The purpose of this post is to alert anyone thinking of spending money with
- Yarn Gathering of 14a Earlsdon Street, Coventry CV5 6EG (not to be confused with other knitting shops with the same/similar name); company number 07171339, registered office 6 Church Road, Coventry, CV8 3AR*
- ebay seller jowatso21
- any business with britishyarn.org.uk or yarngathering.co.uk* in its web or email address or using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org*
- or any other business run by Joanne Watson and Douglas Watson (Jo Watson and Doug Watson) of Coventry
to read up on their business history first.
Like much of the rest of the knitosphere I watched this summer’s Knit Camp drama unfold on ravelry and elsewhere with ever increasing horror and incredulity. I didn’t blog about it, because, well, this blog isn’t about teh dramahz. I’m blogging about it now because in spite of everything, Jo Watson (the person responsible for the knit camp debacle) is still trying to make money from knitting and knitters.
In case you missed it, and as I did not attend Knit Camp, I give you the words of just some of those who did:
- Woolly Wormhead
- Lorillee Beltman
- Lucy Neatby
- Deb Robson
- Sarah Humke-Mengel
- sulky cat
- ravelry groups here and here
or read Dye Studio Queenie’s summary. It’s pretty clear that organisation was chaotic, communication with tutors and paying customers poor to non-existent and tutors left unpaid – not only their fees, but out of pocket for their travel expenses. Plus, due to the organisers not having appropriate immigration clearance in place in time, Lorillee was refused entry to the UK and removed from the country.
No apologies or explanations were forthcoming. Soon after Knit Camp those owed money were informed that the organising company responsible, ‘Events by British Yarn’, was insolvent and little or no further money owed would be paid. Knitters being knitters, a whip round was organised which raised enough money to at least reimburse tutors for their out of pocket expenses.
But now it seems Jo Watson never left the yarn business. While people are still owed a lot of money by one of her companies, and other people have donated money to help the unpaid tutors, she has reopened for business. The online arm of her shop has reappeared and she is also selling on wool & knitting items on ebay.
There is nothing Jo Watson is selling that you can’t buy elsewhere, from more responsible and ethical knitting businesses which do not have a history of leaving people out of pocket. Some of my favourites are over there on the right; there are lots more besides.
Spend your money wisely, knitters (and crocheters and spinners, too, of course). And if you have a blog, consider posting something about this sorry affair on your blog too.
* updates added 17/11/10