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The Joy of Making with Meghan and Lydia of Pom Pom Magazine

Updated: Mar 21

To kick off series two of the Why I Knit Podcast I was delighted to be joined by Meghan Fernandes and Lydia Gluck, the founders and creative directors of Pom Pom Magazine. If you'd rather listen to the interview click play below and the full transcript is available at the bottom of this page.

We discussed how Meghan and Lydia learned to knit and both quickly became addicted to the repetitive nature of the stitches and the ability to play with colour and create their own clothes. They both spoke about the positive impact that knitting has had on their mental health, through allowing them to play with colour, giving them a sense of achievement and having a hobby that is portable and easy to engage in.




I loved the way Meghan spoke about using knitting as a way to process something difficult that had happened, and that through knitting she could 'work through that information but physically with your hands, and creating something out of that.'


Lydia also spoke about knitting giving her a form of helpful distraction when she needed a break from thinking about other things, and also a sense of having something that she could control. This was something that I think has been important to many of us during recent years when world events have seemed particularly overwhelming and beyond our control. She also spoke about enjoying the compliments that come from wearing garments she has made, and that these feel more valuable because they are less about how she looks and more about her creativity or skill which she said made them easier to take on board.


Meghan and Lydia also shared the story of how Pom Pom Magazine began as a creative experiment 10 years ago, and how their friendship and love of making continue to bring them daily joy.




Full Transcript

SPEAKERS

Meghan Fernandes, Lydia Gluck, Mia Hobbs


Mia Hobbs 00:03

Hello, and welcome back to series two of the Why I Knit podcast. My name is Dr Mia Hobbs and I'm a clinical psychologist who's passionate about knitting and its benefits for our mental wellbeing. Each episode I interview a different knitter about why they knit and how it benefits their mental health. For the first episode of series two, I'm delighted to be joined by Meghan Fernandes and Lydia Gluck, the founders and creative directors of Pom Pom magazine. As you'll probably be able to tell, I'm a big fan of Pom Pom. You can find links to all of the yarns and the patterns we discuss, and to Pom Pom magazine, in the show notes. Hi, Meghan and Lydia, welcome to the podcast.


Meghan Fernandes 00:48

Hello, thank you for having us.


Lydia Gluck 00:50

Hi!


Mia Hobbs 00:51

Hi, you're welcome. I wonder if it's helpful just for audio purposes for you each to just introduce yourself so people know from your accents!


Lydia Gluck 01:00

Hi, yes, my name is Lydia, and you can tell that I am British. And that's probably the main way that you're going to be able to tell the difference between Meghan and I!


Meghan Fernandes 01:10

Yep. And I'm Meghan, and I'm here in Austin, Texas, with my American accent.


Mia Hobbs 01:16

So it's early in the morning for you, Meghan.


Meghan Fernandes 01:19

Yeah, it's eight o'clock in the morning. But I have already had plenty to do today. So I'm happy to to be here at eight o'clock in the morning.


Mia Hobbs 01:28

Super. Well, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. I always start with asking where your story with knitting began personally. Meghan, do you want to start?


Meghan Fernandes 01:40

Sure. I learned to knit from my boyfriend's mother when I was in high school, so when I was 16. And I wanted to learn and she was eager to teach me and I just spent a couple of days on her sofa with her helping me when I needed it. And yeah, she made me knit a whole sweater as my first project! So it was a good introduction.


Mia Hobbs 02:11

Wow! Do you still have it?


Meghan Fernandes 02:13

I have parts of it. As you can imagine, as the first project, it did not turn out wonderfully, so I have parts of it repurposed into different things. So I still have the yarn.


Mia Hobbs 02:28

It's found a new life elsewhere.


Meghan Fernandes 02:29

Yes. [Laughs]


Mia Hobbs 02:32

Did you carry on knitting straight away?


Meghan Fernandes 02:34

Yeah I did, I think! Well, I was 16 then. And then a couple years later, I went to university and I definitely was knitting there. So yeah, I've never really stopped since then.


Mia Hobbs 02:51

Great. And how about you, Lydia?


