Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thoughts on stitching magazines

Thanks for all the detailed and interesting feedback on my post on British and American stitching! It’s really fascinating to get such detailed comments.

Everybody who commented seemed to agree with my opinion of the British stitching magazines – limited in their scope and designs. They also tend to repeat themselves. American magazines do seem to be a little better and offer a bit more variety.

This brings me back to something else that has crossed my mind a few times – who are the British magazines aimed at? I’m thinking here of the Cross Stitcher and World of Cross Stitching type of magazine. (There are others concentrating on smaller designs and stitching for cards but I look at them even more rarely than the other two.) What is the market for UK cross stitching? How does it work? All I can think is that the magazines are aimed at a static, unambitious market.

It makes me come over all evangelical and want to go out and beat people about the head with ideas of using stitches other than basic crosses, designs other than cutesy animals, cartoon characters, landscapes/views or traditional flowers. There is so much more to the wonderful world of stitching – so much more you can do with a basic cross stitch and so many more simple stitches and variations that are also easy to use.

However, there is another side to British magazines – I wonder whether it doesn’t intimidate people who might otherwise be interested in going beyond the simple cross. There are a couple of magazines, Stitch (from the Embroiderer’s Guild) and Classic Stitches. Both sometimes include designs based on cross stitch but taking it further and using other stitches and techniques. However, I wonder sometimes whether these magazines aren’t rather intimidating to the cross stitcher who might want to take things further. Both Stitch and Classic Stitches include designs and projects using other (not counted) techniques such as patchwork, felt, stumpwork, canvaswork, cutwork, whitework, goldwork, Brazilian embroidery and all sorts of cutting edge, arty techniques that I too find intimidating. I wonder sometimes whether this kind of magazine doesn’t scare people off. Stitch in particular intimidates me, Classic Stitches I have subscribed to in the past, but even then felt there were too few designs that I would actually stitch.

New Stitches magazine tries to bridge the gap, including designs and techniques which encourage readers to look beyond the basic cross, but still many of the designs are too unadventurous in their content, verging too far towards the cutesy, ‘traditional’ designs favoured by the main cross stitch magazines, even though they may incorporate other techniques

Everyone who commented on my previous post did agree, though, that the Internet is a wonderful place to find inspiration and a wide variety of designs using different techniques and stitches. As such, it allows you to grow as a stitcher however you choose, whether it is in the type of designs you choose to stitch, or in the techniques you use.

Could DianeH and Jessica email me (email in my profile) with your snail mail addresses? I'll send each of you one of the kits from my previous post.