Today I heard some very sad news. Noone died or was diagnosed with a terrible illness. It’s probably a little silly of me to be so sad about it but I am. That big old publishing giant Conde Nast has pulled the plug on one of my favorite shelter magazines House and Garden. I’ve been reading and subscribing to H & G since it came back to life in the 1990’s. Every month, I look forward to the houses and products the editors collect to inspire me with my home decorating, cooking, and life. I have loved the wonderful places the magazine has taken me – to homes I would never be invited to visit and to homes in countries too far away to travel to.
The most recent editor Dominique Browning, also an author of some of lovely books about gardening and homes, always strikes a chord for me in her editor’s letters. Several years back when I was still employed by the yarn company, her Letter from the Editor was about how she was learning to knit. I could tell, she was becoming obsessed about knitting and that it was filling a creative void in her life. Being a tastemaker and trendsetter, she must have felt something was in the air and groped for some needles and yarns. This was fuel for knitting obsessed fire that was soon to follow in the mainstream national press. I wrote her a little note, thanking her for the exposure she was giving knitting.
Then a few of years later, an assistant editor from House and Garden called me about a knitting feature they were planning on running in a future magazine. They wanted to produce a story of beautiful handknit products especially for the home. I had sent them a press release about my home (which had handknit pillows on the sofas and chairs) when Knitting for Baby was released. Lo and behold, someone had read the press release and kept it. They wanted to feature my knitted pillows in the magazine. “You do have kits for them, don’t you?” “Oh, yes, I replied.” I was beside myself with delight.
But then reality struck. I had made the knitted pillows for myself. I hadn’t written any diretions for them. I had made them out of of my stash of yarn. Luckily, I was in the final stages of the Julia yarn development and yarn would be soon arriving at the new distributor’s. I quickly wrote up the pattern for the pillows. My friend Lori proofed and tweaked them. I washed the pillows and freshened them. You can imagine how much effort this took after being in our animal packed house on the cozy couches for years! I packed them up in a box, included some pretty wooden knitting needles and some odd balls of yarn. I ran to Fedex and they were off. I kept my fingers crossed that it would happen.
And it did. In the January 2003 issue of House and Garden, there they were! It was so exciting for me to be featured in one of my very favorite shelter mags. You can still buy the pillow patterns that were featured in that H & G on my website. There’s an automatic download.
They’re taking the H & G website down in December. Before that, you might like to read some of Dominique’s Letters from the Editors that are here. For the past umpteen years, it is the first page I turn to in her magazine. I hope all the people at H & G turn up somewhere else and find future success. And one never knows, we may see the magazine again in a few years when the demographics make it seem right and money isn’t quite so tight. I just looked at my subscription renewal and I’m all paid up until 2010. I wonder what Conde Nast will be sending me now.