Lydia Gluck 02:53

Well, I'm pretty sure that my mum did teach me to knit when I was little, maybe like seven or eight, something like that. But it didn't really stick then. So I properly started knitting when I was at university. So I was like, I think, 19 or 20. And it happened because one of my housemates at the time had taken up knitting and she was making a garter stitch scarf, as people do often when they start... not Meghan of course, Meghan made a jumper! [Laughs]


Mia Hobbs 03:20

A high achiever! [Laughs]


Lydia Gluck 03:24

But yeah, so this friend of mine, Jess, was knitting. And I was like, "Oh, you know, I'll have a go on that!". And not long after then I went home for, I think, maybe an Easter or summer holiday back to Wales, where I grew up. And it was raining, as it often does in Wales, and so I spent quite a lot of time inside teaching myself to knit. And in retrospect, it's really weird that I didn't ask my mum or my granny to just show me how but it didn't really occur to me. So I just taught myself from a book, and I think haven't really stopped for very long since then. I was pretty into it straightaway.


Mia Hobbs 04:03

And I know Lydia, from listening to the Pomcast, that you're generally a creative person, so I'm assuming you've tried lots of different creative hobbies. What do you think made knitting stick? I don't know if it is the main one for you...?


Lydia Gluck 04:18

I mean, actually, I learned to crochet. So when I was teaching myself to knit, the book that I bought myself had both crochet and knitting. And crochet I found a lot easier to start with. So I started off with crochet but learned to knit not long afterwards. Yeah, especially when I was at university, and maybe didn't have loads of space and loads of access to... you know, because I wasn't at art school, I didn't have access to facilities there. Knitting is small, it's portable, it's something that you can pick up and put down quite easily without having to make a lot of space for it. And I think especially when I was living in shared houses, perhaps that's why it stuck. But also I just think I found it really addictive. And it's kind of hard to say why, isn't it? Why some things just kind of click, but I think there was just something about it. I've always loved clothes and had a lot of fun with colours and clothes. So I think the fact that I was able to make myself little things to wear or things for my friends was a lot of fun. And I think there's just something about the repetitive nature of it that obviously I found quite appealing.


Mia Hobbs 05:29

How about you, Meghan? Why do you think it stuck?


Meghan Fernandes 05:34

Well, I agree, you know, there's something about knitting and crochet. The portability of it, and being able to multitask, I think is really appealing. I think, because I knit so much and it was so addictive early on, that I quickly learned how to read and knit at the same time, or watch TV or listen to a podcast or sit on the bus. You can always do something else while you're doing it, and I think that's really appealing. And it makes you feel productive and like you've accomplished something, even when you're standing in line at the post office or something like that.


Mia Hobbs 06:20

Do you think you're a natural multitasker?


Meghan Fernandes 06:23

I must be! [Laughs]


Mia Hobbs 06:25

For myself, I think my brain likes to kind of go freelancing if I'm just sitting watching a zoom training or something. I feel like it really helps me, to be able to knit then.


Meghan Fernandes 06:36

Yeah, yesterday at Pom Pom our team had a big meeting that could have been quite boring [laughs]. It was sort of about statistics from all of our different areas of expertise, from sales to social media, you know, all the different things, and I think Lydia was darning, I was crocheting, during that meeting. And yeah, I think it's really useful to allow your brain to kind of relax and let the information...


Mia Hobbs 07:07

It must be so nice to be not the only person doing it! I've never experienced being on a training when I wasn't the only person knitting. And I guess the other thing is there to be a basic assumption that you can still be paying attention when you're doing that.


Meghan Fernandes 07:26

Yes. It's nice, because I feel like I did do knitting in university, during lectures or whatever, and be the only one. People who don't understand are like, "Are they really paying attention?", you know? But yeah, it's pretty standard at Pom Pom.


Mia Hobbs 07:48

It'd be lovely to hear about how your knitting stories then collided and created Pom Pom magazine.


Meghan Fernandes 07:56

Yeah, I mean, it was 10 years ago now, right?


Mia Hobbs 07:59

Happy birthday!


Meghan Fernandes 08:01

Thanks! I think we started talking about it in January 10 years ago. So like, down to the month, probably. We worked together at the knitting shop Loop in London.


Mia Hobbs 08:13

Was that at Cross Street? In the first location?


Meghan Fernandes 08:16

Yeah, in the little one!


Mia Hobbs 08:17

Because I actually used to come in there. I lived around the corner at the time.


Meghan Fernandes 08:21

Well, you probably saw one of us. [Laughs] And then Lydia went to Mexico for a while, and lived there. And then when you came back, I was pretty much like, "Let's do something. What are we gonna do?" But we had both recently finished MAs, and Lydia's was in linguistics and mine was in English literature, and we were, I guess, both kind of at loose ends. I don't know if that's true for you. But yeah, I didn't really know what I was doing with my life. We kind of decided that we wanted to create a project. And working in the shop was lovely and so inspiring, and we saw a lot of magazines coming through and saw there wasn't really something that really spoke to us. So we decided to do it kind of as an experiment, I feel like! And then it went really well.


Lydia Gluck 09:23

Yeah, I feel like we went into it, like you said, like an experiment or a creative project. We didn't launch a big branded business. We didn't really have a business plan. [Laughs] And I feel like we've said quite a lot since that, perhaps, it's good that we didn't think it through too much, because we might have been overwhelmed by it. In fact, I'm pretty sure we would have been overwhelmed by the amount of work it was going to be, and about the amount of things that we didn't know about publishing. I mean, Meghan had a bit of a background in publishing, and we had people we could talk to, and we did the research we needed to do. And like Meghan said, we were in the shop, kind of seeing what was going on in the knitting world. Well, in that corner of the knitting world. But yeah, it's amazing that it's been 10 years.


Mia Hobbs 10:19

Mmm. Well, I'm really glad you did. I think sometimes that happens with knitting. If I look back on it, I think, "What was I doing starting that really ambitious project or thinking I could knit this thing without a pattern that I would never do now that I know more about how these things work!" But because I was naive and didn't know any better I just went for it. And actually, sometimes, I mean, certainly in your case with Pom Pom magazine, it's worked out I think, guys! [Laughs] I'd love to hear more about... I know, Meghan, when we spoke about setting up the interview, you said that you guys often talk about the role of knitting on mental wellbeing and that that's something you guys feel strongly about. I'd love to hear a bit more about how you think knitting benefits your mental health. Lydia, do you want to start?


Lydia Gluck 11:08

Sure, yeah. It's definitely something that both Meghan and I have spoken about, and we as a team. And then it's also something that comes up a lot in conversations about knitting with people I know who don't knit. I think there's probably been a bit more awareness recently about the benefits of doing things like knitting. But for myself, personally, I think what we spoke about already, you know, that if you're somebody who maybe finds it hard to sit still and concentrate on something, it can be a really nice way to kind of quiet that part of your brain that's quite sort of fidgety. Like, I'm a real fidgeter by nature. If I'm not knitting, I'm probably fiddling with my hair relentlessly or something. I can't seem to keep my hands still. So I think that's good, because it allows me to concentrate better, and then to feel better subsequently about myself. Because I think it's easy to be hard on yourself, if you're struggling to concentrate on something, and if you can find a way to manage that, whichever way works for you (and for me, for example, knitting or crochet works) then that's a positive. And I just feel like it's that nice feeling of being able to see your time. So you can kind of see maybe you didn't get up to much over the last couple of weeks, for whatever reason, maybe you just didn't want to, or nothing really came up that you wanted to make plans for. It's nice to be able to look back and be like, "Oh, yeah, maybe I started a pair of socks, or maybe I even finished them. Or maybe I just decided on some colours for something that I want to make." And it kind of gives shape to time in that way, which I think can be quite reassuring.


Mia Hobbs 12:54

For you, does it matter what it is you knit? Is all knitting equal?


Lydia Gluck 13:02

I think the way that I knit has changed over the years, and I think it used to be that I would quite often want to make really challenging things. And nowadays, at least at the moment - you know, that could change again - but at the moment, I feel like I mainly am drawn to knitting things that I find relatively straightforward. So for example, I could listen to something at the same time, or be doing something else at the same time. So in that way, it kind of matters like gauging what kind of project I want to make, what kind of energy do I have at the moment. And I guess there are certain things that I just really like. I just love making socks, big fan of making socks. I'm always constantly making socks. I really like making things I can wear, I suppose, for want of a better way of putting it.


