Mixing Things up for a Sweater

I always admire those who are able to spin mountains of yarn for a big project, ready to knit a wonderful sweater or cardigan. It is a satisfying feeling when you finish all that work, especially if you started with washing and combing the wool or even raising your own sheep.

PLY Job opening

YouTube Channel and Submissions for SCENE

YouTube Channel

Did you know that PLY has a YouTube channel? We’re posting videos from the vlog, the Ask Jacey column, and videos that go along with some of the articles in the magazine.

Be sure to check out the two videos that go along with articles from the most recent Electric issue. Watch Amelia Garripoli demonstrate the power plying method and see a time lapse video of carding on an electric carder.

Submissions for SCENE

Have or know of a new product, event, fiber, or tool you think the community should know about? Let us know about it here, and we’ll try to fit it in SCENE, the newsletter, or the blog!

Check this out!

Have you seen @rightchoiceshearing on TikTok and Instagram? Their description is “two chicks traveling and shearing animals” or “shorn porn stars.” Make sure to take a look!

Did you know we also have a monthly PLY newsletter? Sign up here!

PLY Magazine believes that Black lives matter, as well as LBGTQI+ lives. Those most vulnerable and persecuted in our communities deserve our love and support. Please be good to each other.

Check Out Fiber Artist Market

As fiber festivals and livestock shows across the United States and many other countries have been canceled, fiber artists and businesses have seen their sales plummet. And festival goers aren’t able to see all of these fiber artists in one place. Fiber Artist Market is a new online marketplace for fiber producers and fiber artists, created shortly before the COVID-19 closures and is currently free for vendors.

Mary, the organizer behind the website, has been involved in the fiber community since she started knitting 30 years ago and has been working with shepherds in her local area and has sponsored FFA/4H kids with fiber animals. Her town has a K-12 Montessori farm school, where she volunteers to teach a “sheep to shawl” every year: the kids raise their own sheep and take classes on everything from animal husbandry to labor law and economics. Then the fleeces from shearing are made into products that are sold at the weekly farmer’s market. Mary’s studio has a micro mill, and they process about 50 fleeces a year and hold classes on spinning, dyeing, felting, weaving, etc. They are the Inland Empire Fibershed SoCal.

Here’s the story of how Mary decided to start Fiber Artist Market, in her words:

I go to a lot of fiber festivals and livestock shows, and over the years I have been impressed with the number of farmers who have sheep and a huge backlog of fleeces in their barns. I frequently buy them and have them processed into yarn, which we then sell at the local fiber festivals, or I try to buy and resell fleeces. Finally it occurred to me that we need an online site to cater to these small hold farmers and independent fiber artists. I found a few friends who were willing to pitch in some start-up money with me, and we got the website started. Our goal was to have it pay us back the start-up cost and then if it made any money we would be able to do FFA/4H grants, internships, scholarships, herd funds, contribute to Livestock Conservancy, things like that.

It took some time as we made lots of mistakes and missteps along the way finding a multivendor platform and all the other things that go into making a website work. Fortunately a local IT guy is willing to work with us for a pittance! We launched it in September with the goal of getting FFA and 4H students’ fleeces online and helping them with some income. Then some local shepherd(esses) asked to be on it and then some of my friends from Black Sheep and Oregon Flock and Fiber, so we said “okay, we can open to the public and see what happens.” We set our prices so they would be affordable for everyone and had subscription packs that would work just for shearing season, a month at a time, whatever anyone wanted to do.

Then came COVID-19 and this whole crisis. Our fiber festival, our farmer’s market outlet, WEFF, Maryland Sheep and Wool all started canceling and suddenly numerous fiber producers and independent fiber artists were locked out of their usual outlets. Because we are small, self-funded, and do not rely on income from the site, we were quickly able to agree to make the website completely free to fiber producers and independent fiber artists. We project we can continue to underwrite the costs of the website, IT, licensing, etc. for about 6 months and then re-evaluate what we need to do. That should take us through the fall shearing season and hopefully the viral crisis will be abated by then.

Since that decision we have just been working on how to get this out to people who might be vendors or buyers and give them the opportunity to sign up and set up their own store. The site is a secure site, SSL covered, with secure payment pathways to the vendors, and privacy is protected as stated in our privacy statement. We are very concerned about getting any spam postings so are keeping a close eye on that and will remove any immediately. We have some great vendors already but have essentially unlimited space for more.

