Amy is the new editor for the UK based Crochet Now magazine a highly popular crochet magazine in the UK. Her first issue at the helm was the September mythically themed magazine, which by happy coincidence also featured my first UK magazine commission, the Phoenix Shawl.
Tell us something unexpected about yourself….
In my spare time I write fiction. I’m hardly a budding JK Rowling, but I love to write anything and everything. This passion for writing coupled with the fact I’m super organised was part of the reason I became an editor!
How long have you been editing magazines?
I’ve worked in the publishing industry for nearly a decade. My first editorial role was for a publication focused on politics. I then moved into science and then planning and building control. Over the years I’ve worked across so many different areas including defence management, European politics, building control and now crochet! I think this means I’m pretty flexible when it comes to topics!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The ability to be creative every day. Whether it’s writing a paragraph of text for the website or an in-depth feature or amending an article from an author, I love it all. As editor of Crochet Now I love the fact the topic is also creative and is an area I’m also passionate about myself.
One of my favourite parts of the day is when the post comes in and I get some fabulous new yarn to squish or a deliciously gorgeous sample to gush over. It never ceases to amaze me how a simple sketch becomes a stunning garment or blanket. It also helps that I have a great team around me and we have a lot of fun while we’re putting the magazines together!
What led you to this role?
I’ve been crocheting nearly as long as I’ve been in publishing so naturally when this role came up I knew I had to apply! How many people are lucky enough to combine their profession with their hobby? Loving the topic area certainly makes the job a lot more fun and interesting. Most of the time it doesn’t really feel like work! I’ve only been in the role for a short time but I can’t wait to really get my teeth into it.
It is a nerve wracking experience selecting from your proposals – making the right choice for your readers?
It’s a tough one because what I like doesn’t always match with what I know the reader will like! It’s important for me to always keep that in mind and have the reader at the centre of every decision I make. I ask for all submissions to include a small sketch of the item and a small swatch of the stitch pattern. It can be tricky sometimes to envision what a designer has in mind from this. There’s a little bit of trust there that the designer can deliver what the submission promises, and usually that is the case.
What is you biggest bugbear when working with so many different designers?
To be honest, I don’t really have any bugbears. The designers I’ve worked with so far have been absolutely a pleasure to deal with. We have a system of how things are submitted such as the patterns and schematics so everything comes in to me in the right format so there’s never really any problems there. I guess my main bugbear is that I can’t have all the designs they submit!
On average how many proposals are submitted for each call request you send into the yarn world?
It varies depending upon the theme of the call. Some are more popular than others, but I love seeing what designers come up with and how they interpret the theme of the issue. That for me is the most interesting part of it because I expect to get a certain style and I’ll get something that will completely make me think about that theme in a different way.
Do you personally prefer crochet or knitting?
Definitely crochet as I can’t knit! I’ve tried to learn a number of times but never got to grips with it. Being a tall girl with gangly limbs that often act on their own accord I find it hard to hold everything in knitting. I keep telling myself I’ll sit down and do it one day but there’s always so much I want to crochet that I never get around to it! Maybe now as I have knitting experts on hand I’ll finally do it.
Do you have a favourite technique that you love to see in the real world?
I love making graphghans! There’s something really satisfying about sitting down and designing something in a graph form and then bringing it to life in crochet. I love the way it looks and the ability to make really quite complicated designs just by using charts.
What themes inspire you the most, seasonal/holidays, colours/yarn weights, skills/techniques or something else entirely?
I’m an avid gamer so I like making gaming related things. This was where my interest in graphghans started. I wanted to make a cushion with the Gears of War logo on it but couldn’t find one so I sat down and made my own.
I’m also inspired by interesting techniques. If I see something that looks good or a stitch I like I’ll want to incorporate that into my next project.
I would say people are also a big focus for me because I gift a lot of what I make. In fact, I rarely ever keep anything I crochet. This means I quite often create things with specific friends and family in mind.
Have you ever designed a knitting or crochet pattern yourself?
Most of the graphghans I’ve made I designed the patterns myself because what I was making was unusual or unpopular to the crochet market. After trying to find patterns (and getting frustrated when I couldn’t) I’d make my own. To be honest a lot of the things I’ve made over the years haven’t been from pre-existing patterns.
What does the future hold for your magazine?
I’ve only been in this role for two months, but I would really like to see the magazine continue to grow from strength to strength. I have some pretty big shoes to fill from my predecessor, who did such a great job building up the magazine; I hope I can continue this. I’d love to see Crochet Now become a real authority for the crochet market and a go-to for advice and patterns.
If someone wanted to become an editor do you have any advice for them?
Freelance! Freelance! Freelance! It might seem like a waste of time but doing this enabled me to get into the industry; it puts you in the mind of people who have the ability to give you a job! I wrote articles for free for the best part of half a year before I managed to get my foot in the door of a publishing house, but doing this meant when a position came available my name was first and foremost at the top of their recruitment list. From there I was able to keep moving through the industry until I ended up the editor of Crochet Now magazine!
I would also say practice writing daily. A lot of editorial roles are grounded in the ability to create compelling copy. If you don’t have a love of the written word you’re going to struggle. Look at how other people write and what their message is (and if they successfully conveyed this). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit around all day pulling fabulous words out of thin air but it is an important part of my job.
If you could ask designers for one thing to make your life easier when selecting patterns what would it be?
To give me as much information and details as possible about their design. The more I have, the easier it is for me to work out if something will work or not.
The next issue of Crochet Now will hit the shops on 26 October. There’s some really fun Christmassy themed things in this one from some great designers. Subscribe with us to get a gorgeous Lily Sugar ‘n Cream bundle!