Mia Hobbs 13:54

And will you think more about the end product or more about the process? For me, I think more about the process. The more I knit, I'll think "I need to do some colourwork" or "I need to do some cables". And then I'll find something that fits that, that I always want, but...


Lydia Gluck 14:10

Yeah, I think it's a balance. I think that for me, what I want from my knitting at the moment is something a bit steadier and less challenging. That will kind of inform what I decide to make. Because it might be that I'm drawn to a certain pattern, but I just think, "You know what, maybe now isn't the right time and I'll come back to that when I'm feeling a bit more ambitious".


Mia Hobbs 14:36

How about you, Meghan?


Meghan Fernandes 14:39

Well, I feel like there's so many parts of it. Like Lydia was saying about that feeling of being at a loose end or if you're not really getting up to much, which I think a lot of us can relate to in the last couple years. But I remember before we started Pom Pom and before I kind of... I don't want to say figured out what I was doing with my life because I don't know that I've still done that [laughs]. But when I didn't have a job and I was really kind of aimless, knitting and (on Ravelry) cataloguing my projects, having that sense of accomplishment every day was really good for me. And the sense of community that came from that, even though a lot of it was online at the time, was really helpful. I will say, there have been different times in my life where something's going on with a friend or even with me, or big life changes, if someone has been ill, or even died, or having a baby, whatever it is, sometimes knitting, either for them or not even for them, but just sort of processing that information while you're making something is really helpful. And it's almost like a form of release or a way of just working through that information but physically with your hands, and creating something out of that. And even if it's something that I've just kept for myself, or whatever, it's still really helpful. But yeah, I think one of the main benefits of knitting to my mental health is colour, and being able to play with colour, and you can be so specific about what colours you are using and what you're going to be looking at for hours and hours and hours. I feel like colour really has that huge impact on my personal mental health inside.


Mia Hobbs 16:53

So you were saying that colour is a big part of why knitting feels therapeutic, so you get to kind of combine different colours. And I think that's a really good point that you actually have a long relationship (or I do!) with the knitting project when it's in your hands, because I'm not necessarily that fast. But I might decide I really want a yellow jumper or something, and that cheers me up while I'm working on it and then afterwards, too. How about you, Lydia?


Lydia Gluck 17:22

Oh, yeah, that's pretty much my favourite thing ever anyway, and so to be able to work with colour in knitting is just one of the great joys. And actually, there's exactly what Meghan said, there's an aspect of processing things, and it's kind of a meditative thing in a lot of ways. But there's also an aspect of distraction, and I think that that's okay; I think a certain amount of distraction... not a pathological amount where you're ignoring things, but just if there's a lot going on and things are tough for whatever reason, then sometimes it's just really nice to take a moment if you can, and just be like, "I really like the way those two colours look together" and just allow yourself to get involved in something that you do have control over, to a certain extent. Obviously we've all had projects go wrong and continue to do so, but even when they go wrong, you can unravel them and have another go, and that in itself I find really comforting. And so I think sometimes it's quite nice to just be like, "I'm just gonna think about this for a little bit and pause the other things."


Mia Hobbs 18:31

Yeah, I think that's a really good point. And actually, it's not something that's come up, I don't think, in the podcast so far, but I think certainly in Coronavirus times, there have been times where I felt like I needed something that was within my control. And that was to choose some sparkly navy blue yarn for socks with little flashes of rainbows that I could be in control of when everything else was big and scary and not in my control at all.


Meghan Fernandes 18:57

I think that's a really good point about the unravelling because I was talking to some quilters recently, and I was like, "Oh, sewing freaks me out." Because once you cut into that fabric, you can't go back. So it's something particular about knitting and crochet where there is that reassurance that you can just unravel it and start over again. That's really nice.


Mia Hobbs 19:19

Yeah, absolutely. I've been running therapeutic knitting groups and that's something we've been practising: the idea of making safe mistakes. In knitting, unless you get the scissors out, you really have got always what you started with, even if it goes terribly wrong. And I felt the same about sewing, actually. I did start dressmaking and the idea of cutting into the fabric... there's no going back from that, is there? [Laughs] And also with your point about portability, I think after having children that certainly made knitting more accessible for me, because I could knit in five minutes when I wasn't ever sure how long a nap was going to last; whereas to get a sewing machine out or... I guess with other hobbies like art or things, there might be more things you can't take around with you, like you can with knitting.


Meghan Fernandes 20:11

Yeah, I agree. [Laughs] I mean, I was able to knit while I was feeding a baby, early on, which is huge.


Mia Hobbs 20:23

Good skills, good commitment! [Laughs] And what kind of things are you drawn to, Meghan, at the moment in terms of what knitting floats your boat right now?


Meghan Fernandes 20:34

I agree with Lydia that I like to knit things that I can wear. I do make things for my kids, but they don't appreciate them as much as I do. [Laughs] I'm not monogamous with the types of things that I knit. But I've been doing a lot more crochet recently. I do like to make garments even though in Texas I don't need them that often! But living here has meant that I'm experimenting with other plant fibres and figuring out what I can wear in Texas when it's hot. But yeah, everything! But I have been on a little bit of a sweater kick since August.


Mia Hobbs 21:26

Sure. Do you mind what type? I can see you're wearing colourwork at the moment. In terms of technique, does it matter to you?


Meghan Fernandes 21:35

No, it doesn't matter. [Laughs] But I think I am into projects with more than one colour, because it's fun.


Mia Hobbs 21:45

So you like combining those colours as well?


Meghan Fernandes 21:48

Yeah. And I've gotten to a point now where I shouldn't really buy yarn. So not having a sweater quantity of one colour means that I have to figure out how to mix them together.


Mia Hobbs 22:02

Okay. Yeah, just an added challenge! And in terms of thinking about the benefits to your mental health, how much is that also true of the things that you've made if you're making garments and then wearing them afterwards? Because I suppose for me, I feel like I still get a boost to my mood on days when I can wear something I've made. And maybe people also notice and ask about it. I don't know about you guys...?


Lydia Gluck 22:30

Yeah, like we've been saying colour is, for us at least, one of the great joys of knitting and making things. I tend to sort of stay in love with colours, you know, I might find new colours that I love, but it's pretty rare for me to change my mind about and no longer like one. So if I've chosen a colour for a jumper, or whatever it is, pair of socks or a hat, that every time I wear it, I'm just like, "I love this colour!" And it's also just a nice feeling to have made something that you wanted, and you got to make it and maybe you have a nice connection to the yarn in some way or to the pattern in some way. Or maybe you have memories of when you were making it and who was around or who you were talking to, and it kind of brings all of that back. And also, selfishly, I like it when people are like, "Oh my god, I love your jumper! Did you make it?" Then you're like, "Yeah!" I always say that winter, as it starts to get cold, at least for the more traditional British knitting, making jumpers and so on, less plant fibres, it's just a great season. It's a great season for compliments! [Laughs]


Mia Hobbs 23:35

Yeah! I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think that's great to feel like you get a little boost from somebody saying, "Oh, you're so clever to have made that!" Because it's not even just that you look nice, it's also an even better compliment, really!


Lydia Gluck 23:51

Yeah, it takes the focus away from how you look. It feels like a compliment that I can more easily take on board. If someone knows I'm a knitter, and they're like, "Oh, did you make that jumper?" and I did, then I'm just like, "Mmm yes, I feel good about this."


Mia Hobbs 24:13

How about you, Meghan, with your relationship with the finished articles?


Meghan Fernandes 24:17

Yeah, as soon as it did get cold enough here to wear sweaters, somebody in the line to pick up my kids was like, "[Gasp] Your sweater!" and I was like, " It's my time! This is our season!" [Laughs] But, yeah, it feels great. And I think one of the great things about knitting is that you can make exactly what you want. I've never seen another sweater that looks like mine, you know, in these colours and this design, and it's exactly what I intended, and I think that's really satisfying. Especially if you are particular about what you wear, then being able to make that vision come true is really satisfying.


Mia Hobbs 25:12

That's brilliant. Thank you. And I'd love to ask each of you about a significant knitting project. You can interpret that however you like. It could be something you've made, it could be one of the Pom Pom designs or... I know you've both designed, haven't you, for Pom Pom?


