We’re biggering!

I don’t think change is just the nature of a new business as much as the nature of all businesses, perhaps, all things. Things are changing here at PLY. We’re evolving and figuring and growing and learning and we’re biggering. We’ve moved up in a few areas. The biggest change is that we’re no longer using multiple excel sheets to clumsily keep track of all of our subscriptions. We’ve moved to a subscription management program, which, I hope, makes my and your life easier. Y’all can manage your account now – add issues, resubscribe, auto-subscribe, check how many issues left, change your address, etc. It’s the kind of organizational triumph that makes me a little weak-kneed.

And because, apparently, PLY evolving is really just us transferring work from us to you, we also moved to an online ad system to manage our website ads that allows you to manage your own ads! But it’s cool. Kinda like on Ravelry, you buy a spot, you upload it, link it, change it if you want, check your stats, etc. I’m really excited about it and am crossing my fingers it works like magic.

But what this blog post is really about is that PLY is hiring. Kind of. I need 1-2 freelance copy editors to be at my beck and call. Okay, not really my beck and call, but I do need you. I need you so much.

The Job

What I’d like is to find a couple of spinners that are copy-editing firecrackers. By the time the articles get to you they’ll have gone through the heavy editing and will be shaped organizationally so it’s not really heavy editing, more light-medium. It’ll involve double-checking accuracy, grammatical issues, article and issue consistency, fact checking, and pointing out any areas that might be unclear or confusing for readers/spinners. Of course, you’ll have access to the always evolving live PLY style sheet and a fairly over-the-top explanation of what each kind of article should look/read like. Because I’m nothing if not overly thorough.

If things go well, there’s also the possibility of doing a final proofread of the entire issue in PDF form before it goes to press. We’ll see, we might have to do some trust exercises before I make that leap.

The Schedule

You’ve probably guessed that it’s not a full time job but it’s steady in its hit-and-miss-ed-ness. Four times a year for about 3-4 weeks, we need you. Those times are pretty darned predictable though, essentially the months of February, May, August, and November. In each of those months we’ll have roughly 25 articles that need your red pen. Some of these articles are 800 words and others are 2500 words, some are instructional and some are informational, some are stories and some are other kinds of stories, but it works out to about 25,000 words edited in that given month which also works out to roughly 25 hours. I’m not married to the idea of it being 1 person or 2 people. I don’t want to overwhelm one person but I also don’t want to have too little work for more. That’s a detail we can talk about but if it’s a deal-breaker for you either way, be sure to mention that to me.

The Compensation

PLY likes to pay fairly. It’s something that’s very important to me. I wish we could pay everyone far more than we already do but we’re not even 2 years old so we do what we can do. The compensation for this job, right now and for the first issue edited is $25/hour. We’ve found that the copy-editing averages about an hour an article. If it all works out and the time is roughly what we think, the next issue we’ll raise it to $30/hour.   From there, if it continues to work out and we’re both happy, we’ll try and raise it to $40 by the end of 2015. I’m not saying we’ll stay at $40 forever, but I feel that’s pretty fair pay for the work and from there, we’ll raise it when we can.

Extras: for as long as you copy-edit for PLY you’ll have a subscription. For every issue you work on, you’ll be listed in the masthead.

The Process

If you’re interested in working with us, steady yourself, there’s a bit of a process. PLY is my baby. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done and I feel strongly that it’s important, that the knowledge the spinning community pours into it is going to stand longer than anything else I facilitate. It’s important to me and as such, I’m going to give you a few hoops. Forgive me. It’s all for the good of the magazine and my crazy, busy, never-stop brain.

The first step is to let me know you’re interested. Email me. Jacey at plymagazine dot com. I’ll send you a bundle of stuff. In that bundle you’ll find:

  1. A short set of questions about you and your experience.
  2. A copy of the PLY style sheet so you know what grammatical conventions we follow.
  3. Three versions of a past PLY article. The first version is as it came to me, the original. The second version is after I edited it (essentially how it would come to you). The third version is the final version, the version that went to print (essentially what we’d like you to do to the articles).
  4. One article that I’ve edited but needs to be copy edited by you. Please turn on track changes and save it by adding your name to the end in place of mine.

If I get lots of people that are amazing and perfect and I can’t decide, I’ll send out one more short piece to be edited.

