Saturday, August 14, 2010

reading is still mandatory

One of the most repeated comments from your letters and emails from the past 2 months is that you’ll miss reading my editorial - I always hesitated to call them editorials because I felt like it was just my opportunity to say whatever - some think of it more as a rant.... One of the most commented ‘editorials’ and my personal favourite, appeared in No 17, Spring 2001. I felt it was appropriate to let it go again - here it is:

WARNING: the editor wishes to advise that failure to read the entire contents of this magazine, from cover to cover, including all advertisements, patterns and articles will result in the suspension of your subscription. Skimming will not be tolerated. No just looking at the pictures!

I was recently doing a two day workshop, where I have a captive audience and they have to listen to only me for the duration. I really like doing this type of seminar because it gives me a chance to show off and entertain and generally have fun. I usually show a few garments, talk about them and the features and then knit a bit and demonstrate some of the techniques. I try to mix it up so no one gets too bored or boggled or whatever. Anyway, at this particular show, during the coffee break on the second morning, one of the participants comes up to me and said she had some 'constructive criticism' for me. Sometimes I don't take this very well, but she doesn't know that yet. Caught off guard at the word 'criticism', I struggle to remain calm and try to appear interested and open to what she has to say. She tells me there is a big problem with the magazine and I need to let people know they have to read it. I am sort of puzzled. You mean, the readers aren't really reading, they are only skimming or worse, just looking at the pictures? Yes, it seems she herself is guilty of this. For example, I had just held up a nice turtleneck done on the double bed and explained all the techniques in the garment and another knitter, writing furiously, wasn't keeping up with what I was saying. I told her not to worry, it was all written in the pattern already. Well, apparently they didn't know the patterns were full of tips, techniques and generally great stuff. Now the 'cc' lady is explaining the reason she just looked at the picture and flipped the page, was this particular garment was sleeveless and she would never be knitting anything without sleeves and had therefore missed all the good stuff in the pattern. By this time several others have joined in and are nodding; they too have been guilty of the same thing. Now, how can I possibly save this situation? They are telling me that I have failed to tell them they need to read the magazine. It puts me in mind of the warning labels on certain products and of the concessions made to handicapped people. I know, we'll offer the magazine on audio cassette, for the visually impaired, taped in the voice of either Truman Capote or HG Wells. This will be a limited time offer, redeemable for 246 bar-coded labels from your favourite natural fibre coned yarn, along with a dead sponge bar and six broken needles from your least-used knitting machine.
Now, seriously folks, it's also come to my attention that you didn't know about our webpage or the fact that all the stitch patterns from each issue are available for the current issue for free download in Designaknit format and have been since issue 12. HEL-LO! it's me, Mary Anne...

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