Meghan Fernandes 25:28

I think I have an answer. Lydia, do you remember the mittens with the colour outline? We kind of figured those out together. And that was a really satisfying process. They look really simple, but in order to do them, we had to do an Estonian technique. So it's a plain coloured mitten, but it has like an outline all around the edge. And so they look very simple, but I was like, "I want mittens that look like this, but I can't figure out how to make it happen". But Lydia had read this Estonian knitting technique book, and was like, "I think it might work like this". So we figured it out together, and it was a really satisfying, fun thing to figure out. And I think that for designing, figuring out how to do something that's not always immediately obvious is really fun.


Mia Hobbs 26:36

So you like the kind of challenge element of it?


Meghan Fernandes 26:39

Yeah.


Mia Hobbs 26:41

How about you, Lydia? Can you think of a significant project?


Lydia Gluck 26:45

Yeah, I think so. I have two things come to mind. One of them is my Quadrillion jumper which is a jumper or sweater that Meghan designed for issue six of Pom Pom. So that's now eight and a half years ago or something, quite a long time ago. And I made myself a version of it in the same yarn as the original, in the Uncommon Thread BFL, but mine's in... I think it's called Meadow Grass, and it's a kind of limy greeny colour. I really loved making that jumper, because it's quite a good combination of... there's lots and lots of different cables on the front of the jumper, so you're paying attention while you're doing that part, but then, for the rest, it's moss stitch and a bit more straightforward. So it's got this great combination of challenging and more mindless knitting. But I think it was just, at the time, something I was really proud of because it was exactly what I wanted. And it was just really lovely that Meghan had designed it and then I got to wear it. And it was kind of part of Pom Pom. And then the other thing I was going to say is maybe Woodwardia, when I made and designed that, because that was something I'd had in the back of my mind for quite a long time. It's a kind of raglan jumper with a sort of purl stitch design on the raglan. And then that led to me working on the raglan book that we published a couple years ago. Wait, was it a couple of years ago now? I think it was in 2020... maybe it's like a year and a half ago. But that book was something that I really loved creating. And then that jumper was the kind of start of it.


Mia Hobbs 28:34

Okay, great. So it was a jumper AND a kind of, I don't know, foot into the book.


Lydia Gluck 28:39

Yeah, exactly. And it's something that I still wear quite a lot, as is Quadrillion. So they're both things that have remained kind of staples in my wardrobe.


Mia Hobbs 28:49

I wonder if I could take the opportunity, just in terms of my fan-ness of Pom Pom magazine, just to say about how Pom Pom was kind of pivotal in my knitting journey as well. I had been a knitter... So I, like you Lydia, had learned to knit when I was seven and had some Donald Duck needles and made a very tight and very holey blanket for a mouse and then had stopped. And then my mum taught me when I was doing my doctorate because she said I needed to do something that was not related to psychology. And then was kind of knitting but that was pre-... I mean, it wasn't pre- the actual internet, but it was pre-YouTube or anything like that. So I'd learned from a book, and then years later (it was about 2016, probably) I taught a whole group of people at work to knit because we were making blankets for somebody who'd had babies. And so then I taught some slightly younger people to knit, and the first thing they did was to look on the internet and go on Instagram. And I had not thought there was anything on Instagram for me, I thought it was about celebrities and diets! And then she was like, "Oh look, there's all this cool stuff!". And that was how I discovered Pom Pom magazine, which really started me on a different trajectory of knitting garments. I made a Vellamo sweater and various other projects. And I think it made a big difference, learning about this Instagram community and learning that there were more patterns out there and things that I actually could see myself wearing, that I had no idea that existed because I learned to knit before any of that was there, I suppose.


Meghan Fernandes 30:33

That's so lovely! Thank you.


Lydia Gluck 30:38

Yeah, it's always so lovely to hear.


Mia Hobbs 30:40

I guess you guys hear a lot of stories about knitting. Do other people tell you about knitting and how it's impacted people's mental health? Is that something you hear about often?


Lydia Gluck 30:53

That is a good question. And I'm finding it weirdly difficult to answer! I think at the moment, my work life is obviously very knitting-related. But actually, outside of my work life, I don't talk to that many knitters. So not so much. But I often have exchanges where people want my stories about knitting, I suppose. Which seems like a shame. I feel like I'm lacking in other people's knitting stories.


