Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Think It's Time

Firstly, I didn't realize when I started writing this post that it was going to be so critical. Even so, I'm still going to post it because I think these things need to be thought through more. I understand that there were several different issues going out this season (another sore spot), but Interweave Knits' track record has made me expect more from them.

Yes, it's time to say goodbye to Interweave Knits. I've stuck by them for the past four years. They were the first knitting magazine subscription I've had (actually, so far, the only). Remember that summer issue one year that had all those winter sweaters and hats in it? I subscribed to it. Remember the old style with the patterns following right after the main images? I was there for that. Remember when Eunny took over? I was there for that too. Now, I know I'm not anything close to a "long-time subscriber," but I've been around for the most recent changes, and I've believed in a good many of them as they seemed to be logical.

Some of the most current changes, also seem to be logical. I find one especially confusing. But here's my list of what critiques for the Winter issue:

  • If you're an editor for a magazine that makes such an intense stylistic change, freaking announce it in your letter to your subscribers
  • There's no need for 2 mastheads. I really don't think that the company information needs to be in the magazine, and we're crafters. For crying out loud, we know what other magazines you do! If not, we can always hop on the google.
  • That brings me to another point: stop being so pushy. We get it. We know you have an online thing. We know you want subscribers to both of these different places, but geez, there's no need to advertise it 13 times (I counted the ads, ad that's not even counting the blow in cards).
  • The articles seem to be a little out of date. Also, wasn't there an article about Cowichan sweaters earlier this year? Why is there another one? If there's an article about a sweater style, I feel like there should be a pattern describing that sweater style. But there's no Modern Cowichan sweater in the magazine...
  • Artist Spotlight: I don't want to discount the work that Mark Newport has done. I actually think it's really cool. I feel like this article is redundant considering they profiled him in 2005, and I think there have to be other knit artists out there to profile that we haven't seen before.
  • The knitting needles on the top left corner of every page are throwing me for a loop. They make me think I marked the page for some reason.
  • mtfyed?! When did that become an acronym? Aren't acronyms capitalized? Also, sorry for not adding this to the advertisement piece, because it doesn't really try to give you inspiration to make time for yarn every day. It just points you to one of their Knitting Daily TV episodes (heavy handed much?).
  • It seems like they made a compromise with their style and what their readers wanted, and they put the patterns after the editorial sections in the magazine. While this is a valiant effort, really, it's quite confusing.
  • That hat on p. 51: I can barely tell what the cable is, and it's pretty small. Why wasn't it just put on the model who's rummaging through her purse for something? Then you might have been able to see it.

So, if it were just this issue, I'd say fine. Leave it at that, and maybe continue subscribing. But it's not just that stuff. The major one of those reasons I'm discontinuing is the pushy bit. You may be thinking "but in this economic climate, you can't be too pushy as a business..." I totally disagree with that. I do think that you have to be more aware of things, and certainly, you have to have an online presence as a magazine in this day in age and a way for folks to digitally get your patterns. But there's nothing out there that says you need to club your consumers with a 2x4. While we're at it...normally, if someone subscribes to a magazine they get every issue. That's the point of subscribing to the magazine. While I'm glad that I didn't get the Accessories edition of IK (it was all re-runs from other issues!), I still kinda think it should be something they at least give you an option of adding to your subscription.

The third main reason is that after having read Yarn Forward from the UK and even Vogue Knitting, I feel like I get an idea as to where the knitting events are taking place, what kinds of notions are newish, and more of a who's who of today's knitting world than IK has been providing me with over the past 8 issues.

I used to really look forward to getting IK because the articles and profiles were really cool and awesome and the patterns were stunning and things I wanted to knit. There were maybe 2 patterns in this issue I wanted to knit, and nothing I felt the need to cast on for right away. I wasn't excited to get this issue. And I don't think I have been for quite a while. There's a lot of competition out there, though. And it's not the only fish in the sea. I still love you, IK. I'm just not in love with you. :(


Jen said...

I decided to drop my IK subscription also. The last four issues have left me underwhelmed, and without a desire to knit any of the patterns. I decided to see the winter preview and base my decision to renew on that. Glad I didn't renew. I know a few people who decided not to renew their IK this year from the same sense of disappointmnt.

I'm thinking seriously about subscribing to Vogue Knitting, their patterns have been a lot more interesting to me lately.

Passionknitly said...

I've also been thinking of subscribing to Vogue Knitting. I findd their articles are usually much more current and there may or may not be something I want to knit in it, but it's the kind of stuff I think I have to look at a while before deciding I don't mind it.

Ruth said...

I've actually now let both my subscriptions go for different reasons. I let IK go because it's now become an issue-by-issue basis magazine for me, which makes me quite sad. Years back it was a must and I waited for it panting. That being said, I did buy the winter issue because I liked some of the patterns but there have been issues in the last 12-24 months that I would have never bought. I let VK go because I never got it before I saw it on the newsstand and I don't save enough for the bother. I'll just buy it. But I WILL buy it. I've got to have my VK.

Fluffernutters said...

Back in 2003 I was loving the IK. Now? Meh. But Knitting Daily really pisses me off. At first it was fun every day and there were ads every day too but you could unsubscribe from the ads. Then Knitting Daily became one big ad. And even still the ad emails kept coming. Even after I've unsubscribed.

And another thing that annoys me about IK: Online patterns. If they're part of the magazine that I paid for, they should stay online FOREVER like the magazine I have in my hand.

And another thing: Why so many special interest publications? Because they want to make money from three issues when really there's only about enough content for one issue.

I subscribed to piecework because I can't get it on the newsstand, only to realise 3/4 of the photos they promote online are ONLY photos: no project to go with them. Grrr.

Wow. I knew I was frustrated, but I didn't realise how much!