An Interview With: Meghan Babin

Today we feature an interview with Meghan Babin, editor of Interweave Knits. Meghan was kind enough to answer a few questions with Mari. 

Mari / For those who don't know you, can you tell us bit about yourself? How did you become the editor of Interweave Knits? How long have you been knitting?

Meghan / Hi! I’m Meghan Babin, the editor of Interweave Knits, knit.wear, and Wool Studio at Interweave. How I became editor of Knits is a long story, but I’ll tell the abbreviated version for everyone’s sake. I started knitting in college (I think I was 19 and a sophomore); my mother taught me the basics one weekend when I was visiting home, and afterwards I started knitting in lectures and seminars. My professors were gracious and many of them knit or had a partner who knit, so it was the norm for a run away ball of yarn to snake down an aisle in any classroom.

After I graduated I was commuting on the bus in and out of NYC and knitting became an essential form of meditation and escape. I loved knitting and hated commuting equally, so when the owner of my LYS approached me with a job offer I jumped at the chance to make the thing I loved my job. At 22 I never anticipated the life-changing path that decision would lead me down. I helped run the store, learned about the yarn industry, educated myself in fiber, made friends from all over the country and the world at TNNA, and finally, began designing my own knitwear. My boss and friends urged me to submit designs to Interweave Knits, and, despite my lack of confidence, I submitted my first design to Lisa Shroyer (our former editor of Knits and current Content Strategist for Yarn and Fiber), for Knits Holiday 2014 (Coincidentally, that design, the Radcliffe Cowl, was made in The Fibre Co. Acadia). Low and behold, she accepted my submission and several after. When Lisa sent out an email to announce her advancement at Interweave I was sad, but a question immediately bloomed in my mind, “Can I be the new editor of Knits?” I emailed her back and the rest is history.

I owe a great deal thanks and gratitude to Lisa for helping launch my design career, but also for giving me confidence in my work, which has continued into my career at Interweave. Interweave Knits was the first hand knitwear publication I picked up as a novice knitter, and from that day until now has been my favorite knitwear publication. It’s an honor to be the editor of Knits, and I am thankful everyday to work alongside the talented, passionate, fun, intelligent people at Interweave.

Mari / Kate and Courtney have both been designing for Interweave Knits and Knitscene since before I really picked up knitting. My first ever stranded colorwork project was the Setesdal Love Hat from Knitscene. What has been your experience working with them? Had you worked with them before? 

Meghan /I know that Lisa Shroyer has a few choice Kate and Courtney stories that will blow any story I've got out of the water, but I'll do my best!

I've known Kate and Courtney for several years. I met them while I was working at the Cornwall Yarn Shop in New York. I always liked them, but I really got to know them when I started working for Interweave. At my first TNNA as Knits editor, Lisa Shroyer, Kate, Courtney, Meghan Kelly, and I went out for dinner. I quickly realized that they were my kind of people; meaning, while they love fiber, yarn, and their business, there is much more to them than the yarn industry. Kate and Courtney are fiercely intelligent, compassionate, open-minded, savvy, and witty women (Meghan too!). They both live their lives with purpose, courage, laughter, and love. It's encouraging to know these women are raising children; it gives me hope for our next generation knowing that they, and others like them, are raising little women and men. 

Mari / What's been your experience going from a contributor and designer for a magazine, to editor of the magazine?

Meghan / I’ve love working for Interweave; I came on-board as a designer with a vision, but I knew very little about the processes behind publishing. My publishing crash course was exhilarating and humbling, but ultimately the most rewarding year of my life. The patience, kindness, and friendship I’ve experienced among my colleagues is what makes Interweave Interweave. I had a taste of this working as a freelance designer, but I never imagined how rewarding it would be to work behind the scenes.

Mari / Of all the patterns in The Fibre Co yarns that you've featured in the magazine, do you have any favorites? Patterns that came out even better than you imagined? 

Meghan / Two designs immediately pop to mind! The Donegal Sweater by Moira Engel in Knits Winter 2017 and the Rawah Pullover by Kate Gagnon Osborn in Knits Fall 2016.

I’ll start with the Donegal Sweater, because I love a good piece of menswear, and this sweater came out even better than I anticipated. It’s made in Arranmore, which is my personal favorite yarn of all time from The Fibre Co. Nice job ladies! The sweater is tailored perfectly; it’s surprising how hard it is to find designers who know how to knit for men, and Moira really knows how to make menswear. I’ve pulled in on several times in the office over the last few months to enjoy the soft blend of wool, cashmere, and silk.

The second Kate sent me the sketch for the Rawah Pullover I said, “YES!” It is the L.L.Bean-inspired sweater that dreams are made of. It’s made in Cumbria Worsted with a simple lice stitch colorwork pattern all over. It’s a great pullover for someone wanting to try a colorwork sweater, not to mention it will disintegrate long before it goes out of style. Win-win!