I’d like to get this started now. In fact, if it works out, I’d like to have somebody do a bit of editing the last week of November or first week of December (I know that’s not really the time-frame I set above, but I’d like to see how it goes, I could use the help, and maybe a bit of holiday cash is not a bad thing, right?). So let’s start! Yes, let’s do!

Plan b-ing Rhinebeck

It was both my and PLY’s first time to Rhinebeck this past week.  Rhinebeck.  The very word is enough to make me get a little flushed, sitting here in my sweatpants with my bowl of roasted pumpkin seeds and hot tea next to me.  A post-festival stupor, one might say.  I, the teacher part of me (as opposed to the magazine-y part of me) taught 3 days of classes and then the magazine-y part of me was supposed to go around and promote the magazine.  The magazine-y part of me was a bit shy, but the fiber-loving part of me had a great time touching, buying, and eating.

Here’s a few photos, I didn’t take many (soon you’ll see what I held in my outstretched hands instead of a camera). The first are my fiber friends.  The ones I only get to see at festivals like this.  They’re also my every-night dinner companions and the ones that made me laugh and laugh.  Man alive those spinners are funny.  the second is one of my all day classes, I liked them all and the spinning was great.  They were pretty funny too.  The third is my new dream wheel.  Seriously, I want one.  WANT ONE!  If you’re looking for that perfect 40th birthday present for me, you found it!  Finally, the last one was on Sunday night, we were all a bit tired and bleary eyed.  Still funny though!

Okay, back to the Rhinebeck plan.  Here was the well-thought-out plan, and in case you don’t think so, it was a plan. I promise.  I planned.  I planned so far ahead I even had PLY post cards made.  They are pretty.  Also informative.  So the plan went like this.  On Sunday, I’d walk around with my stack of postcards and I’d go to all the booths that carried fiber — as opposed to ones that only carried yarn, see, because I know my audience.  I’d walk in, proud and confident, and I’d say “Hi there!  My name is Jacey Boggs Faulkner and I see that you have spinning supplies but your booth is sorely lacking in PLY Magazine department, can I leave this postcard with you and you can look at it at your leisure and see if you might want to carry our magazine or perhaps even advertise in it?  We have very reasonable rates and the spinning community has been very positive about the magazine.”

In my version of the plan, He/she embraces me right there, I blush brightly as the booth owner gushes that she/he was hoping I’d stop by.

That didn’t exactly happen.  Mostly I walked around with my stack of postcards held straight-armed in front of me, like I had a purpose, was on my way somewhere, and hoped that somebody would notice them and ask for one, or mentally tick it away and google it later.

I felt shy.  I’m also not so good at selling things.  I like things to sell themselves.  Until this month, we haven’t really advertised the magazine and we’ve mostly let advertisers and wholesalers come to us when they’re ready.

In the end I had to plan b it.  I put my stack of PLY postcards in the bathroom.  I fanned them out right on top of the trashcan next to the hand sanitizer and I think it really really looked nice.

I’ve got even bigger plans for MDSW!

My Rhinebeck

I want to tell you a secret. It’s not a scary secret but I haven’t said it much to anyone, so I’m telling YOU. It’s this: I’m jealous of all of the people who got to go to Rhinebeck AKA The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.

I know what you are thinking. You are sure I was there. You saw me in photos or you saw my name on the workshop instructors list or you heard me talking about getting ready to go.

I was technically there. It’s true. But here’s the sad part of my story. I didn’t even see one sheep. Not one! I don’t even have very many photos because they all would have looked very similar to this one:

Rhinebeck2014

 

I also saw the inside of the bathroom but that doesn’t make a very interesting picture at all.

Here is the plus side. I got to meet a lot of amazing people who were my students. New ones this year and some who had been in my classes before. Also, I spent very little money. (We aren’t counting the fleeces I bought because most of those are for more class materials.) Also, I had dinner with Jacey and Abby and Esther A LOT! And I got to meet Jackie Graf who is a most awesome dyer and Tove Skolseg who also loves to buy wool and is from Norway.

Spinning friends!

Spinning friends!

So, no, I have no sheep photos, nope, not even one lovely leaf color picture. Didn’t even make it up the hill to see what was for sale. but I made some new friends, taught some lovely people what I know about spinning and wool preparation and signed a lot of books!

