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Behind the Scenes At Knitscene Magazine

Jul 1, 2008

A note from Sandi: Are you ever curious how a magazine is dreamed up--and the dreams made real--by the editors? What inspires them? How do they take those inspirations and turn them into real-life sweaters in those gorgeous photographs we all love to drool over? I asked Katie Himmelberg, the style editor of Knitscene magazine, to share some of the process with us, from inspiration to photo session...

The Making of Knitscene
by Katie Himmelberg, Knitscene's style editor

The “look” for each issue of Knitscene is decided upon about nine months before the magazine hits newsstands. Editor Lisa Shroyer and I collaborate on ideas for the themes; they might originate with a movie we watched, a photo, or trends we’ve spied from fashion magazines, blogs, and of course, knitters! Then, to give our designers a clear idea of what types of projects we’re looking for, I gather images from all those sources and create a “mood board” for each theme. We discuss what kinds of silhouettes fit the story and techniques the projects might include.

The Projects
Then, after the submissions come in from designers, Lisa makes her final selection and we choose yarns for the projects. Color is a very important element in making all the projects in one story work together and look cohesive in the end, and it is very influential in how the project will be styled for the shoot. The yarn goes off to designers, and then we wait and wait and wait.  Seeing the projects as they come in is very exciting, and then seeing them all together in their “stories” is another thrill.

At this point, we begin to talk more specifically about how we’d like to shoot the projects; sometimes our initial ideas for sets or clothes change after seeing the garments in person.  Sometimes we even put a project or two into a story different from the one it was originally designed for! So much is dependent on actually seeing the garments together. Don’t get me wrong; our designers do a great job with their proposals, giving us a clear idea of what the final product will be—there’s just nothing like seeing the actual piece, live and in-person. 

The Photoshoot
Next up: the fun and exhausting task of preparing for the photoshoot! We hold a model casting call with local amateur/non-models. We like to use everyday people as models, since they reflect our readership and lend a natural, authentic feel to the magazine. We meet with our photographer to go over our ideas and possible locations. And I shop. Since we are shooting for the fall issue in the spring and vice versa, I scour thrift stores for unique and out-of-season pieces, and fill in with items from department and discount stores. I like to keep the styling accessible; we don’t really need $300 jeans and such! The looks in Knitscene are a little more refined and accessorized than you might see on the street, but overall I think they reflect the everyday wearability of the projects. The look is more free-spirited and funky than the classic look of Interweave Knits

After we’ve chosen our models and done most of the shopping, we have a pre-shoot day where we have the models come in and try on the projects and clothes to see who looks best in each. I take notes on what works and what doesn’t and what I still might need to shop for. At this point, I also try out accessories with the projects and make lots of lists organizing who will wear what, with which outfit and extras, and hair and makeup ideas. 

We shoot Knitscene over three days, one day for each story, to allow for set and location changes. Photoshoots are hectic and exhausting, but they are also a lot of fun and the final result makes the hard work worth it. Our days begin early. Lisa and I arrive as the photographer and make-up artist are getting set-up, and I organize and steam the projects and clothes we’ll be shooting that day. Shortly after, the first model arrives and we get her prepped for the first shot.  It always feels great to get that first shot under our belt! It usually takes the longest to prep and then we are on a roll after that. 

View the Fall 2008 Preview of Knitscene magazine!

Knitscene is having a Gallery of its own!

Yes, that's right: Knitting Daily is going to have a Knitscene Gallery, to celebrate all the fabulous garments in the Fall 2008 issue. However...there are 33 designs in that magazine, and the Knitscene folks and I found that we were having a hard time choosing which ones to feature in the Gallery. So we thought we would let you help us choose!

Vote for the Knitscene Gallery Garments!

What is a Gallery? For several of the past issues of Interweave Knits, Sandi Wiseheart and her trusty band of Gallery Gals and Guys have tried on some of the actual sample garments from the magazine photoshoot, to give you an idea of what the garments look like on a range of shapes and sizes. There is only ONE sample garment for each design, and since all of us are different, Sandi writes an individualized commentary for each person, noting where adjustments might (or might not) be made to get the most fabulous fit for each and every body. Every person who tries on the garments finds surprises ("I never thought I could wear that!"); each time we do a Gallery, the feedback from readers is that the Galleries are extremely helpful in helping them to choose and fit their own sweaters. Come join the fun!

View past Galleries!

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MaryM@3 wrote
on Jul 5, 2008 9:42 AM

I wish your photographer would use more light. We don't want "artsy" photos; we'd like to see the details of the featured item. When half of the garment is in shadow (see Himalayan vest above), it's impossible to see that half.

Also, dark-colored garments are very hard to see in your photos.

MidoriW wrote
on Jul 4, 2008 11:06 AM

There is some sort of glitch with your new format set-up.  I have KD bookmarked in my computer.  Sometimes when I click it, I am on an already signed-in page.  No problems.  But sometimes it is a page asking me to sign in.  It ALWAYS says my password is not good, and then I have to click the "I FORGOT" link and wait for a new link to show up in my inbox.  Then it accepts my "new" password (which I have NEVER changed) and it lets me in.  But the next time I try to sign in, I have to go thru the same riggamarole.  Can you fix this problem?  I'm willing to bet you are losing readers because of the difficulty getting signed in every time.  I'm sorry to write about it in the blog, but I couldn't find another place to let anyone know about the issue.  It began when your page format changed.  :o(  Can you help?

mljan wrote
on Jul 3, 2008 5:45 PM

Is Knitting Daily still, daily? Today I received the first email from Knitting Daily in weeks, the ad to subscribe to Piecework. This was after sending a email to IP asking about KD. So I came here looking for evidence that the old Knitting Daily that I loved to find in my email still exists, and it appears you have been writing and emailing, just not to me.

I hope I'm back in your good graces now and on the mailing list.

Maureen J

SusanN wrote
on Jul 3, 2008 3:38 PM

Oh, that Canopy Cardigan is lovely! I can see it takes a crisp yarn to show off the details in the edge knitting, hence the viscose in the blend. Just lovely.

DeirdreM wrote
on Jul 3, 2008 8:43 AM

I also would like to see a wider range of sizes. If you want to know what sizes your readers want - ask what size they would knit if it was available. The results should give pretty clear indication of what sizes to request from your designers.

E.L wrote
on Jul 3, 2008 8:41 AM

I'd like to know how you choose the names for the garments. Reticella vest? Matriyosha stole? Kimono socks?  

BarbaraS@3 wrote
on Jul 3, 2008 7:09 AM

Please expand the size range of patterns in Knitscene! Knits has increased their ranges a bit, how about you guys! Many of the patterns featured wouldn't fit the average woman, let alone a plus sized gal. Yeah - yeah a few issues ago you ran the raglan pattern for plus sizes. Would that answer be good enough if it were twisted into, "Well we ran one pattern in size six last year."

Carol Y wrote
on Jul 2, 2008 4:01 PM

This was hard - there were a couple more I could have voted for, including the guy's sweater. I selfishly only picked sweaters I would make for me!

AdrienneB wrote
on Jul 2, 2008 2:13 PM

I voted for my 'maybes'.

ZassZ wrote
on Jul 2, 2008 12:57 PM

Himalayan Vest because it is really different!  As I mentioned earlier, I also love this yarn.