Holy crap! Magknits, the web knitting magazine I felt was second only to Knitty, has abruptly gone belly-up. I had knit a few patterns from there, including Odessa (a beaded swirly hat), the Ballet Camisole (a simple cotton camisole with a sweetheart neckline), and the Fake Isle hat (Fair Isle with Noro Kureyon as one of the colors), and I would check religiously on the first of each month for the new issue. They published some really great patterns, including some great multidirectional or bias-knit scarves, the Jaywalker chevron-patterned socks, a entrelac mistake-rib baby blanket named Bliss… a lot of stuff, really. Too many good patterns to name.

It all seems pretty abrupt. I had no inkling there was any problem until a few days ago, when I noticed a couple of threads on one of the main Ravelry boards about issues with Hipknits (the owner, Kerrie, runs a yarn business named Hipknits, and a print magazine named Yarn Forward)–I was kind of shocked. People were coming out of the woodwork saying Kerrie had scammed them out of money from their Hipknits orders, saying Hipknits yarn they had ordered was full of knots or shredded to pieces, or saying they never got paid for their Magknits submissions; one person said she was never notified her design had even been accepted to Magknits until it showed up on the front cover.

General internet witch-huntery and dogpiling ensued, including people who had never bought from Hipknits writing to Kerrie to complain about her business practices and and call her a bad mother (?!).

Presumably as a reaction to the flaming, Magknits was suddenly taken down today, with no advance notice. I’ve saved a few patterns to my hard drive from the Wayback Machine and Google cache, but sometimes (like with the Fake Isle hat) there are chart graphics that didn’t get cached and I guess I’m just SOL there. (Edited to add: The designer of the Fake Isle has already put up the pattern on her own site!)

It sounds like some things will get put up by designers as free Ravelry downloads, but this apparently came as a surprise to the designers as well as to readers, and I don’t think all of the designers are on Ravelry in any case.

I’m sad about this. Not having ever ordered from her, I can’t speak to Kerrie’s reliability or how legitimate her customers’ complaints were, but I had always had a pretty good impression of her and of Magknits, and I think Magknits’ disappearance strikes a major blow to the online knitting community. I did have a subscription to Yarn Forward, and had to write to get one issue re-sent because it never showed up, but they responded to my request quickly.

I’ve seen a lot of hysterical threads on Ravelry lately accusing various indie designers or retailers of scamming them, and I hope people stop and think for a minute before getting all crazy and paranoid and calling names. Posting in a constructive way about a legitimate complaint you’ve already tried to resolve privately is one thing, writing “SO AND SO IS A SCAMMING SNEAK THIEF” with little forethought in one of the main Ravelry boards is another.

There was a huge, crazy, drama-filled train wreck of a thread on Ravelry involving an indie dyer in New Mexico running a business called Mystical Creation Yarns–tons of people did get scammed out of money from buying this woman’s products, and she allegedly faked her own death in order to try to get out of her business obligations! Some more info is on this blog. I think that may have set a certain precedent, and now, if anything goes wrong in the slightest in a transaction, people automatically assume that other people really are out to cheat them out of their money. However, I think MCY was an exception, and most retailers are honest people out to get your goodwill and repeat business rather than make a quick buck off selling you cut-rate yarn. Seriously, people. Benefit of the doubt.