Endnotes: Remembering the Assistant Editor

Over the years, assistant and associate editors have played a big role in keeping the Handwoven ship afloat.

Christina Garton Dec 2, 2019 - 3 min read

Endnotes: Remembering the Assistant Editor Primary Image

In this ruby anniversary edition of Handwoven—an issue dedicated to the people and projects of Handwovens past—I’d like to take a moment to talk about, and thank, the assistant and associate editors of old. For those not familiar with the hierarchy of magazines, the terms assistant editor and associate editor are mostly interchangeable (at least at Interweave), and these people are a bit like the first mates on a ship. These editors stand behind the captain (the head editor) as they help navigate each issue, keeping it on course and schedule, and defuse emergencies as needed. As an associate editor myself, I may be a bit biased, but the truth is we help keep this magazine going.

I’m not here to talk about how the job of assistant editor is thankless or that we lack respect. The truth is we get thanked quite often, and in fact, the skills and connections we gain in this job often set us up for success beyond Handwoven. I want to celebrate and showcase the accomplishments of my amazing predecessors. You might not realize it, but many of our assistant editors are now household names in the fiber world.

Handwoven Editors Emeriti Jane Patrick and Jean Scorgie started out as assistant editors before taking over the magazine. No doubt their years behind the scenes helped them prepare for taking the lead. Ann Budd might be more familiar as the former managing editor of Interweave Knits and as the author of many knitting books, but she also got her start in the publishing world as the assistant editor of Handwoven.

Speaking of books, several former assistant editors are also authors of beloved weaving books. Barbara Liebler wrote the sadly out-of-print Hands On Weaving, and Pattie Graver (who also has a project in this issue) wrote the brilliant Next Steps in Weaving. Anyone who loves rigid-heddle weaving has probably heard of former Assistant Editor Liz Gipson and her many books and videos.

Not all assistant editors went on to become publishing powerhouses; some moved to other jobs within Interweave—Dale Pettigrew went on to run the Spin-Off Autumn Retreat, while Suzanne DeAtley became vice president of HR. Others such as Doree Pitkin and Dawn Hamilton continued creating works of fiber art.

Personally, I have no plans to leave my post at Handwoven any time soon. From my very first issue (the “Fashion” issue, September/October 2011) to today, I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined about weaving and writing. Each issue is a new journey full of adventure, and frankly, I can’t wait to see where we head next.