Last fall, my friend Julie Holetz and I got an e-mail from England asking if we’d like to help launch a new Crochet Magazine (at this point it didn’t even have a name). The deal was this: we would work for 3-4 months commissioning designs for a year’s worth of magazine issues and then the publisher would put together the magazine. It was an unusual proposition, not exactly an editorial job, but with some similar responsibilities. I was intrigued. It seemed like an ideal project for me in some ways–as I’m a starter and an idea person, and I love to get new things going. I also love my freelance life and don’t want to commit to working exclusively for any one company.
Julie and I were both too busy with other projects to take on the job alone, but we thought it would be fun to do it together, and it was. Julie and I have a good working relationship. We see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, we have similar opinions about design, but not so similar that we don’t balance each other out when it comes to, say, the color or fit of something. Then there are the not-so-fun administrative tasks of doing any job–we each like some more than others, and it turned out to be a good split.
We got to set the tone for the magazine, which was wonderful. We wanted to emphasize yarns that are sustainable, ecological and produced in a socially responsible way. We also wanted the magazine to be fun for crocheters at all levels and to include some of the things that we love about good patterns–charts and schematics and clear instructions. We wanted garments lots of them–wearable sweaters that crocheters will feel compelled to make. We wanted to support and showcase great designers around the world and especially those from the UK where the magazine originates.
The best part about the job was talking to designers all over the world, collecting submissions and choosing designs for the various issues. We planned general themes for the magazine issues, and even scoped out and commissioned some of the features and articles, but a lot of the written content is being handled in-house at KAL Media central and will be a nice surprise for us when we get our issues.
The hardest part of this job is letting go. Unlike a traditional editorial position, we don’t get to have our hands in the process ’till the end. But we knew this from the outset, and it’s ok. In fact, the short nature of the project was one of the reasons we were able to take it on. But even so, I’ll miss talking to designers and helping them with the little issues that come up along the way. I won’t get to see magazine proofs or make sure there are no typos or errors; that will be someone else’s job. (The magazine does have a first class technical editor, Helen Jordan.) And I always worry about the technical accuracy of any project I’m involved in, so letting that go is hard too. But I’m excited to move on to new things, and I can’t wait to start getting my subscription to the magazine and to begin seeing all of our great designers’ work appear.
I’m grateful to Kerrie Allman and Lou Butt, publishers of the magazine, for giving us the opportunity to be a part of Inside Crochet in its infancy. And I want to thank the amazing Shannon Okey for sending them our way. A big thank you, too, to Alex McDowell, the fabulous production editor for the magazine. She keeps everything moving and is a real pleasure to work with.
Have you seen the first issue? I love how it emphasizes crocheted motifs in beautiful non-traditional ways. I’m not a motif-gal myself, so it was great fun to collect these designs which are so gorgeous and yet so different from how I design. Motif-guru Robyn Chachula has a technique column in the magazine all about making and joining motifs, which will be great to get us started.
Where can you find Inside Crochet? Crocheters around the world can subscribe to the magazine, and it will be widely available in bookstores. Here in the US, you’ll find it at Borders and Barnes and Noble. Soon, you’ll be able to receive your subscription digitally as well. You can also keep up with all the Inside Crochet happenings online: