Cross Stitch – a Dying Art?

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I am so bummed about all of the cross stitching magazines that have ceased publication recently. First, Cross Country Stitching published their last magazine in December 2013. Then Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly went out of business with the release of their Fall 2015 issue. Their sister magazine, Just Cross Stitch, has since published some articles and samplers in their issues, but it is just not the same. Cross Stitch and Needlework magazine, which has seen many name changes and publication changes over the years, first went to a quarterly format and then decided to cease altogether at the end of 2016. In exchange for the remainder of my subscription, I was given a gift certificate to Herrschners, which I am not sure what I will use on. (When you own a needlework store, you sort of have access to everything that every other store sells!) Most recently, the British magazine Cross Stitch Collection went out of business after the February 2017 issue. This came about a year or so after being bought out by another publishing company, and I just don’t think the new publishers cared much about the fate of it. It was a wonderful magazine, full of great patterns and articles, and it will be sadly missed. Since it is a British magazine, and therefore quite expensive to get in the States, I subscribed to it through Zinio (a digital magazine platform). I will treasure my back issue collection, and luckily I was given the remainder of my issues for that magazine in a different title (Cross Stitch Gold, which I was also subscribing to on Zinio). Back in 2011, Stoney Creek Collection changed to a quarterly format but they are still going strong. I believe Just Cross Stitch is the only other American magazine still in publication. I am hoping that our beloved hobby is not dying out. At least I have a stash of patterns to last me several lifetimes!

XXX
Carrie


Ariel!

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mermaid

Okay, she isn’t exactly Ariel, but she is a mermaid with red hair. And she’s gorgeous! I just received the latest issue of Cross Stitch Gold magazine in the mail (well, the latest for the US, anyway) and it said that this beauty would be in the next issue. Of course, this happens to be one of the issues I won’t be getting because of their horrible subscription deal for US stitchers. The magazine is published 9 times a year, but only in Britain. US subscribers get 6 issues per year. This means that you get two issues in a row, then miss one issue, then get two more issue, miss one, and so on. Of course, being the addicted stitcher that I am (especially when it comes to my British mags) I have to have those missing issues. How do I solve this? By getting a digital subscription through Zinio, when they have their 5 issues for $5 deal going on. Since you can stack subscriptions, I re-subscribe any time they do this offer (2-3 times per year) to ensure that I never lose an issue. Yes, I do get issues digitally that I also get in the mail. I prefer to read the hard copies, BUT if I want to stitch a pattern it sure is nice to have the digital copy to print out the chart instead of having to scan it in. I simply cannot stitch something without destroying the heck out of the copy with either highlighters or colored pencils. So this way I don’t ruin my mags. Anywho, the DAY AFTER receiving a copy of Gold in the mail, the next issue came out on Zinio. And there she was, just wanting to be stitched! I have the pattern printed out and ready to go and have selected the fabric and beads. But I will not be starting this until the Pyramids are finished. I know I should work on A Summer Ball and the deer in the woods, but I have a feeling I won’t be able to stay away from this mermaid for long!

XXX
Carrie


Annie’s DVD Collection

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I have been anticipating this moment for months. I have finally received copies of the DVDs put out by Annie’s, featuring back issues of Just Cross Stitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework magazines. There are 4 DVD collections in all: Just Cross Stitch Collection 1991-2000; Just Cross Stitch Collection 2001-2010; Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments Collection 1997-2013; and Sampler & Antique Needlework Quartlery Collection 2001-2010. The price of the SAN collection is $59.95, while the two JCS collections are each $49.95. The ornaments collection is only $29.95. I now have all of these DVDs available in my store at www.crossstitchers.com

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dvd4The DVDs all feature every page from every issue of the magazines. So you will get the cover, letter from the editor, all charts including their color photography, and yes, the advertisements. Of course, many of the ads will no longer be valid. Discount codes for websites will long be expired, and many of the companies listed will be out of business by now. Most likely, you won’t be able to purchase any of the materials packs from the back of the issues. But it’s fun to watch the ads evolve. In the early 90s issues no listings had website addresses. In the late 90s they started appearing more frequently but they were not your typical .com addresses of today. Remember things like http://www.geocities.com/something/somethingelse/yetanothersomething.html? And of course the latest ads nearly all feature the .com addresses we are used to.

In order to view the files on the DVDs you need to have Adobe Reader on your computer. This is available for free download if you don’t have it, but most computers will already have it installed. The files are all .pdf format. The charts are mostly in black and white, which is great for those who only have a black and white printer. In the later years, a few charts here and there do have backstitch lines in colors such as blue and red. But I noticed that not all charts have this. And I did not notice any charts on the 1991-2000 disc having color lines. Printing charts is easy. Just click the print button and choose which page(s) you want to print. Careful, if you don’t specify a page to print it will start printing the entire magazine, which is around 70 pages.

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If you have an older, slower computer you might find that the DVDs take a while to start running and then to turn each page. But any of the newer systems will not have any problem at all reading the issues. With Adobe Reader you can view each page as large as you need to, making it possible to read the articles right on your computer without printing them out. Remember, you have to have the DVD in the drive in order to read the issues. Take it out and you can longer access the content. Unless you copy the issues to your computer, that is. And doing so may speed up the process of reading compared to trying to read off of the DVD. Because I live in a household where electronics often get ruined (the kids have so far managed to kill two laptops and a backup drive) I will make a backup of the DVDs “just in case” on my cloud storage. I know that no matter how hard I try to protect these discs, they WILL eventually get stepped on, scratched up, or just plain lost. So no matter what my little terrors do to my computer, the data on these discs will be safe.

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I have included a few snapshots from the magazines. Of course, for copyright reasons, I cannot include actual charts or articles. But you can see that the covers as well as the individual project photos are in full color. The table of contents for most issues give you an idea of what’s inside that issue. And the charts are in black and white with symbols, which are easy to print. The earlier magazines are all scanned in. You can tell because often times you can see writing “through” the pages. In other words, when looking at a photograph you might be able to faintly see some type coming through from the other side of the page. It appears that the later issues are digital copies. The pages are probably the same as what the layout editors created on the computer initially. Sometimes when loading a page, you first see the background, then the “layers” all start to fall into place. This is different from just taking a back issue of the magazine and scanning it in, which would make each image “flat”. So the later the issues get, the better the quality should be. But even the issues from 1991 are plenty good enough to read and print.

Even if you have the print issues already, these DVD collections make a great addition to your stitching library. They make printing out charts a snap, if you’re the type of stitcher who likes to photocopy the charts prior to stitching so that the magazine stays in pristine condition. I am that type of stitcher! The other day while flipping through some back issues of Just Cross Stitch, I found a chart I wanted to stitch. Instead of scanning in the chart and then printing it, I simply put in my DVD and found that issue. I printed out the chart and key and I was ready to go.

I am delighted with these DVDs and can’t wait for more to come out. It would be wonderful to get older issues of both Just Cross Stitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework. Of course, these DVDs were probably a time consuming project and I would assume the publishers want to see how well these sell before going back even further.

You can purchase all 4 DVDs here: http://www.crossstitchers.com/shop/textsearch.php?term=dvd

XXX
Carrie

***Please note that this review was my own opinion. Annie’s did not ask me to review these DVDs or send me free copies. I purchased the DVDs directly from Annie’s with my wholesale account in order to sell them in my cross stitch store. My review is based upon my own personal purchase of these products***



What a Great Day

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This morning I woke up to two great emails. The first was from Pinterest, letting me know that The World of Cross Stitch Magazine is now following my pins. I was pretty impressed with that. I subscribe to their magazine, and it is one of my favorites. I know it’s not a huge deal, but it means my shop must be getting some attention.

