Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  


An Inside Look at McCalls Needlework
By Judith Carter, Editor of McCalls Needlework

For me, being the editor of McCall's Needlework is like working in a candy store. To say, "I love this job" is an understatement. Since I was nine years of age, when I began my first needlepoint canvas, my hands have never stopped stitching-it is my first love. During college I studied clothing and textile design, and spent many hours perfecting my chosen craft. Little did I know, when I began stitching thirty years ago, that the perfect job would be located a stone's throw from my home.

The entire staff of McCall's Needlework is dedicated to bringing its readers new and exciting projects with each issue­we really love our job. The concept for each issue begins about eighteen months prior to reaching our readers, and we are usually working on some phase of three or four issues at one time. The editorial staff seeks out fashion and color trends, looks at what's new in the home decor market, and listens to what our readers want before deciding what will appear in an issue. (We really do read each and every letter that arrives in our office via the mail or e-mail.) After we have decided the concept of an issue we notify designers, yarn and thread manufacturers, and product developers in our industry. We have many people who design for our publication. Lois Caron is a favorite of our readers, and a regularly featured designer. (Shown on the left - "Everything's Coming Up Daisies", an exclusive Lois Caron design with charts featured in the August 1977 issue.) We receive many submissions and it is often hard to narrow the choices down-we have more designs submitted than we have space to print them. We notify designers that we would like to use their ideas about six months before publication, and they make the designs a reality­they are now projects especially designed for us.

When the projects begin to arrive, we see the completed projects for the first time. Opening the packages compares to a child opening those long awaited Christmas gifts. As the packages are opened and someone usually exclaims, "Wow, it's beautiful!" Once all the projects for an issue are assembled, we have a planning session. Each issue has a general theme and the projects will be photographed and described in accordance with it. The entire team gathers, which includes the editorial staff, the executive art director, the art director, the photographer, and stylist to make important decisions. As each project is presented, we decide photography locations and styling, creative cut-line ideas, and the "road map" of the issue. The road map for each issue has sections, and the projects are linked together in each section through photography and creative writing to unify the issue.

After the initial planning, each staff member begins their own task to get the issue ready for press. The stylist and photographer begin taking pictures, writers are busy with descriptions and instructions, and the art department is designing the layout and drawing all the illustrations. Before long, I have what we call an "editor's proof". It is the first draft of the issue. The editorial staff begins reading each page, checking grammar, accuracy of instructions and diagrams, and placement of photos. Before the issue goes to press, each staff member has read it five times!

The issue is then sent off to the printer and is shipped directly to our readers and the newsstand. And we begin the process for the next issue. It is truly a wonderful job.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part of this feature story nor the included designs/charts can be reproduced or distributed in any form (including electronic) or used as a teaching tool without the prior written permission of the CARON Collection Ltd. One time reproduction priveleges provided to our web site visitors for and limited to personal use only.


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