We at Vintage Knits Wool Shoppe were so excited a few years ago to begin carrying Verena Magazine. Verena is a German knitting magazine, and is one of the best selling knitting magazines in Europe. Two years ago, an English version of this magazine was developed, and our shop was one of the first to begin carrying it when it was available in the United States. The magazine so was popular due to its vast number of patterns (more than 60 per issue), cutting edge and fresh designs, and the fact that plus sizes were offered for many designs.
A few weeks ago, I was surprised to receive an email from the Verena Magazine distributor saying something about “where to download the patterns.” Of course, since I am busy, and I had not even opened the box the patterns were delivered in, I simply glanced over the email and went on to doing other shop chores.
Last week, while on ravelry, I stumbled upon a thread (now archived) complaining about the current issue of the magazine. Apparently the company that holds the license for the U.S. Verena Magazine has decided to turn the magazine into a combination of a knitting magazine and design catalogue. Of the more than 60 designs in the Spring 2011 issue, there are only directions for 15 designs. What you will find beneath the other 45 or so designs is a link to the Verena website, where for a fee of about $5.00 per design, you can pay to download instructions for the other designs in the magazine. This caused much uproar on ravelry with customers complaining. Due to the turmoil, the “powers to be” allowed the magazine buyers access to download 15 additional patterns from the Spring 2011 magazine at the website, along with the 15 designs that had instructions in the print magazine. As a side note, it is equally appalling that the “powers to be” at the U.S. Verena chose to archive the threads showing customer outrage about the spring issue. The archived thread no longer shows up in normal listings at ravelry. You have to specifically have the link, or do a search for it.
I then pulled out the box of Verena Magazines, and looked at the Spring 2011 edition. As Usual, it has many lovely designs. I was disturbed that they would even put photos of designs in this publication that I would have to go to another source (the website) to obtain the directions. I, like many people, do not want or like to download patterns. We like having the magazines, with all instructions included. I keep my magazines for years, and often pull one out and make a project from a very old magazine. I have no interest in picking up a magazine and seeing lovely photos of designs, but not having the instructions included.
Next, on to the website to see how to download the 15 additional designs. First, you must create an account, and include a great deal of personal information (address, telephone number, etc.). Then, you have to find a code that is printed in very small print on the subscription card enclosed in the magazine. Now the designs show up. All 30 designs (the 15 free ones and the 15 designs with instructions in the printed magazine) appear individual. They have no label as to which ones have instructions in the magazine, and which ones do not. So, you either have to have your magazine in hand, and go design by design to see which ones to download. Or, you do as I did and spend an hour downloading each design. This is a tedious process that I will never do again. While the on-line instructions and photos are wonderful, do you really need an 11-page PDF for each design? Also, wouldn’t it have made more sense to simply have the 15 additional designs placed in one folder, so that you only have to download one item. The most frustrating thing of all is to find that instructions for most of the patterns that I would want to knit are neither included in the magazine, nor are they one of the additional 15 patterns offered. So, I would wind up spending upwards of $30.00 to download the six patterns that I really wanted. If someone wanted instructions for each design in the magazine, it would cost a small fortune to download the 30 designs that you see photos of, but have no instructions for.
I am sure you can tell from the tone of this post that Vintage Knits Wool Shoppe, will immediately discontinue carrying Verena Magazine. Our last two issues of Verena will be put online later today, as they are already in the shop. We do have copies remaining of older issues, which I assume will become collectors’ items as many yarn shops in the U.S. have stopped carrying this publication for the same reasons. I am saddened to have to discontinue carrying this magazine, as it was one of my favorite knitting magazines. But, it is not fair to my customers to think they are buying a magazine, and receive what amounts to an advertisement to “purchase” directions online. Will Vintage Knits ever stock Verena magazines again? If, and only if Verena returns to its old format: tons of patterns, lovely photography, and instructions for each design in the magazine.