Welcome to Getting to Know the Folks at Interweave!
This edition is about the Interweave Knits assistant editor, Larissa Gibson. She aims for the stars (literally), but as she told me, her "fantastical yearnings" pull her to the textile crafts of yore. Enjoy...
What are your basic responsibilities?
As the assistant editor, my primary function is to assist the editor. I do this, in part, by developing content for the magazine including the departments located at the front of the magazine, writing the first draft of the submission call, proofreading, taking pictures, coordinating with contributors, and managing hundreds of small details-many of them relating to "where is the ______?"
How do you decide which products to promote on the New and Notable pages?
Putting together New and Notable is a lot of fun. I come up with a theme and go out and find products that I think are fun and interesting. They aren't necessarily new to the market, but I try to look at them in a new way. I like to draw attention to products that might easily go unnoticed in the sea of knitting notions. I love to highlight small businesses and independent artisans who are coming up with innovative and beautiful tools for knitters.
Are there any new projects that especially excite you?
My fingers are itching to pick up needles and yarn as I read through the Pam Allen (Quince & Co.) patterns in our latest special issue, knit.wear. (see her 4 designs below right) The stitches and shaping are elegant yet uncomplicated; the textures and shapes are intricate enough to keep you interested but would easily flow off the needles. The silhouettes are timeless and wearable for every day, from the office to lounging on the weekend. I haven't started one yet but they are on my short list. The big question yet to be resolved is which one to make first.
Do any experiences with the latest issue stand out to you?
I enjoyed working with what I refer to as "the body parts." We brought in a selection of retail fixtures for a feature in knit.wear about hosiery, glove and hat displays. Every day in the office I was staring at an odd assortment of legs, hands and heads, alongside a mannequin with none of those parts. It was amusingly unsettling much like a good Tim Burton movie.
What are the best and worst aspects of your job?
Worst part of the job: the dreaded basement. At this Interweave office, we store things in a very old, very dark basement. It is a lovely office except for that basement! Sometimes I have to go down there and I don't want to! I've taken to asking our intern to go down for me. That's what interns are for, right?
Side notes to reader: First, I'm pretty sure that the basement is home to a friendly ghost named Howie. Second, if you have ever wondered what Interweave headquarters look like I've included a photo. The editorial department is on the top floor of this wonderful historic structure in downtown Loveland, Colorado. It was constructed in 1928 as the First National Bank (serving bank customers until 1963). Interweave home offices occupy this and a couple of other buildings in little old-town Loveland!
Best part of the job: Are you kidding? It has to be the yummy yarn and the gorgeous garments, the New and Notable products, and of course the Interweave library. I really love delving into the subject of knitting: be it the tools we use, array of techniques, the wonders of design and functionality of garments. You may think that would be the bulk of the job, but there are millions of little administrative tasks in getting a magazine out the door, so for me, there is never enough time to truly immerse myself in knitting.
What did you do professionally before coming to Interweave?
I'm only coming up on my first year anniversary at Interweave and this has been a huge career change for me. Let me back up and tell you some history:
I went to college on a ROTC scholarship to study astrophysics because I had a dream of being an astronaut. Once the physics department chewed me up and spit me out, I found myself with a degree in math. I was stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia for four years to meet the terms of my college scholarship. In the Air Force, I was part of a team that wrote a piece of software that fighter pilots would use to plan their missions. Later, I worked in the insurance industry and most recently on agricultural software using GPS navigation. I never made it into space myself but the satellites that I worked with did!
I've always been enchanted with textile traditions and handcrafts, of doing things in an old-fashioned way and connecting with our ancestors. I became obsessed with spinning, knitting, weaving and all things related. So I left software behind and went to graduate school to follow my passion for textiles! The end of 2009 was graduation. I taught undergraduate students at Colorado State University both while still a graduate student and then as adjunct right after I graduated, picking up my advisor's courses, Introduction and Advanced Textiles, during his sabbatical.
Now, I want to build my expertise in the textile field and possibly discover new and fresh angles and depths to this ever fascinating craft.
Some very important facts about Larissa:
1. Favorite food: ice cream, favorite flavor: coffee, favorite brand: whatever is local.
2. Favorite band: Pandora - ok I know it isn't a band but now I don't have to know who I like, Pandora knows.
3. How I survive the winter: watching minor league hockey.
4. High School identity: theatre geek-Current identity: band mom. (Same show, different role)
5. Favorite place in the world: Fiordland, New Zealand.
6. If money were no obstacle: that's a tough one, it's a real toss-up between travelling everywhere and having a great fiber studio that I'd rarely leave.
7. Best accomplishment: twenty-one years ago marrying the man I still want to spend time with every day.
I'm just getting to know Larissa, but my impression is that when she sets her mind on something, there are no limits.
Remember how she mentioned her love of all textiles? She wove a coverlet for a couch at home, and...
It ends up on the cover of sister magazine Handwoven, the November/December 2011 issue! As a newbie weaver myself, I am especially awed!
Who will be next in the Getting to Know the Folks at Interweave blog? Let's meet Allison Mackin, Yarn Group Managing Editor. She just had a life-changing experience! Intriqued? Until next time, take care.
Coverlet project by Larissa Gibson, Handwoven, November/December 2011