Where'd the Knitting Techniques Go? Notes on changes to Interweave Knits

Aug 20, 2013

The Fall issue of Interweave Knits debuts some editorial changes that have been hotly discussed amongst our readers: the elimination of the Glossary in print form, the removal of the photo index, and the move of Sources for Supplies to the web. 

Well, actually, the Glossary has moved to the web as well--it's just a searchable database that includes all our standard knitting techniques now. 

We made these changes because, as we put together the Fall issue, we ran out of space. This happens in print publishing--you plan all the content and, based on previous experience and estimates, assume it will roughly fit into pages you've been allotted. But sometimes, patterns come in way longer than expected! This can happen with fall designs especially, with their full-length sleeves and large charts and whatnot. So, we were left with this dilemma: cut projects; cut editorial content; or move some of the content to the web and keep as much in print as possible. Adding pages or running less advertisements is not an option, based on our business model and tight margins--paper is expensive! Shipping is expensive! Those are not decisions that can be made lightly, or so late in the game. 

The glossary is typically 3-4 pages in the print magazine, which is hot real estate in this finite paper world of magazines. Everything we do is still based on the print version--we don't make separate versions for digital and print. I do think it's an important service to provide a glossary, but in this case we didn't have the pages and we thought, let's try something different. Let's provide the knitting techniques online and use those print pages to get all the patterns in. We'll see what our readers think and if they want it back in the magazine, we'll make room for it moving forward. This was our approach with the photo index and Sources as well--if you want them, we'll bring them back. I asked for reader feedback on these changes and we've had an overwhelming response to the removal of the photo index...people love the photo index. So we're definitely bringing that piece back; you'll see it in the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts and knit.wear fall/winter issues. 

The format of Interweave Knits is such that we run "galleries," or photo sections of the projects, followed by the related patterns. These galleries can be large and spread out, showing few designs over many pages, or they can be very dense--showing many designs over few pages. My preference is one project per full page--this way you get a good full-body photo that shows the design elements and the knitted details. Sometimes, it's a nice design choice to show only one project across a spread--you can show detail photos and full-body photos, and you can also tell a story, showing the backdrop more. When pages get tight, we often squish these galleries down into the smallest possible amount of pages--it's an easy place to save space. But my thought is, if you can't really see the project well, how will you know if you really want to knit it? 

Some readers have said they don't need more photos; they're happy to have the detail photos on the web. I agree; we use the web previews to show more angles, more details, than we possibly can in print. But I do believe we need to preserve good full-size photos of the projects in print, so I don't want to squish a lot of photos on one page in order to keep all the projects in and the Glossary and the photo index, and so forth. This is a challenge that we're discussing on staff quite a bit--how to get all the good stuff in. We're working on it, that's what I can promise!

I'm so glad our readers have written in to us and have posted on Knitting Daily and Ravelry with their opinions. This is immensely helpful in determining how we should move forward. Thank you and keep in touch! To learn how you can make your voice heard, see the editor's letter in the Fall issue. Cheers,


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