Five years ago, this month, I very nearly crossed town. I was meeting my former partner in Knit Wit, Gigi, at a café in the middle of Los Angeles (“halfway”) because, if you’re familiar with the social and literal topography of this city, the two sides don’t often meet. We were getting together to plan the first issue of Knit Wit, which we produced that summer, funded on Kickstarter in September and delivered to customers in November. 

I can’t recall a time when I have worked harder than the months from May to November 2014. Knit Wit was certainly not the first idea—or even the first big idea—I’d tried to get off the ground. But something had come alive inside me in a way it never had before and I could not stop. This, I thought, is my chance to make Something Great.

And I did—many of us did. I have had the actually-insane privilege of working with some truly talented photographers, writers, illustrators and printers over these past five years. I wanted to make Something Great—and I did so only because of the incredible skill of Knit Wit’s contributors. Over eight issues and six months of digital, we managed to tell stories from Australia to Brooklyn to the Canary Islands; of natural dyers and revivalist shepherds and handknitters and textile mills. I have had the distinct honor of printing photography and stories that rival publications with far greater budgets, far greater reach, far greater name recognition. I am prone to regrets and over-analysis, but I’ll be blunt—for myself as much as for you—we made Something Great here. I am so proud of it.

Four years ago, this month, I started something new, again. I gave birth to a son and I became a mother for the first time. My son’s birth was hard and something that, until recently, I would hold back tears just thinking about. His birthday was both the best and worst day of my life—and afterwards, I was different. I had fallen deeply in love, but even so, I had a profound urge to “get back” to myself. Move past it by moving backwards, illogically. I made myself busier than ever: I restarted my work as a copywriter, I wrote a book, I worked with a startup on their launch creative. My husband and I released our third album, Rest In Paradise. I also ran Knit Wit. Unsurprisingly now, I was miserable. I was different, but I wasn’t doing anything differently. So I pared it all back; I decided to focus on Knit Wit, my Something Great.

I think I have done Something Great, but a lot has happened in five years, most of which was invisible. I struggled to make the magazine work as a business. Yes, even with all these Instagram followers; yes, even with a national newsstand distributor. I was never able to adequately pay my contributors. The majority of the time I couldn’t pay them at all. (Which made me feel like an exploitative shithead most days and I wasn’t wrong). I have rolled through tides of deep anxiety and depression—wondering how and who would pay for all of this, among other things—and wild elation, watching as it somehow, always and miraculously, came together. It’s been a wild ride. 

Over the past five years, the world has changed. Starting Knit Wit, I think I thought I could recreate the type of deliberate, intelligent magazine-making that I had looked up to as a kid, that had made me want to do this for a living. But media looks less and less like that daily. It’s a different thing; it’s not the thing I wanted to do. I don’t know if that exists anymore.

Six months ago, I became a mother again. (Another son, if you’re wondering—I see you, boy moms!) This time, I made a few very deliberate choices about his birth and what I would need to bring another person to the world. I will spare you my personal details, but the choices resulted—thank goodness—in a birth that was supportive, autonomous and, ultimately, empowering. I gave birth across town. I’m different, again, but this time, I feel at home with myself in a way I haven’t in a very long time. I’m emboldened.

And that is giving me the strength to do something previously unthinkable: to stop producing Knit Wit. I feel certain that for five years, I created some of the strongest craft content out there—I told stories of people I admire, highlighted work and processes that might have gone unseen. I connected with people who shared my point of view and who also hoped to elevate and contemporize this craft conversation. I made Something Great, but I have continued working on Knit Wit for probably about two years longer than I should have because, I now realize, I thought it’s all I had in me. But it’s not. Six months after my second birth, I’m finally brave enough to step away, to make space for something else. I made Something Great; now I think I’ll make something better. 

Thank you, THANK YOU for your support and happy Mother’s Day.

Zinzi
May 12, 2019

 

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