So back to the beginning. I’m jealous of some people’s Rhinebeck experiences but I don’t think I would trade mine.

Here is my favorite photo of the weekend though. It’s Lauren. And if you ever see her, tell her I said hi.

Lauren

 

Craftsy loves us: Ply to knit class

Hey Spinners, Craftsy loves us! Have you noticed? Our own Jillian Moreno recently did a craftsy class called PLY to Knit (okay, it’s really just called Ply to Knit but I like writing PLY!) and I’m watching it now. Literally, right now! There’s Jillian with her great hair, dazzling smile, and cat-eyed glasses being just barely over-shadowed by all the smartness coming out of her mouth!

I’m going to try and give this a true and honest review but since I just think Jillian is super brilliant and a wonderfully talented spinner, it might be biased. A bit.

Jillianheadshot

First, Craftsy has gotten really good. The way they put together lessons is super easy and intuitive to follow, which is important to me. I don’t want to have to figure out how to use the platform while I’m trying to figure out my spinning and they’ve done a great job making it easy to use. I also really like that you can interact with the teacher.  Second, Jillian is comfortable and charming during all the lessons. She’s likable and I think that’s a really important piece in the puzzle. Can you imagine if you had to watch a grouchy teacher for 3 hours? Yeesh.

This PLY to knit class has 7 lessons ranging in length but averaging about 30 minutes each. Each lesson is broken up into main ideas that make sense. In Jillian’s case those lessons are:

An Intro to PLY: This is a kind of setting of the stage. We meet Jillian (charming) and she goes over what plying is, what it does for us, and what some of the terminology she’ll use means.

How to PLY: This is a big big lesson. This is where she gets into the meat of plying. How to sit, how to set up, how to actually ply. She talks about resting and rewinding bobbins and plying from your hand too. I found myself nodding along with much of what she said, thinking, yes, I agree with that.

SONY DSCLesson #3 and Lesson #4 cover everything your might want to know about 2-ply and 3-ply yarn, from plying to knitting to balance and unbalance to chainplying. She even compares 3-ply and chainplying. It’s good stuff. I think it’s really important that she shows examples in knitted swatches so we can see exactly how the different plys effect our knitting. Following her lead, because it’s fun to spin along with her, here’s the samples I spun and knit during these 2 lessons.  The one on the left is chain-plied, the one on the right is 3-ply.  Both are from the same fiber.  I was really careful to match up my color on the 3-ply and when I made my loops on the chain-ply, I really tried to have very little color mixing. In the end,  I like the gradual color change of the 3-ply swatch but know that it had more to do with my chain-plying technique than chain-plying in general.  Both are great techniques and Jillian is good at explaining why.

One of my favorite lessons is #5, fixing mistakes. I make a lot of mistakes, almost all the ones she mentions, so I squinched up my face and watched extra hard during this part.

Plus, she says this great line: “the answer to this mistake is a sandwich.”   I really like when the answer to my mistake is a sandwich!

She rounds out the entire class with a lesson on finishing and a lesson on measuring. And if I didn’t love the class already, she uses a WPI tool shaped like a tardis! Sandwiches and tardises! She’s a lady after my own heart.

Altogether, it’s a solid class on plying to knit. While I watched I tried to think if there is stuff that I’d have included that she left out and there isn’t any glaring omissions. Of course, not everything about plying is in here but that be silly to expect. Spinning is a giant and long-standing craft. If everything could be taught in 3 hours, PLY Magazine wouldn’t make it very long, right? And really, what that means, at least what I hope that means, is that craftsy will do lots more spinning classes!  Let them know we want more, okay?

If you want to ply to knit, this class will teach you a lot, no matter how long you’ve been spinning.  Here’s a link (with a little discount).

 

 

Swing Step Cardi fiber give-a-way

It’s a gorgeous sweater, no doubt.  I’ve actually worn it.  Twice.  It’s so fitted and comfortable and warm.  Much of that goes to Amy Herzog, no doubt, she’s a fantastic designer, but the fiber had something to do with it too.

Glynda McIver got to spin the fiber for Amy’s Swing Step and while it was nice and the yarn was pretty great, I’m holding the fiber that you’ll get to spin for your own Swing Step and it’s even better!  I’m not sure what Mary changed with her processing but this stuff is like buttah!  So perfectly processed, no vm, no lumps, no bumps, no neps, nothing!  It’s like a homogenized pound of fiber heaven.  I even think it’s softer.

