Sheep Masks and Desks Full of Yarn

Today, as I write this newsletter post, we are about to go to press on yet another issue of Handwoven: the absolutely gorgeous November/December 2014 issue. I’ve been with the magazine and with Weaving Today for just over three years and while a lot has changed (new editor, new design, new offices) much more has stayed the same. After reading last week’s BeWeave It written by Lauren, our wonderful intern and my BeWeave It protégé, it got me thinking about the wide-eyed wonder I had when I began at Interweave and all the truly bizarre things that have become totally normal.

  Yarn Stash

 Christina's desktop yarn stash doth overflow

  Yarn Cube

 Most companies have a cubicle dedicated to
unwinding yarn skeins and blocking, right? 


When I first started it was amazing to me that people just had piles of wool and yarn on their desks and in their offices. Knitting needles sit on shelves in jars, not as decoration but so knitting editors can work through some projects if they need to. (Sadly, there are no floor looms . . . yet.)

Now I’m proud to say that when we get in new editors or interns, I’m just one of the many with giant piles of yarn sitting next to my computer, although I have more cones than my knitting and crocheting colleagues. Occasionally I take one home, but mostly they stay as a reminder of the craft I love.

As if yarn and wool weren't enough, we also have sheep masks leftover from a long-ago Spin-Off Autumn Retreat, random (mannequin) body parts for photo shoots, and the giant backstrap woven wall hanging that greets visitors as they enter the building.

Listening to conversations around the building also lets you know that you’re not in a normal office. I sit next to Karen Brock, the managing editor of our sister publication PieceWork. It’s not uncommon to hear her on the phone, negotiating with a museum for an image of a Medieval bath party. (Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like and it’s much better than anything you could imagine. Look for it in a future issue of PieceWork.)

She in turn gets to hear about the research I do for articles and BeWeave Its—one day I spent several hours learning all about chiengora (aka dog hair) yarn and she got to hear all about it. Every once in a while we’ll be talking about something normal for us, like Victorian hair art (which is also exactly what it sounds like), or we’ll be meeting in Interweave founder Ligon’s office and see the, ahem, "unmentionable" masterpiece pictured in this blog post, and we’ll think to ourselves, “Wow. This job is strange.”

It really is, too. Working for Interweave may have all the mundane parts of a normal office job: emails, business meetings, and chats about weather in the break room—but it is so much grander, and so much stranger than any job I’ve ever had. Every bit of stress during press week is worth it just to see and touch all the projects as they arrive, to “meet” weavers from around the world, and to have a job where I get to read, write, and learn more about my passion every single day. (Plus, every once in a while, I get a phone call from Tom Knisely and that always make every day at least ten points better.)

I hope when you read Handwoven (or any of our Interweave publications) you can feel the laughter and genuine love that goes into every issue. I promise you, it’s there.  

Christina Garton

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