Today I'd like to introduce you to Karin Strom, Interweave Yarn Group Editorial Director.
As you may recall, my last blog post highlighted our Yarn Group intern, Amanda Williams. Amanda has just begun her journey into the world of fiber arts. This time, you meet an accomplished lady who has walked a few miles down an exciting textile career path.
Karin Strom's fairly recent relocation from a lovely home in New Jersey and working in New York City to come out west to be with us at Interweave is her latest step (and for us it was certainly a great move).
Here is our Q & A:
1. You wear a fairly large hat here at Interweave. Please describe some of the basic duties you hold as editorial director.
Yes, it's true - I wear a number of crocheted and knitted hats at Interweave! Basically, I oversee all of the magazines in the Yarn Group, which include Interweave Knits, Knitscene and Interweave Crochet and all of the special issues (such as Weekend, Knits and Crochet Accessories, Holiday Gifts and the upcoming knit.wear). Plus, yarn-themed eMags like Sockupied and EntreKnits come under my purview, as well as various other yarn-related products-pretty much anything knitting or crochet related, directly and indirectly. For example, Interweave Knits editor Eunny Jang and I were very involved with planning the curriculum for the new event Interweave Knitting Lab, and I'm one of the resident yarn experts on the Book Acquisition team, which I really enjoy.
2. Your career history is an interesting one because you've experienced the knitting world from different points of view. Please share what positions you've had and some things that you've learned along the way.
It's certainly been a long and winding road and an interesting one for sure. I consider myself really lucky to have experienced so many different aspects of the yarn industry. It gives me a fairly complete overview of things. I've been a designer, worked for several magazines and two different major yarn manufacturing companies. I've also held positions as photo stylist and marketing manager! My most recent gig, just prior to coming to Interweave last fall, was as the editor in chief of Yarn Market News, which is the only trade magazine that serves the yarn industry. Yarn Market News had been defunct for a number of years and I helped bring it back to life at a time when the yarn business was really booming in 2005, when lots of new yarn shops were opening and new yarn companies were starting up. During my tenure there I had the opportunity to meet many yarn store owners and visit some amazing stores all over the country - and a few in other countries, too. I've learned so much from local yarn shop (LYS) owners - about business, display, and merchandizing. We initiated a business conference for shop owners and industry folks that featured speakers and presenters who focus on various aspects of running a small business. I learned so much not only about organizing an event but also from the speakers and the shop owners themselves. Now some of my best friends are LYS owners!
My favorite yarn shop of all is on beautiful Bainbridge Island, Washington. It's called Churchmouse Yarns & Teas.
3. What new challenges has your Interweave position offered you?
I think the biggest challenge for me is not being as hands-on as I was in my last position. Being an editorial director involves taking more of an overview and working with a team of editors to help make their visions a reality. At Yarn Market News, I was very involved in the minutia of producing a magazine from the covers-each cover was a visual pun using yarn in unexpected ways, like yarn as pasta or yarn as sorbet (yes, there were a lot of food-themed covers)-to proof reading all the articles. My job at Interweave is much broader in scope and I don't have time to get as involved with every aspect of the process.
4. If you would, tell us about home, hubby and family.
Well, I have actually only partially moved to Colorado. We still have our place in New Jersey. Our home is seventeen acres in rural New Jersey, near the Delaware Water Gap. People sometimes find it hard to believe that there is a rural part of New Jersey-but I remind them that there is a reason that New Jersey is called the Garden State. Our house there is a farmhouse built in 1850. I think my house in Loveland was built in the late 1800s. I definitely gravitate towards vintage houses.
My husband, Gabe, and I both grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. We met at a high school reunion-both being dragged to the reunion by friends. We had both been married previously so together we have five kids, all grown now. Luckily he's been able to travel out to Colorado and I've been able to get back to New Jersey, so we do get to spend some time together!
|My garden in New Jersey
5. You have a wonderful sense of style. I love everything that you wear-yes Karin, everything everyday. Please email me a list of retailers where you shop (and then I'll need some help on how to put things together). I'm getting carried away here... (but let's talk some time). Real question: Would you call yourself creative by nature? What inspires you?
Thank you! I do love clothes. It's a bit different working in Loveland than it was working in Soho in the heart of New York City. I definitely consider myself to be "a creative." I've always been interested in fashion, style, and home décor and I feel depressed if I don't have some creative project going. It could be cooking, gardening, doing a project around the house-I just need to be doing something. My focus on textiles started at an early age-my father traveled internationally on business and he would bring me something from wherever he went. I was pretty young when I started asking him to bring me fabric, embroidery, or ethnic textiles. So by now I have a pretty good collection and I continue to pick up interesting things when I find them.
6. What needlecrafts or other fiber arts do you enjoy doing?
Little known fact about me: I have demonstrated spinning and weaving at a restored colonial village. I still have an antique spinning wheel but I haven't used it for a long time. I dyed wool with natural dyes and created one-of-a-kind pieces with the yarn I made. That was back in my hippie days....I would love to get back to my roots and do natural dying again someday when I have some time on my hands. These days, the most I do is the occasional knit or crochet project-as long as it's portable, since I travel a lot. And bead crochet. I love doing bead crochet!
7. Travel to Australia was a recent adventure. Do you have a fun story to tell?
It was a wonderful opportunity, hosted by the folks at Pear Tree Yarns. I went with a few other editors to Cowl Cowl Station, where the owners of Pear Tree have a "small" flock of cashmere goats-15,000! We were there for the annual shearing, which was quite thrilling, especially since cashmere happens to be my favorite fiber-what's not to like? We were treated to some amazing meals there-including, of course, goat curry. Delicious! And even though it was winter there, I put my feet in the water at the famous surfing beach in Sydney, Bondi Beach. It was amazing to see kangaroos in the wild, and the not so wild-they love hanging out at golf courses, so you can be pretty sure if you pass a golf course, you'll see some kangaroos.
Thank you so much for letting me shine a light on your life, Karin. Next time let's hear from Knitting Daily Online Editor, Kathleen Cubley!
Till then...Take Care,