This pound (yes, 16 ounces) Suriland (Shetland and Suri 50/50) from Mary at Fancy Fibers can be yours!  All you have to do is leave a review for this issue of PLY here (not in the comments, but here, on the issue page under reviews).  Be honest, give it a star rating and leave a review and you’ll be entered in the drawing for the fiber.  I’ll announce the winner on October 15th.

 

Community in a Flower

Because the new issue of PLY is all about community, I’ve had the spinning community on my mind for a little bit.

When Beth , Rita and I held a retreat a couple of weekends ago and I got the opportunity to immerse myself in everything I love about our world of spinning.

The passion we have for our craft, we shout it from the rooftops. The opinions we hold, no one ever has to ask a spinner what they think about a wheel, a fiber, a tool or a method of spinning. The respect we have for each other, for while we are an opinionated lot and may argue a point or two, it’s never nasty or personal. Our openness and generosity, spinners are always willing to try something new or a new way around an old technique. Spinners are always sharing what they know, what they have. The joy we find in our craft, spinners are happy when they are spinning or around other spinners and it’s infectious. We are an amazing community of people and I feel so grateful to be a part of it.

I was full of this feeling of wonder, gratitude and belonging on my daily walk this week and I found a perfect representation of our spinning world in a flower. Tiny flowers clustered in small groups like individual spinners in their local groups and guilds and those groups forming a large beautiful flower, like our world wide community.

community flower

Books, Magazines, Classes

I’ve always been a big reader. Fiction and nonfiction, both. I’ve learned a lit from books and magazines over the years.

I have a giant collection of books. Every room in my house has at least one bookshelf – even some of the hallways. Check out this photo of the shelves where I keep most of my spinning, knitting and weaving books.

books

This photo is from June. Since then I’ve added at least 10 more books and of course every issue of Ply is there. All of them are important to me. That is all stored knowledge there.

When I first started spinning I bought a spindle and some fiber and a book. I had learned several other crafts from books so why not spinning? Well, a couple of months went by and I just wasn’t getting it. It must have been the tool so I bought a spinning wheel. Heh. A few more months went by and I was making yarn but it wasn’t the yarn I wanted. So finally I took a few lessons and magical things started to happen! My yarn was transforming.

The secret was someone sitting by me who could watch me and help me make tiny changes to my hands and feet and posture. Tiny things that I couldn’t get from a book. These were the days way before Craftsy but I would even say that a live, in person teacher is better than a video.

My point today is this. If you have the opportunity, take a class.

I still take classes when I can and I still buy the books and I have a crazy number of Craftsy classes in my account. But nothing beats sitting next to someone who can give advice to you personally. Sometimes it comes down to a class or more fiber. Well, You always have your knowledge. That’s what my Grammy used to say.

Most of the writers in the Ply issues also teach spinning. If they can make you say aha when you are reading their words on the printed page, imagine what would happen if you were in the same room with them!

Get on the spinners/dyers/photographer list!

I hope that it’s clear that PLY loves indie businesses.  It’s not hard to do, is it?  I can’t think of many fiber businesses that aren’t indie!  It’s the nature of our community, even our big companies are still small companies, you know? Often dyers work in the kitchens. Spinners set up shop in their family rooms. Tool makers park in their driveways so they can use their family garage. Even many of our biggest wheel makers work out of converted garages and make our beloved wheels on a skeleton crew of 5 or less.  Trust me, I’ve seen this in person and it made me love our community even more.

One thing that I really wanted to do when I started PLY was to support these people.  I know how hard it is to make it, to get noticed, to support yourself and your family with craft, but I also know that it can be done and it’s amazing when it works.

It’s what the independent spinner page in each issue of PLY is about.  Notice how it’s always at the beginning of the issue?  That’s no accident!  It’s where we put the indie businesses that supported that issue of the magazine. We’ve worked with several now but I want to diversify!  I want to use and support different spinners and dyers and photographers each issue!

However, I’ve found that organizing that diversification has been a bit beyond what my already taxed brain can handle.  I’ve tried e-mail organization, spreadsheets, and trello boards but none have worked super duper well.  So, here’s my new attempt — a trello board that spinners, dyers, and photographers input and update themselves!

