Spin-Off Looks Back (and Forward)
For an editor, the nearly 40 years of Spin-Off history is both a blessing and a burden. Looking back over about 150 issues, what is there that we haven’t had something to say about already? How do we introduce new audiences to subjects of perennial interest without simply repeating ourselves?
Among our readers are surely spinners who know our back catalog much better than I do. I know readers who were poring over the magazine when I was learning to read. Yet there are spinners who, like me, have come to the practice in the last few decades for whom many of these time-tested subjects are new.
It reminds me of a song my mother and I used to sing as a round: Make new readers but keep the old/One is silver and the other gold. (OK, it doesn’t scan, but you get the point.)
Two years ago, in March of 2014, I was just taking my seat as Spin-Off’s editor, after decades of loving and passionate stewardship by Amy Clarke Moore. Amy’s last issue, the Spring 2014 Color issue, was an engrossing riot of carded, handdyed, and handspun fibers that was a reader favorite. Because magazines are planned so far in advance, she left me with the materials for the Summer and Fall 2014 issues, as firm a foundation as one could hope when beginning such a daunting new task.
So what did 2014 and 2015 bring for Spin-Off? Our first sheep cover in ages, for one thing. Joan the Border Leicester won everyone’s heart with her sweet face, and we couldn’t have asked for a better ambassador for the Winter 2015 issue. We’ve followed themes more closely (but not exclusively), with the Stash issue, Myths & Facts issue, Plying issue, Luxury issue, and Art & Craft issue. In Fall 2015, we brought in a new/old department: Ask a Spinning Teacher, which echoes the “Spinner’s Question” series that Rita Buchanan authored 15 years ago. It’s been a gradual evolution, a few changes in every issue. And in every issue I find something new I’d like to tweak and something to be content with.
But what I think is less important than what you think. What changes have you noticed—for better or worse? What are we missing? What are we overdoing? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your thoughts.