Mari / I know you still design some, but is that something you want to do more of, in the future? 

Meghan / I love designing and it’s something I will always do in some form. It’s hard to find the time when we are in a heavy press season, but I always seem to commit myself to designing something despite my better judgment. I can’t help myself, but I’m pulling back for a little while. I just finished a unisex Cowichan cardigan for Knits Winter 2018—it’s a design I had in my head for years and this issue was exactly the right place for it. Look for it next winter! But for now I’m taking time to knit for my family, friends, and myself for little while. But like I said, I can’t seem to help myself once I get an idea for a new design. I should make a book of designs, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

Mari / What trends do you see coming in the knitting world? What are you excited about? 

Meghan / Knitting trends of late have, ironically, not behaved like trends. Gradients, ombres, degrade—whatever you want to call them are here and they aren’t going anywhere. But beyond ephemeral trends the most significant trend I’ve noticed is more a lifestyle choice, and that’s minimalism. I’ve seen it in the resurgence of knit.wear and in the new launch of Wool Studio, which are two brands that touch on the concept of a capsule collection. In general, I’ve found our readers responding to quality over quantity—from the restrained and sophisticated designs in knit.wear and Wool Studio, to the conscientious curating of yarns and fibers—it shows our readers are looking for thoughtful designs and long lasting wardrobe staples.

Mari / Thanks so much to Meghan for taking the time to chat and answer our questions. 

All images © Interweave Knits.

Interweave Knits, Spring 2017 / Newport Pullover

It seems as every new day here in Philadelphia brings different weather - one day it is snowing, another it is 50 and sunny. Today, we're looking at rain, rain, and more rain. It is hard to believe that spring is just around the corner, but I know it must be true, as Interweave Knits Spring 2017 recently hit newsstands and LYSs near you!

My contribution to the issue, the Newport Pullover, is an oversized dolman turtleneck designed using The Fibre Co. Arranmore. After designing a few classic pieces for the Arranmore Collection, I wanted to play a little bit more with silhouette while still using the qualities of Arranmore to their best advantage, and this garment and this design and the Falmouth Cardigan are the end result of that desire. 

While quite simple, the Newport Pullover has a few subtle details that make it really special: there is an all-over cable texture worked on a stockinette ground. Increases over the length of the body shape the dolman, and a large, cosy turtleneck balances the oversized shape of the garment. Arranmore works up into warm but lightweight garments, and this piece is no exception!

SPECIFICATIONS
Yarn:
The Fibre Co. Arranmore: meara, 5 (5, 6, 6, 7, 7) skeins. 
Gauge: 16 sts and 21 rnds = 4” in cable patt on larger needles.
Needles: Size 6 (4 mm): 16” and 36” circular and set of double-pointed. Size 9 (5.5 mm): 36” circular. Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.
Size: 35 (39, 43, 47, 51, 55)” waist circumference. Pullover shown measures 39”; modeled with 15” of positive ease.

Kelbourne Woolens at VK Live in NYC!

Next month I'll be headed up to New York for Vogue Knitting Live, and I couldn't be more excited about this little mini-getaway. I'll be teaching my favorite class, Bohus Knitting, on Saturday January 14 - the best day of the year. It's my birthday!

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Bohus knitting is essentially your run-of-the-mill stranded color work, but it involves purling certain stitches within a row to create interesting color effects and additional texture. Another element of Bohus knitting is the (occasional) use of more than two colors per row. Managing multiple colors across a row can be a messy and confusing prospect, but in this class I'll show some tried and true methods to keep your color work tidy and organized. 

I recently taught this class at VK Live in Minneapolis, and used these handwarmers as our class project. They are based on our popular design, Freyja, from Interweave Knits Fall 2009. Kate and I recently revamped the pattern and renamed it Juno, and students in this class will receive a free advance copy of the newly updated pattern. These beginner-level cuffs make a great swatch for the sweater - if you are so inclined! 

While the Juno Cuffs are a great beginner project for those who are less comfortable doing stranded color work, some of my students in Minneapolis needed something a bit more challenging. At our lunch break, I searched the Bohus files on my computer for old charts that were a bit more complex and came across my working copies of this oldie-but-a-goodie!

Kate and I designed this Seurat Pullover back in 2011, and I love the patterning on the neckline. I broke up some of the charts, rearranged them a bit, ran to kinkos and printed them out.

Once I was back home, I formatted them as a pattern, knit them up in Road to China Light, and I'll be bringing this pattern to our NYC class next month. That way, students will have a choice of designs to work from.

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There are still a few spots left in the Bohus class, and if you are on the fence about attending VK Live don't delay! It's such a fun weekend, and I can't wait to see all of you lovely knitters!

Will you be at VK Live NYC? Let us know in the comments!