Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Almost an FO: How to Submit to a Knitting Magazine, or, Lessons Learned
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I'm getting very close to finishing a new Wildflower Tank, and I'm loving it. there's something so buttery soft yet cool making a summer knit in 100% silk. I'm hoping to wear it on July 20th, when I participate in the TTC Knitalong here in Toronto (I'm on Team Fair Isle)!
What's been very interesting about the process is that I'm knitting it from the pattern in the magazine Interweave Knits Spring 2012, which was pretty different from what I originally submitted. For those of you who have not submitted to a magazine before, let me share with you the key points of what I learned along the way:
Disclaimer: I sent them a schematic and photos based on a finished knit I created, and they accepted it, which is not their customary process. The official process is to submit a swatch, sketch, and details of your prospective design. Then they agree to take it, send you the yarn, you write the pattern, grade(size) it, and send them the sample. So some of the mistakes I made were due to me bucking the system. My first piece of advice is to not buck the system if you are just starting out.
1. They finished knit cannot be a stitch different from what you wrote in the pattern. Seriously, not a stitch. I sent them the finished sample, but in knitting it, there were a few things that I thought would improve either the knitting experience or would make for a better fit, and wrote the pattern accordingly. They told me that it wasn't their practice to do this, and they had a tech editor rewrite the entire pattern based on the sample. You read that right- the entire thing.
2. Tech editors are using the spreadsheets for sizing. You might want to learn about this process now, to help yourself out. I took a very useful course on Craftsy about this, and although it is pretty dry stuff, it's extremely valuable.
3. It's not customary to get your sample knit back. So if you're hoping to one day have your knit back so you can wear it again, be upfront about that in the contract stage. Keep in mind that if they provided the yarn, they might say no. Magazines can have trunk shows, too!
4. Remember that even though the knitting world is big, its's also small. We're all in this together- the magazines are trying to put out the best issue they can, with the best patterns they can get, with the best of intentions. If you don't like the experience, or don't think they photographed your knit in the most flattering way, or whatever, do not complain on the internet. People remember that stuff. I have never criticized Interweave, mainly because I don't think they did anything wrong, it was all me; but I've seen people venting about certain publications on twitter and on their blogs, and it makes me cringe a little. It's funny how we feel like we're having a private moment because we're at home, in our pajamas, doing our own thing; but the internet is a very public space.
A pattern in IK was a huge learning curve for me, and I was so embarrassed by my lack of understanding of the process that I actually haven't submitted to a magazine since (I am convinced the tech editor thought I was a blithering idiot). When I get embarrassed, I hide. But lately I'm thinking more and more about designing, and I think it's time to get back into the saddle.