It lives…

Most of the handweaving community by now is aware of the F & W Media debacle over the past few months, F & W Media owned just about every craft, art, farming, woodworking, and a slew of other publications in the country, with the exception of Taunton Press, still valiantly publishing up there in CT (They publish Threads Magazine).  F & W had been on an acquisition frenzy over the past few years, and had acquired Interweave Press, publisher of Handwoven Magazine, among other important fiber publications in knitting and spinning.  F & W declared bankruptcy early this past spring.  All of use who were owed royalties will never see them paid.  More importantly, the fear in the fiber community of our print institutions’ survival was a complete unknown.

In June, a “fire sale” as the legal rep I talked to handling the whole affair called it, (I was of course one of the people who will never get paid royalties due from last spring) was held, I think somewhere in Delaware.  I sat glued to my Google search engine for a week to find out what happened.  The F & W Craft Division, was successfully bid on by a company…

Macanta Investments, a private-investment partnership for Terence O’Toole and his family, put up $2.85 million for F+W’s crafts group that includes a network of 10 knitting, sewing and needlework magazines, along with nine quilting titles.

O’Toole is a managing partner of Tinicum Inc., an investment firm that bought a majority interest of F+W in 2014.

This mediapost article has a few more details, but F & W Craft Division including Interweave’s Handwoven Magazine will live on assuming the goal of this acquisition was to keep publishing.  The book division was sold just prior to the auction to Penquin Books, so hopefully it is in good hands.  A quick perusal of the Interweave Press website shows all the books gone, but digital content is still available for sale and is being heavily promoted.  These would include my five webinar series on Sewing with Handwovens.  

There is a lot of buzz on social media that makes me sort of sad.  Full disclosure, I was the Features Editor for Handwoven Magazine from about 2002 to around 2007, writing in every issue for 35 issues straight.  Madelyn van der Hoogt was my editor and I enjoyed every minute I spent under her careful and watchful eye.  I’d like to say she was responsible for my career as a journalist, as I’ve now written more than 100 articles in various publications and have even branched into video.  

But it all started at Handwoven Magazine.  The buzz on social media complains that the  magazine isn’t what it used to be, that the projects are mostly for rigid heddle weavers, that there isn’t a lot of content, that it is very thin, and a discussion ensues about cancelling subscriptions in protest, or stopping advertising, because, well no one reads the magazine anymore.  In fact I stopped writing for them because of the reduced rate of author compensation.  That said, Handwoven Magazine has been around for 40 years.  How do I know this?  An advance copy of the September/October issue is sitting on my desk because I have an article in it.  

There has been no other weaving publication that has hung in for so long and provided so much content as Handwoven Magazine.  I have every issue on my shelf and it is an incredible wealth of knowledge.  Many of the issues are available digitally, so they don’t take up shelf space, but I’m a paper kind of gal.  My art and weaving library is huge, because I’m a writer and a researcher and a creative person and well, there is nothing like a spread of a half dozen reference materials across my floor or cutting table as I compare content for an article.  I did a quick perusal of this issue, their 40th anniversary, Issue XXXX number 4.  (Yeah I know that the Roman Numeral for 40 is XL which is also a size, and XXXX reads better!)

The issue is thin.  Publishing print isn’t what it use to be.  My favorite current weaving magazine is of course Heddlecraft, published by Robyn Spady, but that publication is digital only with no advertising.  It is theme specific, provides extensive drafts, and has some lovely features columns.  But I doggedly continue to subscribe to Handwoven because it still provides inspiration, articles, and advertising, so I’m on top of what’s new, who is selling what, who’s who and who is writing what, and I will often use one of their dishtowel drafts for my annual dishtowel warp.  This issue is about remembering.  It has a look back over the six editors of Handwoven Magazine, and comments from them.  It has projects that reference many of those editors.  It has a sweet article from Sherrie Miller, whom I adore, about the Weaving Hall of Fame, a look back over those who have contributed most to the craft.  I get a mention at the end, which I totally did not expect.  I have an article on Weaving a Memory.  It is a technique I’ve taught in the past, and have a full monograph available for more content. (The link is for the digital version, there is also a bound paper version available.)

