I consider inspiring handknit designers to develop new ideas for Knits projects an important part of my job. For each issue, I come up with a theme for designers to work from. Rather than boxing them in, I want the themes to inspire them to think about their yarn and needles and what they can do with them in new and different ways. All the projects that we show in an issue may not, in the end, be directly related to the initial theme, but it is always my hope that the themes will serve as useful springboards for creativity. Sandy Cushman, a designer whose work we often feature in Knits once told me that the Knits' themes read like the assignments she was given when she was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. I liked that comparison, because I imagine that the RISD assignments are developed to stretch and stir artists' imaginations, and that is exactly what I am trying to do.
For this issue of Knits, I decided on the theme of modem interpretations, taking what is familiar from the past and reinterpreting or reinventing it. While this is not a revolutionary concept - fashion designers do this every season - it does provide a perspective for approaching the design task. Because this theme is related to fashion, it got me thinking about that aspect of our society, one with which I have ; love/hate relationship. I am fascinated when I consider fashion a reflection of who we are and what is going on in our lives and I am excited when I see the work of truly creative people who have chosen fashion, or garment-making, as their vehicle of expression. On the other hand, I am saddened - sometimes even scared - when I see how the business of fashion promotes materialism. But, fortunately, knitting, in its ever-magical versatility, can be both a way of following fashion - by making garments like the ones we see on the runways, in the fashion magazines, and in the stores - and a way of rallying against fashion - when we know how to make our own clothes, we are empowered to ignore the runways, magazines, and stores and create anything that suits us, whether it be "in fashion" or not. Each time we pick a project we make our own choice.