Meghan Fernandes 31:32

We get sent proposals for people's personal stories about how knitting has helped their mental health. Obviously, we can't publish them all but I feel like we do get a fair few people reaching out to us with their stories about how it's been healing after an injury or an illness or a major life change, or...


Lydia Gluck 31:59

Yes, you're so right. I think the word "story"... for some reason, I was imagining people talking in real life.


Mia Hobbs 32:06

Do people do that anymore? [Laughs]


Lydia Gluck 32:10

"No" was my answer! [Laughs]


Meghan Fernandes 32:16

We published a story about a friend of ours whose recovery from alcoholism was really helped by his learning to knit.


Mia Hobbs 32:29

Yes, I read that one.


Meghan Fernandes 32:31

I can't remember what issue that is now, but it's a great story. One of my oldest friends recently broke her back, and has been recovering from that and multiple surgeries. She's actually a surgeon herself, and she's finding it very hard to lie around [laughs] doing nothing, basically. I sent her a copy of our beginners book, and some yarn and needles. She's been staying at her mom's while she's been recovering, and she's like, "As soon as I get home, I'm turning my guestroom into a craft room". She's a total convert now. She texts me every day showing her progress. And you know, it's gotten a lot better as she's been going on, and I think it has given her a sense of purpose and direction in a time when she's been kind of struggling.


Mia Hobbs 33:35

That's brilliant! And it must be a really hard time to think, "Oh, I can't do this, I can't do that, I can't do this... but this I can do!" And I guess being a surgeon, she's a high achiever. She's going to go with it.


Meghan Fernandes 33:47

I know. [Laughs] Yeah, she is a high achiever so she was a little hard on herself at first, but I think it's been good for her.


Mia Hobbs 33:57

I think it is really powerful that, like you said, you can see and touch your progress. It makes it easier to notice, doesn't it? And I actually just was writing a blog for somebody else about the therapeutic benefits of craft, and one of my three top tips was to show and tell. I think when we're adults, we're not that good at showing and telling. We get out of that habit. Kids do it all the time; they draw a picture and they immediately want to show you. But I think having someone you can text, even if it's two rows of knitting, text a picture and they'll say, "Well done!" That does make a difference, doesn't it?


Meghan Fernandes 34:31

It does, yeah. Definitely.


Mia Hobbs 34:34

Has your relationship with the knitting changed since it's... I guess it's been your job for a long time now, but I don't know whether you ever feel like it feels too much like work now? Or not really?


Lydia Gluck 34:48

Not the actual knitting itself, because our jobs are knitting-related... I mean, they're pretty much all about knitting. But actually making things... I mean, it's not NOT part of our job, but that's not the main thing that we're doing when we're working for Pom Pom. My relationship to knitting has changed over the past 10 years, but I think it's not entirely to do with my job. I think it's more to do with more general shifts in life. Actually, knitting has been a real constant. It's quite amazing how much... I had to take a break from it at the beginning of last year because I got repetitive strain injury in my elbows, which was really difficult actually, because I remember just thinking, "We're just about to go into a lockdown here. What am I going to do? I'm not allowed to go out and about (and quite right) but what am I going to...?" I was almost quite panicked! But aside from that break, I've very steadily knitted. And if anything, Pom Pom adds a positive dimension to knitting because it means that you see people sending in submissions, or you see a new yarn that you haven't worked with yet, and it kind of keeps the excitement, I think.


Meghan Fernandes 36:03

I think when we first started, the problem was that we didn't have enough time to knit. [Laughs] We were always like, "Aargh, we started this knitting magazine and now we have no time to knit because we're always working on it!" But we've got lots of colleagues now so that we do have more time to knit. But yeah, you're right. I have never fallen out of love with knitting on this trajectory, and I'm constantly inspired.


Mia Hobbs 36:40

The last question that I always ask is about the greatest gift that knitting has given you for the rest of your life. Any thoughts?


Meghan Fernandes 36:48

It's Lydia! [Laughs]


Mia Hobbs 36:52

Aw! What a great answer! I mean, other people can't get one though, so... [Laughs]


Lydia Gluck 37:00

Yeah, and I would say the greatest gift has been Meghan and the people that we work with.