And there are projects, one rigid heddle, one for a pin loom, and plenty for four shaft looms and one for an eight shaft.  The ads are colorful and remind us of who is still out there selling supplies to handweavers.  There is a great look back over the 50 year career of Schacht Looms.  And a wonderful side bar about the decision to start offering projects at Handwoven Magazine, and why.  I never knew that part of the story. And Tom Knisely has a great article on weaving borders.  So here’s the thing.  There aren’t many print publications left.  Heddlecraft is digital only, and Weavers Craft will publish their last issue, #32 this year.  They also had no advertising.  You can still get back issues of Weavers Magazine (44 in total, have them all) and Prairie Wool Companion (16 in total, have many of them, still looking)  and the Weavers Journal (I’m still collecting them as well).  There is VAV magazine, a Swedish publication, really wonderful, which has been translated into English since 2006.  You can get back copies of that magazine from The Loom Room.  And so we have Handwoven Magazine.  It is important for the handweaving community to rally around and support what we have left, because even though you can find anything you want to know on youtube, there is something to still be revered and respected about holding the latest issue of anything.  I get very few magazines anymore.  I get this one. And of course, Threads.

And since I have every issue, I still use them for reference.  Especially my own articles.  Especially the Color Forecast.  I have almost all of the original content that was photographed for the magazine, the color chip cards and the yarn wraps.  I use them all the time for instant color and inspiration.  I just leafed through my binder and randomly picked the palette for Jan/Feb 2004 issue, called Retro, part of the Fall 2004-5 forecast.

And I gathered all of the yarns I had on all of my shelves, leftover bits in bins, hand dyed skeins, and wound a scarf warp in four parts…  The last part was the supplemental ribbons.

I spent yesterday threading this baby, and this afternoon I’m going to get it beamed, mostly because I don’t want 14 yards of warp chains lying around the floor to tempt my animals.  Hahahahah!

I often thought that it would be fun for Interweave Press to put together a digital collection of all of the forecasts I wrote, there are some pretty inspiring palettes.  I would know since I researched and wrote them!

I’m heading off to renew the Handwoven Subscription for our weaving guild.  I’m the treasurer so I get to write the checks.  Keep those issues coming…

Stay tuned…

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randi
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randi

I agree with you 100% Daryl. We need to support Handwoven (just as I feel we need to support newspapers). If we do not renew our subscriptions the magazine will absolutely fail. I get Heddlecraft and have many of the Weavers Craft issues. Both are wonderful resources. Thank you for continuing to blog! BTW- I refer to your Color Forecast articles frequently too!

Nancy Weber
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Nancy Weber

Thanks, Daryl, for the update on what is happening out there in the publishing world. I’ve heard rumors, but not specifics and you laid them out very well. I will continue to take Handwoven and love Heddlecraft and what Robyn is doing so well.

Meg Wilson
Guest

All I can say is Ditto to what Randi and Nancy have said. If we have a gripe about Handwoven’s content, we should let them know how we would like it changed. That is the only constructive way to make things better. As for me, I will continue subscribing for as long as they continue publishing. Meg

Karen
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Karen

I agree with supporting Handwoven also. If we all fail to renew and support, they’ll decide it’s not worth continuing. I always page thru first and then go back and start again to read…..would miss it as it’s the link that ties weavers all over the place into a guild.

Jenny
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Jenny

Times change and I guess that you have to roll with, like it or not. Unless you are a cat, then you can sleep on it!

Linda Morehouse
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Linda Morehouse

I, too, love Handwoven and I have most of the print copies. I am missing 1982. I started weaving in Boulder in the late ’80s. I used to say I could stand on any corner and yell “help” and have six weavers poke their heads out and say “what do you need?” It was awesome. Let’s try to preserve as much of this and the other publications that we can. It won’t be so easy if they completely shut it down. And let’s continue to pass what we know and have learned down to the next generation. Don’t let it… Read more »

Linda Morehouse
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Linda Morehouse

Daryl, I can’t download your videos. They only come up as web versions. If Interweave shuts down, how will we access our content?

Nina
Guest
Nina

I totally agree! I have been getting Handwoven and Spinoff almost since the beginning, and was devastated over the winter when I heard that Interweave’s parent company was in trouble. Thank you for the update, and I look forward to seeing your article in this issue!

Kris Seel
Guest
Kris Seel

I started weaving in 1978 and was told I needed to buy Handwovwn. I had to order the first issue as the second issue was the only one in the shelf in the yarn store. I also have every issue as I too like to hold the magazine in my hands. Yes, I am not thrilled with the newer issues (although the last one was acceptable) but I cannot give up my subscription.