So, if you are a fiber artist, please take some time to see if Fiber Artist Market might be a good fit for you. And if you are a buyer, please check out the offerings on Fiber Artist Market (and check back frequently as new vendors and items are added). Finally, please spread the word about this marketplace. Thank you for your help.

Show Off Your PLY Support!

Although we’d love to see you in person to give you your PLYAway shirts, you can still get one by ordering through our website.

You can also show off your PLY spirit with an awesome PLY shirt.

Thank you so much for all the support you have shown for PLY and PLYAway. We truly could not do this without you!

Ply Logo

Can We Feature You!?

One of the things we’d like to do on the PLY blog is feature you, our readers. We’d love to hear about how an article or issue of PLY has helped you in your spinning journey. Maybe you’ve made a project from one of the issues or maybe you’ve tried a new technique based upon one of the articles. Maybe you had an ah ha! moment while reading an article that solved an issue in your spinning. Whatever it might be, we want to hear about it and share it on the blog.

We’ll do a short interview (over email) with you about your experience and if you have pictures you can share as well, that would be great. If you’d like to find out more about this new blog featurette, fill out this form. Karen will contact you for more information and to set up your short interview. Thank you!

Ply Logo

Ply Magazine: Now Hiring

Want to work for a great fiber magazine? PLY Magazine has 2 openings! We are looking for a layout/design person and an illustrator.

Layout/design

This is a freelance, satellite position that is ongoing and includes 4 issues per year. It pays a flat fee per issue, and experience has shown us that, depending on your work style and speed, each issue takes between 45–75 hours over a 2.5-month period (so between 4.5 and 7.5 hours each week, on average). You’ll be responsible for taking the copy, photos, illustrations, ads, and well, just every single thing that’s going to be inside the issue of PLY and format it in a pleasing and creative way! PLY is a small team consisting of the editor in chief, managing editor/copy editor, photographer, customer service, developmental editor, illustrator, and you. That’s it. Among all of us, we get everything done.

You’ll be responsible for the following (while meeting the deadlines given):

  • Creating a cohesive look for each issue that builds on the look of the overall canon of PLY.
  • Creating a half-page mood board for each issue using copy provided and then using those colors in the respective issue.
  • Working with the editor in chief and managing editor to create a list of needed illustrations for the illustrator.
  • Using InDesign to design and lay out each issue, cover to cover, using the copy, photographs, illustrations, and ads in the allotted time (between 6–8 weeks).
  • Delivering pdfs to editor in chief, managing editor, and developmental editor and then implementing any changes requested.
  • Uploading final pages to printer, approving and finalizing pages.
  • Creating an image (usually just a crop) from each article for the authors to use to promote and tantalize.
  • Uploading final digital issue to server.

You should:

  • Have at least 2 years of magazine design/layout (or comparable) experience.
  • Be comfortable and well-versed in InDesign and the Adobe Creative Suite on a Mac platform.
  • Be organized and pay close attention to details.
  • Work and deliver on firm deadlines.
  • Work independently and be self-motivated.
  • Have strong communication skills and not be afraid to speak your mind and give your opinion.
  • Work well with others (or at least a small staff).
  • Have a clean and creative design aesthetic.
  • Be able to implement changes in your design without hurt feelings.
  • Have some experience with fiber arts.

The Process:

Please submit (to jacey@plymagazine.com) your portfolio and/or examples of your work , your past experience with layout/design, the programs you’re comfortable using, your work history as it applies, and 3 references by January 15, 2020. You’ll hear from us by February 1. Our plan is to pick a few people we really like and ask them to do a small mock-up of the magazine (a couple articles, a cover, masthead, project), going through an abbreviated version of our process. We’ll pay each designer we ask to go through this process a stipend for their time and work. For those who aren’t among our choices, if you want to go through the mock-up process too, you can, but we won’t be offering the stipend. The final decision should be made by February 1!

