Proposal Guidelines

It’s important to us that PLY Magazine be representative of the current spinning community; that it be a compendium of spinning knowledge; and that great information be given a platform, regardless of whether it comes attached with a recognizable name or not. To that end, our proposal guidelines are fairly lax. (if you want to be alerted when we need writers, spinners, dyers, and designers, Sign up here for our e-mail list!

Take a look at the current mood board, see what the upcoming issue’s theme is, and if you’ve got an (unpublished) idea for it, submit it via our handy form. Your proposal can be a polished finished article, an article abstract, a rough outline, or just a paragraph explaining your idea. It doesn’t have to be long or involved, but a bit about what you want to write will fare better than simply saying you want to write.

Keep in mind that we’ve got lots of different kinds of articles. Here are some of our regulars:

Spin Its: these articles fall into two categories. The first is a how-to/technique piece. These require clear descriptions and instructions. Since we like to take most of the photography inhouse so that we maintain print standards and the issue has a cohesive feel, we often ask our writers to take step by step example shots (even with a cell phone) so that we can use them as examples when we do the photoshoot. They range in length from 800 to 2000 words.

The second type of Spin It article describes spinning a specific yarn and is always attached to a project in the issue. These articles are often assigned based on spinning and it’s a great (less intimidating) way to get a first article in PLY. A call for spinners goes out (on the blog or facebook but more often via an email for which you can sign up here) and out of those that answer the call and those we have on file from previous calls, we choose a suitable spinner and pay him/her to spin the yarn the designer will use for the project and write an article about it. The best way to get these articles is to show examples of your spinning!

Knit/Weave/Crochet Its: these articles are projects and the yarn used for them is always a Spin It (see above). You don’t need to be able to spin to design, we will provide you with handspun yarn to your specifications, all you have to do is design!

Prep Its: these articles focus on what happens before we start spinning – washing, carding, combing, dying, planning, thinking, etc. They range in length from 800 to 2000 words.

Guilded: One of our Community pieces, we love and support Guilds and these articles feature a Guild each. They tell the reader about a particular guild from an interesting angle. We don’t want a run down of how many guild members and when meetings are held, but rather what makes this guild stand out, what makes it interesting. Maybe the guild yarn-bombed a bridge, spun a sheep-to-shawl, exists solely online, has some inventive manner of recruiting guild members etc. Pick an angle and let us get to know your guild! They usually run about 1200 words.

Who’s that Spinner: Another Community piece, we know that every spinner is unique and special and each issue we like to take 2 pages to focus on one. Tell us who this spinner is in his/her non-spinning life. Spinning is what we all have it common, it ties this diverse community together, show us our diversity by showing us who spinners are. They usually run about 800 words.

Follow the Fiber: Every yarn has a story and these articles tell that story. The reader gets to follow the fiber on its journey from one place to another. Sometimes the whole story is told, from sheep to final project. Other times it’s just a piece of the whole, a segment of the fiber’s journey. The author focuses in on the aspects that spoke and touched him or her. It could be about a special piece of fiber saved from a first fiber festival and spun into a sweater for a first grandchild; learning or mastering a technique and turning the yarn into something useful; raising a favorite sheep, shearing it, and letting the fiber twist into the yarn you knew it could be. We want you tell us the story, spin us a yarn. They usually run about 1200 words.

Behind the Curtain: These articles pull back the curtain and expose the guts of a thing. It could feature how an indie dyer supports her family dyeing in mason jars, how a spindle maker carves and inlays, how an organizer puts together a fiber festival, or how a wheel maker comes up with a new design. These articles are not ads but interesting reads about how things get done in our community because it’s often interesting and almost always harder than it looks. They usually run about 1200 words.

Hot Button: One of these in each issue. We take an issue (related to the theme) that is often debated and ask 3 experienced spinners to weigh in on it. Their responses sometimes draw the same conclusions but just as often they conflict. Our hope is that spinners will find themselves in one of the responses and realize there’s not just one way to spin.

Stealth Review: Three spinners of different experience levels review the same spinning-related product. We keep it anonymous so that the review can speak honestly without worry. Calls for stealth reviewers go out on the blog and facebook. Each reviewer gets 400 words and a questionnaire.

Fiber Study: These meaty articles can anchor an issue with their length and density. They should be informative and interesting but you don’t need to be an expert to write one! Sure, you may have to do some research but the fun part is the spinning. We don’t want you to tell us, we want you to show us. Spinners are happy to learn with other spinners so take us along on your experimental spins. Take the fiber and prepare it a couple of different ways; then spin each preparation woolen and worsted, throw in a semi-woolen and semi-worsted if you want; then swatch your sample yarns and report on the results. They range in length from 1600 to 2400 words.

Extras: These articles are everything else that doesn’t fit in the above category. They should still relate to the issue’s theme but they don’t need to fit into any of the above. There are a lot of these each issue and their length and depth vary drastically.