"Years and years as a freelancer and then as an editor gave me ideas as to what pattern production could and should be…" - Michele Maks, executive editor, mainly crochet
Take an industry-savvy professional with a reputation for being delightfully impish, put her in the wilds of Maine with a desire to create something new and important in the fiber industry, and you might just get something really FAB like the new Mainly Crochet by Michele Maks.
Come along and listen in while we chat with Michele and discover just exactly what this creation of hers is all about.
Today we are honored to have Michele Maks with us as part of our International Crochet Month Celebration. Michele started her design career in 1985 and is the founder and editor of Mainly Crochet, a digital magazine she started in July of 2013 after steering the helm as editor of Crochet World Magazine for a little over 2 years.
SD: Heya Michele! Thank you so much for participating in our International Crochet Month celebration here at Shibaguyz Designz. We are thrilled that you agreed to chat with us!
MM: It’s a pleasure to chat with a fellow designer and crocheter!
SD: You have been involved in the fiber world since 1985 as a designer and as the editor of a major crochet publication here in the United States. What prompted you to start your own digital crochet magazine?
MM: I left the corporate world of publishing when I was diagnosed with MS in 2010. Dealing with the disease took me out of that life for several years. I moved back to the coast of Maine where I took steps to heal myself - always with a crochet hook in hand! It was very clear to me throughout this process that I wasn’t done with the world of crochet, but that I needed to set my own pace and value my own creative urges while I did so. Years and years as a freelancer, and then as an editor, gave me ideas as to what pattern production could and should be: lots of photographs, time to actually dry run stitches and understand the pattern, enough space devoted to a project so that it wasn’t shortchanged, really valuing what designers do… well, you can see that I had lots of ideas about how things ought to be done!
SD: In an endless ocean of free crochet patterns on the internet, why should someone subscribe to a digital magazine?
MM: A valid question, and one I get asked a lot. My response is: There are soup kitchens where one can get a free meal. There are fancy restaurants where fine dining is a truly marvelous experience. I would never knock the soup kitchen concept, but if I could make the choice, I would choose a 5-star restaurant. That’s what you get with a subscription to mainly crochet - a five-star crochet experience. It’s a publication that honors and respects a crocheter’s craft, and totally validates their interest and skill. We don’t recycle old patterns and we do treat each and every new one with respect. We have a business model that respects designers as well, knowing full well that without good design, all we have are boxes of yarn.
SD: What is unique about what Mainly Crochet has to offer readers?
MM: We offer a large archive of patterns that are available to subscribers with their subscription. We don’t have monthly or bi-monthly issues, but instead, we stream patterns as we produce them, making a subscription more of a crochet lifestyle with lots of new designs frequently to inspire you to work your crochet magic. We count our projects somewhat differently than a magazine would. A baby’s blanket, hat, and toy are added up as ONE pattern, not three, the way a magazine would. Our intention is to give subscribers plenty of “Oh I have to make that!” moments. We intentionally don’t have ads, making the patterns very clean with no dancing distractions on the side of the page, or interruptions in the flow of the pattern. You won’t ever see “continued on page 58.” If page 3 has Round 17 needing to be the same as Round 2, we will print out Round 2 again so you don’t have to scroll back. We don’t shortchange the needs of the pattern due to space constraints the way other publications must. One of our patterns is 101 pages! We always take “flats” of our projects, so it’s clear how a finished item really looks, with close-up shots of edgings and details. Blame my sister for that one! She’s a crocheter who wants to see the details!
Instead of having a hard and fast editorial calendar that designers must work from, I encourage designers to create their bliss, believing that this is the root of the best design, and then publish that design beautifully. We are not a corporation, so our concern is the crochet experience for our customers, not corporate profits.
SD: The name “mainly” crochet implies the focus of the magazine is mainly crochet but that there might be other crafts involved as well. Are you planning on branching out into other crafts or am I just missing a clever pun about where the mag headquarters are?
MM: I did think about adding an E in there, since I am based in Phippsburg, Maine! That was probably my starting point with the name, but since my life- and the life of many of our subscribers, is in fact mainly about crochet, it seems fitting. We do occasionally add a “no skills” project that we think might interest people, and though people have asked for other crafts (knitting, quilting, recipes, etc), our focus will be primarily on the yarn flowing past the hook.
SD: You know, Michele, it occurs to me that I might be unfairly describing Mainly Crochet as a digital magazine when, in fact, it sounds like a subscription service for an all-you-can-eat crochet pattern buffet. How would you describe it? Magazine or buffet?
MM: Buffet is more accurate. It's a hard concept for people to grasp at first, I think, that our intention is to create and publish as many of the very best ideas we come up as beautifully as possible. We LOVE crochet and want to share that love with our readers. Because everyone is INVOLVED, it's much more organic than any magazine can be. My grandmother was a fabulous cook who sponsored people from Poland-her table was always groaning with food and company was constant. That's what we're aiming for- that groaning table, grateful camaraderie, and the joy of the experience. By George, I think he's got it!
SD: I’m going to let you borrow my magic wand for just a minute… but ONLY a minute! You get one wave of the wand to instantly transform Mainly Crochet. After the magic glitter dust settles, what changes have taken place?
MM: You know I really wouldn’t change what we’re doing. Of course, I would like a million subscribers, and to hire a lot more help, and I know my photographer would like a bigger photography studio… but the real nuts and bolts, well, I wouldn’t change that at all. I might like a fancier ball gown, but this is definitely the party I want to attend!
SD: We understand you have brought a little gift today to share with our readers. What have you got there? (He says knowingly…)
MM: You get to pick a reader from your magic hat and the winner will receive a year’s subscription to Mainly Crochet. Everyone else can subscribe at www.mainlycrochet.com and that will make them winners too!
SD: That's a FAB gift for one of our lucky readers! Thank you so much! Okay readers… go to the entry box below, follow the instructions and next week we'll announce our winner of a 1-year subscription to Mainly Crochet!
SD: Michele, thanks again for joining us today. We know you’re a busy woman so we’ll say goodbye for now and hope to talk to you soon!
MM: Yes, I’m hoping that Mainly Crochet readers will see some Shibaguyz designs in the future! Check out our webpage at www.mainlycrochet.com and see us on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Thanks to our wonderful guest, Michele Maks, for shedding some light on this FAB new subscription service she has created: Mainly Crochet.
And now… enjoy some pretty pictures of some of the patterns you can find on the Mainly Crochet website at MainlyCrochet.com.
(All images provided by Mainly Crochet and used by permission. All rights reserved Mainly Crochet 2014)