The second great email was from the editor of Cross Stitch Crazy, another British magazine that I subscribe to. They want me to be on their reader panel for the July issue! Woo-hoo! They sent me a list of questions to answer, along with a preview of the magazine’s contents. I need to pick my two favorite projects and let them know what I like about them. My profile (along with a picture of me) will be at the beginning of the magazine, and then my comments about the projects will hopefully be listed next to the project details. That email really had me jumping up and down. My husband had no idea what I was so excited about. Other than my kids, cross stitch is pretty much my life. If you’re reading this, I probably don’t have to explain; you probably get it. And now, to work on those questions…

XXX
Carrie


Okay, Now We’re Stitching!

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This variegated heart project started out last summer as a way to unwind while on vacation. Yeah, right. The chart was so horrible to stitch from, I decided to give up until I could get home and make a photocopy of it to work from. 6 months later, here we are… I made a photocopy of the chart as soon as I finished Autumn Leaves, and then sat down with a full container of Wite-Out tape in an attempt to cover up all of the heavy grid lines. I do not mind grid lines that show you every 10 stitches on a pattern, but this chart was absolutely rediculous. Every tenth grid line was the EXACT SAME thickness as the backstitching on the heart. And the ENTIRE chart is backstitch, no full cross stitch at all! Generally, the grid lines are there to help you keep your place, but do not interfere with your stitching. The ones in Just Cross Stitch magazine, however, are another story. I love the charts this magazine puts out, but they are horrible to follow. All of the symbols are in black and white. All of the grid lines are in black. All of the backstitch is done in black. It makes me want to put down my stitching and jot off a letter to the publishers of the British magazines to let them know how great they are. Because compared to the US mags, they ROCK! So anyway, I spent about an hour whiting out all of the lines that were not supposed to be there, based on the color photo of the finished piece in the magazine. Then I was ready to stitch. I am using a red marker to mark off the stitches as I go along. Kind of a pain to keep putting down my work to do that, but it is making it easier to stitch. In one day this heart is already half done. Compared to the 1/5 or so I had completed last summer, after a week of stitching.

Variegated Heart

I guess I need to start thinking about what my next project will be!

XXX
Carrie


Too many projects

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In the last few days, numerous cross stitch magazines have come into my mailbox. The World of Cross Stitching is a wonderful British publication. It always has at least one free gift (usually a kit) and sometimes a free chart too. Just Cross Stitch is my favorite American magazine. I also subscribe to Cross Stitch & Needlework and Sampler & Antique Needlework. All of these came in the mail within a few days of each other, and I also received notice that the latest issue of Cross Stitch Crazy (which I subscribe to as an iPad edition) was ready to download. I LOVE my stitching magazines. I also receive hard copies of Cross Stitch Gold (British) and the  iPad edition of Cross Stitch Collection (also British). Then there are the hundreds of magazines I have picked up at garage sales, thrift stores, or eBay. And then of course, there are the leaflets and books… If I live to be 1,000 I will never be able to complete all of the projects that I have. But yet I can’t seem to part with any of them. You never know when you might need something! In this latest issue of Just Cross Stitch there is a gorgeous Christmas pattern that features three ornaments stitched in jewel tones, complete with metallic threads. They are shown hanging from an elegant black wrought iron hanger. This design immediately caught my attention, and I wanted to stitch it. But in the end I decided that my stash is taking over, and something has to be done. I am not going to get rid of any of my precious magazines or charts, but something has to be done about the projects I have started and not completed. My daughter is 3 and still doesn’t have her Christmas stocking done. I started a pretty picture of hummingbirds and flowers while on vacation a year and a half ago and it has sat in a drawer since I returned. Theresa Wentlzer’s Peacock Tapestry is so huge that it will probably never get finished. The woodland deer pattern was only started a few months ago, but I tired of all the drab colors and needed a break from it. And the backstitched vareigated heart was a magazine project that I started while on vacation this past summer. The chart ended up being too hard to follow, so I decided to photocopy it when I got home, so that I could mark it up as I went along and not ruin my magazine. But that never happened. I am going to take stock of all of my UFOs and as soon as Autumn Leaves is finished, start one one of them. My goal is to not start ANY new projects until they are all done (with the exception of the Peacock Tapestry, which could take years).  My goal is probably unrealistic, but we’ll see how it goes! At any rate, going through my stash to see what I have should be fun.

XXX
Carrie