Mia Hobbs 37:08

I guess you get to curate your own team now!


Meghan Fernandes 37:11

Yeah!


Mia Hobbs 37:14

Of cool people.


Lydia Gluck 37:17

Yeah, that's the first question on the application form: are you cool? [Laughs] You have to be cool.


Mia Hobbs 37:28

Do you mean like your relationships more than Pom Pom? Or both?


Meghan Fernandes 37:33

Yeah, it would be sad if Pom Pom ended but it would be sadder if Lydia and I ended, you know?


Lydia Gluck 37:44

Yeah, I would agree with that. I think there are lots of kinds of partnerships in life, and I think a creative partnership is a kind that maybe doesn't get discussed as much. And actually, I think it's really lucky that we met each other when we did and that we happened to both be a little bit at a loose end. We have similar vision and taste for Pom Pom, but it's not the same and that's really important. And I think that without Meghan, I definitely wouldn't have been able to achieve anything even close to what we've done with Pom Pom. And it's kind of the power of both of us together. We're a sum greater than our parts.


Mia Hobbs 38:27

Yeah. But actually, also, there's been a lot of evolution on that journey, I guess, that it started off as a kind of creative project. And then got quite big and you probably ended up doing lots of different jobs. And maybe you've ended up back in more of the creative director role, probably through having to also be the people who wrap things and figure out how to produce things and all of those things... that you've managed to maintain your friendship and be good business partners throughout that. And an international move also, Meghan?


Meghan Fernandes 39:03

Yeah, I was thinking about recently the moment when I told Lydia I was moving. [Laughs]


Mia Hobbs 39:11

How did that go?


Meghan Fernandes 39:13

Not really great! [Laughs]


Mia Hobbs 39:16

That must have been scary for both of you.


Meghan Fernandes 39:17

We were both pretty stressed out about it, I think. But we did it and it was fine. And actually it's been good I think! For Pom Pom.


Mia Hobbs 39:28

I don't know, Lydia, whether you were kind of co-opted into Meghan's answer [laughs] or whether you wanted to have a completely different one, which you're also allowed to!


Lydia Gluck 39:39

I don't feel like I was co-opted, as Meghan said the thing that I couldn't... I hadn't quite got my brain into gear. Yeah, I was just trying to think, I don't know what the... Aside from the gift of making, which I think is pretty much my favourite thing to do in my life, to make things. And knitting is not the only way in which I make things, but it was the first one that I really got into, the first craft that I really kind of... mastered is not really what I mean, but you know... the first craft that I really put a lot of time and energy into, enough that it became something I could do whilst watching TV or whatever. I had that real muscle memory. And that's led on to me learning other crafts too. I think it's good that it started with knitting.


Mia Hobbs 40:32

Super, thank you. If people want to find out more about Pom Pom, or about you guys specifically, how can they do that?


Lydia Gluck 40:41

Well, you can find us on Instagram @pompommag. And our website is pompommag.com. I think in most of the places we are pompommag. Is that true? I can't remember now.


Meghan Fernandes 40:57

We're pompommag everywhere.


Mia Hobbs 40:59

There's also the Pomcast.


Lydia Gluck 41:02

Yes. So we have a podcast which is normally me and Sophie, who works with us, presenting although we do often have other Pom Pom people on and guests. And you can find that as Pomcast in I think pretty much all of the podcast-related feeds.


Mia Hobbs 41:20

Thank you so much, Meghan and Lydia, for joining the podcast.


Meghan Fernandes 41:24

Thank you!


Lydia Gluck 41:25

Yeah, thank you so much for having us. It's been really nice.


Mia Hobbs 41:29

Thank you so much for listening to the Why I Knit podcast. If you'd like to find out more about therapeutic knitting, you can follow me on Instagram @knittingistherapeutic, or at my website therapeuticknitting.org where you can also sign up to my newsletter to receive my blog on the themes from series one. If you're enjoying the podcast, I would really appreciate it if you could leave a rating and a review on your podcast app. This will help grow the podcast and let more people know about the therapeutic benefits of knitting. And don't forget to subscribe too. Thank you!

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