. Quite a sad flameout for Magknits. Sounds like a bad situation for everybody involved. Thanks for summarizing what happened.

  28. Melissa replied:

    I’m so surprised to read all of this. I was never a big Magknits follower, but I did use a few of their patterns in the past and used to read Kerrie’s blog a couple years back. Thank you for filling us in. Does anyone know how copyright worked with Magknits? Are the patterns that were published there free to be published elsewhere now?

  29. Rev Deb replied:

    Thanks for the summary. I heard about the demise of MagKnits at my knitting group and haven’t really been following it.

    But we had a discussion about the ethics of all this online community and business stuff. Some people thought you should be able to say whatever you like no matter how it effects someone, others thought you should use care.

    End result, I think, is that the whole social media sphere is moving at such a rapid pace that we need to think carefully about how we use it on all sides.

    Business owners and blog writers with huge readership need to use special care in how they treat customers and readers. One of the things about the whole fiber arts community is that we ARE community, like it or not, and we need to be sensitive to how our actions, quick comments, or deep analysis effect others.

    Social media is about public relations and community. I hope we’ll all think carefully about our comments. Remember how you had to learn about not shooting off reactive e-mails too quickly. My personal mantra is “Respond not React.”

    You’re doing a great job with your blog. Keep at it.

  30. Knit The Hell Up » Summer Rerun replied:

    […] heard that the online knitting magazine formerly residing at magknits.com recently disappeared in a cloud of controversy. All of the not-lazy creators immediately posted their designs as free Ravelry […]

  31. Knitting Magazines « Creative Overload replied:

    […] Knitting Magazines Posted by sphilange under Uncategorized   Apparently, Magknits has shut down several months ago. I looked at their site for patterns a lot, but hadn’t noticed that it was […]

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