Tegan Frisino
Guest

I have collection of some old Handwoven issues, and a collection of other issues of Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot, Fiber Arts and other textile things. Although I find the older issues exhilarating- I still support and subscribe to the new Handwoven. Yes, it is thinner and not as robust, but there are hidden gems of information stored there. I had no idea about this potential loss of a print resource- and now that I know I’m going to make more of an effort to support Handwoven and Interweave Press. (I have several issues of your color forecast articles, which have… Read more »

Becky S Williams
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Becky S Williams

I totally agree with you. I am so happy to learn that the book section has been purchased by another publishing company and I pray that the group who bought the section containing Handwoven continues to publish it. I love the magazine and I even love the ads. I live in an area that does not have a lot of stores who carry weaving supplies so I have used the ads to find things I need. Thank you very much for this article and thank you for keeping us informed.

Dbowles
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Dbowles

When I go to the internet to order a subscription to Handwoven Magazine, it is still listed as an Interweave product. Please send me the correct link to order the magazine. Thank you

Joan Ahern
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Joan Ahern

I recently renewed my subscription (2yrs) after hearing the comments. I agree Daryl, I renewed to support the magazine. I still enjoy reading it and noting possible projects. I’d have to live to 100 to do them all. I still like paper, have about 10 years digital but still go for the paper. Love to see a compilation of your color forecasts, that was always my favorite. See you soon, enjoy the summer.

DENESE
Guest
DENESE

I was waiting until the dust settled to renew my subscription to Handwoven, which I have now done. I have a collection from the 80’s that are my treasures that have moved with me several times over thousands of miles. I am hopeful that with some of the faithful folks who have been involved in this great magazine that the tradition will continue.
Thank you for being a valuable part of that tradition. You are an inspiration!

Phillenore
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Phillenore

I heartily agree with all of the previous comments. I really enjoy receiving each issue and would be sad were it to no longer arrive. One aspect of the situation that no one has mentioned is that the magazine’s continued publication depends primarily on advertising revenue. I know that most of us appreciate the ads and even enjoy reviewing them. We should also be sure that the companies who advertise know that we appreciate their involvement in Handwoven and that we take note of the things they are advertising.

Linda Adamson
Guest
Linda Adamson

I also agree with Daryl. I treasure my Handwovens especially the older ones just like I treasure the Weaver’s Magazines. I love to have the book in my hand to inspire and reflect on the articles. I sincerely hope it continues.

Diane Ferguson
Guest

Back when Linda asked for financial help to keep things going, I paid $250 for a “lifetime” subscription. That worked until F&W decided to offer me a renewal subscription for X amount. I wrote a very long letter to them explaining that they bought my lifetime subscription along with all the others. Now I get Handwoven with a note on the address label that says “Compliments of Handwoven.” Isn’t that nice? Wonder how long that will last now.

Cathy
Guest
Cathy

Thank you so much for this. It is time for me to renew my subscription and I have been wondering what happened. If publication is to continue, I still want to be a subscriber. As a weaver, I want to support every publication out there. Now that I know that it has been purchased, I will send in my renewal. I hope others will do the same. If we weavers do not subscribe, it will be our own fault if publications disappear.

Cheryl Silverblatt
Guest
Cheryl Silverblatt

I was so, so unhappy to see the old Fiber Arts Magazine get purchased and trashed that the news about Interweave Press was truly horrifying. Many, many thanks for this informative update. I am relieved to at least know something about what’s happening. Yes, I will maintain my subscription to Handwoven even if there’s only the reviews and historic articles for me to find worth reading. These print sources are actually invaluable. That’s an old librarian speaking.

Laurie Autio
Guest
Laurie Autio

I whole-heartedly concur with the love of print and its long-lasting value. I continue to subscribe to Handwoven, though there is not so much which interests me. I have almost every issue of all the magazines you mention and treasure them, along with older publications (Handweaver and Craftsman, Interweave, etc.). These join the 1000 or so weaving books I own. One print magazine for weavers that you did not mention is the Complex Weavers Journal. It has a different audience and is only available to members but it is a wonderful resource. If anyone is interested in “what if” and… Read more »

Sally Orgren
Guest
Sally Orgren

Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot (SS&D) will be printing their 200th issue this fall. The non-profit organization Handweavers Guild of America (HGA) produces the publication and is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Members of HGA (several thousand subscribers and SS&D advertisers) support the greater fiber art community with scholarships, internships, exhibitions, certification programs and a biennial conference. SS&D (print & digital) provides the space and place to share creative journey stories, fiber art exhibitions, and work created in the studio or for the runway. To request a complimentary issue of SS&D, please visit WeaveSpinDye.org/ss&d I concur, we need to support… Read more »

kathleen
Guest
kathleen

I will also continue to support Handwoven. I do like paper in my hand. Also, congrats on being named to the Weaving Hall of Fame! You have inspired so many !!!!

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