YOU’VE GOT TO PICK UP EVERY STITCH/
MUST BE THE SEASON OF THE WITCH.
Five years ago, before the first issue of Knit Wit came out, but after I’d started brewing up the idea, I was listening to the song “Season of the Witch” with unstoppable frequency. It’s a great song and also happens to contain what seems to be the only reference to knitting in rock and roll and, honestly, I was getting excited. My idea—this magazine—was starting to take shape. The song is also a determined declaration that the witching hour is upon us, which, for a magazine about textile art and crafts, felt and still feels especially resonant in terms of the value of women’s work.
More recently, it was International Women’s Day and I decided to listen to as many versions of “Season of the Witch” as I could handle, while walking around the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. The song has been covered an apparent zillion of times and I was trying to remember who had performed the one I liked. Donovan wrote the song, but his version sounds far too much like Donovan. Lou Rawls’ is my favorite for many reasons, not the least of which is the way he shrieks out and emphasizes “every stitch.”
Eight issues into a magazine about women’s work and walking around the Rose Bowl listening to Lou Rawls shriek about thoroughly and meticulously completing the task at hand, it occurred to me: how strong is the fabric I’m putting together here? And have I dropped any stitches?
The answer turns out to be yes, plenty. Knit Wit—and so I—have realities to contend with, printing stories on paper. One is an issue of space and one is an issue of crippling publishing costs. The first prevents me from telling every story I want to; the second is the one that makes for the ugliest holes—and that is leaving the unmatched work of my (predominantly female) contributors un- or under-compensated. While celebrating the work of some, I have unwittingly undervalued others'.
But, I’m a knitter and I guess, even if I get a couple inches past a mistake before I notice it, I’m still going to frog it and fix it. So here’s what’s going to happen: I’m switching to a platform—it’s call the Internet and it’s papercut-free—and a pay model that I hope will support everyone in my community: the makers, artists and designers; and the writers, photographers and illustrators that tell their stories. I’ll print limited edition, single-subject zines and patterns (because I still do love print). The rest of what you’ve come to love about Knit Wit—the interviews, the studio visits, the photography, the essays, the travelogues— those will live on knitwitmag.net, which will be hibernating this summer, while I rejigger and redesign it as a content-driven website.
I’ve been told many, many times to “go digital” over my five years running this magazine. Every time, I rolled my eyes or muttered something about it not being the point. But now, today, in May 2018, I’m surprising myself by how excited I am to take my original idea—the one I’ve been brewing for five years, the one you’re holding—into it’s next phase. Must be the season of the witch.