Yep, I couldn’t do it so I’m pushing it off on you.  My life coach (if I had one, boy, I need to get one of those) would be so proud!

Do you know what Trello is?  Trello is awesome.  Leanne of stitchcraft marketing introduced me to it about a year ago and I use it for everything!  Some of my boards are totally private, just I can see them, some I share with Levi, some with Kitten, some with Kitten and Bernadette, some with Kitten, Bernadette, and Levi…you get the idea, yeah? Seriously, I’ve got 12 separate boards and a board for each issue of the magazine!  I’ve got a editorial board, an advertising board, a workshop board, a personal home-to-do board, a kid-stuff board.  I have found it incredibly helpful and intuitive.

I know I sound like a advertisement but it’s all true. It’s free, it’s easy, and I’ve never gotten any e-mails from them (except the activation one). So while you do have to sign up for it to participate, you don’t have to use it and they’ll never contact you, but if you do use it, you won’t be sorry.

So this is what I’m trying.

I’ve created a public trello board called PLY Support.  On it is different lists, some for spinners, some for dyers, and one for photographers.  Under any list (or several) you can create a “card”.  If you want to spin, dye, or photograph for PLY, the front of your card will contain your name/business and on the back of the card you can add additional info (links to your work, photos, favorite kind of cookie, etc). You can add a card to as many lists as you like and be as specific as you like.  You can also edit your cards whenever you like.

And that’s how my job gets easier. You do the work.  Whenever I need a dyer (like right now, I need 2) or a spinner (like right now, I need 3), or a photo of an animal (like right now, I need some wendsleydale sheep), I’ll go to the list instead of putting out a call that you might or might not see.  So, you see, it’s not just better for me, but for you too!

Wanna get on the list ? And I really hope you do! Go here — https://trello.com/b/vtAt6YeQ and sign up!  There’s instructions on the first card called “How to Participate, click on this card to read!) but essentially you do this —

1. Join Trello, this involves verifying your e-mail.

2. Return to  https://trello.com/b/vtAt6YeQ (I recommend opening it up in a new window now, it’s easier than trying to find it again before you’ve joined) and leave a comment on the card with the instructions.

3. The comment will let me know to add you as a member of the board which I’ll do super quick!

4. Now make a “card” by taking a look at the lists on the right. Find the list(s) that fit your skill and click “add a card”. Once you do this, you’ll be able to fill the card out, front and back.

The front should be your name/business link (and for photographers, what animals you have). Once you save that, you can click the “edit the description” which will allow you to put more information on the back of the card. Use this area (the back) for any additional info you want to add such as your experience, what you’re really good at, links to photos (yarns, fabrics, fibers, animals) or even actual photos (using the attachment button).

 

cocooned

How to Shoot a Magazine, Prelude

 

Silkegg

When Jacey first told me that she was starting a spinning magazine, I said something like “Awesome! You’ll do great!” I even meant it. Next she said she wanted me to take the photos, to which I replied something like “Are you crazy?” The thing is, and if you know Jacey you will totally understand, when Jacey wants something, she usually gets it. The obvious next step was for me to figure out how to take pictures that would make Jacey happy. I had a million questions about how to face this project and approximately seven answers. I was painfully aware that I had no idea what I was doing.

My first approach was to do a lot of research. I was hoping to find a book in the library called How to be a Really Great Fiber Photographer in Four Easy Lessons. That book was checked out, so I ended up with some self-help books on coping with anxiety. I read way too many photography blogs, books, and magazines, and ultimately decided that beginners luck has to be a real thing. Six issues later, I am so enthusiastic about the future of my work with PLY, in large part because I can now at least identify what I don’t know. Each shoot is a little more relaxed, the editing workflow less frustrating.

In this series, I plan to explore each issue of PLY, its challenges and successes, and delve into what we learned in each shoot. I’ll share some photography techniques I have found helpful in getting more accurate photos of fiber and finished projects. I’ll also address some post processing work to correct common issues like color casts and blown out highlights. Of course I’ll share favorite photos, embarrassing photos, and behind-the-scenes shots of Jacey eating chocolate and Levi being Levi. I look forward to your questions, comments, and insight!