Illustrator

This is a freelance, satellite position that is ongoing and includes 4 issues per year. It pays a flat fee per issue, and experience has shown us each issue falls between 10–20 illustrations and over time averages out at 15/issue. At the beginning of each issue cycle, you’ll be given a list of between 10–20 illustrations ranging from very small and simple to more complex, and you’ll be responsible for asking for any clarification needed, creating and digitally delivering the illustrations to PLY. Turn-around on these illustrations should be fairly quick, 2–3 weeks, and may include some edits. PLY is a small team consisting of the editor in chief, managing editor/copy editor, photographer, customer service, developmental editor, layout/design, and you. That’s it. Among all of us, we get everything done.

You’ll be responsible for the following (while meeting the deadlines given):

  • Creating illustrations that are original and distinct to PLY but fit into the cohesive look for each issue and build on the look of the overall canon of PLY.
  • Working with the editor in chief, managing editor, and layout/design person to clarify the look and content of the illustrations.
  • Delivering illustrations to PLY by set deadline and then implementing any changes requested.

You should:

  • Have at least 2 years of illustration experience.
  • Have a range of illustration styles.
  • Be creative and have confidence in your work.
  • Be comfortable with line drawings, pattern sketching, repeating designs, renderings of fiber tools, spinning wheels, hands, spindles, people (shown with diversity), animals, etc.
  • Be organized and pay close attention to details.
  • Work and deliver on firm deadlines.
  • Work independently and be self-motivated.
  • Have strong communications skills and not be afraid to ask for clarification.
  • Work well with others (or at least a small staff).
  • Be able to implement changes in your illustrations without hurt feelings.
  • Have some experience with fiber arts.

The Process:

Please submit (to jacey@plymagazine.com) your portfolio and/or examples of your work your past experience with illustrations, your work history as it applies, and 3 references by January 15, 2020. You’ll hear from us by February 1. Our plan is to pick a few people we really like and ask them to do a small mock-up of an issue (we’ll give you a list of 5–7 illustrations), going through an abbreviated version of our process. We’ll pay each illustrator we ask to go through this process a stipend for their time and work (which we won’t use or keep; you retain all rights). For those who aren’t among our choices, if you want to go through the mock-up process too, you can, but we won’t be offering the stipend. The final decision should be made by February 1!

PLYAway Wants (and needs) you!

There are still great classes available. Check them out here!

And if you’re a small business that makes something fiber lovers would love, consider donating to PLY Away’s goodie bag, silent auction, or door prizes! It’s almost time to wow and tempt the devoted 500 fiber aficionados that attend PLYAway, but we’d love to have you join and your goods represented. If you’re interested, email me (jacey@plymagazine.com) and I’ll hook you up! Here are the deets:
 
Goodie bags: Every single person registered for a class gets a goodie bag, and trust me, they have always been stellar! We want this year to be the same. You can send 100, 150, or 300 items and we’ll stuff those sacks full! We’ll also give you a thank you in our 2020 program and a shout out on social media (FB and IG along with a photo). We’ve had everything from a single lock from a shepherd for each bag to artisan teabags to tiny samples of balms to mini-batts, colorful rolags, tape measures sporting business names, small batch chocolates, printed patterns, 1 oz mini braids, and on and on. We’d love to include you and for us to support each other.
 
Door prizes: If you don’t have the time or energy (or if your product isn’t suited for goodie bag parsing), a door prize or a silent auction item might be just the thing! We like to punctuate our nightly spin ins and/or banquets with loud, squeal-inducing giveaways and we’d love to give away your stuff. Please include details about your item so we can make sure and holler them out to the crowd!
 
Silent Auction: Finally, the silent auction is one of the ways we help spinners come to PLY Away, and we’d like to build our scholarship fund even more so we can continue to bring talented spinners who couldn’t otherwise attend PLY Away. We hope to bring 2 at a time, even 3! ALL the proceeds from the silent auction go to the scholarship fund. The silent auction items and signage will be set up in public for several days (secured at night), and towards the end of the event, we’ll see who won. We think a range of items is ideal, some small and some large, so people of several budgets can participate.
 
Send everything here: Whether you’re in for the goodie bags, the door prizes, or the silent auction, let me know so I can make sure your info gets into the 2020 program. February 15th is the due date (so we have time to pack all those bags) to PLY Magazine, PO Box 3329, Kansas City, KS 66103.